‘The preservation of black oral music traditions is at the heart of our mission’
Formed in 1987 by its Music Director Carol Pemberton MBE, Black Voices has gained a reputation as Europe’s finest female a cappella quintet.
For over 25 years the ensemble has captivated global audiences with their singing and performances in the black oral tradition – an early music form that is based on the ancient folklores and story telling of Africa and the Diaspora and which has impacted on the development of classical and more recent music genres such as blues and jazz.
Drawing inspiration from that rich tradition, Black Voices has developed a unique repertoire and arrangement of spirituals, traditional African, Caribbean and English folk songs, jazz, gospel, pop and reggae as well as a fusion of contemporary and classical styles that has earned them world wide recognition as a performance and teaching company.
Black Voices is honoured to have been invited to perform before members of the British Royal Family both in the UK and overseas. In 1998, the ensemble performed at an open air concert for Pope John Paul 11 in Loreto, Italy and in 1996 they appeared before former President Nelson Mandela at the Two Nations Concert, Royal Albert Hall.
Traveling the world with their distinctive sound, harmonies and stunning stage presence, they have also appeared with music industry giants including Nina Simone, Miriam Makeba, Ray Charles, Hugh Masekela, and Take 6.
As professional musicians and scholars, Black Voices also undertakes education and outreach programmes from their studio base in Birmingham, West Midllands and throughout the UK. Since 1989, the company has led highly popular music education workshops in performance and the history of the black oral tradition at the internationally renowned Dartington Summer School.
2014 is another exciting year for Black Voices with tours of Europe, the Middle East and Australia. In June 2014, Black Voices will take part in Glasgow’s West End Festival in the run up to the city’s hosting of the XX Commonwealth Games.
‘Black Voices successfully blends the melodies of Europe and the rhythms of Africa that break down barriers. My first experience of Black Voices rekindled the spirit of my ancestors. Long live these positive females with their beautiful Black Voices’
Jackie Guy, Choreographer/Artistic Director – Harder They Come