Black Voices: Music Without Frontiers

Black Voices, Europe’s leading female a cappella quintet, announce dates for forthcoming tour of Malaysia and Myanmar.

The tour starts in Kuala Lumpur on November 16 with a performance before the UK High Commission and guests. Day two takes in a performance for the Malaysian Ministry of Tourism before going on to Myanmar and the Gitameit Music Centre, a non-profit community centre and music school, which is devoted to music teaching and performing and offering exchange opportunities for Myanmar students to study abroad.

Towards the end of their 10 day schedule, Black Voices will appear at Urbanscapes, Malaysia’s longest running creative arts festival. The two-day event, dubbed the Big Weekend, features regional and international acts and this year is staged at a new and bigger venue – the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park.

During the visit to Malaysia and Myanmar, the multi-talented Birmingham based group of professionally trained singers and musicians will perform songs from their signature repertoire that celebrates singing in the black oral tradition - from spirituals, traditional African, Caribbean and English folk to classical, jazz, pop and reggae – and which has made Black Voices such a phenomenal worldwide success on the music scene.

The ensemble will also debut a special arrangement by Laura Mvula of Nina Simone’s ‘Four Women’. Laura, winner of two MOBO awards and short listed for this year’s Mercury Prize, is a former member of Black Voices.

The tour is part of a programme organised by the British Council, the UK’s international cultural relations body that works with the best of British creative talent to develop innovative, high-quality events and collaborations with artists and cultural institutions around the world.

‘This is the first time we’ll be welcoming Black Voices to Malaysia and we look forward to showcasing their deeply cultured repertoire to audiences in Kuala Lumpur.’ said British Council Malaysia Arts Manager Grey Yeoh.

‘While here, they will be conducting a workshop and performing at the Urbanscapes Festival 2013 at Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang – one of the most colourful and well attended festival in the region. This is in line with the British Council’s work to create partnerships between the UK and overseas art organisations and practictioners to showcase British art and talent that is rich in diversity and heritage to audiences all over the world’

While it’s Black Voices’ first visit to Malaysia, previous engagements in the Far East include China, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong. In 2012, the ensemble toured Vietnam as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations, taking public and television audiences by storm with their soulful and inspirational harmonies and stunning stage presence.

2012 also marked 25 years of enviable global recognition for Black Voices.

Throughout a remarkable career, they have appeared - by both public and private invitation - at venues as diverse as Westminster Abbey, an open air Papal concert in Italy, the Melbourne Festivals and most recently at this year’s (2013) Festival de Cannes.

Other highlights include performing before the British Royal Family and former President Nelson Mandela at Two Nations Concert, Royal Albert Hall; opening for music giants, Nina Simone, Miriam Makeba at concerts in Germany, France and Italy; Ray Charles (London’s Barbican and The Colosseum, Rome) and performing with Hugh Masekela and Take 6 at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall.

Speaking ahead of November’s tour, Black Voices founder and Music Director, Carol Pemberton said:

‘We’re absolutely delighted that the British Council has asked Black Voices to perform concerts and deliver workshops during their visit to Malaysia and Myanmar. Black oral music tradition is a potent genre that transcends geographical and cultural boundaries and we’re looking forward to presenting our songs from the African, Caribbean and Black British perspective to a new and wide spectrum of audiences.’

Notes to Editors
BLACK VOICES is Carol Pemberton (Founder and Musical Director), Sandra Francis, Evon Johnson-Elliott, Shereece Storrod, Celia Wickham-Anderson.

The preservation of black oral music traditions is at the heart of the BLACK VOICES mission. Singing in the black oral tradition is based on musical forms and rhythms of Africa and draws on a myriad of entities, call and response, ring shouts and the rich crafted musical genius of spirituals that has impacted on blues and jazz and other music genres.

As well as performance, BLACK VOICES delivers education outreach programmes and music workshops in schools, communities and at cultural events and festivals in the UK and overseas to promote a cappella singing and the black oral story telling tradition.

The British Council is the United Kingdom's international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. They are a registered charity; 209131 (England and Wales) SC037733 (Scotland). They create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide.

For more information about this media release and to arrange interviews with BLACK VOICES, please contact:
Vanessa Kirkpatrick
M: 07970 512773