Powerful harmonies, driving rhythms, 100 singers

Vocal Explosion singers
Vocal Explosion singers

A storming set of African and African-inspired music with a definite hi-life flavour will be brought to The Stade Open Space, Hastings, tomorrow evening (Saturday, June 15), 7.30pm.

An African Vocal Explosion for 100 Voices draws singers from Folkestone to Littlehampton, as well as top musicians and percussionists including Hastings’ own Nana Tsiboe, a brass section, and even a beatboxer.

Expect powerful, soul-stirring harmonies and driving rhythms from this lot. Yes, Vocal Explosion is a choir, but get rid of any preconceptions you may have of what that means, and immerse yourself in the mutli-textured blanket of sound that awaits.

The woman behind all of this is Hastings-based composer, singer and all-round musical mastermind, Juliet Russell.

She composes, directs and sings for dance and theatre companies and her work has been used for television, film and radio.

Juliet has also been musical director and composer for large-scale site-specific performances, including Brighton’s Burning the Clocks festival.

Bringing together 100 singers from many miles apart is no mean feat, especially when many are not experienced singers.

However, that is the essence of the 100 Voices project - inclusivity.

Yet there is nothing amateur about the sound, and that is the magic of it.

Juliet said: : “We have consistently achieved an amazing sound which bowls people over.”

It has been my aim over the last 20 years to redefine what a choir is.

“This is an opportunity to bring together some great singers to create a wonderful, uplifting African sound, accompanied by some fantastic musicians.”

Much of the set has been composed by Juliet herself, though there are traditional pieces included, and the choir will also be accompanying Nana Tsiboe on two of his songs.

Vocal Explosion last month performed on the main stage at Meadowlands Festival, near Lewes, which may seem out of the ordinary for a choir, but then this is no ordinary choir.

The free gig on June 15 is the latest in the Stade Saturdays programme of events, and the show will start at 7.30pm.

For more information on Vocal Explosion visit www.vocalexplosion.co.uk, www.facebook.com/vocalexplosionhastings, or follow @vocal_explosion on Twitter for updates.