Monday, August 07, 2017

How men sing (Part 5) – amazing examples from across the globe #getmensinging

This is the fifth in a series of posts which features amazing examples of men singing. Here are Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

Men singing Ladakh
men sing while waiting for the women to arrive at the Bona-na festival in Ladakh

My hope is that if men see a huge variety of different kinds of men singing together, they might be inspired to get off the sofa and go and try it themselves.

Like the word ‘choir’, the concept of ‘men singing’ can bring up specific stereotypes – not all of them pleasing.

If there is not a relevant role model out there, it can easily put men off singing because they feel that they don’t fit the mould.

Rather than going into the whys and wherefores of why men don’t sing, I thought I’d just share some great examples of men singing together. Who knows, you may find an example that fits the bill. I hope they inspire you!

First up is some traditional Romanian singing at the Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum in Bucharest:


Here are three guys performing acappella at the Metro Center subway station in Washington, DC. Exquisite harmonies!


The famous Russian classic Kalinka as you’ve never heard it before. Here it is being ‘sung’ by the Finnish screaming men’s choir Mieskuoro Huutajat:


All men have to start singing sometime and singing as a boy is the best way to get started. Here is the world-famous Drakensberg Boys’ Choir singing Hamba Nathi a Zulu prayer:


And if boys don’t fancy that kind of thing, you can always try something a little more sedate. Here is the all-boy English choir Libera singing Stay with Me and Do Not Stand at my Grave:


There is a wide range of different vocal styles for men from cultures all over the world. There’s bound to be one to suit you! Here is Baisho Matsumoto demonstrating a traditional Japanese singing style:


Pearl diving used to be prevalent in the Persian Gulf in the 20th Century. Today, pearl diving has largely been supplanted by cultured pearl farms. Here is a traditional song associated with pearl divers of the Gulf (they used to free-dive so I guess their breath control is great!):


Male two-part singing in Dolni Polog, North Western Macedonia, known as Glasoechko, is a traditional practice characteristic of the region. This style of singing has been recognised by UNESCO and put on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding. This recording has some useful background information too:


The Kurdish people have a word—dengbêj—for a singer of epic tales of love and war, resistance and suffering. Once banned, the dengbêj are now re-emerging:


And finally, it’s time to mention the Spooky Men’s Chorale from Australia who have done much to popularise men’s singing in Europe and Australia. Here they are singing In my room by Brian Wilson:


Do let me know if you come across any great examples of men singing and I’ll share them in Part 6.

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Chris Rowbury



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Chris Rowbury


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