The 2017-18 Fellows with NYCGB Artistic Director Ben Parry and the British Carnatic Choir's Dr Chithra Ramakrishnan.


The third NYCGB Fellowship octet's journey begins with a photoshoot, mock workshops, and concert preparation.

JACOB EWENS

We kicked off the year in style with an initial meeting and photo shoot at the Royal Albert Hall within earshot of a rehearsal for 'Later… with Jools Holland' featuring Van Morrison and Dizzee Rascal! Three weeks later, eager to get singing ourselves, we met once more for two days of singing to prepare for our upcoming engagements. (Sadly neither Van nor Dizzee were on the menu).

With a few workshops on the horizon, the first day was primarily concerned with sharing workshop ideas – warm-ups, songs and musicianship games – and, of course, cake. (A particularly pink and delicious cake, courtesy of Esther Jones’ daughter!)

With these materials in our armoury, and still on a sugar high, we put into practice some of these ideas the following morning in a mock workshop scenario featuring the lovely folk song 'Shenandoah'. We then started work on some concert repertoire, including a Christmas classic for a concert later this year.

The afternoon took us from Christmas comforts to somewhere rather less familiar. We were introduced to Dr. Chithra Ramakrishnan, from the British Carnatic Choir, who taught us two songs in the Carnatic music style typically originating in Southern India. The different ‘ragas’ or modes and stylistic embellishments were challenging, certainly in the second (in a really cool raga/mode called 'poorvi') which went at quite a lick. It was mesmerising listening to Chithra sing it so naturally. And a little daunting, as we knew we’d be performing them in front of an audience in just over a week’s time!

It's an unexpected and fascinating start to the Fellowship’s year - join us and the British Carnatic Choir at The Bhavan Centre this Saturday evening for an incredibly exciting collaboration.