The Baebes’ chorale ensemble, currently topping the classical pops, flirts with the popular but with an Early Music pedigree.
The singing is stylish, the tunes compelling, the rhythms infectiously contrapuntal, the cadences gorgeously modal, and a mediaeval world away from pop. The arms lifted into the warm summer sky above long scarlet dresses and flower-decked hair, hands clapping energetic accompaniment to drum and strings hint at dancing girls, especially when the singing takes on an Arabian tinge, but ultimately it is the ear that is ravished and excited.
There are nods to witch coven, Bacchae and sirens in their hour-long attack, particularly when ‘Adam lay y bounden’ gets female delight in his plight. Their exquisite hymning of Mary’s virgin motherhood – normally performed in Cathedrals in white dresses– is at odds with their glee in a birth achieved ‘without the seed of a man’ chorused in feisty scarlet but the disconcerting of audience sensibilities is all part of the fun.
Norway’s Eplemoya sang thrilling Nordic-noir folk tales shot through with fire and ice in dynamic and virtuosic three part structures, sometimes using their wonderful voices like stringed and wind instruments, sometimes like actors in a hectic three hander. The high notes dared human limits; the low notes mined mythical depths.
Earlier, the Hanseatic Club concert at All Saints attracted 100 +. The Club has been promoting Hanse Day with Council support for 10 years with a concert, walk and authentic German supper.
Photo credit: Al Pulford Photography