An Entente tres Cordiale!
"I could go on and on and on about how lovely it is to spend time with, and to sing with, such a warm and together group of people"
Liz, a singer with Global Harmony.
"After our home, I say to you a great thank for these days. I was very moved by the exchange and the meeting with all the singers and for the welcome in the families. From me, can you transmit my best thanks for these 3 marvelous days to all of the Global Harmony members Very, very best regard from Les Rosiers and see you quickly in the future.
Francoise, a singer with Canta Koume
“My wife Elizabeth and I enjoyed your superb performance with Canta Koume this afternoon in Wymeswold. Our deepest thanks for a moving experience. Michael, an audience member
Some impressions of the long weekend, 16-20th July, spent with our friends from the Loire Valley, fellow World Music enthusiasts, Canta Koume.
Their coach arrived on schedule at 5.30 pm on Thursday 26th July. Our visitors were escorted to the swish new extension at Melton Theatre for tea and excellent cake baked by the students of Brooksby/Melton College. The Mayor, Jeanne-Marie Douglas, extended a warm welcome in splendid French and a splendid hat. Hosts and guests returned home to restore their energies for the events to come.
On Friday morning, we gathered at the Samworth Centre for a workshop/rehearsal. Global Harmony taught Canta Koume a song from Senegal - Kakilambe. Gilles, the musical director of Canta Koume introduced a new song for both choirs to learn which, he casually mentioned, he had written the previous night. It was untitled and contained the phrase “It is simple” in three languages, the last of which was Arabic – your correspondent is unable to recall the other two! A rehearsal of the songs we were singing together was followed by lunch – tables were literally groaning with the huge quantity and fantastic variety of dishes provided by Global Harmony.
Absolutely replete, groups set off to visit their choice of a number of destinations in Rutland – Barnsdale Gardens, Easton Walled Gardens, Woolsthorpe Manor, the Rutland Belle and the Grainstore Brewery. We all met up again at Braunston Village Hall for the evening; a Hog Roast and “Home grown entertainment”. The latter could be described as a micro Eurovision song contest – if you want to know more, you will have to visit the Members’ site!
Saturday morning was free for guests and hosts to arrange their own activities. In the afternoon, we joined forces at All Saints Church, Oakham for a technical rehearsal. Afternoon tea in the Victoria Hall was followed by our first joint concert.
The highlight was certainly the British premiere of “Toto iro” – a 20 minute original work composed by Gilles in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Canta Koume. The words were taken from Antoine St Exupery’s book “The Little Prince” – We see well only with the heart – the essential is invisible to the eye. These words were sung in eleven different languages in a variety of musical styles, a challenging singing task to which Canta Koume rose magnificently.
The concert was followed by a 20th birthday celebration for Canta Koume with sparkling wine and cake.
Sunday morning afforded another opportunity for hosts and guests to enjoy time together, including Sunday lunch.
The afternoon saw our second concert; this time in St Mary’s Church, Wymeswold. The programme from Saturday was repeated. Global Harmony’s set included two new songs, “Teo oono” from the Rotaruan Islands and the Elbow hit, “One Day like this”, along with a very touching version of the gospel song “All my Trials” and the choir’s all time favourite, “Fa’afetai ile’ atua”- a Maori hymn. Both choirs sang together in the second half, the 100 odd voices blending gloriously in songs such as “Yenamanoa” gaelic mouth music, “Ya se Va”, a love song from Chile and a song we learnt together when Global Harmony visited the Loire Valley in 2013, “Rolihlala Mandela”.
In the evening, we gathered in Wymeswold’s very grand village hall for a Curry and Bollywood evening, introducing our guests to an important aspect of the culture of Leicester. The food, provided by Café Mash of Burton on the Wolds, was first class. Dancers from the Naipur Academy in Leicester gave us an energetic and skilful demonstration of Bollywood dancing and I suspect that they were somewhat astonished by the enthusiastic participation of well over 2/3 of their audience in the subsequent workshop! The dressing up pile of sequin and bell embellished garments was soon diminished and booty was well and truly shaken by the gorgeously attired dancers!
It was with mixed feelings that we said au revoir to our chers amis at 8am on Monday. We were very sorry to see them go and equally looking forward to putting our feet up for a couple of hours to recover from a long weekend that had been, in every sense, full on.
We heard that they had unfortunately experienced a marathon journey home, missing disruption at Calais only to be delayed by angry farmers blocking the toll at Le Mans and arriving home after 11 pm.
The success of the visit was attributable to the tireless work of the organising committee, led by Janet Donnell and to Duncan Manderson, who ensured that every French visitor had somewhere to stay – no easy task! Thanks as always to our ever effervescent Musical Director, Liz Underhill and to everyone else who contributed to a weekend which will stay in our memories for a very long time.
On Saturday 2 May, Close Harmony, our small ensemble group of 12 singers performed their first concert for over a year. The effort put in by Liz and the group, after the main choir session every fortnight certainly paid off - we received a great response and Liz was very proud of us.
We shared the concert with Rutland Choral Society and we took the first half. Songs included some exclusive to Close Harmony, such as Love Call me Home, An thou were my Ain Thing, O Postaris and California Dreamin' with some main choir numbers; Happy Together, Make you feel my love and Dubula.
We were so pleased that friends from Global Harmony came along to support us and their words of praise and encouragement meant a lot to us.
Many thanks as always to Liz who never doubted us and worked so hard to bring it all together and to Debbie and the team from Langham Church for looking after us and providing delicious refreshments. Thanks also to Rutland Choral Society who entertained us so well in the second half - the whole concert demonstrated the joy of singing.
I 'll conclude with some quotes from my Close Harmony colleague's messages to Liz.
"I felt there was real togetherness within the group.... during our concert session" Frances
"There were moments singing when I was very aware of the group's sound. I felt more confident before the concert and afterwards felt a real buzz of having done our best" Jules
"Thanks for such a lovely evening.... you pulled us all together and made it a really special event." Alison
" I was really nervous but certainly enjoyed the concert and the evening" Gill, on her first concert.
And finally, Helen .... " It was brilliant! Absolutely loved it! Thanks Liz and big thanks to the rest of the group to for making it such an amazing experience! Here's to the next one!" ................ I couldn't have put it better myself!
Joint Concert with Woven Chords
Oakham School Chapel
Saturday 21 March 2015
This was a very special evening for Liz, who has been Musical Director of both choirs for some years.Tonight she was bowing out as leader of Woven Chords so it was a bitter sweet occasion for her and our sister choir from Stamford.
This by no means affected the enthusiasm and joy demonstrated by both groups of singers.
Global Harmony opened the concert with a gentle and poignant set, including Kiss the children from Scotland,
Sua gan from Wales, Here is my home from America and Gospodi from Russia.
Woven Chords maintained the contemplative mood with a set including E malama from Hawaii, Asikhatali from South Africa
Rongo mau from New Zealand and One day like this - from Britain
In the second half both choirs pulled out all the stops with a rousing programme which showcased the power of the 100 odd voices on stage. Two new songs, Aka si rekisho from Georgia and Gomo guru re Zimbabwe, along with stirring old favourites such as Fa'fetai, Shosaloza and Eramu in Campu raised the roof, while singers and audience enjoyed the pantomime and dressing up involved in Oro ce vie, another new song, from Macedonia
Both choirs were pleased to be supporting Marie Curie Cancer Care and were grateful for their provision of refreshments in the interval.
Woven Chords presented Liz with this unique award - the Order of the Knitted Garter!
Many thanks as always to Liz, all the singers and the Committees who organised the event.