Northern Harmony, the unique world-music vocal ensemble from Vermont in the US made their third visit to Bath, hosted by Songways, this time at the stunning St Swithin’s Church. Larry Gordon and members of the group led a workshop for sixty singers, teaching a lively South African song, a rousing contemporary American shape-note piece and a beautiful Balkan love song. After a sociable pot-luck supper, the full ensemble of sixteen voices gave a phenomenal concert to a packed audience.

From the very first song, the audience was gripped. The programme included an exceptionally wide range of songs from different singing traditions, each sung with the authentic vocal style and led by different members of the group. We enjoyed richly resonant South African songs and thrilling songs from Georgia – a wall of sound. From America, we heard vibrant songs from the shape-note tradition and an all-female close harmony gospel number. Several fine instrumentalists emerged, forming a wonderful folk band, and we enjoyed lively Balkan dance songs and a set of hauntingly beautiful songs from Albania. On top of all of this, the group gave a fine performance of a highly expressive Monteverdi piece beautifully led by Sophie Michaux.

Warmest thanks to all the workshop singers, to everyone in the fabulous audience and to Larry Gordon and Northern Harmony. We look forward to the next group’s next visit in spring 2019. Please join our mailing list to ensure you receive details.

Images by David Lewis Baker. More images here…