Voices from the West

Updated: Jun 26, 2019, 21:50 IST | Karishma Kuenzang

A globetrotting treble-voiced a capella ensemble from Yale University to perform arrangements they've gathered since 1981

Voices from the West
The Yale students will perform their own arrangements of popular songs

Those who've attended colleges with thriving music societies will relate to the high you get when a group of more than 10 people get together and harmonise in an a capella set-up. It's nothing short of magical when the different progressions of notes intertwine to pierce the silence. You get goose bumps and butterflies in the stomach all at once. What makes the whole experience memorable is the fact that the singers are using only their voices to create the beats, representing instruments as well as the lyrical melody. All one needs is good acoustics.

On Friday, 13 seniors from Yale University will take the stage in Bandra, to showcase their vocal prowess and woo Mumbaikars to open up their instrumental-heavy preferences to the charm of simple acoustics. The group of 20-somethings called Whim 'n Rhythm is comprised of only women at the moment — which was also the reason it was formed in 1981. "It was founded to create a space for women to sing as seniors at Yale. Today, people of all genders are invited to audition, but we've retained our name," says Anelisa Fergus, the musical director. Singing in a treble-voiced ensemble for sure creates a unique sound, she admits. "It's complex as many of our harmonies are close," Fergus adds.

Their setlist in Mumbai will include selections from many genres, such as Dolly Parton's Jolene, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Turrell's Ain't No Mountain High Enough and The Beatles' Yesterday — all in signature musical arrangements they have accumulated and tweaked over the years. "Each song has been arranged by one of our members. It's a fun challenge because you listen to a song and try to figure out how to recreate sounds from instruments with the human voice. The group aims to create a full enough sound and the audience forgets we're not using instruments," explains Fergus.

The globetrotting a capella group has performed in several cities across the globe. "The fact that we are able to travel the world with the purpose of outreach and have shared our music with different communities is a once-in-a-lifetime way to travel. And this genre of music is a special medium because it unites individual voices as a collective; when we sing an arrangement, each voice is contributing equally to form the ensemble sound," Fergus concludes.

ON June 29, 9.30 pm onwards
AT The Bandra Base, Baitush Saraf Building, TPS 3, 29th Road, Bandra West
Log on to insider.in

Cost Rs 400

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