Oh it`s not all about running in the Chook House, y`know. Us birds like our singing too. Especially if it comes in the form of twelve finely tuned men.
And so it was that I took myself off into the National Concert Hall Dublin last Sunday night to catch Chanticleer in action.
This merry troupe of singers hail from San Francisco. They have been in the business of entertaining audiences for thirty five years. This Dublin date was part of their European tour.
Chanticleer are described by the New Yorker magazine as “the world`s reigning male chorus”. Well, my knowledge of male choirs is pretty sketchy but I know a good sound when I hear it and this concert was a delight from start to finish.
They sang to the rapt attention of a packed concert hall and entirely unaccompanied.
It was fascinating to watch one of the singers twang a tuning fork on his head, and, from one clear note, the entire group pitched their voices at the start of each song.
They also carried a wide range among them, having basses right up through to three male sopranos in their midst.
And it was delightful to watch them watch and listen oh, so carefully to one another the better to keep in tune together. Then, at the end of each song, the entire group deftly changed their positions in readiness for the next number.
Songs spanned the entire millennium and ranged from chanting to classical, and onto jazz, and gospel.
The most interesting piece for me was the haunting “O Frondens Virga” by Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179). This was music sounded almost primitive in its range of notes and sustained undertones. One could almost imagine unravelling the history of music back to Neolithic times through the plainer and more monophonic sound of this type of music.
And yet, the same choir were splendidly at ease singing in German, Russian and French along with a range of music from the 20th and 21 century.
The night flew by. Encores were demanded and happily given before a delighted audience tripped home with lots of music in their hearts.