London-based vocal group The Swingles have recently released their new album Folklore.
By Jane Howkins
Folklore is the latest album by choral ensemble The Swingles. The vocal group are now in their 55th year, having originally formed in 1962 under the title of The Swingle Sisters. Many things have changed since then, both with the group themselves and the world at large. However, one thing that has not changed is the group’s drive for innovation and creativity, which Folklore exudes.
As the title of the album suggests, folk is the name of the game here, with elements of both traditional and new folk being brought into the fold. This tone is mixed with The Swingles’ classic blend of choral harmonies and jazz melodies. The combination works a lot more than you might think, with the group able to blend their beautiful vocals together in such a way that their voices actually seem to take on the feel of a plethora of instruments in the background, blending in well with the actual instrumentation on show. There are a bunch of old and new songs here and all are given the folk treatment – albeit some more than others.
Another thing worth mentioning is the 1960s vibe that can be felt rippling under the seams. As a group that first started in the 60s, this is almost expected from a band such as The Swingles, but they’ve done it in a much more nuanced way than you might at first expect. It never becomes tiresome. It’s more of an underlying subtlety, but one that adds a backbone to proceedings that subconsciously draw you in.
Folklore is an interesting and creative venture from The Swingles, and it’s great to hear that they’re still going after all these years. Staying power is a clear indicator of talent, something which The Swingles are in no short supply of.