Moira Smiley & VOCO in Concert

What: Cornell Folk Song Society Concert
When: Saturday, November 13, 2010
Where: Hollis Cornell Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall, Cornell University,
Ithaca, NY
How Much: $17/$15 (door/advance) / $12/10 students / $3 off: members, seniors, teens / $free: kids

Moira Smiley & VOCO

Moira Smiley and VOCO, based in LA, are passionate about spreading powerful music in sweet, fiery, and spine-tingling four-part vocal harmony, with cello, accordion, banjo, and body percussion. Named the top U.S. a cappella group in 2007 and Harmonia favorites, they fuse the fearless energy and free spirit of street song (gypsy to rap) with the elegance and precision of a string quartet.

They inhabit and put their own twist on a rich vocal world, from medieval to avant-garde; American traditional (shape note, ballads, spirituals), Celtic, Irish Sean Nos, Eastern European, South African, and stunning originals. Some of their songs are familiar (Long Time Travelin', Wondrous Love, Katie Cruel, Bring Me Little Water), performed lovingly but with fresh perspective.

Many of Moira's compositions sound as though they've been sung for centuries. Other material shakes up the Anglo-Western perspective: crooked-tempo Balkan dance tunes and pieces inspired by Bela Bartok, Native American chant, bird calls, a trace of jazz improv, the wedding of different cultures. These remarkable women are vocal chameleons, by turns seductive, comforting, dissonant, playful, keening, exuberant. Their profound and joyful music mourns and dances at the same time.

Moira Smiley & VOCO have won rave reviews from folkie icon publications Dirty Linen ("Their audience is transfixed") and Sing Out! ("Cushioned layers of vocals in complex arrangements, cleverly thought out, very satisfying"). They've performed across the States and Europe, but this will be their upstate New York debut. A few hours in their company will be unforgettable.

Vocal Workshop: Moira Smiley, rooted in New England/Celtic music from her native Vermont and schooled in early and classical music at Indiana University, where she recorded with Paul Hillier and Harmonia Mundi, is now based in California, where she's active in composing, arranging, and performing music for VOCO, Eastern European groups, film, and theater/dance from Shakespeare to experimental. She's in demand in the U.S. and Europe as a phenomenal, experienced teacher: inspiring and encouraging, with a voice that can do just about anything! This workshop with Moira and VOCO will challenge and delight all levels of singers. They'll teach a diverse repertoire by ear as well as with sheet music, with a focus on vocal color, phrasing, physicality, and the joy of creative harmony.

For workshop information/registration, contact Margaret Shepard ( Workshop is sliding scale, $17-25; some financial aid available. Deep discount for those attending workshop and concert! Please pre-register so we'll know how many to expect.

Tickets are available at Ludgate Farm Market, Ithaca Guitar Works, Greenstar Co-op, Autumn Leaves Bookstore, Bound for Glory, and at the door. You may also order tickets online.

(Margaret B. Shepard)

For information about the concert, contact

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Author:Ted Crane
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