THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Don’t be surprised when this ensemble, clad in kurta-pyjama, launch into Western vocals rather than shayaris. The Bangalore Men, an all-male acappella group, has been capturing the attention of music aficionados since their formation in January 2016. Their USP? Renditions of classical compositions stretching from the medieval to the contemporary era.
The 14-member outfit came into the limelight via performances across the country, especially the concert tour titled SimplySchubert which was performed in places including Hyderabad and Goa. “Even in India, a choir is suddenly perceived as belonging to a church. But, we’ve got an overwhelming response from people showing that a non-religious set of listeners are welcoming choral music,” says conductor Jonas Olsson, who hails from Gothenburg in Sweden.
Ode to India
The collective’s explorative nature shows in their most recent performance piece. The Swede draws from English composer Gustav Holst’s works from the early 20th century which were greatly influenced by Indian mythology and Sanskrit. “Our previous showcases have featured symphonist Franz Schubert because of his prolific output which contains secular vocal works. When it comes to Holst it’s the Indian connect that holds the charm,” says the 40-year-old Volvo professional.
The team even had to rework the last three-out-of-four of the Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda which were mostly written for women chorus and orchestra to suit male singers. Ask the vocal coach of The Bangalore School of Music about finding people to sing, he says, “More and more people are interested in choral vocalisation, the difficult task being finding trainers in India, what with barely any institutions offering extensive classical training.” Answering the call of passion, all the ‘Bangalore Men’ hail from various professions including architecture, teaching and even psychiatry. Performing the 70-minutes-long recital in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram, the group’s next project will be an acappella from the Renaissance era.
At Hilton Garden Inn on October 14.