For all who love to sing: the 2019 Boite Singers' Festival announced

Updated: Nov 27, 2018

An experiential festival of song and singing will take place in Melbourne next January, offering the public a chance to take part in a series of immersive workshops with a talented array of singers from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Celebrating the universal joy of singing while exploring the unique sounds and techniques of many different cultures around the world, The Boîte Singers’ Festival, now in its 29th year, is a three day long festival offering more than 20 intense workshops catering to singers of all skill levels.

The workshops will be held at the Abbotsford Convent from 11 to 13 January next year. Day long workshops will be held on Friday, 11 January, and short workshops will take place on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 January. Concerts will be performed at the end of each day.

The confirmed line up of talent for the 2019 Boîte Singers Festival has now been revealed, with more still to be announced.

This year's Friday day-long workshops include:

  • A Day with Su Hart: explore the sounds of the forests of Cameroon and Gabon, home of the unique yodelling Baka Pygmies and their collective spiritual singing traditions.

  • A Day with Geoffrey Williams: Spend a day with Geoffrey Williams getting into the heart and soul (and groove!) of one of Marvin Gaye's greatest songs, What's Going On! Learn how this song came to be, its relevance then and now and a brand new arrangement created for this workshop.

  • A Day with Helen Begley and Penny Larkins: The Good Girl Song Project invites you to “sing songs with a folkie flavour, and have a go at acting and storytelling, with a grand finale”.

These long workshops are supplemented by 90-minute workshops on Saturday and Sunday, including by:

  • Avi Misra - combining humming, chanting, singing with breathing and Yoga Hatha;

  • Ximena Abarca - participants to her Xinging workshop find their unique voice at its maximum expression using improvisation, body percussion and harmony;

  • Jolene Moran – “Vox Chops: Barbershop” invites you to “grab a straw hat and a cane and experience the spine-tingling overtones of 4-part barbershop harmony”;

  • Sophia Exiner - contemporary songs in a community choir;

  • Jane Younghusband – “From Stout to Finnish: Songs of Struggle and Celebration”;

  • Su Hart – joyously uplifting Central African rhythm and harmony;

  • Kofi Nortey – West African songs, harmonies and rhythms (supported by master drummer Mady Keita);

  • Penny Larkins – an extended journey though the stages of using the voice;

  • Nino Tsitsishvili - songs from the Caucasus will explore the beauty of discord which makes Georgian songs so difficult at first but so addictive when you immerse yourself.

  • Yung Philly - rap exercises and creation of a short rap piece for the group.

Intense songwriting workshops will also be held: Sophia Exiner’s “Songwriting with Phia” drawing on a pop sensibility, Helen Begley’s "Make History Sing" inviting you to take a journey through the history of the Abbotsford Convent and write a song based such observations, and Avi Misra will encourage expressing identity through singing, exploring your roots in the globalised world, and how to stamp your individuality on a song.

Further short workshops in the choir stream will be held by Christine Storey, leading Cloud 9; Stella Savy & Sweet Mona’s, one of Victoria’s leading gospel and world music choirs; Stepas Levickas & the Lost Clog, who will explore Lithuanian polyphonic singing dating back to Mediaevel times and the music of Bosnia and Herzegovinia with Sevdalinka Choir. Ximena Abarca will also launch Voices Unbound, The Boite’s new youth multi-ethnic choir celebrating Melborune’s vibrant confluence of cultures.

Each day winds down with a concert showcasing some of the many artists involved in the festival.

Tickets for the Boite Singers Festival are on sale now, with an early bird discount available until 1 December:


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