A cappella at the Edinburgh Fringe
- THE OXFORD TIMES:
There are just seven a cappella choirs listed among the 327 music acts in the 2009 Edinburgh Fringe programme, but almost half of those hail from Oxford. The presence of all-male Out of the Blue and all-female In the Pink in the same building, the main C Venue on Chambers Street, implies an undeclared battle of the sexes. Later in the festival the mixed-gender Oxford Gargoyles will provide relief for those who like their vocal harmonies without added gender politics.
Both Out of the Blue and In the Pink have an impressive festival pedigree. This is In the Pinkâs fifth year performing at the Fringe (their fourth at C Venues), though Out of the Blue trump them with three consecutive sell-out years â" and if ticket availability is anything to go by, that chain of successes wonât be broken this year. Out of the Blue have also won several awards and recorded an impressive seven CDs, compared to In the Pinkâs two.
But none of this should suggest that the all-female group is in any way inferior to its all-male counterpart. The opening performance of In the Pinkâs Festival run suffered from misplaced spotlights and unexpected blackouts, but even when plunged into darkness just before a crucial hook the group remained professional and held fast to the rhythm. Their vocal arrangements maintained a good deal of momentum in the basslines, in mellower numbers by Coldplay and Leonard Cohen as well as more upbeat tunes from Eurythmics and Girls Aloud. Certain soloists were almost drowned out by their colleagues, but prolonged and enthusiastic applause stamped the audienceâs seal of approval on the run right from the first performance.