Voicebeat is a community choir, which means anyone can join without any entry requirements. We sing songs from around the world in unaccompanied harmony, in three or four parts, mostly in foreign languages, sometimes with drumming. There is no audition and no need to be able to read music, as we learn by ear and sing from memory. We aim to offer an informal and welcoming atmosphere, and an enjoyable challenge for adult singers of all levels of ability and training.
Voicebeat is first and foremost for the fun of singing with others. But it's not a drop-in session, it's a choir. We try to do full justice to the songs we sing, which means performing each piece in the appropriate style, with accurate pronunciation, appropriate voice tone, and an awareness of the tradition it's from.
The active membership of Voicebeat is about 40 people, with a typical weekly attendance of 30, of all levels of experience and ability and from many countries of origin. The singing is led (since 2009) by Harry Campbell of the folk/world harmony group Muldoon's Picnic. We perform regularly, partly to publicise what we do, to recruit members and where possible to earn a modest fee for the group. We have recorded two CDs of our own, and two tracks on the 2015 Christmas CD from Muldoon's Picnic, "All and some".
Each term we offer a workshop by a visiting expert from a different tradition. Recent workshops have included Gaelic psalm singing, Swedish "folk-appella", Greek rembetiko and folk carols, and visiting workshoppers such as Brendan Taaffe (USA) and Bruce Ncube (Zimbabwe). These workshops are normally open to the general public.
Voicebeat has an active social life, with an annual ceilidh, a canal-boat trip, meetups with other choirs. We also have a regular singing weekend away; destinations have included the Cathedral of the Isles in Millport (Isle of Cumbrae), New Lanark, and (coming up in 2020) Lochranza on the Isle of Arran.