Chanticleer Kicks Off Its Touring Season With 75 Concerts in 28 States
Los Angeles - The amen corner may lose its voice from shouting the praises of How Sweet the Sound, a pilgrimage through beloved spirituals and traditional gospel works led by the multiple Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble Chanticleer. The CD lands in stores September 14 from Warner Classics.
Featuring all-new arrangements by music director Joseph Jennings and additional vocals by special guest artist Bishop Yvette A. Flunder, the 11-track How Sweet the Sound is a joyous celebration of the sacred. The music is as passionate as it is polished thanks to the combination of Jenning's masterful arrangements, Flunder's powerhouse voice, and the precise tones provided by Chanticleer's 12 members.
In addition to possessing a singing voice of exceptional power, Bishop Flunder is also one of the Bay Area's most active ministers to the poor and needy. Born in San Francisco, Flunder began her community service at an early age. After becoming a foster parent in her early 20's, she established a group home for high-risk teens, and in 1979 began developing a variety of social services for the elderly. Bishop Flunder is recognized as a pioneer in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Along with other members of Love Center Ministries, she established The Ark House, a communal living facility, and the City of Refuge Community Church in San Francisco (with more than 600 members) in order to unite a gospel ministry with a social ministry. Bishop Flunder and her staff at the Ark of Refuge Inc.čan HIV-specific non-profit agency-also opened the Hazard-Ashley House in Oakland and Restoration House (a diagnosis-residential facility for African-American women, the first of its kind in San Francisco).
Flunder's earthy inflections take the lead on Didn't It Rain," while Chanticleer shows exactly why it's been described as an orchestra of voices on (Keep Your Hand On the Plow) Hold On." How Sweet the Sound closes with Po' Pilgrim Medley," a song that embodies the spirit of a Sunday morning service as it begins with an ethereal processional that builds to a hand-clapping crescendo for the recessional.
Black sacred music is a fountain that never runs dry," writes Anthony Heilburt, author of The Gospel Sound, in the album's liner notes, At once the most mournful and transcendent of musical forms, it is also the one from which Joseph Jennings, a child of the church, derives his greatest inspiration." Jennings, who originally joined Chanticleer as a countertenor in 1983, is a prolific composer and arranger and has provided the group with some of its most popular repertoire.
Chanticleer, aptly named after the 'clear singing' rooster in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, was founded in 1978 by the late tenor Louis Botto. Formed to revive sacred Renaissance vocal music, Botto and the original members of Chanticleer debuted at San Francisco's Mission Dolores.
Two of Chanticleer's albums have appeared on Billboard's classical chart: Sing We Christmas reached number 6 in 1995 and Magnificat, a disc devoted to Renaissance and Baroque music written for the Virgin Mary, hit number 5 in 2000.
In 1999, Chanticleer won the Grammy for Best Small Ensemble Performance(With or Without a Conductor)" for its release Colors of Love. In 2003, Chanticleer earned a pair of Classical Grammys for Best Small Ensemble Performance" and Best Classical Contemporary Composition" for Lamentations And Praises: World Premier Recording.
During the 2004-05 season, Chanticleer will perform more than 75 concerts in 28 states across the United States, including a 26-concert Bay Area season.
For more details on Chanticleer's upcoming season, please visit www.chanticleer.org.