The fine Wexford based group of eight a-capella singers, Valda Chamber Choir, provided the programme for a recent Coffee Concert at Christ Church Cathedral. While the choice of material was curious for a noon concert, with a closing lullaby (Goodnight My Angel) and a Blue Moon encore, this was a sweet tight harmony group, with a barbershop quartet style for more modern numbers. Not having an out-front conductor, the octet rely on discipline and well rehearsed sequences to shine, but this brings a little touch of blandness to show tunes and where there was a slight glitch, there was no corrective leader.
Opening with a traditional spiritual, Ride In The Chariot, you got a nice mix of madrigals that were precise and great vocal confidence and harmony. Tea For Two was mellow rather than showy but beautiful to enjoy. An old Afrikaans song Siyahamba (Marching In The Light Of God) was good in its Western setting of Freedom Is Coming. American Catholic choirs now sing it as We Are Standing In The Light Of Peace.
Another pleasure was the Bosnian Folksong Mijo Kuje as a four female plaintive tune that created the emotional effect Mary Sherhart creates in New York singing traditional Sevdalinkas that made refugees cry remembering their homeland. Mujo Kuje means Mujo shoes his worse, under the moonlight (as part of a courtship ritual).
The Billy Joel 1993 song Lullabye created a beautiful tender mood with its Goodnight, My Angel – someday your child, and if you sing this lullabye, then in your heart, there will always be a part of me.
An encore of Blue Moon was dreamy but I prefer the Bob Dylan version, or the Do Wop version from An American Werewolf In London.