Big voices unite for tour

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Music - Tanya Macnaughton

WORK­ING as a back­ing singer dur­ing the ’80s meant Carol Pem­ber­ton knew a lot about mak­ing three-part har­monies but did not get the op­por­tu­nity to sing many words.

It was in 1987 while watch­ing all- woman, African- Amer­i­can a cap­pella en­sem­ble Sweet Honey in the Rock on tour in the UK that Birm­ing­ham-born Pem­ber­ton de­cided to start a group and Black Voices was born.

Since then the a cap­pella quin­tet, also fea­tur­ing orig­i­nal mem­ber San­dra Fran­cis and now Pem­ber­ton’s daugh­ter Shereece Stor­rod, has toured the world and shared the stage with greats like Ray Charles and Nina Si­mone.

Per­for­mances cel­e­brate the blend of their African, Caribbean and Bri­tish her­itage with a mixed bag of blues, jazz, gospel, reg­gae, pop and folk mu­sic.

“My dad was a rev­erend so I grew up in church and was in ev­ery choir, and then I ran the choirs be­fore branch­ing out,” Pem­ber­ton said.

“When I was a child we didn’t have tele­vi­sion in our house, so I guess my ex­pe­ri­ence with mu­sic was greatly height­ened and lis­ten­ing to mu­sic on the ra­dio was where I took the most plea­sure.

“I think that greatly shaped the reper­toire that Black Voices de­liv­ers to­day.”

After mak­ing their Aus­tralian de­but in Mel­bourne in 1999, the quin­tet will be back in the coun­try this Novem­ber with a new show.

Black Voices with Carol Pem­ber­ton (cen­tre) are on their way.

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