An evening with the Spooky Men’s Chorale Strathpeffer Pavilion Thursday 29th August 2013.
Strathpeffer Pavilion played host for the first time to the Australian choral group the Spooky Men’s Chorale. They were ably supported by fellow Australian Lucy Wise.
Lucy hails from a musical family with a diverse range of influences, particularly folk music. This was reflected in her performance which highlighted her story telling and music skills.
Accompanying herself on ukulele she told a lovely story about age as seen from the viewpoint of a child – what number is inside you?, which was followed the story of her recent sailing trip from Darwin to Indonesia – a three day trip which turned into a ten day one. Her final song covered the importance of having a proper work life balance.
The Spooky Men then took to the stage. For those of you who have not come across this group they are a bizarre looking lot. Some are dressed as tropical explorers, some as pirates, and some as hit men. Their numbers and ages vary. On this occasion they numbered fifteen – including their conductor. They sing unaccompanied and cover a wide range of material. Having said all this it has to be said that their demeanour masks a high level of musical craftsmanship.
The Spookies are a philosophical bunch. Their material ranges from the side-splitting: Feng Shui for men, odes to feet and eyebrows, to the truly profound – their rendition of Georgian material shows a deep understanding and respect for that culture. In between these diverse subjects they manage to cover subjects such as the power of affirmation and the appeal of sheds, DIY and power tools.
They even give new twists to old standards – witness their spirited rendering of: Boogie Wonderland with “funky audience participation” and their amazing tribute to the brothers Gibb – Bahari Gibb a Sufi inspired number loosely based around: Staying alive.
The evening reached a magical conclusion with a marvellous version of Leonard Cohen’s’ Dance me to the end of love. During this most of the group left the stage and proceeded to waltz with members of the audience. The remainder of the group carried on the melody as the house lights lit up the Pavilion with a starry sky effect. One of the most original and pleasing finales to a concert I have ever seen.
If you are fortunate enough to be in Buckie on Saturday you would be advised to make a date with the boys (and girl), they appear in Findhorn on Friday evening, but this is a sell out.
Well done to the Strathpeffer team for organising what is hopefully a regular slot in the Scottish leg of the Spooky tour itinerary from now on. Thanks are also due to the sound and lighting team for their contributions to an excellent concert.