Aren’t we The Real Group? (courtesy of CASA.org)
The Swingle Singers are an interesting mix of people to be in an a cappella group. Other than our bass Kevin who came to us fresh from 9 years in the Canadian a cappella group Cadence, none of us come from an a cappella background. Upon joining the group, it’s then a crash course of working out what’s going on, and who’s making it happen! We come from choral backgrounds, jazz, musical theatre, opera…instrumental*, even. It might seem unforgivable that we might not have heard of The Real Group before joining The Swingle Singers, but we have more than a few culprits. Myself included. On the bus yesterday, I heard CJ describing TRG’s famous song, “Chilli Con Carne” by Anders Edenroth, to Oli, our newest member. He animatedly retold the story about how Anders had been doing his military service in Sweden, and started making up a song from the recipe book he was cooking from…(I’m sure you can picture the scene. I’ll give you a moment). CJ lights up, emphatically imitating parts of the song – he is a huge TRG fan. Oli nods politely, having not yet heard this song. Jo reminds CJ of how he came to know it…and I thought this was a cute story.
CJ (along with Jo and Lucy) used to sing in Britain’s National Youth Choir, and this was a popular encore choice for them, after what would often be a more classical-based concert. He thought the name Anders Edenroth was the most incredible name he’d ever heard and never forgot it. He downloaded it from l*mewire (cough…don’t tell) and it labelled it as by The Swingle Singers. Scandalously lied to by the internet, he believed for years that it was by the Swingles. Years later CJ came to audition for us, and joined the group. There followed a text conversation that went something like this:
CJ: Why don’t we perform “Chilli Con Carne”? It’s awesome!
Jo: Because it’s by The Real Group.
CJ: What? Aren’t we the real group?
Jo: What? No, we’re The Swingle Singers. What?
CJ: But aren’t we the real Swingle Singers?
* see dictionary definition.
[Stay tuned for upcoming entries from Clare!]
About the author:
Clare Wheeler is a jazz singer, composer and arranger. She sings alto with The Swingle Singers, and lives in London. She studied violin and voice at Chethams School of Music, Manchester, and then jazz composition and singing at Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. A fan of travelling, eating chocolate-based foods and Twitter. She is also known as @dinkyswingle, Wheelie or Wheels.