throat singing

bobby-mcferrin

Throat Singing

I went to a Bobby McFerrin performance some time ago. He held a packed house in the palm of his hand for two hours with nothing more than his voice and a microphone. The man is a vocal-chord genius. He has a range from soprano to baritone, and he can do the Tuva throat singing thing, producing two or three different sounds in different octaves simultaneously. He can create sounds and audio illusions that put the best sound-effects artists to shame. And–with satori-like gestures of his hand and no prior coaching–he can audio-orchestrate an audience to do exactly what he wants it to. But is this why the audience gave him a standing ovation? I don’t think so.

Part of McFerrin’s repertoire included singing the theme song from the Beverly Hills Hillbillies, and in response to a series of those skillful afore-mentioned hand gestures, the audience, in one booming unfaltering voice, sang full verses back at him. The same with the Wizard of Oz. McFerrin affirmed and celebrated who the the audience was at the core, tin men and terrified lions, and they loved him for it.

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