We've known for over three decades that Bobby McFerrin is more than just the man behind the world-famous track (Don’t Worry, Be Happy) released in 1988 and taken from his fifth album. The New Yorker (born in 1950) began his career in the mid-70s and is a vocal genius, a master in the art of universal song. The Manhattan virtuoso has also proved to be an exceptional and unique choir conductor over the years. His opera singer parents showed him the importance of initiation and example. With his love for meeting people and stylistic contrasts (with recordings by Chick Corea, Yo-Yo Ma and even the actor Jack Nicholson), Bobby McFerrin's vocals have appeared in all kinds of music from pop to art. His commitment is reflected by his dozen Grammy Awards. Last November in Paris, Bobby McFerrin joined forces with Gimme 5 to put a fresh spin on his 1997 album Circlesongs. It's an improvised choral piece where the singers stand in a circle. The conductor stands in the middle and starts a theme that each singer picks up in turn (namely the ghosts of the Voicestra group founded in 86 by McFerrin). A musical dialogue based on listening and improvising starts up alongside a gospel choir led by Sabine Kouli at the Roman Theatre. Audience participation is, of course, encouraged.
Line-up : Bobby McFerrin, Joey Blake (v), Judi Vinar (v), Dave Worm (v), Rhiannon (v), Sabine Kouli (v).
Crédit photo : © Carol Friedman