IMPROVISED VOCAL FORUM is for reflection, the sharing of exercises and works and a place for the discussion of all things regarding vocal improvisation. The aim is to create an open platform where singers and vocal improvisers can share thoughts, ask questions, receive helpful tips and find encouragment. Quite simply, a source of inspiration by and for each other.
This homepage is an interactive one! Navigate yourself through the menu bar above and get inspired by some of the many sounds being created around us by clicking on "WORKS". Learn something new by checking out "EXERCISES". Take part in or start a discussion on the "DISCUSSION" page. Feel linked in to a network of vocal improvisers by browsing 'THE VOICE LIST'.
The site will be continuously updated with all the work you, the users, decide to share. In large, the goal is to collectively create a bank of inspirational work, all accessible through one single source: Improvised Vocal Forum.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
To be part of the discussion - visit the discussion forum.
To get inspired: scroll yourself through plenty of inspiring material on our different pages.
To request to upload your work to the "Works"page (audio, video, text, etc.) - send us an email.
To request to upload an exercise to the "Exercise"page - send us an email.
To add a name to the voice list - send us an email.
This is where we present works created by some of the participants in the IMPROVISED VOCAL FORUM. Click on the names below or scroll down with the page and get inspired by all those talented vocalists.
Do you have material to present? Send us an email and we will post your material on the page!
Girilal Baars is a vocalist and composer based in Uppsala Sweden. He works in the fields of electroacoustic music/sound art, vocal improvisation and traditional vocal folk music. He has a PhD in composition from the University of Huddersfield, UK, as well as having studied composition at EMS in Stockholm, and voice at the Sibelius Academy in Finland. He has collaborated with many artists, including working in Marina Abramovich’s performance at the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm in 2017 and writing his own part in a production of Puccini’s Turandot later in 2017 (Folkoperan, Stockholm). Girilal’s interest in the extended techniques of voice go together with an interest in language and the thin line between nonsense and coherence.
Lina Nyberg is one of Sweden’s most creative and interesting jazz singers. For 20 years she has been attracting consistent and widespread attention releasing 17 CDs from the duo debut with Esbjörn Svensson in 1993. Since almost a decade she´s been surrounded by the brilliant musicians of her all star band, David Stackenäs guitar, Cecilia Persson piano, Josef Kallerdahl bass and Peter Danemo drums, that perfectly matches her compositions and temperament.
In November 2016 she received the honorable Jazz Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music including a prize sum of 10.000 euros.
In March 2016 she and Hoob records presented the double CD ”Aerials” (part two in her planned triology). CD1 includes softly swinging, witty and whimsical versions of jazz standards as Bye bye Blackbird and Fly me to the moon. CD2 contains new music written by Lina for string quartet. The music propels by themes of birds and aviators, skies and space.
In 2014 she released the double CD ”The Sirenades” (Hoob records/Border and part one in the triology) an artwork with music for the quintet but also new music by Lina composed for Norrbotten Big Band, one of best professional big bands in Scandinavia right now. The music - a blend of influences from Brazilian Tropicalia, European Free form, modern classical composers and the American songbook.
Down Beat Magazine on Sirenades 4 ½ stars out of 5: "...Nyberg’s incredible command of the lyrics and music, and compelling musical vision make this ambitious storytelling project riveting." June 2014
Down Beat Magazine on Aerials 5 stars out of 5: "The Swedish vocalists writing is stunning, especially for strings, and her singing is more personal than ever.”July 2016
Ben See is a vocalist and composer from London. He specialises in contemporary a cappella, and most of his music starts with improvisation.
Ben grew up singing in lots of different choirs, and his background in choral music is clear to hear in his own work. Ben’s musical influences range from the scores of Benjamin Britten to the ever-eccentric Björk, with a small detour via the beautiful song-writing of Brian Wilson and the vocal wizard Bobby McFerrin.
Ben is currently working on his debut EP – ‘blink blink’. The record will be a collection of imaginative songs and intricate vocals, all performed a cappella.
Maria Norseth Garli
Maria Norseth Garli (1986) is a musician, voice artist and composer graduated from the Academy of Music in Gothenburg. She now lives on an island outside Trondheim, Norway, where she organizes house concerts with improvised music through the concert series UPOP . Maria is an active freelance musician in projects such as the Grammy-nominated (Spellemann) vocal ensemble Song Circus, and with Kim Aksnes and Vegard Lauvdal in the art-rock band Silver Light.
As an improviser, Maria's focus is on raw, unfiltered energy. The voice, the body, the room all come together, blending with any given surrounding to form a synthesis of immediate reaction and quiet contemplation. Nothing is set, everything is possible.
Randi Pontoppidan, born in 1970, performs as a singer, improviser and composer. She works live with loop machines and other electronic devices. She uses her voice exploring musical landscapes and bringing forth new sounds. The voice becomes the instrument. The vocal/electric duo LIFT - with Randi Pontoppidan and Sissel Vera Pettersen - is an experimental, improvising and imaginative mini-ensemble that sets its sights on guiding the sound of the voice into sonic worlds, which has never been penetrated before. The use of loop machines and live manipulation of the voice make the sound landscapes vary from the entirely near and intimately acoustic sound to a world of “ambient” sound and polyrhythmic beats. 3. Cd on it ́s way. The new duo of Greg Cohen and Randi Pontoppidan takes on the bold challenge of making improvised music with voice/machines and double bass. This experiment resulted in a dynamic duo recording (Space Geode) that will be released later this year. Each performance is unique. The love of sculpting sounds, melodies and pulses, makes this duo a visceral and buoyant soundscape.
Randi Pontoppidan sings contemporary music as well touring around the world with Paul Hillier’s ensemble Theatre of Voice performing the works of Steive Reich, David Lang, Stockhausen, Cage and Berio. She has worked with the trio Other Gardens, (Linda Edsjö, perc. and Jennifer Dill, flute) since 2010. CD out 2015 including pieces by Steingrimur Rohloff, Hans Henrik Nordstrøm and Juliana Hudkinson.
Randi Pontoppidan collaborates with the poet and soundmaker Morten Søndergaard with whom she was invited by the Egyptian/Danish Dialog Institute in 2011 to work with local musicians in the Siwa oasis in Egypt. Music and poetry concerts around europe. Randi also works with Jamaaladeen Tacuma, the former bassist of Ornette Coleman. CD out 2015: Legend of the Pipe & Sweater. Randi Pontoppidan has appeared on festivals around the world with her own compositions and with the music of Stockhausen, Cage and Reich, on venues including Carnegie Hall, London’s Royal Albert Hall, Mexico’s Cervantino, Australian Perth and Berlin’s Festspiele. She received a grant from the Danish Art Foundation in 2007, 2010, 2012 and 2016.
Randi Pontoppidan graduated from The Hague ́s Royal Music Conservatory in jazz vocal technique and minoring in classical singing in 2000.
Kevin Allen Schwenkler
Kevin Allen Schwenkler is an Oakland based composer-improvisor interested in aleatory, precision, and cracks. He is an MA in composition candidate at Mills College. He holds a BA in Mathematics, Physics, and Music from Hampshire College.
Much of Kevin’s compositional practice stems from improvisation, and he is trained as a classical baritone. Vocal mimicry of electronic sounds is central to his practice, as is the activation of the acoustics of specific sites. These are employed as means of carving out imaginary spaces.
B E L L E
Born in Stockholm 1988, Linda Oláh started working at a young age within musicals and operas. Today she is a musician with several different facets to her musicianship. She shapes and morphs her voice in a sometimes contortionist-like fashion; both screeches and breaths and crackles to achieve a poetic meaning in her music.
She works within a range of different musical contexts stretching from collaborations with several different bands (Cabaret Contemporain, Nox.3, Dark Horse, Magnetic Ensemble, Charles 313), Big-Band features, to cross disciplinary work, for example projects together with dancers Toby Kassell (GB) and Ingeborg Zackariassen (NO) from the Gothenburg Opera Dancecompany.
Her own projects are often based in within the sphere of improvised music streaching from more contemporary work to lyrical pop-music. Her own two main projects at the time is her ensemble BELLE and her SOLO-project.
Linda has a masters degree in music and fine arts received at Academy of Music and Drama (2013) and a Bachelor in jazz and fine arts from Academy of Music and Drama / Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris (2010).
FARVEL (Live at Nasjonal Scene/Victoria - Oslo, Norway)
Isabel Sörling is a voice improviser, composer and musican, born in Ulricehamn in Sweden 1987. She is currently based in Gothenburg and Paris, often working with musicians from France, Scandinavia or other european countries on the jazz and improvised scene. Isabel co-leads the two Swedish groups FARVEL and SOIL COLLECTORS as well as her own solo project MARELD.
Her projects spans over a vide range of different musical styles, from improvised music, jazz, pop, rock, contemporary music and more.
She has a bachelor diploma in vocal jazz improvisation after two years in the Academy of Music in Gothenburg and one year at "Conservatoire National Superieur Musique et Danse de Paris".
Casey Moir is an Australian born improviser that explores the extended properties of the voice. More often than not she combines the acoustic with the use of carefully chosen pedals and percussion objects to elongate, layer and embellish a piece. She is currently based in Berlin, but has previously lived and worked out of Gothenburg in Sweden for many years. She has performed on stages throughout Europe and Australia, received many a rave review, been awarded several prestigious awards and works with a variety of musicians from all over the world.
Madeleine Jonsson Gille (1991) is a Swedish vocalist, composer and curator. Currently residing in Gothenburg, Sweden. She has released five albums with her own music. At the moment she is doing her bachelor in Composition, Instrumental Music at The Academy of Music & Drama in Gothenburg.
Fighting for a equal rights in the music scene is something that lies close to her heart. Madeleine is the head of UNM Sweden (Young Nordic Music) and board member of Konstmusiksystrar, two organisations that stand up for young composers in Sweden. She is also producing the ”Femmefar!" podcast where she interviews female and trans-artists.
She performs contemporary art music in ensembles, trios and solo and write her own music for friends and professional ensembles.
Emily is an improvising and experimental vocalist who works with synthesised and site-specific sounds. She has collaborated with choreographers, theatre makers, journalists, young people and more recently, constructed compositions for live music performance that fuse sound design and with future directions in real-time improvisation. Emily is led by narratives not predominantly voiced in the music scene; those both banal and significant, portraying landscapes that often bleed into the fictional and subjective.
Elisabetta is an Italian singer, performer and improviser based in Berlin.
The main inspiration of her voice exploration comes from her research on Oral Poetry in central Italy and the investigation around the quality and aesthetics of the street-field calls and shouts, voices of the markets, hollers and the folk voices in general.
Both in acoustic and electronic situation, she explores the ritual quality of the voice made of patterns, repetitions, languages that she invents, characters and also piece of letterature and sound poems that she also compose.
She works with tapes, objects, prepared sounds, shruti box and other instruments, never denying the melodic and the pure acoustic explorations of the sound space.
"The singer Matilda’s sensitive but powerful voice extends beyond the instrumental sections: she embeds all tones with soft layers of airy down. It's pleasant and powerful." /GIFF 2014
Matilda Andersson is a vocalist, musician, composer and artist born in the forest of Algutstorp 1990, now based in Gothenburg, Southern of Sweden. She interact melodic singing with extended vocal techniques together with resonating objects and alternative percussion, with and without effects; alone and together with groups of musicians and artists.
She write and perform contemporary jazz and and improvised music in duo’s, trio’s and larger groups. She co-lead swedish group FARTYG6 and FYR. and also performed with Bohuslän Big Band, Don-Qui-Five and Great Learning Orchestra among others.
As a composer she writes music for her groups, for film and others and has been artist in residence at Visby International Centre for Composers.
She has released and contributed on several recordings. Recently the EP. “Nattbuss” was released with her group Fyr. and are currently working with the release of Fartyg6’s debut Ep “Den Första” as well as planning an USA-tour with Gahrton/Andersson free impro duo.
I have always used the voice more or less in improvised music as well as in sound poetry performances and text-sound compositions. Here are a few examples. Inspirations within improvised music are many, with a preference for male voices and deep female ones, of which I've had the privilege to work with, like, to mention just a few: Phil Minton, Paul Dutton, Jaap Blonk, Marie Selander, Ute Wasserman, Tomomi Adachi, i'd m thfft able, Sainkho Namtchylak, Christian Werner, Shelley Hirsch, Viv Corringham, Meri Nikula, Andreas Backer, Liv Hanne Haugen, Agnes Hvizdalek, Ina Sagstuen, Maja S. K. Ratkje, Girilal Baars, Lily Bigestans, Helena Ek, Mattias Forshage, Lisa Hansson, Sofia Jernberg, Ilmar Laaban, Hanna Olivegren Wessblad, Anne Pajunen, Pär Thörn, Arrington de Dionyso, LaDonna Smith, Stuart Lynch ... the list can be made much longer.
I've tried to pick up all strange tricks and techniques that I've been able to find, and often combined the voice with wind instruments, electronics, constructions etc.
Stephen J. Fowler
Stephen J. Fowler comes from a poetry, performance and sound poetry background, from Bob Cobbing's writers forum group. During the last few years he has worked with improvised vocalisation as part of is practice, vollaboration with Phil Minton, Sharon Gal, Dylan Nyoukis and others.
THE VOICE LIST
A list of voices. Click on the names to learn more. If you want to add a name to the list - your own or somebody elses - send us an email with a name and if possible also a homepage address and we will add it to the list.
Berg, Mia Marlen
Bjerking Raeder, Miranda
Pettersen, Sissel Vera
Roggen, Live Maria
Kate Dimbleby is a singer, songwriter and live performer originally from London. Her 6th solo album entitled SONGBIRDS is a unique recording of original part-improvised a capella songs which seek to break away from conventional instrumentation and song structure and bring the listener into a world where anything might happen.
Kate has released five albums, sold out the Festival Hall in London, toured internationally at arts and music festivals and appeared regularly on national radio.
As part of her own musical education, Kate decided to combine performing with three years in training as an Alexander Technique teacher at the Constructive Teaching Centre in Holland Park, London. After graduating, she worked for several years at the West London Centre for the Alexander Technique, with a particular interest in working with the voice and performance anxiety. Last year, she completed an intensive “Circlesongs” workshop with the reknowned vocalist Bobby McFerrin. She currently lives in Bristol with her husband and 2 daughters and continues to enjoy a balance of being a mum, performing, writing, teaching and leading workshops.