Australia’s notorious Spooky Men’s Chorale ship back to the UK for first time in three years
Many things were missing from the Great British Summer last year – not least there was an unnervingly spooky silence in place of an anticipated antipodean friendly invasion.
But fear not, Australia’s weird and wonderfully hirsute, black-clad, wackily-hatted choristers are limbering up for another biennial blast round Britain – their ninth.
Following triumphant UK tours in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019 they are busy packing multifarious hats in their native New South Wales, ready to whisk themselves away from the eucalyptus-infused Blue Mountains for a whistle-stop run of more than 20 performances in England, Scotland and Wales – a veritable bounty of gigs from Scotland to Southwold, big summer festivals including Cambridge, Sidmouth, Wickham and Broadstairs and a capital show at London’s Kings Place.
“Because they go on stage, pull funny faces and wear daft hats sometimes it’s easy to forget what fantastic singers they are. Just stunning.” – Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 2 & 6
Variously described as ‘as thunderous as a herd of wildebeest’, ‘as sly as a wagonload of Spike Milligans’ and ‘as sonorous as a cloister of monks’ this masculine maelstrom is every inch the musical chameleon. They can do mellow and they can do mayhem. They can do dashing and they can do deadpan. They can do bitter and they can do sweet. And they can do it all with aplomb.
Spookmeister (and sole Kiwi) Stephen Taberner (he of the deerstalker hat) says they are looking forward more than ever to returning to these shores after COVID stopped play last year. “I suppose that to be able to do what we do again is a reminder of why we do it in the first place. We live for those moments when the audience breathes as one – either in appreciation of a mighty note, as a gurgle of collective laughter at some fresh absurdity or in mute appreciation of something impossibly tender. The thought of experiencing those moments again means we can’t wait to sing at all our favourite places over there in your place.”
And this year, for the first time, the repertoire will include some Ukrainian songs alongside the Georgian ones. Their rendition of the Ukrainian folk song Plyve Kacha is particularly poignant and has had over 300,000 views in the Ukraine alone.
Says Stephen: ““The invasion of a country for political dominance can also be an attempt to invalidate or obliterate it’s culture. So the best thing we can do is affirm that culture and sing the songs.”
Kicking off in Scotland the tour will take them from Bury to Bethesda, Liverpool to Ludlow with a finale at Broadstairs Folk Week in early August. Their two shows in Oxford are already sold out..
UK TOUR 2022
Sat 2 – Edinburgh, Queens Hall www.thequeenshall.net /0131 668 2019
Sun 3 – Alnwick, Alnwick Playhouse www.alnwickplayhouse.co.uk/ 01665 660550
Tue 5 – Langholm, The Buccleuch Centre www.buccleuchcentre.com /01387 381196
Wed 6 – Kendal, Brewery Arts Centre www.breweryarts.co.uk /01539 725133
Thur 7 – Settle, Victoria Hall (2pm show) www.settlevictoriahall.org.uk /01729 825718
Fri 8 – Gateshead, Sage Gateshead www.sagegateshead.com /0191 443 4661
Sat 9 – Liverpool, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall www.liverpoolphil.com /0151 709 3789
Sun 10 – Hebden Bridge, Hope Chapel the-spooky-mens-chorale-at-hebden-bridge
Tue 12 – Manchester, The Stoller Hall www.stollerhall.com /0333 1300967
Wed 13 – Bethesda, Capel Jerusalem www.neuaddogwen.com /01248 208485
Thur 14 – Stroud, Subscription Rooms https://thesubrooms.co.uk /01453 796880
Fri 15 – Worcester, Huntingdon Hall www.worcestertheatres.co.uk / 01905 611427
Sat 16 – Ludlow, Ludlow Assembly Rooms www.ludlowassemblyrooms.co.uk /01584 878141
Sun 17 – Gate to Southwell Festival https://www.gtsf.uk /01636 816678
Fri 22 – Morecambe, Morecambe Winter Gardens https://morecambewintergardens.com/
Sat 23 – Sheffield, The Leadmill www.leadmill.co.uk /0114 221 2828
Tue 26 – Oxford, Holywell Music Rooms SOLD OUT
Wed 27 – Oxford, Holywell Music Rooms SOLD OUT
Thur 28 – Bury St Edmunds, The Apex www.theapex.co.uk/ 01284 758000
Fri 29 – Thorington, Thorington Outdoor Theatre, Suffolk www.thoringtontheatre.co.uk
Sat 30 & Sun 31 – Cambridge Folk Festival www.cambridgefolkfestival.co.uk
Mon 1 & Tue 2 – Sidmouth Folk Festival https://sidmouthfolkfestival.co.uk
Thur 4 – Dorchester, Hardye Theatre www.dorchesterarts.org.uk
Fri 5 – Wickham Festival www.wickhamfestival.co.uk
Sat 6 – London, Kings Place www.kingsplace.co.uk /020 7520 1490
Sun 7 – Broadstairs Folk Week www.broadstairsfolkweek.org.uk
For more details please visit: https://spookymen.com/