Towering Angels and Octavia

Within the current Quire membership there are two smaller groups who sing as part of full Quire concerts. They also perform in small venues where the audience want to hear the range of world music we perform in Quire but where all 60+ members of Quire would never fit in the room!

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Towering Angels
The name was created from ‘angels’ (obviously) and ‘tower’ because Colchester has a distinguished landmark – a huge Victorian Water Tower in the centre of town. Yes it is a strange name but people used to the names of close harmony groups from elsewhere (‘Mysterious Voices’, ‘Shirley and the Caravans’, ‘Bluegrass Cardinals’) will understand that we needed a distinctive name for this group. Towering Angels has a special ‘presence’ too!

As for the music – it is all full voiced- almost ‘in your face’ in that wonderful rough way that you will hear in music from Russia and the Balkans, the Appalachian FASOLA tradition and the American Gospel tradition. The music is touching and emotional – and sung with integrity for all its harsh edges. We try and get close to the sound of the original singers.

You can hear several songs from Towering Angels on Angel Band as well as on  Shout! singing one of their popular numbers Sto mi e milo, a song from Macedonia collected by Julian Raphael, a folklorist working in New Zealand.

Formed from current female members of Quire, this was meant to be a group of eight singers (hence the name). However while it currently has eight members there can be up to four singers in each of the three voices – soprano, mezzo and alto.

The music for Octavia is distinguished by the use of close harmony, polyphony and unison singing in several of the vocal styles found in the countries from which the World Music of Quire is selected. The repertoire includes English and Irish folk-type material and women’s choir music from Africa, South America, Polynesia and Europe.

You can hear several songs from Octavia on Angel Band as well as on Shout! singing one of their signature numbers Baalacoolwe, a Zambian song collected by the Dutch folklorist Jan Marten de Vries.