Juxtavoices is a large antichoir which includes many familiar faces from Sheffield’s leftfield music, poetry and visual arts scene. It is lead by Martin Archer and Alan Halsey. Although the group performs structured scores, no fixed pitches are ever notated, and the group uses improvisation to shape the detail of the scores as the music progresses. Both trained and untrained voices are included. As well as playing normal concerts, the group is to be found in various unexpected public places and at poetry / text events. A Discus CD is planned for 2012. Always on the look out for new members.
Reviews / Blogs:
"The second half was extraordinary: the first performance of Juxtavoices, led by Martin Archer. They were a largely amateur choir that included Alan Halsey and Geraldine Monk, and the most standout piece was probably Three Iterations of a Poem by Samuel Beckett. But the blend of voices, the use of clicks, whistles, harmony and disharmony was extraordinary in all the pieces"
- Steven Waling
"Never have I had such a thought-provoking, engaging, dramatic and ever-so-slightly-uncomfortable experience. Precisely what art should be; challenging, reflective and dislocating. Voices, struggling to articulate thought and emotion, whispered and screamed and seduced and accosted from nowhere as a setting sun slanted through a stained-glass window scene of crucifixion. Some of the words were spoken from the head, others sung from the heart and others wrenched and torn from the soul of Mankind. At times the words clashed in discordant, primeval white noise and at others sounded like the coherent aspirations of founding fathers of a newer world. Darkness descended and shadow changed thisimaginated landscape so that as members of this thirty-odd strong antichoir (as they call themselves) moved stealthily through the pews and peoples congregated there they seemed to be shadow, of no substance; wanderers forever, leaving only echoes in the air that were the here-and-gone warnings we all hear each day of danger, accusation, fear and suspicion and we, the individuals hearing those words, were left to interpret them and to prioritise them in our own way. This was true theatre of the mind. It was so carnivalesque as to be almost grotesque and it was astonishing at the end of the show (though in truth it was more revelation than show) that these characters who had seemed so wearied, so beaten, so blind, so lame, so hungry and so poor, so pleading for liberation from conformity and yet so pleading to be part of a caring society were simply you and me; writers setting words on light years of travel. This was all a comment, perhaps, on what it really means that "in the beginning was the word." I drove home remembering, for some reason, films like Network with Peter Finch and the tv series GBH with Robert Lindsay but my head was filled, too, with the opening pages of Under Milk Wood. This was, truly, exceptional - yet I have come nowhere near adequately describing the muse that was abroad last night. This was writing that could not, should not, have worked and could not possibly hang together; but it did."
- Norman Paul Warwick
(Project Designer and Facilitator / Literacy Consultant)
Information courtesy of Martin Archer