Can joy be found in a voice? Matchless vocal improviser with a breathtaking vocal range, Bobby McFerrin returns with his latest project influenced by the spirituals his father sang. Expect soulfulness, poignancy, beauty, and joy.
Listening to Bobby McFerrin sing may be hazardous to your preconceptions; side effects may include unparalleled joy and a sudden, irreversible urge to lead a more spontaneous existence. The ten-time Grammy Award winner will always be the guy who sang “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” but his “greatest gift to audiences may be transforming a concert hall into a playground, a village center, a joyous space.” (The Los Angeles Times) What Bobby McFerrin does is not an act; it’s spontaneous invention. His legendary vocal performances have dazzled audiences all over the world and sent them home singing. With his new project, spirityouall, Bobby pays homage to his father (the opera singer Robert McFerrin, Sr.) and the generations of African Americans who sang of shared joy and pain through spirituals. McFerrin says, “Music for me is like a spiritual journey down into the depths of my soul. And I like to think we’re all on a journey into our souls…That’s why I do what I do.”
Program Book [PDF]
Bobby McFerrin website
“There is something almost superhuman about the range and technique of Bobby McFerrin,” says Newsweek. “He sounds, by turns, like a blackbird, a Martian, an operatic soprano, a small child, and a bebop trumpet.” But despite the undeniable uniqueness of his gift, Bobby McFerrin’s music is always accessible and inviting. When he invites his fans to sing along, as he almost always does, few can resist. Inclusiveness, play, and the universality of voices raised together in song are at the heart of his art.
Bobby McFerrin was exposed to a multitude of musical genres during his youth–classical, R&B, jazz, pop and world musics. “When you grow up with that hodgepodge of music, it just comes out. It was like growing up in a multilingual house,” he says. Bobby McFerrin continues to explore the musical universe, known and unknown. Drawing on all genres, demonstrating matchless improvisational skills, he never fails to dazzle.
This performance marks Bobby McFerrin’s second UMS appearance. He last performed with Chick Corea and Jack DeJohnette during the 2007-2008 UMS season.