From one community’s experiments in music and contemplation, Cape Town based choral collective voxi has developed an intriguing, warm, spacious set of songs exploring ancient and contemporary spiritual traditions with awe, yearning, and gratitude.

Featuring choir, string quartet, guitars and a few exotic instruments, their debut album (by the same name) ranges from new settings of well loved texts – David’s Psalm 130 lament (“From the Depths”) and the Aramaic Lord’s prayer (“Abwoon”) – to other ancient traditions such as the Tao Te Ching (“Heavens Way”) and the Kyrie, with a subtle African touch.

A certain highlight is “Fully Grey”, a poem by Alison MacPhail (15/7/1975 – 16/10/2003) written shortly before her 28th birthday and a few months before she died. She stands our culture’s rejection of ageing on its head, making turning “Fully Grey” her daily wish – she was to die in the prime of her youth, and would never know the joys, hardships, and perspectives of old age.

Well known poems and literary references include ee cummings’ “I thank You God for most this amazing day” (“most this amazing”) and Alan Paton’s “Cry the Beloved Country” (“Tixo”).

A Celtic influence also persists from the shining and iconoclastic poem “Go in pieces” by poet and bard Pádraig Ó Tuama, as appearing in Peter Rollins book “How (Not) to Speak of God”, as well as the classic Gaelic blessing “May the Road rise up to meet you” (“The Road”).

Integral to the practice of the collective are the chants of the French contemplative order at Taize and they render two of their songs on the album.

voxi is curated by composer/liturgist Nic Paton (view his media work here).

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