Moira Smiley and VOCO make some of the most captivating music you’ll hear from some of the sparest ingredients. The harmonies’ effect on traditional songs and Smiley’s trad-based originals is haunting and chilling one minute, lively and fun the next.
This is a real coup for our region (Camperdown, Australia) for a group of this caliber coming because they’d be in the top 10 or 20 in the world for what they’re doing.
If singing is a sport, then world-renowned vocal coach, composer and performer Moira Smiley is taking it one game at a time, firing on all cylinders and set to give 110 per cent when she makes her Australian debut in Hobart’s Festival of Voices.
VOCO…harmonies…alternate between sparkingly spot-on and icily dissonant but they are always mesmerizing. Their hand-claps, thigh-slaps and foot-stomps just make it cooler.
World folk fans, take note: moira smiley & VOCO harness high-voltage harmonies with Smiley’s signature vocal arrangements. Not afraid to mix Bartok with street-singing – a genre-bending world tour of rootsy tunes. EXPECT GOOSEBUMPS.
Moira’s vocal work and the women’s harmonies are superb and the fact that she incorporates so many styles, it’s impressive. We have hundreds of musicians coming through and they’re a stand out.”
VOCO’s style is perfect for the intimate atmosphere. It’s the kind of exacting harmony that literally gives you goose bumps.
I had no idea what to expect. But it was so unique. I loved the combination of traditional Appalachian-type song with more unusual songs from Bulgaria to Bosnia to Sweden.
She and her trio incorporate modern techniques…unexpected sounds…It was fun to hear Moira Smiley and VOCO put modern touches on old music.
“Named the top U.S. a cappella group in 2007 and showcased on NPR’s Harmonia, they fuse the fearless energy and free spirit of street song (gypsy to rap) with the elegance and precision of a string quartet. They fully inhabit and put their own twist on a rich vocal world from medieval to Avant Garde.”
– Margaret Shepard, 14850 Magazine
“They are vocal chameleons, by turns seductive, comforting, dissonant, playful, keening, exuberant. They have the finesse and discipline of classically trained musicians, but they’re also inventive, with a renegade streak that takes all musical genres as fair game. Most of all, they sing with heart.”
– Margaret Shepard, 14850 Magazine
“We had three delightful songs from singer/composer Moira Smiley, including the very moving Stand In That River.” – This is Bath Bath, England (Review of Sweetland Music Festival, Autumn Equinox)
“If you like thought provoking vocals with an organic creative edge and one hundred percent heart, you’ll love moira smiley & VOCO.” – Jane Hilton, KBAQ FM (Phoenix, AZ)
“Hypnotizing, haunting, beautiful, ancient, wise and pleasantly eccentric.”
– Aimsel L, The Portland Press Herald
“Enticing mix of the exotic and the rarely heard, with a strong sense of roots music.” – JimSullivanInk.com, Boston
“The world is always in need of harmony. And Moira Smiley, with her group VOCO, offers it in imaginative, stirring and transcendent ways.”
– Paul Freeman, The Daily News/The Mercury News
“In addition to indigenous instrumentation and amazing original material, a VOCO performance includes chills-inducing a cappella arrangements, percussive and vaudevillian improvisation, and a charming stage presence.” – The Day (New London)
“Not only did they sing but they also integrated their famous body percussion. It immediately catches the spectator’s attention both visually and evocatively. Such an accompaniment adds a dimension to their voices that work extremely well. Their encore added just the touch needed to conclude a surprising and satisfying afternoon-evening of great music.” – Bill Leikam, All About Jazz
“VOCO, local Appalachia fetishists—where ‘fetish’ means a meaningful totem, not a meaningless burlesque—who’ll present their modern volkish radiance via the inestimable talents of Moira Smiley, Jess Basta, Jessica Catron and Christine Enns on banjo, accordion, harmonies and ‘body percussion’. Acoustic body music? It’s about time!” – David Cotner LA Weekly
“VOCO; modern volkish radiance”- David Cotner, LA Weekly
“So get ready, never has the sonic spectrum been so ravished, the human voice so elevated! Subtly gives a new flare, fusing genres with electronics, and ethnic sounds with improvised harmonies.” – Folkworks Magazine
“A perfectly-balanced a cappella trio gussied up with ‘cello, percussion and shit-hot arrangements… guaranteed you be stomping your feet…”
– PrefixMag, www.prefixmag.com
“World folk fans, take note: moira smiley & VOCO harness high-voltage harmonies with Smiley’s signature vocal arrangements. Not afraid to mix Bartok with street-singing – a genre-bending world tour of rootsy tunes. EXPECT GOOSEBUMPS.”
– Seven Days (Burlington, VT)
“Moira Smiley & VOCO return a sense of wonder to vocalizing, with amazing harmonies and a rapturous rendering of global musical cultures. Classical, folk and Eastern European influences, cello and banjo weave nuanced counterpoint to superb singing.” – Palo Alto Daily News
“Even without their imagination, the wonderful singing and arrangements would make this a top- notch CD. But in a musical world where too many artists sounds alike, Blink should be at the top of the list for those who appreciate groups that have a vision for their music.” – Rambles.NET
“When the vivacious red-headed singer Moira Smiley came on stage with her accordion and banjo, joined by her young colleagues, VOCO, they wove a web of exotic, mostly original songs…in beautifully blended harmony, with striking instrumental accompaniment – and often elaborately choreographed body percussion…superb and personable musicians.” – Stephen Fry, Culver City News
“This is a truly phenomenal act, combining the energy of urban street singing with first-rate musicianship and folk roots. Their body percussion sets are a sight to behold.” – Larry Wines, Folkworks Magazine