Chestnuts toasted

Photos by Mike Oliver.  Click the photo above to slide on to the next pic.

“I didn’t enjoy it.  I was expecting a traditional choir concert” said one lonely disgruntled punter as they left the Cambridge Corn Exchange on Sunday 14th December.... but  the other thousand or so people couldn't have agreed less, judging by the standing ovation for the final track, during which the entire audience got on its feet and joined in with c. 140 singers, string quartet, funk brass line, eigenharp, irish whistle, steel drums, bagpipes and bango to produce a cocktail-fuelled, hootenanny style version of ‘I would walk 500 miles’ at full volume, with its very own audience conga.  It was all utterly, magnificently, bonkers. 

Fuelled by ‘Black Ice’, a cocktail designed for and served during the evening by Hal McRitchie Pratt of sponsors La Raza Events,  our slightly irreverent set of covers by bands as diverse as Mumford & Sons, One Republic, Sigur Ros, Tom Jones, The Pogues, Mree, Foxes, Paloma Faith and The Avett Brothers was just pure fun and went down a storm.  We even managed to squeeze in a beautiful rendition of Det Hev Ein Rose Sprunge by talented composer Ola Gjeilo.

And to top it all off, £1400 was raised during the gig for our charitable arm, The Dosoco Foundation, which gives donations to individuals and organisations across Cambridgeshire using music for social good.  Just before the interval (and to spontaneous applause!) we were massively proud to  announce our current round of Dosoco grants, with just over £4000 being awarded to eight projects using music to change lives in our county.  Have a look here to find out more about these incredible projects.

All in all, that was one fantastic night.  With huge thanks to Cambridge for being just a great audience, and to all our sponsors for making the gig happen.  Footage will be coming soon, but for now, enjoy the fabulous photos above by the ever-wonderful Mike Oliver, and have a peek at the cocktail recipe below if you fancy recreating the event a little at home...

Cocktail photo: Jules Abensour

Cocktail photo: Jules Abensour


25ml Wild Turkey

25ml Cacao Blanc

12.5ml Patron XO Cafe

12.5ml Creme de Mure

Fresh Rosemary

Churn over crushed ice

Orange peel spritz  

This cocktail has been crafted to represent The Dowsing Sound Collective with their fun and fabulous performance at this Christmas hootenanny. Combining the warming notes of Kentucky Bourbon with chocolate and blackberry liqueurs and a rich coffee tequila liqueur, then adding an aromatic sprig of rosemary and orange peel spritz, this festive tipple will fire up your chestnuts.


The Surround Gig

Two gigs in one day,  a minor clash with the World Cup Final, and two cracking audiences despite this. Sweet!  

Hot on the heels of our sell-out Valentine's gig, cracking Corn Exchange Christmas Cocktail and collaboration with Basement Jaxx, Sunday 13th July saw us taking on the stunning Apex Concert Hall in Bury St Edmunds.

The Surround Gig was a big deal for Dowsing.  We had around 100 voices on stage, welcomed Skilly Skillz (an incredible beatboxer that you absolutely have to check out) into the band for the night, and collaborated with the acclaimed Megson - the lovely Stu & Debbie Hannah - who approached us back in March on the back of our collaborations with Basement Jaxx & Boo Hewerdine.  Add to this our guest trumpeter from Amsterdam, Loveday Smith, the return of the bonkers Eigenharp and the gorgeous Granta String Quartet, plus the first appearance of an accordion in one of our gigs (on a cracking cover of the Hôtel Costes mix of Diferente by the Gotan Project) and you start to get a sense of it all.

Below is the fantastic promo from the gig, plus some gorgeous photos from the night, both created/taken by the multi-talented Paul Cook - just click on the first photo to get to the next. Enjoy.

Valentine's Day

Poster design: Richard Wolfstrome

Poster design: Richard Wolfstrome

Love. Light. Intimate. Unplugged. Our first Valentine's Day gig, where we appeared as part of the e-Luminate Festival, was a complete sell-out, following hot on the heels of our Christmas Cocktail gig in the Cambridge Corn Exchange in December. In our most acoustically rich venue yet, over 110 singers & musicians performed to a packed Trinity College Chapel, by kind permission of the Master and Fellows of Trinity College, and were met with a very fine standing ovation at the end.

The set list was covers by some of our favourite bands: Dry The RiverRufus WainwrightKing Creosote and Jon Hopkins and The Divine Comedy, alongside many others, but our lineup for this gig was a little different - no amplifiers or full drums... instead a chapel full of voices, acoustic guitars, congas, cahon, organ, string quartet, oboe, trumpet, grand piano and saxophone. It was beautiful!

We are absolutely thrilled to have had some fantastic & insightful reviews - this one from Slate the Disco,  a brief but lovely mention in Varsity, and finally this review from Local Secrets (written by Anne Garvey who also writes for the Times, Guardian, Daily Telegraph and The Mail on Sunday) - where we were described as "a harmonic phenomenon bursting onto the scene like a firecracker".  That is some praise, and we are very proud.

Here are some pics of the audience as they left the gig, armed with LED lights allowing them to become a 'fluid art installation' as part of the festival. With thanks to the fabulous Jules Abensour for the time-lapse photography

Name it, win it, drink it

Calling all creative types! We've launched a competition in collaboration with the Cambridge Corn Exchange, giving you the chance to win two VIP tickets to our Dowsing Christmas Cocktail gig on December 21st.

All you have to do enter the competition is come up with an inspired name for our brand new cocktail, which will be launched on the night, and tell the Corn Ex about it by twitter before 9pm on Sunday 15th December.

The DSC Luxardo cocktail.jpg

The cocktail has been created up by talented London and Cambridge based mixologist Mister G with kind sponsorship from Luxardo. Mister G says: “This drink is inspired both by the festive season and the eclectic Dowsing Sound Collective.  I gave it some rock’n’roll in the form of American whisky; this is culturally enriched with Luxardo Sangue Morlacco, a full-bodied cherry liqueur and a balsamic glaze. I then took vanilla and cranberry to harmonise everything and then finally christened it with festive spice.”

Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions will be served prior to gig and during the interval, and any profits will go to our new music foundation (The Dosoco Foundation), which we are launching on the night. 

And the prize?  The winning entry will receive two VIP tickets for the gig, plus free cocktails.  Expect a hootenanny-style Saturday night gig of glitterballs, musical magic and Christmas cheer, and dress to impress!  

To enter the competition, simply tweet your suggested cocktail name to @CambridgeCornEx by 9pm on Sunday 15th December.  The winning name, selected by Mister G, will be announced at 5pm on Monday 16th December. 

Switched on

Sunday 17th November? Two scaled-down gigs in the centre of Cambridge as part of the Big Switch On, with c.80 singers, four instrumentalists, one Billy Bragg in the audience (who loved our cover of Fairytale of New York, and tweeted so), a little kerfuffle backstage, some impressive sound engineering with zero time to set up, one lost stool, three hours of rehearsing, and a trip to the Punter at the end of it for a small number of rounds of post gig/rehearsal drinks. A long day, but worth it.

We didn't manage to capture the sound, but some great shots were taken by a number of talented photographers.  Here are our favourites:

Firstly, the view from the stage from Andy Cross (of Zoo Audio) who was giving it some on the bass line:

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Some gorgeous shots by the very lovely Alice the Camera:

And finally a cracking shot of some of the band by the talented Oliver Cross (also appearing as guest harmonica player at the Christmas Cocktail):

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The Home Gig

Met with a standing ovation the length and breadth of the Cathedral, the 6th July saw us take on the stunning but challenging acoustic of Ely Cathedral. The set list was our best yet. We performed covers of tracks by European artists including The Rolling Stones, Moby and Ane Brun, but also reached across the Atlantic to Bruce Cockburn, back in time to Heinrich Isaac via Carl Orff, and performed the world premiere of a poem by Wendell Berry set to 8 parts.

The highlights were many...the Cathedral organ opening the gig with the Coldplay cover, and ending at full volume with final track along with the full band, the iPad in White Sky, 100 voices singing You Can't Always Get What You Want... and more.  

But the night was not just about the making of music. We were absolutely thrilled to announce the launch of our own charitable enterprise during the event - The Dosoco Foundation. Dosoco will be supporting music therapy, music access, music education and the innovative use of sound and music for social good, and will launch formally at our next gig, on 21st December in the Cambridge Corn Exchange.  We're looking both for advisors to guide Dosoco and philanthropists to help fund our work. If you'd like to find out more, then we'd love to talk to you.

And how did it all look? Here's some pictures from two photographers that night that give you an idea of the scale... 

With thanks to Mike Oliver (Memento Vivere) for these gorgeous shots...

And Bob of Bowring Photography for these: