[Hello from Judi in the alto section.]
Our music is cover versions of other people's songs and they are not always familiar to me. We are advised to listen to the original versions of songs we are going to learn ahead of time, and to be honest, I do not always fall in love with them. In fact sometimes I wonder how the hell we are ever going to manage to reproduce anything passably worth listening to.
But after a while, once we get into the swing of things – it can take a while, because there are quite a few of us who don't read music –songs I seriously dislike when I first hear them have always grown on me, some to the extent that I really cannot get them out of my head.
Trying to describe music with words is like attempting to explain a picture (impossible!) but the best way to characterise our repertoire is to say it is kaleidoscopic, panoramic, far-ranging and utterly diverse. Come along to Cambridge Corn Exchange on Saturday June 16th and you will hear what I mean!
Anyone who might be put off by thinking we are just another choir needs to think again, because very little, if any, is choral music. For a start, we support (and are supported by) a seriously excellent band. And our music ranges from hauntingly atmospheric to foot-stompingly energetic; from ballads to anthems, folk songs to pop and gospel – and everything in-between.
Some of it is beautifully straightforward, though we never do anything as simple as two part harmonies. Other songs are incredibly complex and sophisticated (one piece is in 12 parts; another is in Icelandic) but I believe that what differentiates us, apart from the music itself, is the energy that we all bring: it is infectious and we’re told that the fun rubs off on the audience. Join us on Saturday and you’ll see what I mean.
We learn these songs that we might not otherwise ever know or listen to, and they reverberate around our heads. I work alone from home and sit in my office and play rehearsal recordings– hoping I'll learn a bit more by osmosis and repetition –and I imagine my fellow Dowsers doing the same thing in empty rooms, offices and labs and kitchens all over Cambridge. I drive around and play the music in my car and imagine 60 of us in this kind of mad collective consciousness, all belting out the same songs to unsuspecting fellow drivers. There is an interesting and compelling connection; we’re from all walks of life and we may have nothing much in common, but we share this same learning process and experience. It's brilliant.
And the songs we maybe weren't too sure about tend to become a part of us. We play and practise them and rehearse, and I for one suddenly find myself mildly obsessive about them.
I fall asleep with lyrics repeating themselves in my head, find myself humming the tunes whenever I am not listening to them, and can't wait to sing them again.