Vocal ensemble The Swingles are set to celebrated the 55th year of the group’s existence by releasing their new album Folklore, which is due for release on 24 March.

For more than half a century, The Swingles have pushed the boundaries of vocal music. The seven young singers that make up today’s London-based group are driven by the same innovative spirit that has defined the five-time Grammy® winners since they first made waves in the 1960s. At a time when a cappella is more popular than ever, The Swingles are recognised as masters of their craft.

The seeds of Folklore were sown at last year’s London A Cappella Festival, which the group curates. The concert featured the UK premiere of Ili-Ili Tulog Anay, an arrangement of a traditional Filipino lullaby. “It took us back to an unforgettable tour of the Philippines in 2013, but we weren’t expecting our London audience to connect with it as strongly as they did,” explains bass vocalist Edward Randell. “That moment of connection set us off, excited to dig deeper into folk music traditions from around the world.”

The album is firmly based on personal experiences, the group explain.  “Our new tenor Jon, from New York, brought us a song from the American Civil War. Clare took inspiration from her childhood in East Africa, Jo from her Portuguese roots, Sara from a honeymoon spent in Arctic Finland. We were looking for stories and melodies that that spoke to us, even across language barriers” continues Randell.

Meanwhile alto Clare Wheeler adds “As much as we’ve loved discovering unfamiliar dialects,modes and time signatures, we have been most struck by the universal themes we found. Every culture uses music to mark life’s defining moments. And in the year since this project’s inception, world events have made it seem particularly timely. The simple idea that different cultures can and should learn from each other, that our common humanity defines us more than the country we call home – we believe this more strongly than ever.”

The Swingles perform at Manchester’s RNCM on 29 March 2017.