Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Medina Music School Boys Choir

It’s comforting to know that there are a lot of music schools around the world that are teaching boys to sing and that we have many years of beauty to look forward to. The most famous school is probably the Vienna Boys Choir, but there are many more. One that I didn’t know about is the Medina (Jazeps Medins) Music School which was founded in Latvia in 1981. It is a boys’ school with a good choir.

I picked up their 2004 CD What A Wonderful World and I’ve been enjoying it.
The variety of the 18 songs on here reflects the varied repertoire of the choir. Some are English, some French, German and some I can’t identify the language, but I like them.

Of course, the title song is on here and it’s a pretty version except for one thing that I probably shouldn’t mention. There is an adult voice doing a solo on one verse and for some reason I laugh every time I hear it. I can’t explain it, it just sounds like a cartoon voice. The boys sound lovely, however.

I really like the South African song Tshotsholosa which is accompanied only by a drum. The mens’ voices maintain a nice beat with the drum while the boys’ voices weave in and around them. It’s really pretty.

As always, I like to look at the translations for some of the music. The song Kur Tad Tu Nu Biji, in English, means ‘Where did you go my little goat?’

The words to Je Ne Fus Jamais Si Aise are nice and begin:
I never have enjoyed myself so much before
as in these past three days.
I have danced the time away
to the sound of fifes and drums.

Their White Christmas is good and they have a different arrangement, by Ray Charles, of Jingle Bells that is interesting and nice.
For even more variety the final song is Clap Yo’ Hands by the Gershwins.

There is usually some fun information that comes with the CD and here is something, a delightful description of general boy-ness, that I wanted to share.
It says, “The members of boys’ choirs are regular, indeed commonplace boys. Their lives are about (a lot of ) studying, (a tiny bit of) leisure, sometimes knocking about and always getting excited. Some of them are composed and clever, some unyielding and intractable, there are some bright minds and some windbags, there is always someone who reports and someone who sulks.”
But they can sing wonderfully and the teachers are experienced at handling all sorts of boys.

They also say, about their voices, “No other instrument can be so sincere”.
So true.


  1. Yup, and "sincere" in different ways. The tone of a boy's voice, before the changes of puberty, is pure and "sincere." And, the singing is the naive sincerity of youth...before they learn to color the voice and their perceptions.

    ooooo....being sooo philosophical! ;-)

  2. Nicely stated. I know just what you mean.