Muswell Hill 'extreme' yodeller learned all from his Welsh granny
27 July 2011 at 3.17pm | Comment on this article
A singer who learned to yodel on his Welsh grandmother’s knee as a child will show off his rare talent at the Royal Opera House this Sunday. Phil Minton will perform in Voices Across The World, a celebration of world vocal music, in the Paul Hamlyn Hall this weekend and again at the Deloitte Ignite festival at the Royal Opera House in September.
Mr Minton, who lives in London’s Muswell Hill, first fell in love with yodelling when he was evacuated during wartime. Decades later he will flex his vocal chords as part of ROH2′s celebration of world music.
The 70-year-old career singer and musician said: “When I was about three-years-old I was evacuated to the Welsh Valleys. My grandmother used to yodel. I don’t know where she got this from, because it’s not something you think of in Welsh mining valleys.
But she used to yodel on a Saturday afternoon in the front parlour all on her own. I was invited in and I sat on her lap and it was the most amazing sound I’ve ever heard. I’ve wanted to be a yodeller ever since.
For the last 40 years he has worked as an improvising vocalist in groups and orchestras performing many styles along with yodelling. His technique has been branded “extreme yodelling” because of the fast speeds he reaches.
Mr Minton is also a trumpet player who has performed with the Mike Westbrook jazz band and dance and rock bands across Europe.
Voices across the world: a celebration of vocal music from across the world, curated by Orlando Gough
Acclaimed composer and Associate Artist of the Royal Opera House Orlando Gough curates this year’s celebration of vocal music from across the globe. The event brings together performers from a wide range of vocal styles including extreme yodellers, South Indian Carnatic music, experimental opera and Wagnerian bass-baritone John Tomlinson. Alongside the main singing events are films, workshops and talks, including a continuous showings of a video work by the brilliant Iranian artist Shirin Neshat.
Orlando has invited twelve of his favourite singers to perform. They will sing unplugged, either a capella or with minimal accompaniment in the Paul Hamlyn Hall throughout the afternoon.
In Orlando’s words:
- Christian Zehnder – a spectacular yodeller and throat singer.
- John Tomlinson – a legendary opera singer with a seriously bass voice.
- Mkhail Karikis – an eye-opening performer and ear-opening singer.
- Erika Stucky sounds more like Tom Waits than any other female singer I know of.
- Dessislava Stefanova sings like a Bulgarian, which she is. Enough said.
- Clare Wilkinson sings early music as if it were brand new.
- Manickam Yogeswaran – a Tamil from Sri Lanka with a voice of pure honey.
- Phil Minton sings with a bravery verging on the heroic.
- Loré Lixenberg – the most experimental opera singer I’ve ever come across.
- ESKA sings with elegantly exuberant elan
- Talitha Mackenzie sings Gaelic music in a way that makes you understand Gaelic.
- Melanie Pappenheim has the voice of an angel and the sense of humour of a devil.