Chennai's funkiest choral ensemble EL FÉ is all set to blow us away with their latest concert

EL FÉ director Roe Vincent gives us a sneak-peak of their concert, ‘The Movement’, and shares how malleable choral music can be while also telling us the idea behind the same
Roe Vincent and the EL FÉ choir.
Roe Vincent and the EL FÉ choir.

With choral music slowly taking up various faces and presenting melodies that seemed unexplored before, Chennai has provided the stage for many choirs to establish themselves giving them a distinctive identity. 

EL FÉ by Roe Vincent is no different. With a great twist to what people would generally consider choral music to be, this choir's next performance is on course to blow you away. We talk to director Roe to learn more about their upcoming show. She gives us a peek into what the show's playlist would comprise, the introduction of the Afro twist to their singing and movements, and much more.


Tell us about The Movement. What's the idea behind the concert?

For The Movement, I have been heavily influenced by African-American music culture and African-American gospel culture while I studied at Berklee, Boston. This has been the root of EL FÉ from the beginning, but we had to tone it down a bit because the city wasn’t ready for it when we started about 15 years ago but now I feel we have the freedom to be as creative as we want.

We give everything we do a little African twist and all of the regional music in Tamil and Hindi also gets remixed with a little bit of those flavors. This is what we are primarily set to showcase. The concert is called The Movement because I want the choral singing culture and also the urban African beat culture to thrive and we can see this in a lot of people's music but I want to take it up a notch with group singing.

I think people underestimate the power of group singing and synchronised moves, being able to put our best foot forward as a group. The unity of singing together is priceless and we want to include as many people in this vibe and feel as possible.

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What are some of the songs you'll be performing during The Movement?

We are excited to be presenting our first two originals along with some of our recent Afrobeat hits. We will also be performing some regional commercial pieces with our signature twists on them.

What were the rehearsal sessions leading up to this performance like? Any special moments you might want to highlight?

Rehearsals are super fun, with all the dance moves learning and harmonies, the group has a lot of work to do! We have a mix of professionals, from lawyers to architects so we have been incorporating online rehearsals as well.

How important is versatility in the music you make to you as a group?

It’s great to be versatile but I love being the best at our own genre.

What is your message to new listeners of choral music who come to watch this show?
Choral music used to not be for everyone, but now it is more mainstream than ever. Being open-minded and listening to it the same way you would listen to anything new would surely give you a profound experience.

How malleable can the choral music space be?
Choral music can be formed and fitted into anything and in any way. There are almost no limits. At the EL FÉ Choir, we have had the opportunity to explore the choral music space in multiple different genres.

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What about the urban African beat culture adds to choral music?

The beats, the drops, the culture of singing and dancing together, the unity. The synchronised dancing and singing style is rooted in the African gospel culture which plays a big role in our musical identity.

How was it like working with Anirudh on the Badass track for the Thalapathy Vijay starter Leo?

Absolutely awesome. He allowed me to be my creative self as usual and the boys enjoyed the experience exuberantly!

What are your upcoming projects beyond the performance?

We are looking to release our originals and we also have very exciting things lined up up to 2024 We’re sure it's going to be Mind-blowing.

Rs. 499.
Tickets available online.
On 4 November. 7 pm onwards.
At Barracuda Brew, Chennai.

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