All things considered, last night was a good for one multiculturalism and dear old Doves did their bit by inviting the 30-strong London Bulgarian Choir to join them for a BBC Electric Prom that came frustratingly close to being one of 2009’s great concert events.
The two camps were a delightful contrast: one being badly dressed postâ€‘punks with instruments to hand and two No 1 albums under their belts; the other neatly turned out traditionalists with only their voices to share and a CD available only on their web site or at concerts.
That, though, was as bold and brilliant as it got, for (excluding their Doves-free slots that book-ended the encore) as choir were immediately relegated to the role of multi-layered backing vocalists. Even here though, on Kingdom Of Rust where they added Ennio Morricone-esque gravitas or Catch the Sun where they were as uplifting as Polyphonic Spree, the Bulgarians made already fine songs even better, transforming the good to great, the earthbound to celestial.
More frustrating still, for too much of the set, the choir had no part to play and were marooned at the back of the stage in darkness, not underused but simply unused.
A cross fertilisation of northern soul with east European heart brought the third installment of the BBC Electric Proms 2009 to a shimmering euphoric climax tonight with Doves and the London Bulgarian Choir.
Resplendent in traditional Bulgarian costume the choir brought elements of vocal percussion to some of Doves most loved tracks expanding the scope of the songs and adding another dimension to the Manchester band’s rich layered sound.
Composer Avshalom Caspi, who was responsible for arranging the tracks for the 40 strong choir told 6 Music before the show that Doves and the Bulgarian choir are uniquely suited to a collaboration:
Doves were also joined onstage by north Indian c
lassical musician Baluji Shrivastav for the track Birds Flew Backwards which added another more delicate element to the mix. The unique phrasing techniques used by the choir perfectly enhanced Doves soaring post Dance melodies, creating real moments of transcendental beauty on tracks like Kingdom of Rust and The Last Broadcast, and on final track There Goes the Fear pushed the band’s famous supersonic Samba wig out to a new zone.