Military Wives with Gareth Malone
Gareth Malone and the Military Wives were selected as the ideal exponents of singing in the UK, having scored the 2011 Christmas No.1 chart position with their choral single 'Wherever You Are' as well as a No.1 album in March 2012. The choir touched the hearts of the nation when Gareth first introduced them to singing just a year ago and, in addition to raising well over half a million pounds for charity, their runaway Christmas success has already led to a significant rise in choir membership across the UK.
The choir perform throughout the track and two soloists on 'Sing', Elizabeth Simpson and Rebecca Ellen Marshall from Catterick and Wattisham.
The African Children's Choir
The first African Children's Choir was founded in 1984 in the midst of the Ugandan civil war as a means of supporting homeless and orphaned children. To date, seven hundred vulnerable children have progressed through the ever-changing line-up of the choir, travelling the world and performing. Their appearance fees, and the sponsorship money they attract, pay for not only their own education and upkeep, but also for several schools established to bring literacy to the neediest of African's children.
The Choir performs in the chorus and the verses on the record. Lydia is the soloist who was chosen to begin and end the track.
Ayub Ogada is an internationally renowned musician and singer from Kenya. He performs on the traditional east African stringed instrument, the nyatiti as well as being a highly accomplished djembe player. One of the Luo people, he was born in Mombasa. Ayub co-founded the African Heritage Band in 1979 and originally played kit drums, bass and percussion for many years before departing for London. Whilst he was in London he initially busked on the capital's streets and on the Underground.
During his time in the UK he recorded the album En Mana Kuoyo on Peter Gabriel's Real World label. In June 2007, Ayub moved back to Kenya where he has a studio and is now composing music for adverts and producing local bands. Ayub continues to perform internationally and recently began work on a new album with Trevor Warren producing.
Ayub plays the nyatiti on the track and can be heard throughout the song.
The Slum Drummers sprang from a community based organisation established by an Italian NGO (Gruppo per le Relazioni Transulturali). They are made up of a group of street kids from the slums of Kenya. All their instruments are made from scrap that they salvage. Plastic drums, drain pipes, metal oil cans and even bin-liners are all turned into extraordinarily vibrant musical instruments.The drummers are all inspiring in how they have turned their lives around through music. One of their number, Michael, recently became blind through diabetes and poignantly explains that they find music in everything.
The Slum Drummers can be heard throughout the track and perform using pipes and drums which were made of rubbish materials. They were recorded in the slum in Kibera.
Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu
Gurrumul is an indigenous Australian musician who, according to Sting, has "the voice of a higher being". Born blind, Gurrumul grew up as a member of the Gumatj clan on the remote Elcho Island, off the coast of northern Australia.
From a young age he learnt to play a right-handed guitar left-handed and is also proficient on a number of other instruments, including keyboards and drums. He made his debut as a singer in the Aboriginal group, Yothu Yindi, but soon after formed his own Saltwater Band. In 2008, Gurrumul released his own album, and became the first indigenous Australian solo artist to breakthrough to the mainstream.
Within a four week period in 2011, Gurrumul was chosen to perform for HRH The Queen, US President Barack Obama and Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Mary of Denmark, confirming his place as an international sensation.
Gurrumul plays acoustic guitar and sings on the track. He can be heard singing in his native language, the Yolngu: "Guywuyarra miyamarrana" which means "sing strong, sing loud, sing clear". He was recorded in the Blue Mountains in Australia.
The Australian Federal Police Pipes and Drums
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) Pipes and Drums is a volunteer group of musicians from the Australian capital of Canberra, who for more than a decade have performed at a wide range of public and ceremonial events in support of the AFP.
The AFP Pipes and Drums have played previously at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2009 and will again be playing there again this year for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Tattoo.
The AFP Pipes and Drums play the reprise at the end of the song. They were recorded in the Allianz Stadium in Sydney.
The Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Founded in 1932, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (SSO) has evolved into one of the world's finest orchestras, performing at prestigious events such as the 2000 Olympics Opening Ceremony, with an international television audience of 3.8 billion. The SSO has the unique privilege of having the Sydney Opera House, opened by Queen Elizabeth II, as its home concert hall.
As Australia's largest orchestra, The SSO gives more than 100 performances each year at the Sydney Opera House. It also makes international tours to Europe, Asia and the USA which have earned the SSO world-wide recognition for artistic excellence. It was a major coup, not to mention a stroke of scheduling good luck, to get the orchestra at short notice to play in the Opera House.
The SSO can be heard throughout the song. It was recorded at the Sydney Opera House.
The Jolly Boys
Named by Errol Flynn in the 1950s, the Jolly Boys have been integral to the fabric of Port Antonio's musical landscape and cultural heritage, with their traditional, upbeat Mento music. Mento was the music of the Jamaican dancehalls before ska, rocksteady and reggae came along. By the 1970s, reggae dominated Jamaican culture, and Mento and the Jolly Boys faded into obscurity.
However, 60 years on, and with a collective age of 382 years, the Jolly Boys have made a remarkable revival into the public eye under the guidance of Jon Baker, founder of Port Antonio's Gee Jam Street Records. Their album, called 'Great Expectation' was released in late 2010, and yielded an international tour representing a new stage in the Jolly Boys history.
The Jolly Boys harmonise throughout the verses of the song. They were recorded outside a shack in Port Antonio, Jamaica.
The Alpha Boys
The Alpha Boys' School in Kingston, Jamaica was established as a school for wayward boys and has made music a big part of its ethos in aiding the boys' development. The school's Alpha Band has produced some of the island's most beloved and acclaimed musicians, in the home-grown Jamaican genres of rocksteady, roots reggae and dancehall.
In particular, without the Alpha Boys' School, it's said there would be no ska; for no fewer than five of the Skatalites - Dizzy Moore, as well as Don Drummond, Tommy McCook, Lester Sterling, and Rico Rodrigues - got their start at Alpha. Today, there are some thirty boys between the ages of 8 and 17 years, who live at the school and are trained in various skills, as well as music.
One of the Alpha Boys, Archer, drums on the record. He was recorded at the Alpha Boys School.
Ernest Ranglin is a Jamaican guitarist and composer. Best known for his session work at the famed Studio One, Ranglin helped give birth to the ska genre in the late 1950s.
Ranglin played on many classic Jamaican recordings, performing with artists such as Theophilus Beckford, Jimmy Cliff, Monty Alexander, Prince Buster, The Skatalites, Bob Marley and Eric Dean's Orchestra. In 1964, Ranglin played guitar on singer Millie Small's "My Boy Lollipop", the first Jamaican song to achieve international success.
In 1973 he was awarded the Order of Distinction from the Jamaican Government for his contributions to music.
Ernest Ranglin plays throughout the record.
Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare
Sly and Robbie, are the prolific Jamaican rhythm section and production team of drummer Sly Dunbar and bassist Robbie Shakespeare who partnered up in the mid 1970s after having established themselves separately in Jamaica as professional musicians.
Far from restricting themselves to the Jamaican scene, where they have played and produced virtually every prominent Jamaican musical artist from Peter Tosh to Sean Paul, they have played with, and produced artists such as, Ben Harper, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, the Rolling Stones and many others.
Sly and Robbie play throughout the record.
Rastafarian Community, Temple Mount Zion Hill, Jamaica
High in the Blue Mountains north of Kingston, is Temple Mount Zion Hill, an informal Rastafarian village community which has been in existence for 17 years. Priest Dermot Fagan, a dread locked priest, is the spiritual leader of the village.
One of the percussionists chosen to be on the track, Selassie Tafari Makonnen Fagan, is the Priest's son. Selassie is 12 years old and is already a highly accomplished drummer. This group of Rastas follows an agrarian life, growing food and herbs and selling their own roots drink around town to bring in a little cash. Central to their culture are the Nyabinghi drums which are usually played at worship ceremonies, which apart from drumming include chanting and dancing, prayer, and... smoking.
Selassie play the nyabinghi drums on the record. This was filmed at the Rastafarian village in the Blue Mountains.
Royal Solomon Islands Police Force Band
The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force Band (RSIPF) Band was formed in 1977 with 25 members under the Act of Parliament 1976. Members of the band have come and gone over the years, but as the only brass band in Solomon Islands the band has continued to perform in every state event since their foundation; including every Queen's Birthday Guard of Honour.
It's fair to say that although they take their marching very seriously, they have taken the concept of a marching band and made it their own. They have invented an entertaining repertoire of choreographed moves which some may find surprising! They tour the Solomon Islands, and in 1990 also performed in Australia to mark the 10th Anniversary of Independence for Vanuatu.
The RSIPF Band performs during the reprise at the end of the song. They were recorded in the Solomon Islands capital, Honiara.
All Saints Choir
The All Saints Choir are members of the Anglican Church of Melanesia based in Honiara on the main Solomon Island of Guadalcanal. The Choir is made up of self-taught lay people, and most members of the choir have full time jobs or are students. There are no professional musicians in the Choir.
The Choir rehearses every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, practicing to perform in their church service as well as festival days. The Choir is not accompanied by musical instruments of any kind. They sing in Pidgin English which is the language most usually encountered in the Solomon Islands. In 1999 the choir were recorded and featured on the sound track of the Terrence Malick film 'The Thin Red Line'.
The All Saints Choir sings primarily in the chorus. It was recorded in a church in the Solomon Islands capital, Honiara.
Living in the remote village of Oterama on the Solomon Islands island of Malaita is a band of 15 pan pipers called Narasirato. The 142 villagers of Oterama live a traditional lifestyle of farming and fishing and they keep their musical culture, dating back 75 generations, alive. Oterama does not have telephones, the internet or television and its people are protective of their culture from Western influences. Somewhat incongruously, the villagers do have an electrical generator to power the PA system for the pipers!
Narasirato's performances reflect their Are'are culture, from the body painting to group dance, and their amazing array of hand made instruments - log drums, conch shells, bamboo thong-o-phones, pan pipes and stomping tubes.
The lead music director of the Narasirato is called Donation. Donation's father recently passed away aged 108. Before he did he left Donation with one final thought: "Keep doing what you do best (i.e. playing music) and one day you will make it to Buckingham Palace."
Narasirato's pipes can be heard towards the end of the record. They were recorded in their village, Oterama, on the island of Malaita, Solomon Islands.
Elizabeth Simpson (Liz) is first and foremost a mother and a wife. She is 30 years old and married Corporal Craig Simpson, Medical Corps 3 Regt Army Air Corps, in March 2011 and they have an energetic two year old son, Harry, who keeps her very busy! She is originally from London and has been living in Wattisham since January 2012.
She has always loved music and singing but, although she sung in choirs at school, has not had the time to indulge in her passion since. Moving to Wattisham as a new army wife, Liz joined the choir to meet new friends and do something she loves. She belongs to The Wattisham Military Wives Choir which has been going since January 2012 and is open to all wives, partners and families of military personnel based at Wattisham Flying Station (home of the Apache helicopter).
Elizabeth performs various solo elements throughout the song as well as with the Military Wives Choir. She was recorded at Abbey Road, London.
Rebecca Ellen Marshall
Rebecca Ellen Marshall (Bex) is 28 years old and is a serving Captain with the Adjutant's General Corps (Educational and Training Services). She is originally from West Yorkshire, but has spent a large part of her life in the Cotswolds.
After studying Music and English Literature at Durham University, she spent a year in Italy teaching English in a private school. After a couple of years in Manchester, she then commissioned from The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, in December 2008. She has spent the last four years training junior soldiers, recruiting new Gurkha soldiers from Nepal and teaching them English at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick. She joined the Catterick WAGS choir a year ago as a way in which to meet other ladies in the Garrison, and also to maintain her love of singing. She is marrying Tim (who is serving with the Rifles in Germany) in August this year and is posted to Germany herself, in September.
Rebecca performs various solo elements throughout the song as well as with the Military Wives Choir. She was recorded at Abbey Road, London.