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Circlesongs


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Audio CD, April 1, 1997
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Circlesong 1 (Voice) 6:09$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Circlesong 2 (Voice) 4:10$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Circlesong 3 (Voice) 4:40$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Circlesong 4 (Voice) 4:27$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Circlesong 5 (Voice) 5:26$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Circlesong 6 (Voice) 7:49$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Circlesong 7 (Voice) 4:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Circlesong 8 (Voice) 4:47$0.99  Buy MP3 

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To some people, Bobby McFerrin will always be the guy who sang Don’t Worry Be Happy. And he is that guy; he wrote and sang that global number one hit more than twenty years ago. But if that song is all you know about Bobby McFerrin, we suggest the following: Go to YouTube, type in Bobby’s name, sit back and prepare for a serious boggling of the mind.

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Frequently Bought Together

Circlesongs + VOCAbuLarieS + Medicine Music
Price for all three: $30.95

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 1, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B0000029U2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,886 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

We can always expect something new from Mr. McFerrin. Circlesongs is a recording of eight spontaneous vocal improvisations sung by twelve singers and Bobby. Three basses, three tenors, three altos and three sopranos create the vocal textures around which Bobby weaves his lilting solos. The songs are very like chant because of the repeating and rhythmic sounds which truly have a circular sound. Words are eschewed in favor of syllables of sound, a style McFerrin explains, "I've always felt that singing a song without words makes one song a thousand songs because the people who hear it can bring their own stories to it."

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 6, 2003
Format: Audio CD
The last album I purchased by Bobby McFerrin was "Medicine Music", in which he explored everything from Latin grooves, to old time Spirituals, to celestial choral chamber music.
Since the release of that album--which I adored--I've not listened to any of McFerrin's subsequent albums. "Circlesongs" jumped out at me because of its freestyle nature, and I wasn't disappointed. Some of the other reviewers have rated it fairly low because of its repetitive nature; it's the chant-like feel of each of the song cycles that gives the album its depth. Listening to how each piece is built and morphs into something different brings "Circlesongs" its charm. The African influences are there, but the feel is less constrictive, more New Age (though I hate the term, it makes sense here!).
Circlesong One introduces the listener to how an improvised riff can build on itself to become a fully realized piece of music; the chant is deceptively complicated with its 7/4 rhythm, and McFerrin's voice weaves through subtle chord changes and layers. Circlesong Six is the real masterpiece of the album, with its heavy beat and rumbling bass--think "hip-hop meets Gregorian chant". It's with this song that Voicestra becomes one lovely, strong entity--I think it's here that the African influence is heaviest, with that good old call and response.
The album as a whole is a seamless tapestry, with each voice a gorgeous thread. Anyone who thinks of Bobby McFerrin as the "Don't Worry" man needs to listen to this.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By David A. Beamer on August 13, 2000
Format: Audio CD
...is one of the best words to describe the contents of this recording. The performers are Bobby (sometimes multi-tracked) and 12 singers. The music is basically spontaneous, although there is a consistency to each Circlesong. This consistency is a germ of a musical idea, which Bobby apparently taught to the singers by rote -- one of the main tenets of the music herein is reliance on "oral tradition" as the means of communicating the music from one performer to another.
Speaking in terms of "Western" music (as contrasted with the African background that is obviously an influence), each Circlesong is based on some repeated idea, what could be called a round, or usually more accurately, a "ground bass". The 12 singers (it would be improper to call them either a choir or backup singers here) take the idea and build a structure of sound. Bobby then uses this structure as his jumping-off point, weaving in, out, and around. For American ears, the songs are essentially wordless, so words neither help nor hinder the musical experience.
In all, it is a tour de force of ensemble singing, and highly entertaining
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 13, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Although I had no intentions of ever purchasing a Bobby McFerrin album, I am glad that I did. I've never heard anything quite like "Circlesongs." Bobby McFerrin and crew do a remarkable job of magically transporting the listener to a realm of African chants and verse. It helps for the listener to know that the "Circlesongs" were formed without any rehearsing, making the CD a delectible treat for your ears. In my eyes, this is the most pleasantly charming CD I have purchased to date. If traditional African beats and chants is what you're after, make this CD yours. Outstanding!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 15, 1999
Format: Audio CD
This is an excellent CD. The parts are each sung very well, and the harmony is strangely pleasing. It's a tad too weird for me in a few places, but generally each track is very interesting, unique, and catchy. Speaking as a 2nd bass, if you love to sing I'm sure you'll find this CD worth your time and money.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 2, 1999
Format: Audio CD
A friend put this CD in my car at the start of a long, long trip, and I don't remember anything else from that drive except the music! It's a very powerful, beautiful album. You kinda start singing along even though you're not sure of the words. :)
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 30, 2002
Format: Audio CD
This one is GREAT for doing yoga or if you need a little music to help you clear your mind and be quiet. I put it on "repeat" and practice an hour or more of yoga, it's just so envigorating and uplifting, without being distracting. Wonderfully circular.
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Format: Audio CD
There are many great things about this album. First, the entire album is vocals, no instruments, just the human voice. Secondly, much of it is improvised, there is a basic structure to each song/chant, but no real form. Finally, there are no words to any of the songs. Anyone from any part of the world, of any native tongue can listen to this album and get the message. It's a very enjoyable, relaxing and involving form of music that anyone can enjoy. Also, I don't think there are a lot of other albums such as this on the market. So, it's a must have for any Bobby McFerrin fan, and any acapella fan.
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Format: Audio CD
Thats right, if your working on your dissertation (or any long paper) and can't quite figure out what to listen to, so you don't have to hear the buzz of the furnace and the whirr of your fan then this is the disc for you. I also have Bobby's medicine man album and enjoy both, but this is more laid back, and creative, not to mention far fewer words...
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