Commoners Choir

Norwich Lanes

Commoners Choir is a rag bag assortment of ne’er-do-wells, misfits, and cake eaters who have come together from all corners of the globe to sing harmonious insurrection, to rouse the rabble and to raise a smile or two. They are a singing newspaper: They sing about stuff that happens, stuff that should be happening, stuff that matters.

Commoners Choir formed in 2015 with a walk up to the summit of Kinder Scout in the Peak District (to commemorate the Mass Trespassers of 1932), and sang their entire repertoire (two songs) to a handful of startled hikers. From such small acorns, mighty oaks have grown.

Their songs and arrangements are written by Boff Whalley, songsmith for the likes of Chumbawamba and Red Ladder Theatre, with inspiration, input and interjections from choir members.

Commoner Choir’s live shows distil all that they are into an hour of marvellous melodies, powerful voices, and passionate ideals. Songs about food riots, inequality, the cultural harrying of the North, Woody Guthrie, the Calder Valley floods, homelessness, refugees, the printed word, and the rhyming possibilities of Chancellor Jeremy Hunt…

Commoners Choir has grown into a 60-strong harmonious mob, performing large-scale projects such as a successful tour of northern English libraries under threat of closure; a tour called ‘More Than A Mouthful’ where the Choir’s resident chef cooked food for every audience onstage; and as part of the Great Exhibition of the North.

Commoners Choir sings only its own songs, specially-written for each project – the choir recently sang as part of the organised protest against the DSEI London Arms Fair, and played a significant part in Manchester’s Commemorations of the Peterloo massacre, singing to soundtrack Red Saunders’ epic photographs displayed in the city centre and headlining The Guardian’s International Festival stage.