Naturally 7 Wows Crowd With Vocal Play
While thousands were at the BJC this weekend for THON, a smaller crowd was being wowed by Naturally 7 at the HUB in Alumni Hall on Friday night. The free concert was arranged by the Paul Robeson Cultural Center.
Naturally 7 performs vocal play. In this style of singing, the performers use their voices to mimic different musical instruments. Most people are probably familiar with beat-boxing, which is one form of vocal play where a musician imitates a drum set. Naturally 7 takes this a step further, with group members imitating trombones, harmonicas, stringed instruments, and even turntables.
The group was formed in 1999 out of New York City by Roger Thomas along with his brother, Warren, and five others. Since then, they have risen from local sensation to being known worldwide. Part of their rise to prominence has been as opening act for Michael Buble’s world tour. However, any audience quickly comes to respect Naturally 7 in its own right.
On Friday, Naturally 7 performed a wide range of music. Anything was on the table, with the group singing a Phil Collins cover, only to follow that with a bit of motown or a Herbie Hancock medley. Regardless of musical style, the performers constantly impressed with their skill not just at singing, but at imitating instruments.
After every few songs, individual group members would solo on their respective “instruments.” One member who goes by the name “Hops” gave a bass solo, Rod Eldridge performed as a “virtual DJ,” and Polo Cummings stunned the crowd with his amazingly accurate depiction of an electric guitar.
The group isn’t just musical, but smart as well. They deserved a standing ovation, but Naturally 7 made sure of it with their last song, “Ready or Not.” The group elicited the crowd to stand and dance along with the song. After an exciting and great night of music, even those with no skill at dancing, such as myself, had to get up and dance to the music.