The distinguishing feature of the Jubilee Shouters, that which makes them unique on the Italian Gospel scene, is their peculiar cross-referencing of the extensive history of African-American vocalities with ethnic influences and stimuli harking back to the European art music. Found in their repertoire are, in fact, traditional pieces, such as ‘ Joshua fit the Battle of Jericho’ and ‘Deep River’, along with Hispanic-Arabic and Pigmy lullabies (‘Nana’ and ‘Mupepe’), Shaman and Zwahili chants (‘Umngoma’), street cries (‘Sweet Potatoes’), Jazz standards (‘Night and Day’, ‘I Wish You Love’I, ‘Mercy, Mercy, Mercy’ and ‘Foggy Day’) and particularly famous pieces, like ‘Oh Happy Day’, proposed in an unusual version. By presenting such a varied and multi-faceted repertoire, Gianna Grazzini, the ensemble’s musical and artistic director, put together a multi-faceted, smaller nucleus of singers to better exalt the vocal diversity of the Jubilee Shouters. The ensemble has so become a versatile instrument for proposing the arrangements, chosen by Ms Grazzini with the competence and sensitivity that have made her a point of reference in her genre.
All of this is intensified all the more by a generous use of improvisation on the part of wonderfully talented and experienced vocalists. Indeed, the Jubilee Shouters boast some of the most exceptional voices on the Italian music scene. Individually, they have collaborated with Pino Daniele, made Contemporary, Jazz and Ancient music recordings, partecipated in some of the most important European Festivals and been nominated for a Grammy Award. The natural result of such eclecticism has been the attention of composers who have custom-written and arranged pieces for the Jubilee Shouters, pieces greatly enhanced by the flexibility of the vocal ensemble. Two examples are the hypnotically jazzy version of the Renaissance theme ‘La Folia’, arranged by Bruno Tommaso with lyrics by Ms Grazzini, or the funky ‘Refuso’, an original theme composed for the Jubilee Shouters by Aldevis Tibaldi.