“The Spooky Men were wonderful to deal with and the audiences were totally enamored by their performances.” Darwin Entertainment Centre
“The concert and workshop were both superb and our audience absolutely loved it. What a fabulous way to start the year.” Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre
The Spooky Men’s Chorale is a vast, rumbling, steam powered and black clad vocal behemoth, seemingly accidentally capable of rendering audiences moist eyed with mute appreciation or haplessly gurgling with merriment. Based on the twin pillars of grand foolishness and the quest for the perfect subwoofer-rattling boofchord, the Spooky Men seek to commentate on the absurdity and grandeur of the modern male armed only with their voices, a sly collection of hats and facial hair, and a twinkle in the eye.
Formed in the Blue Mountains of NSW in 2001 by Christchurch-born ‘spookmeister’ Stephen Taberner, the Spooky Men soon attracted attention with a judicious combination of Georgian table songs, pindrop beautiful ballads, highly inappropriate covers, and immaculate man anthems like ‘Don’t stand between a man and his tool’, all of which amounted to a manifesto for the new breed of man: happily suspended between thug and wimp.
The Spooky Men attracted wider attention at the National Folk Festival in Canberra 2004, which led to the first of six tours to the UK in 2006. Standout appearances amongst their 500+ gigs since have included (in Australia) WOMADelaide, The Great Escape Festival, Woodford, Cobargo, Port Fairy, Blue Mountains and Bellingen festivals. ABC TV appearances include The Mix, Spicks and Specks, and The New Inventors Grand Final.
In the UK/Europe they have appeared at major festivals including Tonder (Denmark), Malmo (Sweden), Cambridge, Broadstairs, Wickham, Camp Bestival, Towersey, Shrewsbury, and Edinburgh Fringe. Theatrical venues have included Union Chapel (London), St David’s Hall (Cardiff), The Philharmonic (Liverpool), Colston Hall (Bristol), the Sheldonian (Oxford) and Sage Gateshead.
The Spooky Men have recorded six CDs: Tooled Up (2004), Stop Scratching It (2007), Deep (2009), Big (2011), The Spooky Man in History (2013), and Warm (2015).
In live performance, the Spooky Men draw on a combination of musical and theatrical values that are elusive and multifarious. Notable themes and antecedents include Georgian male polyphony, a running joke on man as a vast, oblivious useless object, whispers of clown, bouffon and Monty Python, and forays into massively pleasurable grunting tribalism. The audience are invited to first joyously endure a wall of mansound, then laugh stupidly, then venture into areas of great tenderness. It is ideally not so much comedic as hilarious, not so much shimmeringly perfect as pleasingly and deeply human.
Workshop – How to be Spooky
Stephen Taberner and his trusted bunch of henchmen from the Spooky Men’s Chorale share secrets from the spooky lexicon, including how to get in contact with your inner chieftain, the 4 states of spookiness, and how to sob like a man. Audience members are free to either witness the whole experience or become guinea pigs in a grandiose experiment where they may get to learn a huge male ditty or two, and learn to grunt properly Also, there will be the chance to conduct the spooky men as we show you how to achieve both ridiculousness and beauty on stage. Oh, yes, and we might sing you a song or two as well!
Available February 2018
Travel to centres in regional NSW is subsidised through the support of Arts NSW. Musica Viva can book the artists, arrange all travel and accommodation, provide posters, flyers and program information.
If you are interested in bringing an ensemble to your town or city, please contact:
Artist Development Coordinator