I first heard of The Langley Schools Music project when their beautifully moving version of The Beach Boys In My Room appeared on an Uncut/Mojo CD many, many years ago. It's a version that stayed with me and when I stumbled across an article that mentioned them last year I went searching on Spotify to see if there were any other songs by them. To my great delight there are plenty and I also discovered there is an album that was released on vinyl last year. Definitely one to go searching for.
The Langley Schools Music Project is a collection of recordings of a children's choir singing songs by The Beach Boys, McCartney, Bowie and more back in the late 70's in Canada, made by music teacher Hans Ferger.
Ferger's unique approach to teaching music is captured beautifully on the recordings, he isn't interested in people singing in tune, he's more interested in capturing emotion, feeling and soul.
I never liked conventional children's music which is condescending and ignores the reality of children's lives, which can be dark and scary. These children hated 'cute' they cherished songs that evoked loneliness and sadness. Hans Ferger
The recordings were lost until a collector found them in a record store in 2000 and sent them to labels, they were rejected by 10 labels until Bar/None released a compilation CD of the two original vinyl LP's.
It's very easy to hear why people have fallen for these songs. They are recorded extremely simply with a rare purity and the sound of a children's choir singing Good Vibrations, God Only Knows, the aforementioned Space Oddity is spine tingling, generating emotion with ease.
their version of Space Oddity is a piece of art I couldn't have conceived of, the backing arrangement is astounding David Bowie
The choir singing God Only Knows is sheer beauty and brings a tear to my eyes.
And Brian Wilson's In My Room, a song about escaping the abuse he suffered from his father, becomes even more powerful when sung by The Langley Schools Music Project, the way they rise for the following verse is incredible.