The music of Voicelab. is a mix of close harmony, jazz and improvised music. The repertoire ranges from beautiful ballads and Brazilian fireworks to vocal acrobatics. Sometimes special electronic effects such as delays and pitch shifters are used. Adventure, quality and the pleasure of singing are paramount for Voicelab.
Voicelab. is an a cappella improvisation trio that originated at the Dutch Utrecht Conservatory where in the end of the eighties three jazz & pop vocal students, Annemarie Maas, Herman van Doorn and Ineke Vandoorn started experimenting with their voices.
After graduating they continued under the name Voicelab. where lab stands for “laboratory”. They experimented and explored their vocal possibilities and also played with form and style. Sources of inspiration included Bobby McFerrin, Vocal Summit and Take Six.
Voicelab. arranged their own pieces. The repertoire consisted of arrangements of jazz standards, often originally instrumental pieces like compositions by Pat Metheney, Jasper van ‘t Hof, Tania Maria, Keith Jarrett and Rodgers and Hammerstein. Voicelab. also converted poems by e.g. E.E. Cummings into partly improvised compositions. Later, pieces were written specifically for Voicelab. by Marc van Vugt, Dick de Graaf, Albert van Veenendaal, Henk Alkema and others.
Because of the combination of the three voices: a high mezzo, a low mezzo and a high tenor, arranging was a challenge. But it also offered the opportunity to change roles and take turns to accompany, improvise or sing the lead. They regularly made use of pitch shifters to extend their possibilities.
In 1989 Voicelab. was finalist of the National Close Harmony Competition (this was their first performance). As a result they received many invitations and performed frequently (about 50 times) on radio and television, among others Reiziger in muziek (VPRO-tv), Het Gebouw (VPRO-radio), Ursul de Geer (NCRV-tv), Van Twaalf tot Twee (KRO-radio), ‘Geen C te hoog’ (NOS-tv) and ‘Jazz op Vier’ (VPRO-radio).
Commissioned by the NOS (Dutch National Broadcast Organization) the trio together with composer Marc van Vugt created the radiophony “Two Words” a one-hour sung radio play based on the story ‘Two Words” by Isabel Allende. Composer Marc van Vugt wrote the music, Voicelab. wrote the lyrics. It was broadcasted in 1992.
In 1991-1992 the trio performed weekly on the radio program ‘Only on Fridays’ (KRO). Each week they created a weather report that was written, rehearsed and performed live on the day itself. Often parts were improvised.
Voicelab. also performed live, mostly on jazz stages and vocal festivals. At the same time the members of Voicelab. were invited as soloists on the opening concert of the Uitmarkt 1990, performing with the Metropole Orchestra conducted by Martin Koch.
In 1992 Voicelab. performed the work ‘Brains’. Composer Henk Alkema wrote it especially for the trio. For this piece the trio worked together with two classical singers and a violinist.
At November 3, 2013 Voicelab. reunited for a one time appearance at the K&W concert hall of the Utrecht Conservatory (NL). Three pieces were performed.
Currently all three members of Voicelab. are still active as singers, improvisors as well as vocal educators.