Vive is a six-part a cappella jazz vocal ensemble from London that creates original songs and reworks old favourites. The group comprises of five men and one woman; their unique sound is the result of a combination of Bass (Lewis Daniel), Baritone (James Rose), two Tenors (Martynas Vilpisauskas and Ben Cox), Alto (Sam Robson) and Soprano (Emily Dankworth). They work well together on stage and it’s obvious very early on that we are watching a band of friends, completely relaxed and in sync with each other, rather than a manufactured assembly of professionals.
The group does not lack professionalism, though. All six have an easy charm and confidence and immediately put the audience at ease with ‘Your Motivation’, an original number which showcases some intricate harmonies and impressive vocal percussion. The Lighthouse Family has never sounded better than in ‘High’, which was followed up by some more of Vive’s inventive tunes, including ‘Tabula Rasa’ and ‘Time Machine’. Perhaps the highlight was the more traditional aping of jazz instruments in ‘Red Top’, with good-natured and playful miming of said instruments. That said, the crowd was certainly on board for the whole ride and audibly enjoyed the more unusual arrangements, which included some surprising soaring whoops from the Soprano.
While we are all too familiar with a cappella as the medium through which pop bands try to prove their salt, Vive is not only creating feet-tapping pop, but a synthesis of pop, harmonies, jazz, spirituals, blues, and more. There is a respect for the greats – founding member James Rose acknowledges the influence of Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra, which is also reflected in their dapper attire – but also a sense that Vive is doing something quite different and producing pleasing and intriguing music in the process.