Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Street Corner Renaissance Makes It Do What It Do

Street Corner Renaissance

By Darlene Donloe

Street Corner Renaissance (SCR), a male a capella quintet, knows how to make it Doo what it Doo!!  And they Doo it well!

Fans of the Doo Wop group from Los Angeles recently packed the Catalina Bar & Grill in Hollywood to bear witness to the group’s nostalgic sound.  

Gliding effortlessly from one standard to another, SCR, donned in all black, kept the crowd wanting more as they took a sentimental trip down memory lane.

Their set included songs like Why Do Fools Fall In Love, Rockin Robin, Another Saturday Night, Up On The Roof, It’s Alright, plus a tinge of gospel and even a heartfelt rendition of the Black National Anthem.

Street Corner Renaissance at the Catalina Bar and Grill

The group, donned in all black, kept the appreciative audience swinging and swaying with an even paced show that included hilarious banter that propels them from one song to the next.  Part of the group’s appeal is how much fun they seem to be having at their own show! It’s contagious! You can’t sit still at a SCR show. It includes participation.  There’s a sing-along, plus incessant and infectious toe-tapping, hand-clapping, smiles and laughter as they admittedly ‘take you back to a time and place when songs had meaning and lyrical taste.’

For those unfamiliar with Doo Wop, it’s defined as a style of pop music marked by the use of ‘close harmony vocals’ using nonsense phrases, which reportedly originated in the U.S. in the 1950s.

And, although the music is six decades removed, Street Corner Renaissance keeps the music fresh and vibrant with sharp arrangements.

SCR, whose ‘close harmony vocals’ have a verve that is palpable, includes Founder and Artistic Director Maurice Kitchen, Torrance Brannon Reese, Kwame Alexander, Anthony Snead and Charles ‘Sonny’ Banks.  The five, who all had day jobs before joining the group full time, got together because they were dedicated to singing the music they loved from a by-gone era.

The group, which has performed internationally, has two CDs including, Life Could Be A Dream, which contains 17 hits ranging from gospel covers to Sam Cooke’s Frankie and Johnnie to Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean. The CD, Meet Me On The Corner, recreates the authentic street corner musical experience of an urban 1960’s street setting.

SCR, which has a solid following, performed four times in 2013 on season four of NBC’s popular music show, The Sing Off.  They placed in the top four and became an instant hit, gathering more than 60,000 YouTube hits overnight. 

Street Corner Renaissance has shared a stage with Stevie Wonder, Dianne Reeves, Jay Leno, Boyz II Men, Nancy Wilson, Patrice Rushen, George Duke, Kool and the Gang, Patti Austin, Freda Payne, Lalah Hathaway, Take 6, Nikki Giovanni and Chuck Berry.


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