Flying Without Instruments, also known as FWI (pronounced "fwee"), a quirky and versatile ensemble, is now in its 18th year. FWI mounts its own concerts in San Francisco and the East Bay and has also sung at private parties, weddings, halfway houses, and religious services, and has performed twice in the regional Harmony Sweeps competition. FWI's repertoire ranges from the ridiculous to the sublime, from the elegant to the uproarious. According to the non-profit group Bread & Roses, FWI's shows are "well-paced, moving nimbly from the sacred to the profane, keeping it interesting and entertaining every step of the way."
Members: Caia Brookes, Greg Campbell, Melissa Leventon, Gareth Loy, Charles Seagrave, Greg Tinfow, Clair Ward
Flying Without Instruments: At Last
We enjoyed a 10-minute taste of 4-man, 4-woman San Francisco-based FWI at the 2005 Bay Area Regional (OK, actually they appeared as a septet, the maximum that may compete in the Harmony Sweeps). The group, first formed in 1996 as a quartet, love making music together and they wowed the crowd at the Regional with the Texas Swing tune "San Fernando Valley" Palestrina's incongruous, albeit lovely "Sicut Cervus," and the Jefferson Airplane Summer of Love psychedelic anthem, "White Rabbit," all included here. 11 a cappella songs in total, Billy Joel's "And So It Goes," the Rockabilly classics "Truck Drivin' Man" and "High and Lonesome," the very funny "Big and Stupid," our friend Richard Greene's "(Please Come Back and) Mess Me Up Again" and U2's brief, sublime harmonic gem "MLK" are favorites. "FWI At Last" is an impressive debut CD for FWI.
Flying Without Instruments: FWI Will Rock You
FWI describes itself as "a refreshingly quirky yet musically substantive eight-person San Francisco-based a cappella ensemble known for its versatility and unpredictability." Founded in 1996, this 4-man, 4-woman ensemble gave a very impressive performance at the 2005 Bay Area Regional, and prides itself in singing something for everyone. These 17 cuts are clear evidence of this: a wonderfully harmonic cover of CSN&Y's "CarryOn/Questions" medley, Shakira's "Whenever, Wherever," Lennon/McCartney's "Can't Buy Me Love" performed as a Renaissance madrigal, and the heart-tugging WWII anthem " I'll Be Seeing You" are part of a musical Whitman's Sampler that continually delights and surprises. k.d. lang's hit "Constant Cravings," Z. Randall Stroope's lovely "Amor de mi Alma," J.S. Bach's hilarious "Traffic Fugue" (with lyrics added, with no disrespect, by C. Seagrave); Randy Weeks' country tune "Can't Let Go," and the silly "Plastic Jesus," Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi," and The Arachnid Suite: "The Spider" and " The Spider in the Bath" are favorites. This is fun, entertaining stuff with something to please everyone!