“The Persuasions are the undisputed heavyweight champions of a cappella. They are to singing what Muhammad Ali was to boxing–invincible, innovative, original, and beautiful. New York Post
Together since they started singing on the stoops of Brooklyn in 1961, The Persuasions have released 18 albums, and have recorded or performed with artists including Liza Minnelli, Bette Midler, Stevie Wonder, Lou Reed, Van Morrison, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, The Neville Brothers, Country Joe McDonald, B.B. King. Their music has turned up in films from Joe and the Volcano to E.T.
The Persuasions continue to record solid albums, generally on smaller labels. They’ve mixed it up a bit, recording a children’s album, On the Good Ship Lollipop, in 1999, followed by successive tribute albums to Frank Zappa, the Grateful Dead and the Beatles. Over these years they've amassed a collection of fans more diverse than just about any soul group you'll find. They're a real treasure.
Rolling Stone rated their 1977 album, Chirpin’, one of the hundred best works of the 1970s. Rock critic and author Greil Marcus has called their style a “perfect marriage of passion and intelligence.” Mix Magazine wrote “The Persuasions are four parts of one voice, one spirit.” Cash Box proclaimed in 1996, “These all-vocal, instrument-free heroes paved the way for today’s platinum a cappella acts, Take 6 and Bobby McFerrin, as well as the retro-hip-hop styles of Boyz II Men and Color Me Badd.” Or, as Tom Waits once said, “These guys are deep sea divers. I’m just a fisherman in a boat.”
Their film documentary, Spread the Word: The Persuasions Andy Klein of the L.A. Reader wrote: “Feeling depressed? Life got ya down? Is that your problem, Binky? If it is, I can think of no greater remedy than to watch Fred Parnes’s documentary, Spread the Word: The Persuasions Sing A Cappella–a funny, moving, and Invigorating look at a vocal group that is one of America’s national treasures. . “
They all came from church and secular musical backgrounds, and from the start, their repertoire was a mix of gospel, soul, and pop. They graduated from parties to doo-wop shows (although doo-wop makes up only a small part of their repertoire), In the mid-60s, they worked with Robert F. Kennedy in various projects to aid African-Americans in the inner cities.
The Persuasions were discovered by Zappa, of all people, in 1968. So striking and formidable was their vocal prowess that Zappa signed them to his Straight label (Warner Brothers) merely on the strength of hearing them perform over the phone–after a friend called from a New York nightclub, declaring, “Frank, you’ve got to hear this.”
From Dylan’s “The Man in Me” to Zappa’s withering commentary, “The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing,” The Persuasions imbue songs with a conviction, heart, and humor that perhaps even the authors didn’t intend.
Vocal Workshop for Children
The Persuasions love working with children. The members of the group will split the workshop participants into their vocal groups (soprano, tenor etc.) and teach them a song and giving the kids individual vocal coaching and encouragement.
The groups will rehearse the song together getting performance training and tips. A final performance for the workshop participants and invited guests.
If a workshop is in conjunction with a public performance the kids would be invited to perform the song along with the Persuasions during the show.