massed voices 


Kraal is an Afrikaans and Dutch word for an enclosure for cattle or other livestock, located within an African settlement or village surrounded by a fence of thorn-bush branches, a palisade, mud wall, or other fencing, roughly circular in form. 

In this piece, the audience experiences the feeling of being enclosed both physically (by the performers), and aurally (by experiencing the slowly evolving and changing sung harmonies as pitches travel around the circle).


First performance


Cathedral Church of St Marie, Sheffield

Performed by five choirs: Sheffield Chorale / Sterndale Singers / 

Sheffield Chamber Choir / Viva Voce / Abbeydale Singers

Commissioned by

Classical Sheffield for the Classical Weekend 2017 'Sound from Heaven' concert.


Available to purchase as a digital download.

Email: Jenny 

Duration 10 - 12 minutes

"As the sunlight comes and goes through the stained glass of St Marie’s Cathedral, leaving mushy pastel stains on the stone arches, Sheffield-based composer Jenny Jackson premieres her latest commission, Kraal.

Hundreds of singers, all in black, have physically surrounded us, showing us their backs. So begins a gigantic musical version of Chinese whispers, where pitch and rhythm is passed in both directions around the circle. Music flows back and forth in a microcosm of human interaction; learning and building, changing and repeating. After rising to a pulsing crescendo, it fades to a whispered end. It’s the singers whispering to each other for once, not the audience. The listeners are corralled but the music is not a fence; we are the air inside the bubble, the space between the ears."

Nat Loftus, Now Then magazine

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