Multi-voice and Chromatic Voices 2

CV2. A project I am involved with is multi-voice theatrical poetry. I have helped set up a multi-voice group in Glasgow, Chromatic Voices 2. There is an article about my multi-voice writing in the poetry mag, Infinity’s Kitchen. My multi-voice work has been featured on National Radio and performed at the Scottish Parliament. I have written for Amnesty, and for the United Nations (who said my poem was “beautiful”). I have performed as part of a multi-voice group at many Human Rights events and at many different Theatres.
Multi-voice is a new and exciting poetry form which allows the performers to emphasise emotions and actions in the poem by means of precise vocal interactions. It can even be used to perform a poem in one language and provide the translation at the same time. It is not a gimmick.
I am (honestly) trying to start up multi-voice groups around the World. Please contact me if you are interested. And please look at the film links.
Ashby McGowan

A recently filmed poem about Humanity, Equality, and Dignity.

Chromatic Voices 2 Live at Seeds of Thought
(performing, Poems Against War.)

link to part 2

This is the leaflet we gave out at Seeds of Thought:

ChromaticVoices 2
at Seeds of Thought

The CCA, 350 Sauchiehall St Glasgow G2 3JD, Glasgow
Saturday the 5th of October at 9pm.

CHROMATIC VOICES 2 is a multi-voice Poetry and Theatre Group which is based in Glasgow but is looking to help set up groups with similar aims around Scotland.
At the moment, the performance pieces to be used are by Ashby McGowan. His multi-voice work has featured on National Radio; at the Scottish Parliament; at numerous Human Rights shows, and is featured in the current issue of the experimental poetry magazine, Infinity’s Kitchen. However, eventually pieces will be written by all members of the group. The group is just starting out and this is an exciting opportunity for any poet or actor wanting to try out totally new ground.
The particular type of multi-voice poetry that we do is, as far as we know, unique. Up to six Poets and Actors may be reading at the same time-their voices enhancing or acting against the other voices in the Group. The effect varies from Cacophony to sublime Harmony. These effects allow the Group to dramatise what is happening in the Poem-it is much more than just nice sound effects.
Our shows will be very theatrical and contemporary.

Tonight’s work is called Poems Against War.
Because the pieces are complicated, one of the poetic works is read through twice. Two poems were written for Amnesty and were previously performed at the Scottish Parliament. The United Nations poem was written for and used by the United Nations. It uses the words from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights-but they are turned into poetry. The U.N. have praised this poem.
In our work Road Block, the Radio Announcer speaks the exact words (translated from French and Kinyarwanda) used by two Radio Stations in Rwanda in 1994. These evil words helped cause 800,000 deaths. The chant “Pawa” means Power and, in this context, Hutu Power. It was a chant used by the Militias.
The cast of CV2 changes but for tonight’s show will be: Iwona Glowinska – Denton, Maria Jones, Piotr Antek Kurjata, Ashby McGowan, and Robert Przekwas.
The Director is: Iwona Glowinska – Denton



I have spent months contacting Poetry bodies and Theatres and Creative Arts Funding bodies to obtain Funding for multi-voice. Got nowhere. So I am trying to find a Producer who may be better at this Fundraising thing than I am. Without Funding you cannot hire rehearsal rooms, hire a Theatre Stage, and pay actors and poets for e.g. thirty hours of rehearsal. Multi-voice is as good as any other type of Theatre but has the same requirement for proper rehearsals.

MULTI-VOICE by Ashby McGowan

When you look at MV poems, you are looking at poems doing what poems do (e.g. Giving a different perspective of the world-one that is useful). You are also looking at the actual sounds (and the effects of these sounds) produced when two or more voices speak at the same time. Thirdly, you are also trying to Direct a work of Theatre.
Multi-voice has amazing potential. It can be everything from a single voice (with members of the audience using their imagination to fill in the other voices) to a full length play that also happens to be multi-voice.
Pieces can be anything from thirty seconds to others lasting many minutes. Together they can easily make up 40 minutes of material built around themes like Nature. With a twenty minute break in the middle that is long enough for a show. I am looking for individuals and groups (poetry or acting) to take on MV as a new and exciting discipline.

Thanks to Infinity’s Kitchen Journal, Belinda Subraman (of Gypsy Art Show) Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights, Guardian Winess and Social Noise Festival for letting me reprint parts from articles of mine they had used on their websites.



My Multi-voice CV.

Ten years ago I started writing a new type of multi-voice Poetry (originally for the pupils in the Amnesty UK Youth Group that I organised in the School I worked in). My own variant of multi-voice Poetry has since then been featured on National Radio and the Group I originally performed with (Chromatic Voices) have appeared at numerous Human Rights Festivals; at the Scottish Parliament, and we have Toured Scotland with a multi-voice multi-language project that I instigated. conFAB organised the Tour and found Funding-from various sources.

The variant of multi-voice Poetry that I am developing allows subtle rhythms to be built up between the performers words. It also allows effects which can amplify the emotions that accompany the words. It is not a strange experimental effect. It is something that affects Audiences enormously. It does work. I have seen the effect work with Audiences for ten years. The technique has enormous potential.

I am trying to find ways to get the ordinary public more interested in Poetry (and so have spoken on National Radio about my idea for Poetry Karaoke).

There is a clip of Tracy Patrick and Lorna Callery performing one of my Comedy Multi-voice pieces: Twins):

On the 23rd June 2012, I performed single voice poetry and multi-voice poetry (as a part of Chromatic Voices 2) during the Ripple Effect show at Govanhill Baths.

On June 13th 2013 Infinity’s Kitchen (Experimental Poetry Journal) featured a ten page feature article about my multi-voice work and how to use it at workshops. The Van Reipen Collective performed my piece, Another Night at the Infinity’s Kitchen magazine launch in Brooklyn, New York. The Editor reported that, “Your work was very well received in New York.”

I have started a Chromatic Voices 2 and have an ad in the Creative Scotland website looking for actors and poets. Also, we are looking for funding for Gigs.

Chromatic Voices 2 had their first Gig at Seeds of Thought on October 5th 2013. The audience cheered for two minutes. It went amazingly well. There is a film of the event.

Jack Healey of the Human Rights Action Centre in Washington D.C. emailed me to say it was, “Nice work.”

In December 2013 I had an article on multi-voice on the Blog at:

In January 2014 I had an article about MV on the Blog of the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights:

27/3/14 Commissioned by conFAB to write a multi-voice poem (called, Many Voices) about the Commonwealth. Also, to perform in it. The poem to be filmed and shown as part of the celebrations around the 2014 Commonwealth Games.:

Filmic version:

Performance version:

May, 2014: My multi-voice poem Tide picked to be part of a book dealing with the Sea. The book to be called, A.L.L. Times.

Two poems (one of which is multi-voice) are accepted by the Newsboy Team for the Commonwealth event on the main stage at the Tron Theatre. On stage 25th July, 2014.

In July 2014, I have an article about multi-voice on the Noise event website:

In July of 2014, I have an article about multi-voice on the Guardian Witness site:

On 13th January 2015, Radio Nouspace included a piece about my multi-voice poetry and included an audio player to listen to the audio from the Commonwealth Games poem: I am listed as one of three Contemporary European Sound Poets. (Poems Against War is on their site as a recommended film to watch as part of students’ studies.)

Many Voices film being published to Poetry Seen site January 2016.

13/4/2015, I found out that the website Charter for Compassion is using the Poems Against War video link and publishing the multi-voice poems Dignity on their website.

15/4/2015 My Multi-voice poem Ripples is being published in Issue 1 of Rooms.


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