About Anders Nyberg
Anders Nybrg and his wife Jennifer Ferguson
Anders Nyberg is a conductor, composer, poet, walker and an Oscars-nominated script-writer.
He studied choral conducting at the Royal Music Academy of Stockholm for Eric Ericson among others and composition privately for Bengt Hallberg, but confesses that his greatest musical teachers and inspiration come from local folk musicians from his two musical poles; his native Malung in Dalarna, Sweden and his adopted home country South Africa. He is a proud citizen of both, acting as a cultural bridge between the North and the South has become a life vocation.
As a founding member of the vocal group Fjedur Anders toured South Africa in 1978, a tour that shaped a lot of his consecutive work. In 1980 he returned to work a year as a volunteer within the Lutheran Church with music and youth in the township of Gugulethu, and Athlone in Cape Town. Back home in Sweden the work with Fjedur continued. Alongside exploring the fusion between Swedish traditional music, choral music and jazz, in concert and on vinyl together with some of the jazz greats of Sweden like Arne Domnérus, Georg Riedel and Bengt Hallberg, he arranged and produced booklets and albums with South African songs of Protest and Praise. Through the international tours of Fjedur and his own extensive workshopping the songbooks, especially “Freedom is coming”, spread rapidly. Today the music has not only become an integral part of Swedish choral life but has spread globally and been translated into a number of languages as well.
Later on Anders' attention focused on the music of Latin America through several tours to Cuba and Central America by himself and with his group Gondwana. His Swedish folk mass "Himmelen Inom” - "Heaven within", inspired by the “misa popular” of Latin America, but with words and music by Anders has won a place among the Swedish choral standards.
As a musician and educator, Anders has given inspired concerts, seminars and workshops in over 20 countries on five continents. In Sweden he has been a recurring guest-lecturer at the Music Conservatories of Stockholm, Gothenburg and Piteå and the University of Växjö, as well as at innumerable other educational institutions, choral festivals and local choirs. He has also given lectures at the theological faculty of Uppsala University. Anders also served as the first director of a unique world music education at the Stiernhööks gymnasium, Rättvik, Sweden.
To facilitate his composing and arranging, alongside the conducting, Anders has developed his own publishing company “Peace of Music Publishing AB”, which has now published around 300 of his compositions and arrangements and has distribution in the US through GIA Publications and in the UK through Wild Goose Publications.
In 1993 Anders conceived and initiated "Sång i Dalgång" a 24-day "song-walk" through the province of Dalarna, with an ad hoc choir and daily concerts. The model has later been introduced as "Sång & Gång" to other parts of Sweden. 2012 saw the birth of "The Path", a five month walk from Trondheim, Norway to Copenhagen, Denmark lined with 25 concerts and 3 seminars on the themes of Environment, Integration and Existence. Anders is chairman of the organization arranging the walk and walked most of the way himself, over 1000 km. The Path has since wound its way through Denmark and is now walking on German soil.
In South Africa Anders, together with his wife singer-songwriter and cultural activist Jennifer Ferguson, developed the “Peace of Music Centre”, a cultural hotspot and meeting place in their home in central Johannesburg. It hosted concerts and workshops and acted as a vantage point for local cultural activism. The work with children was a priority, resulting in among other things the production of “Seeds of Peace”, a CD featuring some of South Africa’s most prominent artists, like Vusi Mahlasela, Gloria Bosman and Johnny Clegg together with street children.
Anders Nyberg has also worked successfully with film. In 2005 the movie "As it is in heaven", co-scripted by Anders, was nominated for an Oscar in the category best foreign movie. The film, about a choir and its conductor, became the most viewed Swedish movie ever as well as receiving great international acclaim. The sequel, "Heaven on Earth", also co-scripted by Anders, had its premiere in September 2015.
About Tony Backhouse
In the late '80s, after all the amplified bands and the attendant lugging,Tony went a more portable musical route: he founded a cappella quartet the Elevators (1985-1990), and a cappella gospel choir the Café of the Gate of Salvation in1986. He directed the choir and provided almost all their originals ongs and arrangements for 21 years, resigning in 2007. In the '90s,he co-founded (with Stuart Davis) the Sydney Acappella Association which he co-ordinated for five years. Tony's music was featured in the series of multi-cultural vocal concerts initiated by Stuart Davis and Tony at the Sydney Town Hall, called Choral Sea.
He founded a cappella gospel choir the Honeybees and directed them for their first six years. His gospel quartet Heavenly Light Quartet formed in 1996 and released one CD in 1997. He has appeared at WOMADelaide four times, with Caféof the Gate of Salvation, Heavenly Light Quartet and national choir, Gospel Nation, and at WOMAD NZ in 2006 he ran workshops and appeared with the Jubilation Gospel choir.
He performed as singer/musical director for the first a cappella musical in Australia, Steve J. Spears' Namatjira Park (1992), and he researched and coordinated the 1993 TVNZ documentary on NZ vocal traditions, Strictly A cappella.
Tony was the recipient of the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America's 1993 Contemporary A cappella Recording Awards for Best Song and Best Soloist (Runner-up); the Café of the Gate of Salvation received Best Album (Runner-up) Award.
He has received composer commissions from the Song Company, from the Australia Council to write music for the Café of the Gate of Salvation (who released CDs in 1992,1995 and 2004) and the Sydney Children's Choir, and in 1990 he received an Australia Council International Study Grant to research Black gospel traditions in the USA.
Tony has made several research trips to the USA. He has sung solo and with Black choirs in churches in the USA, and taught and performed at the 1995 West Coast A cappella Summit, California. He has led the Café of the Gate of Salvation and the Band of Angels (WA) on research/performance tours of the USA, and directed New Orleans choir the Heralds of Christ at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Gospel Tent.
He has acted as tour leader and musical director for several gospel tours of the USA, taking participants from outside the tradition to sing and immerse themselves in the Black church culture in New Orleans, Memphis, Birmingham, Chicago and New York. Since 1987, Tony has run vocal workshops throughout Australia and New Zealand, as well as Canada, the UK, Italy and France.
He takes singing tours to Samoa, Fiji, Bali, and remote Australian areas to interact with local communities and occasionally performs solo (guitar and voice) at festivals and venues thoughout Australia. He also performs and records with pianist/composer Peter Dasent under the Blessed Relief umbrella, with Fane Flaws in No Engine and with both Peter Dasent and Fane Flaws as The Bend.