Fran André is a choir leader and singer working in the South West. Her passion is teaching music of the African diaspora, and alongside this raising awareness of the increased need for the full cultural honouring of music of black origin. She does this through a thorough contextualising of the songs she teaches, and by bringing her singers into a more complete awareness around the need for anti-racist work by highlighting aspects of colonisation and it’s legacy of negative systemic effects for marginalised groups.
She leads the Soul of the City Gospel Choir in Exeter, which focuses on singing gospel, soul, funk, South and West African and Motown. This choir helps raise awareness of the need to fully honour black music through joyfully alive and fully embodied heartful performances. She has also recently received funding from the National Lottery Awards for All grants, to run a series of harmony singing days to teach black history and foster anti-racist enquiry along with singing music of the African diaspora. Fran is a bringer of truly joyful song medicine and therefore her singing leading contains both a blend of uplifting energy and a reflective tone, which is hopefully thought provoking.
Fran is also a Trustee of the Natural Voice Network and has been leading on ARCH (anti-racism and cultural honouring) work in this UK network of over 700 voice practitioners. In January 2021 she began ‘the ARCHers’, a group comprising over 75 singing leaders from within the network who are interested to create positive change in their choirs in relation to equality, diversity, anti-racist work, and cultural honouring. This group meets monthly online, and Fran leads this group with a view to continually building on the concept from Layla Saad’s highly influential book and enquiry guide Me and White Supremacy, of ‘a leader in every chair’.
Exeter, Totnes, Dartington