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Archiv für Februar, 2010

After The Sing Off – An International A Cappella Debate

16. Februar 2010 31 Kommentare

by Nate George, David Michael Loucks, Stephen Saxon, Tom Keyes, Deke Sharon, Willy Eteson and Florian Städtler

On February 7, a remarkable thread emerged out of Facebook, a real-time discussion  by a bunch of a cappella activists. This online debate, which was exciting to be part of, happened after Nate George, baritone for Red Harmony, a Los Angeles based, 6-person vocal group updated his facebook status with a comment on the image the US TV show “The Sing-Off” created in the US public.  What followed was a highly interesting discussion of experts offering views from inside the business and a lot of general a cappella insight.

So this time I will radically break the rule of “Don’t write more than one page in a blog”: This post is quite long, but worth reading if you care for vocal music. And the debate is not an exclusively US American issue. Many thoughts, especially on the image a cappella music holds in public apply to the European music scene as well.

Participants:

Nate George David Michael LoucksStephen SaxonTom KeyesFlorian StädtlerWilly EtesonDeke Sharon

Nate George wishes ‘collegiate a cappella’ was not the face of the a cappella music scene, in pop culture. What about the many professional vocal groups that tour around the world? There, I said it, don’t chastise me!

David Michael Loucks You and me both, bro. Sad state of affairs. Thanks for nothing, sing off.

Stephen Saxon Is it worse to be misrepresented or to be ignored completely? I don’t have an answer, but perhaps a foot in the door is better than a closed one.

Nate George No disrespect to collegiate groups, some really do a good job, but they often don’t have the resources or the musical training to pull off industry standard recordings or entertaining live performances. As they are the ‘face’ of the genre, it gives the genre an amateur stigma, thus limiting the kinds of audiences that come to the concerts and buy the recordings. Mehr…

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An A Cappella Meet & Greet with The House Jacks

12. Februar 2010 Keine Kommentare

Video improview by Florian Städtler

The House Jacks, American a cappella pros have toured Europe on a regular basis. This time we saw them in Freiburg, Germany where they did a showcase at the Internationale Kulturbörse, a convention of artists, agents and buyers.

For three days, the Kulturbörse offers hundreds of showcases on three stages, the mini-shows restricted to 20 minutes of performance for each artist. Most of the groups or soloists try to press a maximum of their assumed highlights into this slot to impress their audience. Not the House Jacks.

The a cappella quintet (including CASA luminary Deke Sharon) completely surprised the audience by using up the oh so precious showcase time for a interactive musical request programme.

So we heard unique and completely improvised (!) versions of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”, an untitled song by Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young and Austin (Willacy), musical gems like Falco’s “Amadeus” and – hard to believe – German pop singer Herbert Grönemeyer’s “Flugzeuge im Bauch”. Jake Moulton, the group’s beatboxer did the lead vocals on the quickly translated “Airplanes in My Stomach.”

The crowd went wild and Sebastian Schröder (www.kulturbeutel.net), the Jacks agent was quite busy after the show. Half an hour later I went to see them with my video camera. Although the quality of my camera work is very modest, we thought we should share the meeting with you, hope you enjoy it!

Did you like this article? Do you think there are groups or people who should be featured in the Vocal Blog interview series? Do you want to interview someone for Vocal Blog?

If so, feel free to comment to this post or send your ideas to info@vocal-blog.net. I’m looking forward to your feedback, let’s present remarkable concepts and people of the vocal music scene and get it all connected.

FSt

Florian Städtler

Vocal Blog Interview Series “3 questions, 3 answers, 1 song”: Vol.2 Tonalrausch – Real Vocal Jazz

4. Februar 2010 2 Kommentare

by Florian Städtler

Using the claim “Real Vocal Jazz” to describe your vocal group’s programme shows a certain degree of artistic self-confidence.  From the business side of things, it still seems risky to put all one’s eggs in the jazz basket. On the other hand: Who’s really looking for average programmes by average ensembles.

Tonalrausch, a Berlin-Leipzig-Weimar-based vocal group who brought home prizes from the renowned a cappella competitions in Graz and Taiwan are everything but average. There are very few European groups who can offer a programme as original and ambitious as Tonalrausch.

Touring through Germany, they happened to sing in a great place right on Vocal Blog’s homeground, the Waldsee. Situated in Freiburg, Germany, jazz stars like Chet Baker, Wayne Shorter to name only two have played on a small, cosy stage at a real jazz club.

After the show, I had the pleasure to talk to the group and listen to a most beautiful, odd-meter version of the German folk song “Wenn ich ein Vöglein wär’” (If I was a little bird)…sitting right between soprano Alexandra and alto Diana on a red sofa next to the stage.

Watch the video (and my face, while those guys sang…) and be sure to check out their show.

Did you like this interview? Do you think there are groups or people who should be featured in the Vocal Blog interview series? Do you want to interview someone for Vocal Blog?

If so, feel free to comment to this post or send your ideas to info@vocal-blog.net. I’m looking forward to your feedback, let’s present remarkable concepts and people of the vocal music scene and get it all connected.

FSt

Florian Städtler

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