Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button
Technorati button
Reddit button
Myspace button
Linkedin button
Webonews button
Delicious button
Digg button
Flickr button
Stumbleupon button
Newsvine button

Archiv

Archiv für April, 2012

The Real Group – German May Tour & The Real Group Festival

by Florian Städtler, Vocal Blog

For all of you who happen to  be around good old Germania in the lovely month of May, this is a special treat: Five shows by the vocal music superstars The Real Group ahead! As tickets are going fast (the May 11th show in Coesfeld has been sold out for months!) one reason for this post is the announcement of an extra concert on May 14th at Kultursaal, Ludwigshafen-Limburgerhof (ticket hotline: +49 621 40 76 01).

So find below some nice tasters and teasers for the upcoming concerts and – as a special treat for those who are not able to make it to the German shows at Stimmakrobaten Festival (May 10th) and Hannover A Cappella (May 12th and 13th) – the video invitations already posted for THE European vocal music event of 2012, The Real Group Festival. Enjoy!

Concert promo flyer for extra concert Limburgerhof, May 14th

 

Concert promo flyer for German tour May/June 2012

 

The Real Group – promotional video 2008

The Real Group – video invitation Peder Karlsson

The Real Group – video invitation Katarina Henryson

The Real Group – video invitation by Rajaton

Florian Städtler is founder and chief editor of Vocal Blog. He’s also been working with 8 International A Cappella Top Acts for more than a decade now and would like to bring more acts like The Real Group on international concert stages.

P.S. If you can’t make it to any of the 2012 live shows, be sure to get The Real Group’s music online at www.acappellazone.com

 

International Vocal Music Festival List, vol.2

by Dave Bernstein (Acatribe) and Florian Städtler (Vocal Blog)

Uploaded by blogging buddies Dave Bernstein and Florian Städtler, this list is the result of successful social media crowdsourcing. Thanks for sharing your favourite a cappella events: Tine Fris, Jeanine Rondas, Michele Manzotti, Christine Liu, Michal Hromcik, Sandra Hylla, Christophe Hui-Bon Hoa and Casey Gallas. Extra special thanks to Joep Hopstaken for allowing us to use the information from a wonderful Facebook thread he started a few months ago. By the way, you can add your festival ideas there or via e-mail to info@vocal-blog.net.

This list is by no means complete and will be updated on a regular basis. We hope that someday there’ll be one central global source for all these dates and events. Until we got that, stay tuned with Acatribe and Vocal Blog, where regular updates will be made. Note: We have decided to keep the events that have already passed until we have information about their next editions.

 

2012

EUROPE

March 17-18, 2012
EverySing! Festival, Ville de Montlouis-sur-Loire (FRA)
France A Cappella exists – thanks to new festivals like EverySing! The 2012 festival featured concerts and workshops with Postyr Project (DEN), singer Youn Sun Nah (Korea), Ommm (FRA) and Peder Karlsson (The Real Academy).
www.cepravoi.fr

April 20-29 April 2012
Festival für Vokalmusik Leipzig (GER)
Hosted by Germany’s most successful classical vocal group Amarcord, Leipzig has brought almost every international super group to Bach’s hometown. The 2012 festival features the hosts in the opening concert, English rising stars VOCES8 and many more shows from pop to jazz, from classical to world music.
www.a-cappella-festival.de

April 28, 2012
Prague A Cappella Festival, Prague (CZE)
www.PragueAcappellaFestival.cz

May 3-5, 2012
A Cappella Festival Appenzell (SWI)
One of smaller European vocal music festivals, but always worth a trip.
www.acappella-appenzell.ch

May 5-13, 2012
A Cappella Woche Hannover (GER)
A week of pro concert groups shows. 2012 will feature headliner The Real Group, who will also be coaching ensembles during their stay.
www.acappellawoche.com

May-July 2012
Stimmakrobaten Festival (GER)

Concert series with 10-15 pro and semi-pro vocal groups in the beautiful surroundings of the Sauerland mountains, featuring The Real Group (, Rockapella and many more.
www.stimmakrobaten.de

May 27-28, 2012
17. Sparkassen A Cappella Festival im Westfalenpark, Dortmund (GER)
www.dortmund.de/de/freizeit_und_kultur/westfalenpark_dortmund/westfalenpark_vk/event.jsp?eid=181953

June 7-10, 2012
Chorfest in Frankfurt (GER)
Choir meeting including concerts and workshops.
www.chorfest.de

June 16-17, 2012
Solevoci A-Cappella International Contest (ITA)
Italy’s most successful vocal music event with both competition and international festival.
www.solevocifestival.it

July 23-26, 2012
vokal total, 13th International A Cappella Competition, Graz (AUT)
Europe’s most prestigious a cappella competition; opening day with „Emperor of the Mic“ beatbox competition.
www.vokal.at

July 29 – August 4, 2012
Crest Vocal Jazz Festival, Crest (FRA)
www.crestvocaljazz.com

August 4-11, 2012
Vocal Pop & Jazz Days, Oberhausen (GER)
www.vpjd.nl

August 16-19, 2012
The Real Group Festival, Stockholm (SWE)
This festival, in Sweden will feature such European powerhouses as The Real Group, Rajaton, Postyr Project, the Swingle Singers, and Jake Moulton, among others. With a lineup like that, there is simply no reason (other than perhaps expense) not to go. Find the link to the 119-page programme book (not complete yet, but already very impressive) here and watch an video invitation by The Real Group themselves.
www.therealacademy.se

August 23-27, 2012
Ohrid Choir Festival (Macedonia)
www.ohridchoirfestival.com

August 24-25, 2012
Nuits des choeurs / Stemmen onder de Sterren, Braine-l’Alleud (BEL)
www.nuitdeschoeurs.be 

August 29 – September 1, 2012
Vocal Marathon, Rijeka (CRO)
The festival is founded by the music professionals gathered in non government organization Marathon Association from Rijeka, Croatia, which main activities are planning, organizing and promoting music, vocal and instrumental education, concert organization, collaboration with similar organizations in Croatia and internationally. The concept of the festival is based on performing in few vocal categories, similar to vocal contests elsewhere in the world.
www.vocalmarathon.com

September 13-16, 2012
Acappellica, Hamburg (GER)
First season for the new “vocalhamburgfestival”. Good luck! Acts 2012: maybebop
www.acappellica.de

September 28 – October 03, 2012
sangeslust, Bayreuth (GER)
Second edition of one of the most original and entertaining vocal music events in Germany featuring innovative elements like „Serenata Balkonia“ and five bands rotating through five different restaurants on one night.
www.sangeslust.com

September 29-30, 2012
VocalZone, Kiev (UKR)
Hosted by Man Sound, 2012 will be the festival’s fifth edition. Since 2006 the VOCAL ZONE has hosted BR6 (Brazil), Perpetuum Jazzile (Slovenia), Rock4 (Holland), Pitsj (Norway), FoolMoon (Hungary), STOUXINGERS (Germany), Affabre Concinui (Poland), A Cappella Express (Russia), JukeBox (Russia), Camerata (Belarus), UniVox (Moldova), Picardy Terciya (Ukraine), JazzEx (Ukraine), Beauty Band (Ukraine).

October 2012
Fool Moon International A Cappella Festival (HUN)
Hosted by Hungarian No. 1 vocal group Fool Moon.
http://acappella.hu

October 2012
Zoom+ Festival, Trnva (Slowakia)
www.zoomplus.sk

October 9 – November 9, 2012
Voice Mania,  Vienna (AUT)
Austria’s leading festival of vocal music: One month packed with amateur, semi-pro and pro shows in a beautiful city.
www.voicemania.at

October 12 -  December 8, 2012
Vokal Total / Spectaculum Mundi, München (GER)
If you are counting the number of gigs, Munich’s Total Vokal might be “the biggest” a cappella festival in the world. With small and medium locations (there are exceptions, e.g. maybebop will perform in the prestigious „Prinzregententheater“ this year), this festival doesn’t present the top 10 international groups, but still has an amazing list of extraordinary a cappella acts, who sang in Oktoberfest City.
www.spectaculum-mundi.de/index.php?vokal_total_programm

October 17-21, 2012
Festival Espoochor, Espoo (FIN)
Hosted by Finnish vocal group Club for Five (artistic directors), this event is in its tenth season and will attract international choirs and vocal ensembles.
www.festivals.fi/festivaalit/ooppera_ja_kuoro/88/?/eng

October 30 – November 4, 2012
Polyfollia Festival and Competition, Saint-Lo (FRA)
Choir festival, open to all kinds of music, both acoustic and amplified. 2012 line-up: Cadence, Audiofeels, Pust, Da No Coro as well as choirs performing contemporary music from Asia, Scandinavia and the Baltic.
www.polyfollia.org

No future events/dates announced yet:

chor.com, Dortmund (GER)
www.chor.com

Vocal Jazz Summit, Mainz (GER)
www.vocal-jazz-summit.de

Vokalarm, Trondheim (NOR)
http://vokalarm.no

 

NORTH AMERICA

January 27-29, 2012
Los Angeles A Cappella Festival (LAAF)
The Professional Showcase featuring Duwende, Pentatonix, and Hookslide alone was reason enough to attend this festival. As the CASA festivals now typically feature, there was also a scholastic competition which this year featured U of Oregon’s On the Rocks, the UCLA Scattertones, Cal Poly Take it SLO, UCLA Bruin Harmony, UCLA Random Voices, and Calabasas High School Unstrumental. Also becoming more standard for the CASA festivals, there was a collaborative recording, workshops with arranging wizard Tom Anderson, and a recording workshop with Diovoce’s Dave Sperandio. A noteworthy workshop was “Crafting Your Sound World,” which was taught by none other than Christopher Harrison from Sonos.
www.la-af.com

February 10-11, 2012
Amplify A Cappella Festival, Providence, RI
A festival sponsored and produced by Liquid 5th Productions? Had to be good. At this recently-announced festival, taking place in Providence, Rhode Island, the Professional Showcase featured Transit and Duwende. The website says the goal of the festival is to raise funds to “inject resources back into the a cappella community,” including the creation of an A Cappella Licensing Fund which will help groups pay for the licensing necessary to make their performances legal. Sounds like a great goal, and there were workshops with many of the folks from Duwende, Transit, and Liquid 5th as well as the omnipresent Jonathan Minkoff.
www.amplifyacappella.com

February 10-11, 2012
NE-Voices High School A Cappella Festival, Wilmington, MA
The same weekend as Amplify A Cappella, and only a state away (Massachusetts), the relevant headlining groups at this festival included Redline (hosting the Friday night competition), Firedrill!, and Pitch Slapped. Originally designed for high school groups, the organizers have opened up many of the events to collegiate groups as well.
http://ne-voices.com

March 23-25, 2012
Sing Strong, Reston, VA
This year’s festival, in Reston, Virginia,  donated 100% of the proceeds to charity including the Alzheimer’s Association and local choral programs. This year’s festival included two different Saturday night concerts, one early and one later in the evening. The early concert featured MAXX Factor, Blue Jupiter, Masai Electro, and Julia Easterlin. The late concert featured Pentatonix, The Edge Effect (feat. former members of the original Mosaic), Da Capo, and Alex Greenfield. There was also a Sunday matinee concert featuring Pentatonix (again), Afro Blue, Julia Easterlin, Da Capo, and Alex Greenfield.
www.singstrong.org

March 31, 2012
East Texas A Cappella Celebration 2012 featuring the Swingle Singers
Clearly Vocal and the City of Tyler presented the fourth-annual East Texas A Cappella Celebration, featuring multiple Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble The Swingle Singers from London, England. The unique event was held at 7 P.M., Saturday, March 31, 2012, at the newly-renovated Liberty Hall in downtown Tyler, Texas. Clearly Vocal, award-winning a cappella vocal jazz group from Tyler, hosts the event. In addition, 2011 champions of the International Competition of High School A Cappella, PFC from Douglas MacArthur High School in San Antonio, made a special appearance. As part of the East Texas A Cappella Celebration, the Swingle Singers presented a workshop earlier in the day on March 31 for area singers and vocal ensembles.
www.libertytyler.com

April 13-15, 2012
Boston Sings A Cappella (BOSS)
This festival is essentially a collaboration of past festivals East Coast A Cappella Summit and Social Media in A Cappella (SMACC). Despite the Professional Showcase headliners Cadence, Traces, and Redline, the biggest news about this festival was that it will feature the first ever Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARA) live awards ceremony, hosted by Ball in the House, going so far as to have a red carpet!
www.bostonsings.com

April 13-15, 2012
Toronto Vocal Arts Festival (CAN)
2012 line-up featured The Swingle Singers, The New York Voices and The Nylons.
http://torontovocalartsfestival.com/index.html

April 22, 2012
Montreacappella
Montreal’s first a cappella festival was held at Sala Rosa in Montreal, QC and there was a variety of American and Canadian groups from a variety of backgrounds and skill levels including a few collegiate groups from New York and Montreal’s own McGill University, as well as some semi-professional or part-time groups and classical groups as well. For more information, check out the website below.
www.montreacappella.com

July 13-15, 2012
VoCALnation, Washington D.C.
This year’s festival will be held in Washington D.C. and Bethesda, Maryland for the first time. To date, the only announced performers are the Cluster, making their U.S. debut, and Afro-Blue. Applications for instructors were recently due, and we will provide more information on workshops and performers as it becomes available.
www.vocal-nation.com

November 2-4, 2012
SoJam A Cappella Festival, Durham, NC
www.sojam.net

Feb-May 2012
Harmony Sweepstakes Festival
Terrific and often-overlooked, this annual competition begins in February and runs through April with 8 regional competitions (New York, Boston, Denver, Chicago, Los Angeles, Virginia, Olympia Washington, and San Francisco) and then a final competition in California on May 12, 2012 in San Rafael, California. Past winners or finalists have included some groups you may have heard of, including Groove For Thought, m-pact, Toxic Audio, Naturally 7, The Idea of North, The Coats, North Shore, and Overboard (to name a few). So, while these are strictly competitions without workshops or master classes, they should most certainly be on your radar.
Also, don’t forget the various ICCA and ICHSA competitions beginning soon and culminating with the Finals in NYC on April 27-28, 2012.
www.harmony-sweepstakes.com

AFRICA

August 29 – September 01, 2012
Namibia International Vocal Festival, Windhoek (Namibia)
hosted by Vocal Motion Six, feat. Rajaton
www.facebook.com/pages/Namibia-Vocal-Festival/273174429407585?sk=wall

 

ASIA

March 9-10  2012
Youth A Cappella Weekend, Singapore (SIN)
Featuring OUT OF THE BLUE of Yale University and local youth a cappella groups, TAS Youth Voices, TAG, Huayi Secondary Pop Choir. The A Cappella Society celebrated the power of the human voice with the effervescence of youths in a special weekend, highlighting youth a cappella groups in action at The Joyden Hall at Iluma! OUT OF THE BLUE of Yale University opened the weekend with their original arrangements of familiar and favourite songs to all at their maiden spring tour to Singapore! Featuring TAS Youth Voices and TAS Children’s Pop and Jazz Choir, with special guests TAS Voices, VocaBlends, TAG (Temasek Secondary School A Cappella Group) and the Huayi Secondary Pop Choir.The TAS Youth Voices returned to the stage with fresh effervescence, performing standards and fresh arrangements of contemporary songs and interactive programming to engage the audiences and make EVERYBODY SING!
www.a-cappella.org.sg

March 25 – April 28, 2012
Hong Kong International A Cappella Festival
Includes 2 open air concerts, a show in a stadium for high school students, one in a theater, and one sung by “Rockapella”.
http://acappella.hkfyg.org.hk/chi/acappella%202012.htm

March 17- April 1, 2012
Spring Vocal Festival, Taipei (Taiwan)
Taiwan Choral Music Center gathered all local A Cappella groups for a day of A Cappella marathon.  Triu from Austria and Les Grandes Gueules from France were also invited to attend this gathering. After the main day, International groups started their tour concerts adventure.
www.tcmc.org.tw

April 21, 2012
FAN – Festival of A Cappella Nagoya (JAP)
http://fan.go2.jp/

July 7  2012
National A Cappella Championships, Singapore (SIN)
In its 12th year, the National A Cappella Championships (aka AcaChamps) has become a staple in The A Cappella Society’s annual calendar of events. It invites the best a cappella groups from all corners of Singapore and the world to compete in a sing-off that challenges not only the performers themselves, but also the audience in re-evaluating the ever-changing genre of a cappella music.
www.a-cappella.org.sg

October 8-12, 2011
Vocal Asia Festival(Taipei, Taiwan)
One of Asia’s biggest festivals dedicated to
contemporary A Cappella, including The Real Group concerts, A Cappella
marathon, and Vocal Asia Camp, which is a 3-day workshops lead by world
renowned A Cappella musicians including The Real Group, Peder Karlsson, and Kaichiro Kitamura for groups coming from all over Asia, including China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan.
http://www.vocalasia.com/acappella.love/

August 8-13, 2011
Shanghai A Cappella Festival (Shanghai, China)
Vocal Asia hosted China’s first contemporary A
Cappella festival for groups coming from all over China.  Instructors
include Ray Chu, Francis Lai, Christine Liu from Taiwan, and guest artist Fool  Moon from Hungary.  Festival content include 3-day workshop followed by a competition.
http://www.cjchtart.com/

August 27-30, 2012
Vocal Asia Festival (Shanghai, China)
One of Asia’s biggest festivals dedicated to contemporary
A Cappella, including Slixs (formerly known as Stouxingers) concerts and their latest A Cappella theater production “Vocal Virus” shows, A Cappella
marathon, and Vocal Asia Camp, which is a 3-day workshops lead by world
renowned A Cappella musicians including Slixs and Tobias Hug from the Swingle Singers for groups coming from all over Asia, including Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

October 1-31,  2012
International A Cappella Festival Singapore
The A Cappella Society celebrates 5 years of excellent programming with first class vocal music from around the world! Since its start-up in 2007, our International A Cappella Festival has established itself as a month-long vocal extravaganza featuring top A Cappella groups from many countries and various styles!
In 2012, our line up will again be highlighted by some of the best a cappella groups from around the world, incorporating groups from Europe, America, including an Asian segment with leading groups from Taiwan and China. Local a cappella groups will also be presenting their music alongside the international groups.
www.a-cappella.org.sg

October 7, 2011
International A Cappella Summit Forum (Taipei, Taiwan) – bi-annual
Vocal Asia gathers important figures from each Asian
country together to present each region’s A Cappella development and potential collaborations in the future between regions.  Presenters include Angelina Choo (Singapore), Ray Chu (Taiwan), Kwok-Tung Fung (Hong Kong & Macau), Sungmo Han (Korea), Kaichiro Kitamura (Japan), Jin Wang (China), as well as keynote speakers Peder Karlsson representing Europe and Deke Sharon representing the America.
www.vocalasia.com

October 13-28, 2012
Taiwan International Contemporary A Cappella Festival, Taipei (Taiwan)
Established in 2001, this is the first festival dedicated to contemporary A Cappella in Taiwan, and has been running annually since then.  The festival includes international competitions, workshops, touring concerts for international groups, master classes, and open air singing. Starting from 2012, the international competition become bi-annual. This festival has join-venture with Graz Vokal.Total a cappella competition.
festival.tcmc.org.tw

The Aca Champs, as it is endearingly known as, is a programme that aims to provide positive reinforcement for all participating groups and serves as an annual testing ground for local and new pop / jazz a cappella groups to compete against one another in a friendly environment, winning prizes that would enable them to reach more performance platforms and opportunities in our society.

December 12-16, 2012
2nd International Choir Competition, Hué City (Vietnam)
Hosted by Förderverein Interkultur e.V.
Website

 

AUSTRALIA

March 13-18, 2012
Get Vocal Melbourne A Cappella Festival
www.vocalaustralia.com

 

2013

EUROPE

January 2013
VocCologne, Köln (GER)
One top act (2011: The Real Group, 2012: maybebop, 2013: ?) and a fantastic workshop programme hosted by Cologne Musikhochschule.
http://voccologne.hfmt-koeln.de

January 19th, 2013
Lievekamp A Cappella Evening, Oss (NED)
www.lievekamp.nl

January 23-26, 2013
London A Cappella Festival (UK)
Hosted by 5-times Grammy winners the Swingle Singers, the festival has quickly become both a top-notch concert and educational event and the meeting point for European and North American a cappella artists and fans.
www.londonacappellafestival.co.uk

May 17-20, 2013
Aarhus Vocal Festival (AAVF) (DEN)
Probably one of the best vocal music festivals in the world. Hosted by the world’s best „rhythmic choir“ Vocal Line (DEN) and Aarhus Conservatory patron Bobby McFerrin, the third edition of AAVF will certainly be an amazing event, that will bring together a cappella enthusiasts from all continents.
www.aavf.dk

June 5-9, 2013
Tampere Vocal Music Festival (FIN)
www.tamperemusicfestivals.fi/vocal/vocal2011/?lang=en

Aug 1-9, 2013
XXI Choralies, Vaison-la-Romaine (FRA)
www.choralies.fr

And now it’s your turn: If you have something to add, let us know right away to make this list better and better. If you are an event organizer, you’re invited to write a Vocal Blog post of your own and tell our readers what makes your festival unique and why it should be on this list. Looking forward to your links, tipps and recommendations.

KategorienMain Tags:

Festival Fever and a Vocal Jog XXL

by Florian Städtler, Vocal Blog chief listener and roving reporter

Always on the run...

If you’ve read my blog post about amarcord and their Festival für Vokalmusik Leipzig, you might be a bit envious of me, when I tell you that I’m going to spend 3 full days at one of the finest vocal music events in Germany and Europe. Tomorrow, 6:52am, a train is going to take me to Bach’s hometown and I’m looking forward to seeing two world-class, classical vocal ensembles performing live: amarcord (Friday, 20th of April), who traditionally have the privilege of opening the festival and VOCES8 (Saturday, 21st of April). For all of those who think “Why is it always that guy that gets invited to fantastic events like that?” I want to add, that on Sunday, 10am, I’m becoming a member of the festival team by running my first full marathon in Leipzig. Still jealous – well, if you want to join me, just do it: I will certainly find tickets for those concerts for everybody who will do the 42.2km Vocal Jog XXL with me ;-)

The Leipzig festival isn’t the right event for envious persons anyway: As it lasts 10 days and includes 10 concerts, only a very few people will be able to attend all the events. That’s why I thought it would be interesting to give you an impression of the variety and fantastic quality of the artists coming to the festival from 20th to 29th of April by the festival calendar and a collection of selected YouTube links. Please note, that some of the links I chose have nothing to do with the programme the groups will do in Leipzig. If you want to learn more about the festival programme, check out the festival’s website for more details. And of course the sound quality – as with 99% of all YouTube videos – has only little to do with how wonderful all of these groups sound live.

So if you have time and want to see some of the best vocal groups in the world as well as one of the most beautiful East German cities, check your calendar, book your trip and get your ticket to Leipzig. If you happen to be there this weekend let me know: I won’t drink too many beers in expectation of the upcoming Vocal Jog, but I surely need supporters to cheer me on. But for now, enjoy the YouTube preview of Festival für Vokalmusik Leipzig!

ensemble amarcord (GER), April 20th, 20:00, Gewandhaus Leipzig

 

VOCES8 (UK), April 21st, 20:00h, Theater-Fabrik Sachsen

 

LALÁ (AUT), April 22nd, 16:00h, Alte Handelsbörse

 

Heinavanker (EST), April 22nd, 20:00 Uhr, Thomaskirche

 

Nordic Voices (NOR), April 23rd, 20:00h Evangelisch-reformierte Kirche

(no video available – so they really want to be listened to by you live!)

 

Kraja (SWE), April 24th, 20:00h, Gewandhaus Leipzig

 

Cap Pela (ESP), April 25th, 20:00h, Theater-Fabrik Sachsen

 

John Potter & Ambrose Field (UK), April 26th, 20:00h, Peterskirche

 

BEING DUFAY (Ambrose Field, John Potter) – Dancity Festival 2010 from dancity on Vimeo.

 

Audiofeels (POL), April 27th, 20:00h, Werk II, Halle D

 

Cadence (CAN), April 28th, 20:00h, Schaubühne Lindenfels

 

Closing Concert, April 29th, 19:00h, Gewandhaus Leipzig

(too good to be captured on video – go and get your tickets now!)

 

This is the 13th edition of this amazing festival, which for all the people who work to make this happen (Thank you Friederike Frieler, Georg Manthey, Tobias Rosenthal and all those who I haven’t met yet) and for a first-time marathon man is a very lucky number. See you in Leipzig!

Florian Städtler is founder and chief editor of Vocal Blog. He runs SpielPlanVier, an agency which has specialised in international a cappella top acts, recently co-founded the European Voices Association (EVA) and if this wasn’t enough, he started the first professional European vocal music online shop Acappellazone in July 2011. Follow Florian/Vocal Blog via Facebook and Twitter or write an e-mail to info@vocal-blog.net.

 

Hong Kong A Cappella Portrait: Zense

by Edison Hung, Hong Kong

Music is probably the earliest kind of art we humans ever had. Throughout a long period of time, it has developed into enormous numbers of genres such as orchestral music, jazz, R&B etc, which have been blooming in our music world nowadays. However, among hundred types of music, there is one remains quite primeval in concept that we can still enjoy to date – ‘a cappella’.

A cappella is an Italian word, which means ‘in the manner of church’. It is primeval in the sense that it has no instrumental accompaniment, the music comes solely from the natural instrument we have since our birth, our own voice.

Such kind of singing is originated from the church music in the medieval time, when musical instruments were not that popular. One typical example of a cappella music in that period is Gregorian Chant. It features one unaccompanied melody vocalized by a choir or soloist in a droning unison that matches metres to the chanted words.

Of course a cappella music is no longer a patent of church now. It is well-received by professional as well as amateur singers, and even college students. Just like the other kinds of music, a cappella has developed into different ‘types’ which can be differentiated from song style (e.g. pop songs, classical), combination of vocal parts (all men group or all female group) and even identity (collegiate type).

Nevertheless, all types of a cappella music usually share some common elements: 1) seldom does an a cappella group compose a brand new song for itself. Instead, it rearranges the existing songs into a cappella version, or occasionally arrange several songs into a medley. 2) Beatboxing is widely used in a cappella music. It is used to add colors and give the pulse to the song. 3) Apart from beatboxing, some songs require the singers to imitate various kinds of instrumental sound such as brass  during the performance. Usually such a passage becomes the highlight of the song. All these elements have made a cappella music today much deviated from the traditional one, therefore some would specify it as ‘contemporary a cappella’.

A cappella is popular in western countries, especially in America, where countless a cappella groups are active now. Compared with the west, however, it is still a rather new music to the audience in Hong Kong. Many of them have no idea what a cappella is. Even so, if you browse the website of the Contemporary A Cappella Society of Hong Kong (CASHK), probably the biggest and the only a cappella agent in HK, you can find that there are already more than 20 a cappella groups registered. Together with the unregistered like the Metro, the HKFYG Hong Kong Melody Makers, there are more opportunities to hear a cappella in HK, and surely the audience pool is getting bigger and bigger.

Currently, almost none of the a cappella group in HK is able to establish itself as a full-time performing group. So how do an a cappella group run in Hong Kong? Let’s have a look on Zense.

HK vocal group Zense

Zense is a group founded in 2009 with all the members coming from the Opera Hong Kong. Due to the small number of members, they don’t need a spacious room for practice. Therefore the practice usually just takes place once a week at the home studio of their ‘captain’ Bryan Woo. What they required is an instrument for tuning, but they have adopted a modern way to replace a piano by downloading one into their mobile phones. And recently they have bought a mixer and several microphones in order to resemble the real performance situation, so to as improve their quality. The rest of the practice then relies on good ears as well as musical sense.

Every performance group longs for shows, so does Zense. In the beginning, they grabbed their opportunity via their personal network. Bryan still remembered it was the time when the centre he works for wanted to organize a concert, he self-recommended Zense to it and succeeded to make their debut on stage. After that, they started to promote themselves by sending e-mails to shopping malls. They then take a step further when they registered in CASHK. Having an agent as intermediator, they have to worry less about finding performance opportunities and can focus more on the music.

Since their debut, Zense have had appeared in different occasions like festival and press release organized by malls and hotels, or even private birthday parties and weddings. The more gigs they have done, the greater their fame and network gets, and hence more invitations come along.

Ernest Hui

But what make a cappella long lasting and being welcomed from west to east? Ernest Hui, the resident composer of CM Singers and resident artist of the Hong Kong Melody Makers believes it is because a cappella is a flexible artform that the repertoire can range from pop to jazz, from rock to classical, plus the fact that human voice has infinite possibilities, two things together can lead to infinite variations which keeps the vitality and the charm of the music.

“Although there could be hard times in rehearsals and practices,” Hui added “it is rewarding especially when you are able to lead the audience in a trip through a cappella music, and share with them the joy of music making. Not to mention, it is satisfying to work hard with friends.”

Music-sharing is always fun and is easier with a cappella music. Since it is just as easy as ABC – you don’t need a Stradivari violin nor grade 8 piano to play a cappella music, all you need to do is just sing, at anytime, anywhere.

A Cappella has become a global phenomenon – let us know where you do your vocal music thing, how you try to develop the art form or simply have fun singing: Anytime, anywhere! We would love to feature you on Vocal Blog, so send your suggestions for VB content to info@vocal-blog.net and if you haven’t done yet, like our Facebook fanpage and follow us on Twitter.  Thanks, Edison for contributing this post – hope to hear from you and the Hong Kong A Cappella community soon. By the way: I’m going to be in Hong Kong (on a very special a cappella mission) on June 25 & 26) – hope to see Patrick Chiu and you there!

KategorienMain Tags: , , ,