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Archiv

Archiv für Juli, 2015

Vocal Asia 2015 Interview

IMG_3792

Bud Jan, Wuming Chen, Juliana Baron, Christine Liu

by Juliana Baron, July 31st of July 2015

 

Vocal Blog Talk with Christine Liu, Wuming Chen and Bud Jan

Christine Liu
- Music Director and Alto of the vocal group Voco Novo (Taiwan)
- Director of International Affairs of Vocal Asia
- Music arranger

Wuming Chen
- Chief Executive Officer of Vocal Asia
- Leader and VP of the vocal group Semiscon (Taiwan)

Bud Jan
- Investment Consultant in the Culture, Music and Film Industry
- Organizer of the single singer’s network in Shanghai and China
- Leader and Tenor of the amateur vocal group A-CAism

„I really enjoy singing a cappella with all the friends in Shanghai“

Juliana:      I don’t know any a cappella person who doesn’t know Christine Liu! Nevertheless, could you introduce yourself to our Vocal Blog visitors?

Christine:   Hi, I am Christine. I have an a cappella group in Taiwan called Voco Novo and I am the Music Director and sing Alto in the group. And I also work part time for Vocal Asia, that’s an organization that promotes a cappella music in Asia.

Juliana:      Wuming, I am very happy, that you also found some time for this interview right after your China tour with your band Semiscon. Could you also briefly let our blog visitors know about your a cappella background?

Wuming:    I am Wuming Chen also from Vocal Asia. And I am the band leader of Semiscon vocal group from Taiwan. I am also the vocal percussionist in that band. Just like Christine, we try to promote a cappella music all around Asia and we also try to make a stronger linkage between a cappella in Asia, Europe and the States.

Juliana:      At least for Shanghai, if you want to sing a cappella or want to meet a cappella friends – you need to go to Bud.

Wuming:    Yes, haha, he’s the man!

Juliana:      I would call you the center of the a cappella network in Shanghai. Can we get a short introduction who you are?

Bud:          Hi everyone, this is Bud. I am from Taiwan as well and I am working in Shanghai as a financial investment consultant for the music and film industry. My work is not related to a cappella. But I devote a lot of time to a cappella because I love it. Wuming and Christine are my teachers, my professors and my idols too. I learned a cappella through them and I really enjoy singing a cappella with all the friends in Shanghai.

„We are entering the second phase of the development of a cappella music in Asia“

Mehr…

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AAVF 2015: “Like Woodstock – just better.”

A Facebook chat dialogue between Jeff Meshel (“Jeff Meshel’s World: Song of the Week”) and Florian Städtler (Vocal Blog/Acappellazone) about Aarhus Vocal Festival 2015, friends and family, the value of competition and Israeli golf courses. (Excuse the “experimental” layout…remember: Content is king!)

  • Jeff Meshel

    Hey, Mr. Städtler! Where the hell were you? You missed the finest bash ever. AAVF was uplifting, inspiring, fun. I so much missed sharing a beer with you.

  • Florian Städtler
    27/05/2015 14:49

    Florian Städtler

     

    Hi there, Jeff. I can’t believe I missed this. One of the half dozen events that form the core of what they call the vocal music community. Can you imagine how much I wanted to come? And how hard it was to see you, your group and the whole a cappella family celebrate the art form…and yourselves. Let alone having that beer with you, that we haven’t had since back then, on a ship in Stockholm….2012!!

  • Jeff Meshel
    27/05/2015 15:04

    Jeff Meshel

     

    It was a remarkable event, right up there with the best festival events I’ve attended. Everything was great–the performers, the workshops, the informal concerts, the networking, the hugging, the after-party bashes. The organization was quite good–the meal package enabled everyone to hang out together during the breaks, which is a big benefit. I’m so full of inspiration–ideas, fun, admiration for all the groups I heard, ideas I exchanged. And love–getting back together with all (well, most) of my dear ACA-friends. Where were you??

  • Florian Städtler
    27/05/2015 15:15

    Florian Städtler

     

    I was at a very different event….hold on, no: Actually it wasn’t that different. First off, it has a longer tradition than most of the vocal music festivals we travel to. Secondly, with 88 people attending, it seems small – but it really isn’t. And thirdly, it brings together people from distant places to meet, eat, sing, have fun, talk, take pictures and hug. Once a year, and unfortunately always on “Pfingsten” (Whitsun/Pentecost) our tribe gathers for a big family reunion somewhere in Germany. This started right after the German reunification, 1991. I went to this place, into that restaurant and met all these relatives, 60% of whom I had never seen before! So as the dates collided like at AAVF 2013, I had to make this tough choice: Biological vs. vocal family…What would you have done in my place?

    Jeff Meshel portrait
  • Jeff Meshel
    27/05/2015 15:22

    Jeff Meshel

     

    I don’t know your family (but I do know a lot of your friends). And I know that you can choose your friends, but not your family, so that’s a big advantage for friends. I actually don’t have very many blood-family members left. But I am blessed with a lot of singing friends from all over the world, with whom I feel closer and closer with every passing event. ‘Knowing people’ in our vocal community isn’t binary. You can’t count them like the number of FB friends. Each time you meet, the connection deepens and becomes that much more meaningful. So I had the experience, as always, of both meeting lots of new people, making former acquaintances into friends, and former casual friends into real intimate friends. Still, blood is thicker than water, so I guess you made the inevitable correct choice. Just bad luck on the dates.

  • Florian Städtler
    27/05/2015 15:36

    Florian Städtler

     

    Everytime I tell my friends about a family meeting including almost 100 people (everybody who stems from my my mother’s mother and her two siblings), they say they haven’t heard about anything like that. So I don’t even know how thick the blood of my grand-counsins son-in-law is in comparison to some of the people who have become my second family through continuous communication and activities around the topic of singing together in groups. You’re probably right that friendship and relationships are hard (or not at all) to measure. So I probably should be very happy to have two groups of people who give me these feelings and moments you described above. Not having been there, I now want to know a bit more about Aarhus: What are your top3 AAVF memories (don’t think, just type!)?

  • Jeff Meshel
    27/05/2015 16:31

    Jeff Meshel

     

    Two of them are pretty easy (and public). Vivid Voices killed the choir competition. They were just overwhelming. Creative, entertaining, impressive. Everything. Giant WOW for them. Signe Sørensen and her group Mariagerfjord Pigekor were a knockout. Not just the music, but the back-story, how she went into schools with no vocal tradition and built this wonderful group of committed, engaged, creative girls out of thin air. She was really inspiring.

  • Jeff Meshel
    27/05/2015 16:35

    Jeff Meshel

     

    The third memory is personal. I brought my 2-year old group, Vocalocity. It was a dream come true for me. More than that, a fantasy come true. I felt like a young father showing his new baby to his father. I couldn’t have been prouder, showing off to my dear friends how this dream has been realized, and watching my 30 ‘kids’ encounter so much overwhelming talent (and warmth). So for me, it wasn’t just participating in the festival as an individual, as I’d done in the past, it was also leading a group of talented young enthusiasts, exposing them to the musical wealth and communal love of our a cappella tribe.

  • Jeff Meshel
    27/05/2015 19:34

    Jeff Meshel

     

    Let me share one other personal thought. My group, Vocalocity, participated in the choir competition. None of the ‘kids’ (they’re mostly in their 20s, with a mix of a few of us up even into the 70s) had ever been to an event like this. They came with a lot of competitiveness and confidence, some of which they got from me. But I tried to balance it with the sense of love and sharing which is so strong at AAVF and the other a cappella events. We hoped, even expected to do pretty well in the judging—but we didn’t, and we were pretty down about it. Then one of the kids, a very talented musician, said to me, “You know what? This just shows that we need to think further outside the box.” Taking the competition in the best positive way, and an inspiration and incentive to improve ourselves, while acknowledging the fine achievements of others—that made me very proud.

    P1150831
  • 28 May
  • Florian Städtler
    28/05/2015 15:02

    Florian Städtler

     

    It sounds absurd, but “losing” a competition might be more valuable than winning. I remember bringing The Boxettes (now dissolved British all-female beatbox vocal group) to the Vokal Total competition in Graz. Of course they went there to win, but they didn’t match any of the rules of “proper” a cappella singing. They just put on their show which was loud, rough and made to dance and bang your head. They were disappointed and frustrated when they learned about not being understood. They actually won the audience (!) price, but much more importantly they decided to go their own way with even more determination. Are competitions a force for good in the vocal music world? In this world that is so emotional, full of harmony, empathy and mutual respect? This is a whole new discussion and there are arguments for both sides. I think Vocalocity, who are a fabulous bunch of singers, was one of the many winners at AAVF: They went there, they gave their very best and they entered a process of growth and self-reflection. Congratulations!

  • 28 May
  • Jeff Meshel
    28/05/2015 21:23

    Jeff Meshel

     

    I agree with you wholeheartedly. From my career in the past as a playwright and director, I can tell you in full honesty that I learned very little from my successes and a great deal from each failure. I struggle to find the justification for a competition in the world of a cappella, at least in the norther European scene. I’ve never attended an American event, which I know are usually competition-based. But the European scene seems to me so generous and encouraging and loving, that I really find the whole idea of competitions quite uncomfortable. I believe there are major figures, such as Peder Karlsson, who refrain from participating in them as a judge. How about this as a compromise?–Groups submit clips to the festival board, or a panel of judges working in their name, and half a dozen groups are chosen from the many applicants to perform for 15 minutes each. All love. All winners. No losers.

  • Jeff Meshel
    28/05/2015 21:27

    Jeff Meshel

     

    Getting back to AAVF 2015–I don’t know if I ever told you this, but I actually attended Woodstock. The original one. And I can bear witness that I felt more real love in Aarhus than I did in Woodstock. Because I know so many people, and meet so many new friends each time; and because we’re all there to create and hear beautiful music right up close, rubbing shoulders with the artists and engaging fellow enthusiasts in workshops. We really are part of a community, and I for one am very proud and thankful about that.

  • Florian Städtler
    02/06/2015 12:36

    Florian Städtler

     

    Wow, Aarhus, “like Woodstock – just better!” Our Danish friends will love that quote. Maybe one more question about Vocalosity’s performance: What were the actual details, the judges commented on? And how did the choir members deal with it?

  • Jeff Meshel
    02/06/2015 13:05

    Jeff Meshel

     

    The judge’s comments were great! They were very positive, complimentary, with good constructive criticism. I think we’re stronger on communicativity, passion, weaker on precision (in accordance with the character of our country, perhaps). So their comments will help us focus on those aspects. On the other hand, we got some compliments on our blend, which made us feel really great.

  • Jeff Meshel
    02/06/2015 13:08

    Jeff Meshel

     

    We’re still very young, only two years old. I think the bottom line is that we still have a lot more growing to do to define ourselves. Someone told me a joke about when they were building the first golf course in Israel (there’s only one). They brought in an expert from England on how to get that fine, green grass. “You need to plant the right kind of seeds, water it properly, weed it as I’ve shown you, apply the proper fertilizer at the proper times, and wait 400 years.”

  • Jeff Meshel
    02/06/2015 13:09

    Jeff Meshel

     

    The choir members got a lot of respect for the other groups. We definitely came away with the feeling that we gave it our best, we did a very respectable job, and we have lots more work to do.

  • 2 June
Florian Städtler
02/06/2015 12:36

Florian Städtler

It sounds like you came away with quite a lot.

  • Jeff Meshel
    02/06/2015 19:57

    Jeff Meshel

     

    Oh, there’s more! A couple of very nice people (and talented musicians) asked if we would like for them to write an arrangement for us. Christmas in May!

     

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