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Artikel Tagged ‘Rajaton’

The Real Group – on their 30th anniversary tour in Korea

24. September 2015 Keine Kommentare

by Juliana Baron, Vocal Blog Asia, September 2015

It was 1984 when The Real Group was formed. More than 3 decades later, they are still touring across the globe and celebrating their 30th anniversary with their fans all over the world. A few days ago, The Real Group had a concert in the Seoul Arts Center in Korea. Although in the same time zone, we failed to do a „Real“time interview due to bad internet connection. But Morten, baritone of The Real Group, was so nice to give me an interview at a later time. I am very happy to share it with you here on Vocal Blog!

An Interview with Morten Vinther (The Real Group)

Juliana: Congratulations to your 30th anniversary – The seniors of contemporary a cappella! This year (2015), you started your anniversary world tour – is it routine or how does it feel different?

Morten Vinther Sørensen, The Real Group

Morten Vinther Sørensen, The Real Group

Morten: It feels like an extreme privilege for us, to get to celebrate our anniversary with so many people all over the world. And singing songs from almost the whole period of 30 years, puts our own work into a new perspective – for example; choosing songs for an anniversary concert is REALLY hard, when you have hundreds of potential candidates for the list. So that feels different! And even though singing concerts and traveling is what we do, it never becomes routine to meet a smiling audience. Every night is different and we thoroughly enjoy it – recently in South Korea we had fans bringing cake and enjoyed it a bit extra! :-)

Juliana: On your „round the world tour“, you’ve just been in Korea. It seems you’ve been almost everywhere. How did you choose the countries and locations for your anniversary tour?

Morten: We actually sat down with a wish to spoil ourselves a little and said: Which places that we have been to would be on a wish-list? And then we basically tried to make that happen with our manager Helena Roos and our hardworking contacts all over the world. This far the tour has included central Europe, most of Scandinavia, United States, Japan, England, South Korea and before the year is over we will visit Germany, Switzerland, Luxemburg, Latvia, Denmark and have a few trips in Sweden.

Juliana: What is your favorite location?

Morten: Impossible to answer! Every spot has it’s own charm, and I really like getting to switch between cultures and regions all the time. We are all in love with FOOD though (!), which results in tough concerts when we visit countries like Italy and Japan – note to self: don’t eat the 15th bite of sushi before the concert!

Juliana: What is your special linkage to Korea?

Morten: Some years back a very visionary man - Jay W. Sung, FEEL MUSIC – contacted us, because he wanted to use our music in TV-commercials in South Korea and he immediately made us appear on big campaigns on national TV. So that was actually the start of when ended out extensive touring in Korea, hosting an a cappella festival in Seoul, singing at the opening-ceremony of the FIFA World Cup and developing the “a cappella phone” with LG to name the most important things (of course, the love for Korean food followed…)

Juliana: What is your personal highlight touring / singing with the Real Group?

The Real Group

The Real Group

Morten: Personal highlights, hmm, there’s almost too many highlights – but I will try to name a few.

- Touring in South Africa is definitely on the list. We are ambassadors for the charity organization Star for Life that work in South Africa have been visiting schools with that initiative, while also doing our normal concert. Deeply moving encounters with the smiles, the singing and the past.

- Almost living for one month (in total) in the middle of Shibuya, Tokyo, while singing 19 concerts in almost all the suburban areas of Tokyo. Feels a little like home when we come back now.

Juliana: Looking back in your band’s history and your many visits to Asia, how do you think the A Cappella world changed during that time? Especially in Asia?

Morten: The genre has opened up to so many different ways of approaching a cappella. In Asia we have seen both the contemporary and the folky styles develop a lot.

Juliana: Three decades „The Real Group“ – you became ambassadors for a cappella – What is the secret of establishing a worldwide successful renown a cappella group and keeping at the top, motivating and inspiring other groups to sing a cappella?

Morten: I would say that The Real Group has never had those “goals” in mind. I’m not sure it’s secrets but curiosity, timing, respect and extremely hard work has definitely been factors, that has helped on the way – hard work being the biggest one! :-)

Juliana: Do you need to continuously reinvent yourself?

Morten: It would be very boring if we continued to do the same, so I think we have a natural urge to invent new music, new arrangements and follow new ideas – no sure if that is reinventing. But it probably comes out of the aforementioned curiosity… it’s hard to stop that!


The Real Group greeting the Vocal Blog followers “Meet!”

Juliana: What comes next? What are your upcoming projects? Will you continue with LEVELELEVEN (The Real Group + Rajaton)?

Morten: We have a repertoire with a symphony orchestra, that we will take out a few times within the next year. And yes, that’s our plan to continue with LEVELELEVEN – as long as Rajaton wants us on stage with them :-) It’s a very dear project to all of us and besides developing new music and exploring a new instrument together, we have so much fun when we meet. There’s already a few concerts in the calendar for next year with Leveleleven, and we’re looking forward to the luxury.

Juliana: Is „the Bass-Anders“ leaving the biggest change you experienced during your time with The Real Group? 

Morten: Yes, it is definitely the biggest change I have experienced, because Anders Jalkeus is the first member that has left the group, since I joined. That being said, I have been singing with Emmas substitute Kerstin when Emma was on her maternity leave and now more than half a year with our new bass Janis Strazdins – so the changes feel less dramatic than they might look, I guess. The music always lingers on

Juliana: Your new bass Janis joined this year. How did Janis make his way from Latvia to The Real Group?

Morten: We already knew about Janis before we started to look for Anders Jalkeus’ replacement. He used to sing in the extraordinary Latvian vocal group Cosmos and since they split up some years back he quickly made it to our list of people we wanted to talk to. For the last five years, Janis has been singing and touring with the renowned Latvian Radio Choir so it was a steady, calm and experienced guy who entered our rehearsal place to try out with us. I remember rehearsing much longer passages of the pieces than we had planned for, and generally our feedback to his singing was very positive – Janis was cool and answered: “Well, that’s what they pay me for…”    :-)  Janis feels like a great addition to the group and his background reflects the same kind of musical curiosity that can be found in The Real Group – so now we are curious about the future :-) !

Juliana: What is ”The Real Group Academy” about?

Morten: The Real Group Academy is our online “hub” for education within the vocal music field. We have tried to find a way to tie all the great teachers we know out there to all the wonderful singers who wants to learn more. So we really try to connect the singers/conductors/arrangers who want to improve – to the one they need to talk to, so they can meet in real life or via Skype or other digital platforms. The Real Group Academy organize weekend-courses, festivals, coachings, workshops and through Peder Karlsson we’re a part of the RAMA Vocal Center in Denmark. We care a lot about vocal music, basically.

Juliana: Thank you so much for your interview! Enjoy the remaining 30th anniversary tour of The Real Group!


The Real Group “Live in Japan” (also mentioned by Kaichiro Kitamura who is a guest performer on the CD)

 

Vocal Asia Festival 2015 – Impressions of Day 5

21. September 2015 1 Kommentar

by Juliana Baron, Vocal Blog Asia, September 2015

Every moment is just so special – Juliana’s first-hand impressions of the Vocal Asia Festival 2015

Sad, but true – the last day of Vocal Asia Festival (VAF) 2015 in Shanghai has come:

Day 5: Caught in the moment

Sun (Aug 9), the last day of the Vocal Asia Festival, started with one of my favorite workshop topics: „Imprecision in an Age of Musical Perfection“.

DeltaCappella’s workshop „Imprecision“

DeltaCappella’s workshop „Imprecision“

DeltaCappella inspired and motivated people in their workshop to try out new ways of learning and arranging a song without strictly sticking to the notation. Unfortunately, we found no time during the festival to have an interview. I hope, I will get the chance some day soon, to have a deeper discussion with DeltaCappella on this interesting approach.

In the afternoon, I attended the Jazz vocal percussion class of Kaichiro Kitamura, an amazing Jazz vocal percussionist and founder of the Japan A Cappella Society.

After his workshop, I got a chance to talk to Kai about the status and development of A Cappella in Japan.

Interview with Kaichiro Kitamura from Japan

Kaichiro Kitamura, Juliana Baron, Ray Chu

Kaichiro Kitamura, Juliana Baron, Ray Chu

Juliana: Kaichiro-san, you are such an international person, fluent in English, Chinese, Korean – and of course Japanese. Is it ok, to call you Kai?

Kai: Yes, well, you are half Korean, you can also call me Kai Obba (elder brother).

Juliana: (laugh) This year, Vocal Asia in Japan was kicked off. How would you describe the status of A Cappella in Japan?

Kai: Actually, we are deeply impressed by Take 6, Singers unlimited, Doo-wap and so on. Those, who listen to their music, they form up their college a cappella groups. The first a cappella club was established in Waseda University in Tokyo, which I graduated from, and that was more than 30 years ago. This was the first college a cappella club in Japan. Then, 10 years later, new a cappella clubs occurred in many colleges and many places and not only the students’ associations, but also the vocal festival associations for the public. So now, spreading out nationwide from Hokkaido to Kyushu area. There are pretty many a cappella festivals right now in Japan.

Juliana: How come that there are not so many Japanese a cappella groups going outside of Japan?

Kai: Well, one of the reasons is, they don’t know about the international festivals abroad, actually. And the second reason is, they are interested to join in international festivals, but it is tough for them to speak English. They need to understand everything in English, need to express themselves, need to understand the classes, the instructors – that’s tough for them. There is a language barrier.

Juliana: Are there any professional groups in Japan who can make their living from a cappella?

Kai: Yes, more than 10 professional groups are in Japan. Most of the teams are living in Osaka or Kobe area and about 3-5 groups are now active in Tokyo.

Juliana: What was your highlights and lowlights throughout your musical journey with vocal percussion and a cappella?

Kai: It is hard to tell, because I experienced so many highlights. One of the big highlights is the Vocal Asia Festival. Every year I was invited as an instructor. And every year coincidently, I was invited as a guest performer at the gala concert to accompany the master group of the festival. For example with The Real Group in 2011, in 2012 with Slixs, then Rajaton, The Idea of North. That gave me the big chance to perform in the world. And this year, tonight, I will also join Naturally 7 on stage. We just finished the rehearsal, it was OK (laugh). Oh, and with The Real Group, when they came to Tokyo, I just hopped into their show and the whole performance was recorded. The CD is now on sale, the title is “Live in Japan – The Real Group”

Juliana: Any lowlights?

Kai: Actually, I’ve never experienced bad things. Always the music cheers me up and people motivated me. So, every time I feel happy.

Juliana: What is your wish for Asia’s A Cappella future?

Kai: Especially for our country, we have lot’s of difficulties to host an international festival. But I want to make a change. If we promote a cappella festivals like those from Vocal Asia to Japanese concerts, to the Japanese people, Japanese singers – maybe that attracts them, I believe they will participate. All I can do is being an ambassador, tell people what is good, what is happening in other Asian countries. I will be in charge of promoting. I’ll do my best.

Juliana: Thank you so much, Kai Obba! I wish you all the best for your a cappella promotion!

 

VAF Gala Concert - The Wanted

VAF Gala Concert – The Wanted

The final highlight of the 2015 Vocal Asia Festival was the gala concert. Asia Cup winners „The Wanted“ opened the show. Although just coming out of High School, they were absolutely stunning and almost professional.

VAF Gala Concert - DeltaCappella

VAF Gala Concert – DeltaCappella

Special guest DeltaCappella brought a different sound experience and a diverse program of jazz, swing, rock and pop songs – the audience loved it. The workshop participants of the morning session were invited to sing along the chorus of Good Livin’: „We’re gonna harmonize and we’re gonna shout…“

VAF Gala Concert - Naturally 7 giving everything.

VAF Gala Concert – Naturally 7 giving it one’s all.

VAF Gala Concert - Naturally 7

VAF Gala Concert – Naturally 7

 

 

 

 

 

Mindblowing the show of the VAF’s master group Naturally 7. Next to me, there was a Chinese lady almost going nuts, almost jumping out of her seat. It seemed to be her first time in an a cappella concert and she couldn’t stop saying how good they are.

Kaichiro Kitamura’s duet with Naturally 7 bass Kelz was for sure another highlight on this show.


Fabulous gig of Kaichiro Kitamura with Naturally 7 bass Kelz at the VAF Gala Concert.

But my favorite of this evening was the encore song „Caught in the moment“. Somehow like a motto which accompanied me throughout the whole festival. Each and every moment was just so special.

 

Naturally 7: „Caught in the moment“ (which is much more intimate and touching listening to it live)

Although this was a lot to read and thanks for your interest – there was much more happening throughout the VAF 2015. Sorry that I couldn’t join and share impressions of several other interesting workshops by Ray Chu, Christine Liu, Kwok-Tung Fung, Leo Tsai and Kaichiro Kitamura. If you joined any of their workshops or want to share some of your experiences, please feel free to comment and share.

Hope to see you at the next festival whenever, wherever on this earth! Cheers!

VAF 2015 - the participants

VAF 2015 – the participants

10 People You And I Want to Meet at LACF 2013

by Florian Städtler, Vocal Blog

Happy New Year, everyone – I hope you had some nice relaxing holidays and are ready for another year of fantastic news for all of us vocal music afficionados. The first wonderful thing to happen every year is an event that most of us only refer to as LACF: The London A Cappella Festival, curated by The Swingle Singers and executed by their longtime partners in crime, Ikon Arts. In only four years, LACF has become a top-notch international festival, featuring artists like The Real Group, FORK, The Swingle Singers, Cadence, The Boxettes, Witloof Bay, The Vasari Singers in earlier years as well as a growing programme of workshops, panels and network activities.

This year’s line-up is quite spectacular in many ways, too: The Swingles inviting The King’s Singers shows the mutual respect between two groups who are both living legends and at the same time alive and kicking. Finally, one of Britain’s most successful live acts, The Magnets, have their LACF spot as well as Finnish vocal music stars Rajaton, who will spread their soundscapes of pop and Nordic music at King’s Place for the first time. And don’t forget the next generation: Postyr Project from Aarhus, Denmark with their blend of electronic and vocal music. The Exchange (USA), a five-part all-star band from NBC’s Sing-off supporting The Swingle Singers. Vive, one of the big hopes of young British vocal music. Retrocity from Canada with their mix of pop, soul and funk…you better get your tickets now at www.londonacappellafestival.co.uk.

With the first two articles about LACF2013, I would like to feature some people who I want to meet in London in person. Simply because I know that it will be fascinating to talk to them about their reasons for coming to London, about the festival’s artists and the development of vocal music in Europe, America and Asia. This first one is about what we might call “hidden champions”: People who work backstage, people who organize and network, people who care so much about the a cappella community that they travel from (very) far to see the concerts and meet their aca-friends. It goes without saying, that this is a very subjective selection and of course I could easily have titled this “101 People You and I…”. However, if you meet some of these featured, you will sooner or later bump into more inspiring, thoughtful and/or crazy a cappella people.

Here are the hidden champs I want to meet and talk to from Jan 24th-26th:

Alex Godfree (UK), because as the figurehead of Voice Festival UK, she is one of THE movers and shakers in the UK a cappella scene. Watch her on that little LACF2012 video greeting and check out Voice Festival UK’s brandnew website, Facebook page and Twitter.

Jeanine Rondas (BEL), because Jeanine is one of these people who have made a cappella their favourite thing. She probably knows more about vocal music in Europe than most of the “vocal music pros” around. Get to know her via Facebook and ask her anything about aca-travelling – she’ll have the dates, names and figures.

Andrea Figallo (Flying Pickets, Wise Guys) with Jeanine Rondas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jessica Hill (UK), because her work with the Ikon Arts team makes LACF happen. Thank you! Watch Jessica, Nicola and Beccy in their LACF 2012 video greeting and check out Ikon Arts via Facebook and Twitter. (To meet these ladies during the festival buzz will be rather easy…talking to them will be much more difficult. #busybuddies

Yael Levin (ISR), because she (together with Yarden Cohen) seems to be very a cappella active in her home country – and I want to learn more about what happens over there regarding vocal music. Welcome to London, Yael – who else will be coming from Israel?

Yael meets Katarina Henryson (The Real Group) at The Real Group Festival 2012, Stockholm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sven-Michael Salzer  (GER) – I’m actually not sure if “SMS” aka Festival-Sven will be joining us at LACF2013, but I do hope so. He is a member of the Hannover-based vocal group Essenzen and fell in love with another LACF2012 attendee – which means we have one more aca-couple. Here’s Sven’s Facebook and Twitter contact…ah, and by the way: Sven works as a manager of Hannover A Cappella Festival, one of the major vocal music events in Germany for more than a decade now.

Festival-Sven meeting Clare “Twitterqueen” Wheeler of The Swingle Singers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michele Manzotti (ITA) – Michele, a journalist and writer based in Florence, Italy is one of the greatest Swinglesingerologists on the planet. Ask him a question about Swingle Singing and he will have the answer. He made his debut as a performing vocal artist joining the fabulous “Single Singers” (no typo; pun intended, find more on this project’s website) at LACF2012. Michele is such a great guy – chat him up if you can!

 

Michele Manzotti with his wife at LACF2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joan Hare (USA) - Well, what can I say about Joan? She is probably one of the most unique and wonderful people in a community that is not exactly poor regarding original personalities. Joan “A Cappella Mum” Hare actually is the mother of Bill Hare, the world’s no.1 vocal music producer (the list of his clients would make this blog explode). But Joan is much more: She’s a symbol of what makes this community so special, the figurehead of aca-love. You won’t be able not to meet her – and that’s perfectly fine.

Joan Hare (front right) with Sonia Kilianova…and Bill Hare

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hans Cassa (NED) - Is Hans a hidden champion or should he rather be mentioned in the next blog post, when the stars on stage will be featured? Difficult, because being a longtime member of Dutch a cappella pioneers Montezuma’s Revenge as well as a passionate “Single Singer“, aca-traveller, teacher and fan, he is a perfect example of how the border between pros and amateurs have no meaning at all at the great a cappella festivals . It’s the joy of music and good company. You will certainly meet Hans both at the “Festival Pub” called “The Fellow” and at the Premier Inn’s hotel bar. He’s not tweeting a lot, but anyway here’s his Twitter and Facebook contact.

Deborah Rosanwo (GER) – If you want to meet a passionate choir singer (with Bonner Jazzchor) and want to learn about the best things about Stockholm, Aarhus or other festivals in Europe, just ask Deborah. She seems to be online 24/7 and her posts are often real vocal music gems. I’m not sure, well, actually quite sure that Deb will be joining the “Single Singers” at their 1st anniversary gig at King’s Place. If you want to learn more about Deborah, see if she wants you as a Facebook friend and follow her on Twitter….if you can find her.

Deborah (on the right) with Bill Hare at The Real Group Festival, Stockholm 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Willy Eteson (UK)Richard “Willy” Eteson was The Swingles high tenor and business director for almost ten years. He is a passionate cook and deli expert. This passion culminates in an annual slaughter of a pig, executed (literally…) by Willy and some former choir boys. He married his beautiful wife Joanna Goldsmith-Eteson (don’t look into her eyes, you will both faint and Willy will consider you to become a delicate home-made sausage) on Copacabana beach (not kidding!) in Rio de Janeiro and they now live in Hackney, a part of London that will soon be as glamorous as Rio’s seaside. Meet Willy live and be prepared to be offered exceptional home-made delicacies. Meet him online and you will experience British humour and obscure fourth league football comments.

And now….! As I have left out dozens of other, equally nice, charming good-looking  and nice-smelling people: Who do you want to meet in London? Post your comments and I promise every single suggestion will be featured with a mini-portrait on the blog. Let’s introduce your personal LACF2013 star and meet them in the real world very soon!

I’m Florian Städtler, 42 (the answer to life, the universe and everything) a father of two wonderful daughters who can sing but don’t admit it. I studied electric guitar, became a marketing and event planning pro and finally decided to fall in love with a cappella (#Iloveyouall). Meet me, tweet me, facebook me, watch me, buy me, join me.

My Favourite Real Group Festival Moments

by Florian Städtler, Vocal Blog

“A life-changing experience” – this was only one of the enthusiastic descriptions of the 2nd vocal music festival hosted by The Real Group in their hometown Stockholm. Can three festival days in the Swedish capital change your life? How comes that even seasoned professionals could be seen wiping a tear at The Real Group Festival’s improvised closing ceremony? Why do people accept a lot of little glitches by the mostly volunteer organization although they spend a significant amount of money to travel, sleep and take part in workshops and concerts? And why do a cappella people seem to hug each other at every possible opportunity?

I’m going write another blog post about the things that we can learn from The Real Group Festival, to maybe end up with an even better festival experience. But right now, I would like to give my dear readers (those who joined the Stockholm extravaganza and those who couldn’t make it this time) a very personal explanation, why I enjoyed this festival so much and was one of those who had to wipe away a tear when the celebrations reached its climax in Eric Ericsson Hall. So here are my favorite Real Group Festival moments:

1. Stockholm, capital of Sweden: This city is certainly one of the most beautiful capitals of the world. Friendly, clean, safe and with people who make a very relaxed and open-minded impression to visitors. Even a heavy rain shower right when I had to find my way from “Centralstation” to my hotel couldn’t spoil the positive impression of the Swedish capital.

2. The Opening Concert (1), Postyr Project: Maybe the 5 Danes who started their journey of “ecappella” (vocal music fused with electronic music) less than 2 years ago haven’t even realized how quickly they have become both the darling of the festival hosts and highly praised vocal music teachers. Not a dream, Line, Tine, Anders, Andreas and Kristoffer: But certainly an obligation to keep pushing the borders of vocal music.

Christine Liu (Voco Novo) with Florian Städtler (Vocal Blog)

3. The Opening Concert (2), Voco Novo: My personal discovery of TRGF2012. A Cappella music from Taiwan? Vocal music from Asia? Fasten your seat belts, ladies and gentlemen. When our friends from the East do something, they do it 100%. And they have learnt very, very quickly that their true strength is not copying the American or European groups, but finding their own voice. You can’t out-realgroup The Real Group anyway.

4. Watching Jim Daus Hjernoe: Jim is not only an exceptional teacher of rhythmic choral music, a professor and a member of the European Voices Association core team. As if that wasn’t enough, he just looks damn’ good. As the Danish answer to George Clooney and a colleague of Bobby McFerrin the number of his disciples is constantly growing. Watch this space for more news on the latest vocal music edu news – you can be sure that Jim is pulling some of the strings.

5. Meeting acafriends from other continents: Yes, there are people who fly many thousands of miles to be part a three-day event and – judging from their happy smiles, perpetual hugging, Facebook posts etc. – they don’t regret having booked the trip to Stockholm. Judy Fontana (USA), Kari Francis (USA), Jonathan Minkoff (USA), David Longo (USA), Paul Jay (CAN), Christine Liu (Taiwan), Catherine Liu (Taiwan), Bill Hare (USA) and a vocal group leader from Venezuela (who ran out of business cards) are only a few of those long-distance a cappella travelers.

6. Meeting Jeff Meshel (ISR): Jeff Meshel, well, what can I say. I have not known his work as a music journalist and publisher for too long. However I’ve completely fallen in love with his blog and writing style. His knowledge about jazz is almost scary. And his enthusiasm for authentic music and authentic vocal music easily made him part of the Stockholm aca-family. The intense talk about the global development of what Jeff calls “The New A Cappella” (in a restaurant on a ship next to Skeppsholmen island, close to the festival center) was a 2-hour deep-dive into the worldwide phenomenon of vocal music. Can’t wait to continue this conversation.

"Swingle Singers?" "Bello impossibile" - Erik Bosio (Cluster) with Florian Städtler (Vocal Blog)

7. The Swingle Singers, live in concert: It’s hard for me to be objective, so I won’t even try. The Swingles have been part of my musical and agent’s life for a decade now. And I love them. No…after the performance at China Teatern (after Rajaton, no big deal, really…), I believe in the NEW Swingle Singers and I am proud of the seven of them. The current line-up sings originals. They have the best soloists the group ever had. And when it counted (a gig at TRGF is more or less one of the most important showcases on planet a cappella), they delivered what David Longo called “the perfect set”. If there were any doubts about the Swingles going to have a glorious 50th anniversary year in 2013, they wiped them away with musical perfection (“Clair de Lune”, “Libertango”) and world-class entertainment (“All the Swingle Ladies”, “Diva”) that proved that this group belongs to the champions league of vocal music.

8. The Story of Perpetuum Jazzile: It was one of these tough choices you have to make when attending a jam-packed festival. Should I see Jim Hjernoe’s vocal rhythm workshop or do I want to get the inside scoop of the YouTube wonder with the strange name? I chose Bostjan Usenik’s workshop on the success story of Slowenian pop choir Perpetuum Jazzile. Their story, the story of 55 (amateur) singers going viral on YouTube with one of the unjazziest and covered-to-death songs in the world – Toto’s “Africa” – is as unbelievable as the fact that they use the word “Jazz” in their group name and have as of today not only appeared in major European TV shows, but tour Germany with the support of the country’s most prominent tabloid newspaper and national TV channel SAT1. The funny thing is: Bostjan wasn’t really able to explain WHY it all happened as it happened. But one thing became very clear. He and his team worked very, very hard and for a very long time.

The Stockholm Vocal Jog #1 team

9. The Stockholm Vocal Jog was a triple success. Despite the completely unrealistic starting time of 7:30am, both the Friday and Saturday Vocal Jog was well attended – six heroes on Friday, five Vocal Joggers on Saturday. The real surprise was a single jogger who for years had only laughed at me and told me that “one can only run from something” (or for something…that something being pudding, chocolate etc.), the Swingle Singers “alto, arranger and party planner” Clare @dinkyswingle Wheeler. Wheelie, you made me smile before, but  this time, it’s special. Keep on running, we can’t wait until you join us!

10. The EVA Open Meetings: The European Voices Association (EVA) was founded on the 1st of January 2012. And it was time to get the movers and shakers from all over Europe on board. In two meetings a great number of interested people who represented the whole variety of European vocal music gathered: Singers in vocal groups and choirs, conductors of classical, jazz and pop choirs, representatives of national vocal music institutions and friends from similar organisations like Vocalasia and CASA (Contemporary A Cappella Society, USA). Volunteering needs motivation – here you are. The EVA board went home with lots of new ideas to be thought about and homework to be done. NOTE (1): EVA needs members! You can become one for 60 EUR per year via www.europeanvoices.org – welcome and thanks for your support! NOTE (2): EVA needs volunteers, e.g. benefit scouts, fundraisers, EU funding specialists, PR experts, researchers etc. etc. Apply via info@europeanvoices.org if you want to contribute and share!

11. The Real Group: “Define The Real Group”, I asked the members of the Vocal Blog Facebook group. And nothing happened. It’s hard to put in words what five Swedish singers have achieved for themselves and the vocal music community in more than 25 years. Authenticity. Openness. Curiosity. Approachability. Innovation. Modesty. Genius. Empathy. Charisma. Humanity. Inspiration. Role Models….all of this is true, but it only partly describes the work of art that now inspires a new, self-confident and competent generation singers, conductors, arrangers, composers and producers. Maybe we just shouldn’t solve this mystery and simply enjoy the beauty and the kindness we see and hear. And stay curious. Forever curious.

A big thank you to TRGF team, who made this event possible. And for all the beautiful moments that linger on and made our love of singing in groups even stronger. See you at the London A Cappella Festival in January 2013.

Florian Städtler is an agent, blogger and vocal music lover from Freiburg Germany. He is founder of Vocal Blog, Acappellazone and Chairman of the Board and co-founder of the European Voices Association.

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