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Artikel Tagged ‘The Swingle Singers’

10 LACF memories that will bring me back in 2015

by Florian Städtler, London, post-#LACF2014

The author with the ultimate description of the typical LACF visitor.

The author with the ultimate description of the typical LACF visitor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many events are good at marketing. Only few really deliver. Rarely has a marketing slogan been so diligently put into practice as during London A Cappella Festival 2014, which has just ended after 4 days of – yes, here comes the LACF marketing department – “Total Immersion”. Immersion into an art form. Immersion into a unique community. Immersion into more and more #LACFextra cult activities. Congratulations to a brilliant team of professional and volunteer festival organizers. Congratulations to all who travelled from Hackney and Denver, from Firenze and Rotterdam, from Singapore and Hannover, from Bersheeba and Los Angeles. To name only a totally random few. You have been part of a festival that has grown from a purely British two-day concert event into a four-day package that includes everything an a cappella enthusiast and a “regular” music lover wishes for.

The concerts featuring The Swingle Singers (UK) as co-hosts, The Real Group (SWE), The Housejacks (USA), Slixs (GER), Vive (UK), The Songmen (UK), The Time Ensemble and many more foyer and workshop acts gave an impression of both the state of the art and of what we can expect of the future of vocal music. The workshops were mostly sold out and featured a great diversity of topics and workshop styles, from impromptu beatbox-along sessions and behind-the-scenes talks to intense collective exercises and valuable insights for up-and-coming groups. All this happens in an extraordinarily inspiring venue, King’s Place and a constant buzz of singers, conductors, organizers, producers, media people and aca-nerds, meeting, talking, discussing, celebrating and enjoying the variety of nationalities and cultures in England’s capital.

There’s nothing like the real thing, which is: Coming to the London A Cappella Festival yourself. “Talking about music is like dancing about architecture”, Mick Goodrick rightfully said and the same goes for explaining the unique at vocal music festivals like Aarhus, Stockholm, Leipzig, Hannover, Graz, Hamburg, Tours, Vienna or Munich. Just go to London in January 2015, get “totally immersed” and catch the LACF bug. “Pictures say much more than words” is another truism used too often. Nevertheless, the following 10 snapshots taken by my very old but cherished Vocal Blog Lumix, are my personal memories that have made London A Cappella 2014 unique. And 10 reasons for me to come back.

(1) Trending Beards: Obviously, growing beards is trending in London. Just look at the current male fraction of The Swingle Singers. Why? Is it for practical reasons? Do those guys want to look older than they are? Do their spouses want to keep other women kissing their partners? Is it compensation for losing hair elsewhere? The beard phenomenon will certainly not be a major reason to come back to London. But I predict that this trend will have turned into something new by the time of LACF 2015. The “LACF Beard XXL Competition” was clearly won by an ex-Swingle: Tobias “Tobi” Hug made a spectacular appearance at the festival, presenting himself as the perfect doppelgänger of Fidel Castro Jr. It used to be “Everybody needs a Hug”. Now it’s “Love is in the hair.”

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L.A. fashion guru Bill Hare with Fidel Castro Jr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(2) Aca-Family: This festival truly brings together all generations singing and loving vocal music: Vocal music legends in the same way as collegiate a cappella groups. Producer heavy-weights like Bill Hare, Liquid Fifth and Danny Ozment as well as DIY-YouTube creatives in their early twenties. School kids, young parents, grandparents and whole families in the audience. I was particularly happy to see the Ikon Arts‘ founder  and LACF producer Costa Peristianis‘ whole family at King’s Place: Holly (who’s also back at the Ikon office working for British jazz-pop-gospel act Vive), Isabella and Leo. You can’t start to totally immerse early enough!

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Holly, Isabella, Costa and Leo joining the aca-celebrities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(3) Jessica Hill & the LACF team: Have you ever tried to plan and organize a concert in your local community? It can be quite a challenge. But what about organizing an international festival with participants from all over the world, from top-notch, professional artists to countless of amateur and school ensembles? Jessica Hill, artist manager with Ikon Arts has become “Mama LACF” and like every good mom, she loves her baby – although it can be quite exhausting and capricious. And even a seasoned professional like Jessie couldn’t manage this extravaganza on her own. So our thank yous go out to Sarah Hickling, Nicola Semple, Becky Chilton, Holly Peristiani (whose desk I was allowed to use for a mini-internship during the festival – thanks so much!) and Clarice Goff. Ikon Arts director can be more than proud of that fabulous team.

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Jessica “Mama LACF” Hill (Ikon Arts)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(4) The Single Singers: Annemarie Homann, Dutch ex-pat in Italy and her singing buddy Emily May t’Hoen have created a wonderful work of non-profit, make-it-happen, feel good work-of-art. Up to 40 singers traveling to different international  a cappella festivals without their groups prepare a couple of songs that – after 2 rehearsals – are performed at the festivals’ main venue. This has become one of the true cult activities at festivals in Aarhus, Stockholm and London. And seeing these people meeting, reuniting and simply enjoying the collective singing simply makes you happy.

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Single Singers ecstasy, LACF 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(5) The LACF 2014 Live Album: Yes, we did it, last-minute, including the typical allnighter getting the vocal music online shop Acappellazone ready for pre-orders of the first live album including all professional acts that have performed at King’s Place this year. Yes, I’m not kidding, by early March there will be an album that includes The Real Group, The Swingle Singers, The Housejacks, Slixs and Vive. The album (limited edition of 200 CDs or mp3) can be    pre-ordered at a special festival price until 30th of January and will then be available at the regular price. So if you couldn’t make it to LACF 2014, here’s your chance to get an impression of the vocal magic happening at King’s Place. And if you were there, that’s the perfect souvenir, Christmas present or collector’s item.

londonacappellafestival_live

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(6) The Vocal Jog: This is probably something that most of my readers and especially those who have been to aca-festivals, cannot even imagine: Going for a collective morning run after very little sleep and before another day jam-packed with workshops and concerts. Believe it or not, we’re doing this on an annual basis, a chosen few who make it up to Primrose Hill, close to Regent’s Park. Learn more about it at the Vocal Jog fan page and join if you want to get to a completely different level of festival energy. And nerdiness. (For the record: This year there were 6 of us, 2 groups of three each, who unfortunately missed each other on Primrose Hill. 4 Dutch – more on that later -, on Scotsman and one German).

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View from Primrose Hill during not-so-foggy LACF2014 test run (Friday, 23rd of January)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(7) Willy Eteson: Former Swingles business director Richard “Willy” Eteson has a favourite pastime, which has become an exclusive LACFextra activity. Willy is a fantastic chef and creator of self-made meat products. This year again, he brought his latest creations to the King’s Place foyer: Self-made grilled sausages and (here we go, my dear vegetarian friends!) delicious brawn. Southern Belle Sara Brimer and her boyfriend, conductor James Davey  were absolutely delighted as the picture can tell.

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Meat & Greet with Swingle Singers soprano Sara Brimer and Jim Davey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(8) Full English Breakfast. The hotel some of us stayed at was – to describe it carefully – not a hotbed of customer service. However, we tried to enjoy the traditional English breakfast (scrambled eggs, toast, tomatoes, baked beans, bacon, sausage (worlds apart from Willy’s self-made treats). And you can’t imagine how good this fireworks of British cuisine tastes after 7.7 kilometres of running.

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That’s how you start a London day: Baked beans and Nutella are non-negotiable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(9) Vive & Slixs: My personal discoveries (thanks, Costa Peristianis and Tobias Hug!) of the festival were the two groups that were new to most of the audience, too: Local heroes Vive with their artful and clever mix of jazz, pop and gospel as well German “hidden champions” Slixs (formerly known as Stouxingers), who in a irresistible way refuted the cliché that German groups never really groove or can be funny in an intelligent way . Both Vive and Slixs have two things in common: They consist of five male and one female member, and – more important – of 6 equally strong characters that make their concerts performances in the literal sense of the word. My prediction here: If  those not-so-newcomers will live up to their own potential, they will be the headliners and trendsetters of tomorrow.

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Vive – the only way is up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(10) The Dutchies: Like most neighbors, the Dutch and the Germans have their mutual stereotypes, small and not-so-small rivalries and frictions. I love my Dutch friends, a whole traveling party of good-humored and witty people. Thanks for candle light dinners, breakfast chats, great snapshots and greater after parties. See you soon, somewhere in Acappelland. Or at LACF 2015, at the very latest!

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Preparing for another LACF2014 day with Full Dutch Breakfast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m Florian Städtler, blogger, a cappella agent, event director and learner of Mandarin. Vocal Blog is my global vocal music communication baby. If you want to be a part of that great community and dive into a stream of related news, links, tips, videos, pictures etc., follow me on Twitter, like the Vocal Blog Facebook fan page, join the Facebook group, subscribe to the Acappellazone YouTube channel and hit me up, when you are going to be present at a cappella events. And if you are interested in becoming a Vocal Co-Blogger, send your (not-so-promotional) articles and pictures and I’m happy to feature them on the blog. If you like what you read and watch, and want Vocal Blog going, buy CDs, DVDs, sheet music and more Cool Stuff at my vocal music online shop  www.acappellazone.com.

At work while the US guys are preaching :-) #VBontour

Live blogging from LACF2014 workshops. #VBontour

My SoJam Highlights as a First Timer

by Deborah Rosanwo, originally posted on www.europeanvoices.org on November 12th 2013

Deborah Rosanwo

When I said that I was going to SoJam the reactions ranged from” Nice, what is that?” to “All that way for a weekend of A cappella…On your own???”

It is actually Twitter’s fault. Whilst following Vocal Blog I got caught up in an onslaught of overwhelming enthusiastic Tweets from SoJam 2011. Those who know me know that I can also be enthusiastic about things a cappella but this was a completely new dimension and it made me curious to see what the hype was about. The seed for my trip was planted.

As fate would have it, I was in for 6 weeks of hardcore a cappella from September on filled with Choir competitions, the Bonner Jazzchor “Bottle This Moment” CD Release Tour and culminating in SoJam.

So was it worth it? Definitely! Here are my personal highlights:

1) Finally meeting dear Facebook and Twitter friends – Tone Siwela and Tara Marie Ahn - a Cyber SoJam “like”Story. I struck up a great a cappella -based friendship with both of them because of their effervescent 2011 SoJam Tweets and meeting them in person was like a reunion of dear old friends.

P12007692) The Pre- SoJam Meeting in Jimmy V’s with CAL Founder Tom Keyes, the a Cappella Recording Guru Bill Hare, Mr. Vocal Blog himself Florian Städtler, the CASA Ambassador for Ohio and Africa Tone Siwela and Myself …Aca Nerd.  Learning first hand about the history and purpose of The Contemporary A Cappella League and discussing the regional benefits as well as the international relevance.. Extremely informative…especially when interspersed with travelers anecdotes!

3) Chucks! This is THE Burger Temple of Raleigh. Try a Dirty South with Sea Island Red Pea Chili, crispy tobacco onions and Ashe County Mountain Cheddar. The owner won’t hesitate to explain where all the ingredients are bred or grown. Delicious!

4) What does an A Cappella ensemble from Singapore do when it realizes that a great fan cannot come to it’s concert because he can’t close his Chinese restaurant? A flashmob of course! MICappella sang a beautiful contemporary Chinese song after ordering their food.. Much to the joy of the restaurant owner and astonishment of the customers. Extremely cool!

5) UCD MIX. I was excited about the collegiate a cappella competition. I had heard all sorts of things varying from” if you like Beatbox CPR and Octavers ” to ” you can’t beat the enthusiasm of these youngsters”…all of which proved to be true! The ones that stood out that night were however MIX from the University of Denver. They were innovative, had strong soloists, edgy and still the perfect blend, fantastic drama in their choreography and told the story. They practically goldfished me. I could have seen them amongst the Top 3 for the Vocal Ensemble competition at the Aarhus Vocal Festival. I. Was. Impressed. Needless to say, they won! Congrats!

6) Hot on the heels of this experience comes the MIX Masterclass with The Swingle Singers…great to see how Excellent can become Superb with a few tips on stage presence  and tuning from the experts. MIX blew me away with their intensity even without stage props, costumes and microphones. We will hear a lot more from them in the future.

7) Canadian party a cappella group Eh440 kept the audience entertained between the competition sets. They gave myself and Tone asylum in their car and we all sat singing Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long” in 6 improvised parts on our way to the SoJam After-Party #carjam and even took us in as VIPs! A cappella bonds…just like that!

8) A customised Vocal Jog for Dee around the Sheraton block with Florian Städtler between discussions about EVA and CASA in the quest for an elusive taxi to the North Carolina University campus for the workshops on Veterans’ Day…. an almost impossible task but we made it.

9) MICappella… Asian a cappella took the stage by storm last Saturday. Not only are these guys cool to hang out with, their mix of Pop, Rock and Ballads interspersed with the dispersion of myths about Singapore … (They are neither in China, Malaysia  nor in Japan!!) , crowd approval gestures Asian style, a bass from hell, a mad beatboxer and strong vocalists catered for a fired up audience and good vibes all around. The modern day ” hold-up-your-flashlight-on-your-smartphone” during a chinese ballad was literally a brilliant moment for all.

10) And then came the Swingles. All of a sudden there was a refined, pure, clear, beautiful sound encompassing us all like a tunnel of light shining into a clearing in the forest. The bass and the vocal percussion were defining but non intrusive, balm for my ears… Sara Brimer’s soaring soprano, Clare Wheeler’s unbelievable scats, Oliver Griffiths soul- wrenching tenor, Jo Etson’s refined mezzo… I was moved to tears by the Swingles for the first time and I have seen the Swingles at least 4 times in the last 2 years. Their performance was a display of elite a cappella, aristocracy if you wish, hand picked and handed down over 50 years of the group’s existence. Yes, the Swingles totally own their art form!

PS.  Sunday morning brunch in Jimmy V’s … scrambled eggs, sausages and bacon, scones, bagels, fresh fruit and yoghurt and coffee served in a real cup for the first time in 5 days! How I had missed that. And no, I will not diverge into a German rant about Schwarzbrot but this brunch really compensated for all the fast food and coffee to go.. I could laugh and sing again!

Mit freundlichem Gruß

Deborah Rosanwo

 

The Swingle Singers: ‘Sinfonia from Partita No.2 in C Minor’

by Jeff Meshel, originally posted on www.jmeshel.com (a wonderful music blog!)

The Swingle Singers – ‘Sinfonia from Partita No. 2 in C Minor’

The Swingle Singers, 2013

I had the great pleasure last week of hanging out with The Swingle Singers. They were coming to our little corner of the globe for a couple of concerts, and graciously agreed to give a workshop for the growing local a cappella community. Both the workshop and the concert were knockouts, and I highly recommend you following their tour calendar and trying to catch them the next time they’re in your neighborhood. Here’s what they look and sound like today. Ain’t no one who won’t enjoy them, from the most casual listener to the most effete snob.

I wrote at some length in SoTW 139 about the history of the Swingle Swingers, the context in which they sprouted, the path they’ve traveled, and especially where they are today. In short, the original Swingle Singers were formed in 1963 in Paris under the direction of Ward Swingle singing Bach instrumental scores in eight voices with a jazz bass and drum accompaniment. They disbanded after a successful decade, and Ward regrouped in London. This new incarnation worked for the next thirthysomething years, into our current century, as an evolving a cappella group performing technically polished treatments of a standard range of folk, pop, classical and traditional music. In recent years they’ve become associated with the “contemporary a cappella” movement, which I’ve written about extensively, becoming a world leader in this burgeoning cult.

Ward Swingle

They’re creating new and exciting music, and they’ve just begun. They’re planning on recording a lot of new material for their 50th anniversary, and judging by the two samples from their recent concert, some new ground is about to be broken. One very impressive piece featured a fluid harmonic center gliding between keys while being driven by a programmatic rhythmic scheme. Bartok would sit up and listen intently. The other began with the bass creating a beatboxing backing loop, then added Billie Holiday’s vocal track from ‘Don’t Explain’ isolated from its backing and run through a compressor/limiter and distorted, à la ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’!! Then the group overlays this potpourri with a demure choral ‘accompaniment’
overriding Lady Day. Say wa??

The original Swingle Singers

Clare Wheeler, the very talented arranger and alto of the group, told me that for much of their audience, ‘The Swingle Singers’ means singing Bach in a jazz setting. But for her and all the current Swingles, it means creating new, innovative, interesting music. Just like Ward Swingle did fifty years ago, when he pretty much invented the mindset of crossover and opened up the music world to the potential of classical music in popular contexts, vocal jazz and so much more. In fact, she told me, the 86-year old Ward Swingle heartily approves of ‘the new stuff’ and encourages the youngsters to pursue new directions rather than slavishly copying the original Swingle music.

“For him, The Swingle Singers is about being innovative. We see ourselves as a band, striving to create good music, not a party trick slavishly adhering to a principle such as doing everything strictly a cappella.”

The Swingle Singers, 2013

I loved hearing that, and was encouraging Clare to be bold and continue taking bold chances, because they’re a hip, young, fun group of musicians. But they also carry that name, and with it a mantle of noblesse oblige and the aura of that great, groundbreaking music that I was singing twenty years before any of the current Swingles was born.

So I sheepishly asked them if they knew my very favorite piece from one of my very favorite albums, the ‘Sinfonia from Partita No.2 in C Minor, BWV 826’ from the very original “Bach’s Greatest Hits”. ‘Sure’, they said, ‘it’s still in our repertoire, but we haven’t sung it since Ward’s party a few years ago.’ Wow. I sure would get a kick out of hearing Clare and Jo and CJ and Kevin and Oliver and Ed singing that ‘Sinfonia’, with Sara singing that crazy, divine virtuoso lead which will forever be one of my very favorite pieces of music.

It begins with a formal choral introduction, then launches into an extended scat solo that makes you wonder what Johann was smoking back there behind the chapel organ. That’s followed by a long polyphonic fade (actually if you look at the score it’s only two voices, but in Bach’s hands that sounds like twenty.) I’ve listened to it some three trillion times, and I can sing about 80% of the notes. Not that it’s challenging music or anything.

Glenn Gould practicing

Just to start off on solid ground, here it is by my favorite babushka, Tatyana Nikolayeva.

And here’s the piece by our favorite Canadian whacko, Mr Glenn Gould.
It’s actually pretty restrained for him. But if you want to witness the madness lurking beneath that veneer of respectability, check out this clip of Glenn Gould practicing the Sinfonia.It’s not recommended for children or those weak of constitution. You might want to fasten your seatbelt and take a valium before watching this one.

Christine Legrand

Here’s what it looked like back when the world and I (and The Swingle Singers) were young, the original Swingles singing the original Swingle Bach. The lead soprano is Christine Legrand, Michel’s sister.

And here’s the ‘original’ recording, the one I’ve been unsuccessfully trying to sing along with for fifty years, longer than these seven whippersnapper Swingles have been swingling combined. What do they know?
Well, they’re lovely people and fine musicians, tall singers on the shoulders of giants. They actually know quite a lot, and I’m looking forward to them showing more. But nothing can alter the lifelong love affair I’ve had with the original Swingle Singers, 1963, singing ‘Sinfonia from Partita No.2 in C Minor, BWV 826’.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like:

005: Glenn Gould, Toccata in Cm (J.S.
Bach)
077: J.S. Bach, ‘The Art of The Fugue’ (The Emerson
Quartet, ‘Contrapunctus 9′)
139: The Swingle Singers, ‘On the 4th of July’ (James
Taylor)

7 Last-Minute Tipps for London A Cappella Travelers

by Florian Städtler, Vocal Blog on tour (#VBontour)

Travelling abroad is a wonderful thing. But we all know these terrible hours before we actually leave. Packing your bags last-minute, checking your bus, train and flight connections and of course: Trying to get as much done on your real world or virtual desk as the clock ticks mercilessly.

This January has been particularly busy and getting all my things together for my fourth London A Cappella Festival trip was an incredible rush. But the stress of getting away from „normal life“ for a couple of days is absolutely worth while. Because of 7 things that no London A Cappella Festival visitor should miss:

 

  1. A proper English pub – LACF has an official (?) meeting place called „The Fellow“ (26-30, York Way), quite close to the festival venue „King’s Place“. There are two more fantastic places friends showed me on earlier London trips: The Princess Louise (208, High Holborn, tipp by Jes Sadler) and The Antilope” (24, Eaton Terrace, tipp by Costa Peristianis, Ikon Arts)
  2. The King’s Place foyer – the venue of Britain’s finest vocal music festival is a stylish and inspiring place only 8 minutes walk from King’s Cross. Its foyer, that during the first and second festival was a rather calm place has become a buzzing place of open singing, international encounters, workshops and a cappella networking. We recommend coming rather early before concerts and events: You might bump into people like Bill Hare or Amanda Aldag or see the occasional Swingle or King’s Singer talking to their audience in an extraordinarily relaxed and friendly way,
  3. Workshops – if you want to learn from your singers in some of the best vocal groups in the world or if you simply want to come to know these people a bit better, LACF festivals are a great opportunity to broaden your horizon. There’s plenty of information on the website and seminars from „Complete Vocal Technique“ (Tine Fris/Postyr, DEN) to „Melodyne“(Erik Bosio/Cluster, ITA)
  4. High Tea – you and your friends should book have a VERY British „tea ceremony“, preferably around Covent Garden. London prices, but – according to most LACF 2012 High Tea participants, an unfogettable experience,
  5. Shoes – you may ask how shoes became so important at LACF. Well, first of all, there are two very different kind of shoes: Fashionable, mostly ladies’ shoes (extreme high-heel competition included) and running shoes (see further below under „Vocal Jog“). Always promoting the LACF shoes catwalk are high-heel afficionados Clare Wheeler (alto and party planner with The Swingle Singers), Tine Fris (singer, composer, arranger, teacher, booker etc. etc. etc. with Postyr Project) and Annemarie Homann (co-founder of The Single Singers).
  6. The Single Singers – Annemarie Homann and Emily May t’Hoen are the driving forces behind an incredible international project of planned spontaneous collective singing. They planned to visit LACF 2012 and somehow didn’t want to just listen, but sing themselves. And so they looked for more singers who wanted to do the same…and had a spectacular premiere at the King’s Place foyer in January 2012.  They did it again at The Real Group Festival in Stockholm in August 2012 and there have been similar projects at US a cappella events lately.
  7. The LACF t-shirt – look at the beautiful people at King’s Place who sell merchandise and help you out if you have any questions about LACF. They wear the official LACF shirt, which can be ordered online via www.acappellazone.com

With The Exchange – from Baltimore 2012 to London 2013

As a matter of fact, there are at least 77 more things you shouldn’t miss at LACF, e.g. the London A Cappella Festival iPhone app, now available via iTunes, Swingles Bass Edward Randell’s „Woofer“ project, a choir consisting of more than twenty basses, the 2nd LACF VocalJog on Saturday morning AND: Seeing my dear friends and US acappella shooting stars The Exchange again, supporting the Swingle Singers on Saturday night. Woohoo!

Stay tuned via the London A Cappella Website, via Vocal Blog’s Facebook group and fanpage and on Twitter, hashtags #LACF2013, #LACFextra, #VocalJog.

And now I have to run to get some smuggled Swiss goods to Islington: The Ikon Arts ladies need some doping for the upcoming challenges!

I’m Florian „Superman“ (quote all the Swingles Ladies), „The Hugh Hefner of A Cappella“ (quote FORK), „Uncle Flo“ (quote The Boxettes), „He runs Europe“ (quote Dave Sperandio) Städtler and I am a very modest man giving my humble thoughts via my global vocal music communication baby, the Vocal Blog. Call me maybe, baby.

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.