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Artikel Tagged ‘Wise Guys’

Vokal Total Concert Festival 2015

by Juliana Baron, Vocal Blog Asia, November 2015

Vokal Total 2015 in Munich – a series of a cappella concerts

Oops, Vocal Blog “Asia” from Vokal Total in Munich??? Yes, it’s me again, traveling around the globe to visit the biggest A Cappella Festival in Germany: Vokal Total. Don’t confuse it with the International A Cappella Competition vokal.total in Graz. Munich’s Vokal Total is a 3-months series of a cappella concerts (October to December) bringing the crème de la crème of vocal bands not only from Germany but from various countries to Munich. It is a pity not living close by, but me coming from Shanghai – there is no excuse for anyone in Europe to not visit this amazing festival. Thanks to the variety of different vocal groups, you will for sure find the right concert and it is also thanks to Romy Schmidt who’s hosting the Vokal Total that every year you can see the top groups and high potential newcomer groups performing in one of the 3 event locations Tonhalle, Freiheiz or Spectaculum Mundi.

Asking Romy about her personal favorite and highlight, she doesn’t know where to start and where to end, her eyes sparkling and you can feel her enthusiasm with which all the audience gets infected sooner or later.

Vokal Total 2015 – that’s 26 concerts, 37 vocal bands:

Maybebop - picture taken by Nicole Brothánek (E&P Brothánek)

Maybebop – picture taken by Nicole Brothánek (E&P Brothánek)

The old stagers of contemporary A Cappella in Germany like the Wise Guys, Six Pack or Maybebop, a huge number of local heroes like La Psychotta, aMuSing, VoiceBreak, One World Project, Terzinfarkt, in-Voice, bar nineteen or Wonnebeats.

Internationally well-known choirs like the Brasilian choir Cantares from Munich, the Jazzchor Freiburg or Voices In Time.

International groups like Cadence and Eh440 from Canada, Rock4, The Junction and iNtrmzzo from the Netherlands, Vocal Six from Sweden, Safer Six and zwo3wir from Austria, INVIVAS from Switzerland, FOOL MOON from Hungary.

Many more stars and rising stars of the a cappella horizon: Viva Voce, Delta Q, basta, ONAIR, Füenf, A Cappella hoch 4, malebox, Vocal Recall, Les Brünettes, str8voices, cash-n-go, Suchtpotential, Elevator Pitch.

What’s so special about Vokal Total and how did a cappella evolve in Germany? – Who knows better than Maybebop, the outstanding vocal band from Northern (!) Germany. Maybebop didn’t miss a single Vokal Total.

 

 

You shouldn’t wait long though to get your tickets. Most of the concerts get sold out very fast and people will queue in front of the entrance hoping to get one of the few remaining tickets.

The 8 last chances, unless you can wait until Vokal Total 2016:

Fri 27.11.2015 – The Junction (Spectaculum Mundi)

Sat 28.11.2015 – Delta Q (Spectaculum Mundi)

Sun 29.11.2015 – Rock4 (Spectaculum Mundi)

Fri 4.12.2015 – basta (Freiheiz)

Sat 5.12.2015 – ONAIR (Freiheiz)

Sun 6.12.2015 – Füenf (Spectaculum Mundi)

Sat 12.12.2015 – A Cappella hoch 4 (Freiheiz)

Sun 13.12.2015 – Voices In Time (Freiheiz)

Next year will be the 20th anniversary of Vokal Total. Like most of the visitors who want to come back every year, I am already looking forward and very curious who will be the newcomers and top groups participating in 2016. Stay tuned!

Flying Visit at the BERvokal 2015

22. September 2015 Keine Kommentare

by Juliana Baron, Vocal Blog Asia, September 2015

Wait, Vocal Blog “Asia“ at BERvokal in Berlin??? Well yes, I was lucky to spend the very same weekend in Berlin when the BERvokal 2015 (Sep 4-6) took place. The 3 year old annual A Cappella Pop Festival is hosted by Lukas Teske (Maybebop) and Felix Powroslo (coach of the Wise Guys). The festival is aiming at vocal ensembles as well as individual singers and vocal enthusiasts, being a platform of exchange, mutual learning and offering great workshops by professional coaches.

BERvokal 2015 Open Stage Concert - HörBänd pictures by Nicole Brothánek (E&P Brothánek)

BERvokal 2015 Open Stage Concert – HörBänd
pictures by Nicole Brothánek (E&P Brothánek)

On Saturday evening (Sep 5), I visited the Open Stage Concert – an excellent opportunity for the participating groups to show what they’ve been working on, what they learned during the workshops and coaching sessions from the pros. This year, amongst many well-known coaches like Erik Sohn, Julian Knörzer, Carsten Gerlitz also the master group ONAIR shared their knowledge and experience with the BERvokal participants. Tanja Pannier offered a workshop on loop stations which are becoming more and more popular. And not only for the active singers, also for sound engineers some classes were offered by ONAIR sound engineer Sonja Harth and Maybebop sound engineer Thomas Schröder. Not to forget the initiators of BERvokal – Lukas offering a Beatboxing class and Felix a “song interpretation” class on top of their workshops with the participating groups.

It was just a very short visit to the BERvokal, just a small glimpse of a very special festival with a very special atmosphere. The founders and fathers of the BERvokal Lukas and Felix shared some more insights with me which I am happy to share with all the Vocal Blog readers.

Interview with the daddies of the BERvokal

The sleepless: Lukas Teske („daddy“), Juliana Baron („jetlag“), Felix Powroslo („daddy“) pictures by Nicole Brothánek (E&P Brothánek)

The sleepless: Lukas Teske („daddy“), Juliana Baron („jetlag“), Felix Powroslo („daddy“)
pictures by Nicole Brothánek (E&P Brothánek)

Juliana: You are the daddies of the BERvokal. Meanwhile this is the 3rd BERvokal in a row. How do you feel?

Lukas: Right, this year it is the 3rd BERvokal. We invented and founded this festival once, but this year it somehow feels very special and comfortable. The whole festival became more of a team thing. We don’t have to organize all by ourselves anymore, there are so many volunteers who support us. Without them the whole festival wouldn’t be possible – at least not in such dimensions.

Juliana: How many people are volunteering and supporting this year?

Lukas:  Well, if you also count the technical staff, it’s about 20 or 22.

Juliana:  What makes the BERvokal so special, that so many volunteers support in its third year?

Lukas: to meet each other again…

Felix: … the nice atmosphere, the nice people… – It’s always a huge amount of work, you would not imagine. But nevertheless, so many people support us, because they just love the BERvokal and the atmosphere. This year in Graz at vokal.total, I met the Austrian vocal group „zwo3wir“. They’ve been at our festival last year and they stated again that BERvokal was the festival which helped them most in progressing. Not so much on marketing perspective but growing in their artistic capabilities. And for them, it was by far the best festival ever. As we do not have a competition, it is more of a peaceful coming together and even creating close ties, it is a much better atmosphere than those festivals with competitions. The atmosphere and spirit is always great, the parties are a blast, all people like to come again.

Juliana: How many participants do you have this time?

Lukas: We always have six groups, about 40 people (The BERensembles 2015: B’Noise, baff!, Beat Poetry Club, Elevator Pitch, Gretchens Antwort, HörBänd). We don’t know yet, how many participants we have in total for all the open workshops. In parallel, there is the COSOA taking place, the Choir Open Stage Open Air Festival. There are about 350 active singers plus the 40 BERvokal participants and the free participants. For sure, a lot of people who can take a lot with them, who contribute and exchange a lot.

Juliana: Why do you only select six participating groups?

Lukas: Well, mainly the final concert is the restrictive factor. Half of the concert should be done by the participating groups the other half by the master team [this year the master team is ONAIR, the local heroes of Berlin]. More than six is not feasible. Same goes for the timeline of the workshops. We want each vocal group to get to know each of the coaches. We, the coaches want to get to know each of the vocal groups. They should take the most out of it. And this would be difficult with more than six teams.

Juliana: Will there be a BERvokal next year?

Felix: We think so.

Lukas: Yes, that’s the plan. Right after, we will sit together, define the general framework and fill it with life.

Juliana: Is it worth applying for next year’s BERvokal? Many groups might think, just six groups, there is no chance for us.

Felix: Of course!

Lukas: For sure it is worth applying! Last year, there were not so many applicants, still the quality was very good. Although this year, much more teams were applying, about 23 teams, there is still a realistic chance to get one of the six places.

Juliana: What are the selection criteria and who is deciding on the participating groups?

Lukas: Well, for each of us, the criteria are a little different.

Felix: It is difficult.

Lukas: For me, it is the potential, means, the combination of „they already have some skills“ and „we can still teach them stuff“. That’s the main criteria for me.

Felix: Nevertheless, it is difficult. Somehow, you are comparing apples and oranges. There are so many different genres. One group sings perfect pitch, has great voices, the next group is by far more entertaining. You cannot objectively compare them. Impossible. We decide a lot based on our feelings, it has to feel good, it has to feel right. Also, we want to have some diversity, for example pure female teams – this year we even have two – and to cover different genres as good as possible.

Juliana: And who besides you is making the decision?

Lukas: Principally, we are doing it. We are just in the process of forming a society of BERvokal (Verein BERvokal) and the managing board as well can contribute, can vote and explain their choice of candidates.

Juliana: How about your lack of sleep this year at BERvokal?

Felix: Mine definitely higher than last year. I already started with a lack of sleep because I’ve been in Cologne the days before to work with the Wise Guys and – well, we are both young daddies (laughing)

Juliana: You are talking about rehearsal with the Wise Guys. What is the difference between working with the pros and coaching the newcomer or amateur groups?

Felix: It is a totally different thing. With the Wise Guys, I am limited in what I am doing. I’m mainly working on the steps and the choreography. Here, I didn’t do a single step so far. The coaching I do here is much more complex: starting with vocal techniques, where I definitely don’t tell the Wise Guys anything – for that, they have Erik Sohn – and continuing with stage presence and song interpretation. That’s nothing I do with the Wise Guys. Therefore, I am always looking forward to working with the young groups. It doesn’t matter at all if they are amateur groups. Newcomers sometimes are even more willing to try out new things and follow your advice compared to established bands like the Wise Guys.

Juliana: What was your personal highlight this year at BERvokal?

Felix: It already started with the first coaching of “Gretchens Antwort” which felt really good. It was a smooth workshop, I could place my points… Sometimes, you want to achieve something specific. You always knock on the same spot and hope that the marble plate gets a crack, that you reach the group and achieve some changes. Sometimes, it just doesn’t work or not in the degree you want it to. But then, you just have to content yourself with it and say: “OK, this has to mature and sprout step by step”. With other groups, you might have immediate success. This is even more fun. Well, of course, the other approach is very important work as well. And then, I really love to do the song interpretation workshop. That’s when I am really in my element.

Lukas: … indeed, in all your disciplines.

Felix (laughing): It’s always a very dense atmosphere in the room, the people already exhausted of the day, it already gets dark outside… If you then do emotional songs, and on top the interpretation really works well, this is just wonderful.

Lukas: I was impressed, that this year amongst the candidates there were almost no pure male groups, actually only one all-male group. In the first year, this was totally the opposite, almost only pure male groups. This year, we had mixed groups and a lot of all-female groups.

Juliana: What is your motivation to offer the BERvokal?

Lukas: Well, the initial motivation is a different one from today. Now, it is more that we created something, an annual meeting point of the a cappella scene, and we want to establish it further, to let it sprout and grow further.

Felix: For me, if this festival would repeat exactly the same way, maybe one day, I’d say, I will back out step by step. But it is just a fantastic feeling, every year, there are more people coming, those who already experienced the BERvokal come again and say „it was just wonderful with you“. Just awesome to see everything grow. Well, and what was it initially? For me, I wanted to do something together with Lukas. Also, I wanted to have this coaching forum. I enjoy very much to position myself as a coach, that people get to know me and what I am doing. And to have the freedom to work the way I want to work, on top of it in Berlin. At the beginning, I think we both totally underestimated the efforts and what it means to establish such a festival.

Lukas (laughing): Which is not related to our motivation. It just was missing in Berlin. At that time, there was only one professional a cappella group in Berlin, named musix. They don’t exist anymore. In Berlin, there are so many singers, but there is nothing comprehensive. There are a few a cappella festivals, several concerts, but not such a weekend, where everyone comes together.

Juliana: Making the bridge to Asia where the a cappella scene is still relatively young. What do you recommend, how would you boost the development of a cappella in Asia?

Felix: Do more festivals … and invite us as coaches (laughing)

Lukas: Development happens through „people seeing, liking and also wanting to do it“. Therefore, it is a global task, to create models, to spread a cappella. There is even a trend of European groups to go on tour in Asia, I also heard of an American group who even moved to China to address the young market. Probably we need such people, such groups.

Juliana: Hopefully, I can welcome you in China next time. Thank you so much for this interview. Good luck for your festival BERvokal!

BERvokal 2015 Final Concert pictures by Nicole Brothánek (E&P Brothánek)

BERvokal 2015 Final Concert
pictures by Nicole Brothánek (E&P Brothánek)

BERvokal 2015 Final Concert - ONAIR pictures by Nicole Brothánek (E&P Brothánek)

BERvokal 2015 Final Concert – ONAIR
pictures by Nicole Brothánek (E&P Brothánek)

 

BigQ #1: What exactly is a cappella?

by Florian Städtler, Vocal Blog founder – inspired by Andrea Figallo (Wise Guys)

Discussing the questions on the “BigQ list” with peers from all over Europe and the world has proved that we need definitions of the basic terminology to come to good results in future discussions. There are frequently used terms that I would like to explain using sources like Wikipedia and experts who wrote about these basic topics before.

 

A Cappella 

Of course, we have to look, what Wikipedia has to say about the a cappella. Here comes the short version: “A cappella (Italian for “in the manner of the church” or “in the manner of the chapel”,[1] also see gospel music and choir) music is specifically solo or group singing without instrumental sound, or a piece intended to be performed in this way. It contrasts with cantata, which is accompanied singing. A cappella was originally intended to differentiate between Renaissance polyphony and Baroque concertato style. In the 19th century a renewed interest in Renaissance polyphony coupled with an ignorance of the fact that vocal parts were often doubled by instrumentalists led to the term coming to mean unaccompanied vocal music.[2] Today, a cappella also includes sample/loop “vocal only” productions by producers like Teddy RileyBjörkImogen HeapWyclef Jean and others.”

Wow, that’s a surprise: The Wikipedia summary does not reflect the world of the 2012 a cappella nerd AT ALL. Let’s dig a bit deeper in that Wikipedia article: If you scroll down a bit you find the following table of contents:

  1. Religious Traditions (Christian, Muslim, Jewish)
  2. In the United States (Recording Artists, Musical Theatre, Barbershop Style)
  3. In Europe (List of links to vocal groups)
  4. Collegiate Types
  5. Emulating Instruments
  6. See also, Notes, References, External Links
The most interesting points I found about this Wikipedia article are: What we call contemporary a cappella is just a very small part of the a cappella tradition. Three quarters of  the contemporary part are about the US scene. European a cappella is a list of Wikipedia links – it seems as if nobody has taken the time to write about the European scene in general. Barbershop and Collegiate A Cappella are BIG. There is no complete, detailed and comprehensive definition of what “contemporary vocal music” is all about. Yes, there are some musical elements (beatboxing, emulating instruments, “bands without instruments”), but is that really what defines the thing we call “a cappella”? Isn’t there something more that people think when they talk and create a cappella music today?

 

Contemporary A Cappella

The term “contemporary a cappella” (or: “contemporary vocal music”) was introduced by the founders of the Contemporary A Cappella Society (formerly: of America), CASA. When they started to promote “their kind of music”, they found that most people they talked to about their passion were thinking of two traditional, stylistically narrower and rather “conservative” form of vocal music: Barbershop  singing and Doo-wop.

Distinguishing their new approach to vocal music from the old-school, often a bit corny, square and certainly harmonically and rhythmically limited way of barbershop choirs and quartets was obviously very important to the CASA founders: They included the word “contemporary” in their association’s name. In Europe, a cappella pioneers and revolutionaries faced similar problems: In many countries like England and Norway for example, a cappella singing still is mostly associated with singing sacred music. In Germany, the tradition of the first international vocal super group, the Comedian Harmonists led to the public image of a cappella being some funny guys in tuxedos singing hilarious songs for pure entertainment and as a kind of novelty. Until today, many German groups present themselves rather as singing comedians than musically advanced singers. And if groups decide to create “serious” music (classical or light), they often fail to entertain, unable to act, move or dance without making audiences cringe.

Contemporary vocal music, from my point of view, is vocal music, that is fueled by both the music that people listen to today and that kind of vocal music that innovative artists want to create now and in the future. These singers, composers and arrangers either just want to present music that is currently listened by the regular, “mainstream” listener or (knowingly or accidentally) contribute to the development of the art form of unaccompanied singing by creating something new, something unheard of.

In a nutshell: Contemporary describes a distinction between the rather conservative, look-and-listen-back-approach and the vocal music movement starting with the vocal music pioneers Bobby McFerrin, The Real Group and The House Jacks to the next generation led by Pentatonix, The Boxettes, Postyr Project, Bauchklang, Maybebop, Sonos, The Exchange, Straight No Chaser etc. as well as milestones like The Sing-off, Pitch Perfect and the emerging vocal music festival scene.

 

Genre, Style, Instrumentation?

Technically, a cappella is an instrumentation. So it is a term defined by something that it does NOT have: Instruments. That’s why open-minded festivals, competitions, schools and teachers started to use the term “vocal music” as an alternative. Or festivals and competitions with a cappella in their names just didn’t care and created more open categories, not defining microphones as instruments anymore, adding categories with choirs that are accompanied by a rhythm section or allowing groups to use loop pedals, samplers and drum machines.

If you listen to the heated discussions between purists and pragmatists about “Is this still a cappella?”, you better move up to another level of perspective: Have you ever had this kind of technical discussion in other areas of music? Yes and no.

There is that fantastic moment in music history when Bob Dylan started to go electric. When he and his band entered the stage with electric guitars and amplifiers, you clearly hear that voice from the audience, shouting “Judas!” on the live recording. However, today, most of the fans don’t care about how their band’s sound is produced – as long as the result is authentic, exciting and entertaining. Categories that are completely and utterly subjective. Pop music audiences are not interested in musicology. Niche audiences and musical niche activists are more into that kind of shop talk, that’s why you have discussions like this in classical music, jazz and a cappella.

STOP! – Here comes another outcry of the expert: “Classical music and jazz are musical styles. A Cappella is NOT.” You got a point, Professor. But you don’t need higher education to see that: There are a cappella groups and recorded music in almost any musical style on this planet. So again and again, the movers and shakers, the thinkers and community organizers are desperately looking for categories to define the common ground of a cappella. What, after all, is the smallest common denominator? What constitutes “contemporary a cappella”? What do we have in mind if we talk about this thing a cappella? Here’s a random collection of  often divergent characteristics I’ve found in earlier conversations, posts, panels and threads:

  • community thinking
  • voices as the most human, soulful instrument
  • singing in groups brings out the best in people
  • general open-mindedness
  • the will to further the development of the art form
  • importance of meeting face-to-face
  • importance of  live performance as opposed to recordings
  • not being as nerdy and square as traditional styles
  • writing original music as a critical element of being real artists
  • exchanging ideas and experiences with peers
  • a new culture of leadership by coaching and authority (role models)
  • systematic usage of the internet to widen your horizon
  • opening up to the real (music) world without losing the community spirit
  • making yourself at home in a cosy niche

This list is by no means complete, but already gives a nice impression of the diversity and the contradictions of a – well, let’s face it – a very, very small part of  world of music. If there’s one thing sociologists don’t argue about a lot it’s the fact, that the world, our society, our culture(s) and thus our musical cosmos has become significantly more complex, atomized. A hundred years ago there was folk music, classical music and popular music (jazz was the pop in the 20s) and you had to listen to it played or sung live. Today there are probably 100+ pop styles and it becomes increasingly harder for music marketing people to find the right labels for their products to make them accessible for their atomized target groups. What does that mean to us now? And for a definition of a cappella.

There will probably never be ONE A CAPPELLA. Instead, you can choose whatever you like to create your own customized version of a music that is based on the power the human voice. Some relatively successful vocal groups have deliberately chosen not to use the term a cappella or at least to not use it for their marketing, among them Naturally 7 (USA), Wise Guys (GER), Bauchklang (AUT), The Boxettes (ENG) and Postyr Project (DEN). Naturally 7 has simply renamed it “VocalPlay”, The House Jacks invented the slogan “Rock band without instruments” and have decided against using effects and pedals live. Both basically describe the fact that they use their voices like instruments.  While this “novelty concept” made The Mills Brothers an exceptional success in the 1920s, today’s groups and trendsetters (like The House Jacks, see article linked above) more and more try to avoid the novelty image of vocal music. Danish Electro-vocal group Postyr Project decline all imitations of instruments except some human beatboxing: “If we need a sound of an instrument, we use a computer sample or other digital sources”.

One of the most fascinating and eye-opening examples of there being more than one definition of contemporary vocal music is a project that is going to turn 50 in 2013: When the very first generation of The Swingle Singers became a smashing success in 1963 by giving Bach’s “Wohltemperiertes Klavier” a backbeat plus a swing, the sheer idea of doing the unthinkable (using Bach’s holy harmonies for lighthearted entertainment and with 8 singers + double bass and a mini drum set) was enough to thrill the masses.  For 5 decades the group’s generations have developed their concept: Going fully a cappella in the early 80s, making beatboxing an indispensable part of their sound musical concept with the album “Beauty and the Beatbox” in 2007 and releasing more and more original pop and jazz material since 2011.

How boring would this journey have been, if the group hadn’t changed course every decade and adapted their art to new influences and – more importantly – to the particular talents of their members. New people mean a new group. A new group means new musical ideas. New ideas that are still based on the close-mic technique called Swingle Singing mean their new definition of a cappella.

So what’s your personal or group concept of a cappella? I’m really interested to learn about the 1001 unique definitions out there. Bring them on and at the same time explore those which seem the most different from yours.

 

The A Cappella Community

If there is not one a cappella definition, there’s probably not one a cappella community. A community is a group of people who share common values, goals and visions. The larger a community gets, the more open-minded their members have to be, the more pragmatic the formerly idealistic values and visions will be treated. I personally like this idea: Sharing a common basic interest while at the same time widening each other’s horizons by exchanging ideas, concepts, opinions. And those ideas, concepts and opinions cannot be diverse enough. Open-minded people love to be confronted with other people challenging the status quo. A valuable community is not streamlined. There is no unified opinion. People look for external feedback. They even look for disconfirming evidence to what has long been accepted truth. Collective growth and mutual inspiration beat competition, intolerance, ignorance, laziness, narrow-mindedness and arrogance.

Many of us have experienced this at a regional, national and international cappella events. They found “people like me” on the internet, as the web’s social media features automatically connect fans, followers and activists of special interests like a cappella, trainspotting, vegan food etc. So the process of finding like-minded people has become much easier. The process of forming a practically and spiritually valuable community has not become easier. Remember, we live in an atomized society. What we call the a cappella community – surprise, surprise – is everything but uniform. And the more it grows, the more diverse and inhomogeneous it gets. Here are some players:

  • amateur a cappella singers, arrangers, composers
  • amateur choir directors and singers
  • professional a cappella singers, arrangers, composers
  • (semi-)professional producers, agents, managers, promoters
  • the mainstream media (“a cappella cherry pickers”)
  • amateur and professional critics, experts, judges
  • the die-hard fan and a cappella volunteer (“aca-nerds”)
  • the regular music and occasional a cappella listener
  • non-profit or semi-professional community organizers (“the aca-hubs”)
This reminds me of our first family meeting after the German Reunification. In 1991 about 100 people from all over East and West German gathered in the small town of Bad Brückenau. Those people had different professional, political and educational backgrounds, more than 50% met for the first time in their lives. A German Post-WWII special interest group, that had only one thing in common: All of these people were relatives of my grandmother and her two siblings. Can there be anything more exciting and eye-opening than this? Our “Großfamilie”, a clan as diverse as a German group can be, has since then met in different places all across the country. And of course this group includes people with very different perspectives on the world: People who vote differently, people who educate their children differently, people who support “the wrong” football team and people who simply get on your nerves sometimes. Still these family meetings have become  wonderful opportunities to learn, exchange opinions and create…yes, a community. With all its weaknesses and imperfections, but with all the inspiration and learnings that human beings need to make life good.

 

The A Cappella Community is this to me: A place of opportunity, exchange and openness. A combination of face-to-face meetings (still the best way of communication!) and a global network of people interested in taking that age-old tradition of singing together in groups into the 21st century. The diversity of the list above, the different personal interests, tastes, philosophies and goals of the a cappella community stakeholders are not obstacles. They are the indispensable ingredients if we want to make the community prosper: The pros need the amateurs and vice versa. The regular listener needs the expert and vice versa. The pioneers need the mainstream and vice versa.

 

Let’s dive into the vocal music diversity and make cross-border, cross-style, cross-ideology exchange happen. Make all community information available, make better education available and make the community’s networking more efficient and user-friendly. If we focus on making these things happen, there will be so much added value that each and everyone of us will profit from his individual version of the a cappella community.

 

 

 

Wise Guys – Germany’s top-selling vocal group is looking for new bass

by Eddi Hüneke, Wise Guys

you may or may not have heard of us, the German a-cappella band Wise Guys. We perform mostly in Germany; our current album “Zwei Welten” just entered the German album charts at No. 3.

Our bass singer Ferenc will be leaving us at the end of the year and we would like to ask you for help. Is there anyone whom you know who might be interested and suitable? Our genre is vocal pop and we need a full-time professional bass singer who can lay a reliable foundation as far as tuning and groove is concerned, and do a bit of vocal percussion too. Also this man would have to be prepared to move to or near Cologne, Germany, from 2013 (but the pay is quite good ;)).

We would really appreciate if you could help us at all. Thanks a lot in advance, best wishes to you all. Application details can be found under http://wiseguys.de/news/details/wir_suchen_ab_sofort_fuer_2013_einen_neuen_bass/, if you don’t speak German simply apply to bewerbung@wiseguys.de with a picture and a link to a recording of your voice.”

 

Note from the editor (FSt): The Wise Guys are a German vocal music phenomenon. Their marketing, fanbase management is as impressive as their touring and talent for “Ohrwürmer”. If you want to have one of the five best-paid and busiest a cappella job in Europe (and can sing like a real bass ;) – try to get this job!

There’s tons of Wise Guys sheet music available at www.acappellazone.com

 

Acappellazone – A Dream Come True For A Cappella Fans

by Nina Ruckhaber (Jazzchor Freiburg, GER)

I can look back at many years of being an a cappella fan. One drives to concerts in the area, visits festivals and gets to know bit by bit more and more a cappella groups – nationally and internationally.

The a cappella scene had been a some kind of subculture for quiet some time. The choir-like singing in small groups did and still does not address everybody. At concerts, one usually meets people, which sing in choirs themselves and thus are familiar with the scene. If you try to inspire people in your surroundings which do not care much about music, you will too often struggle. This has hardly changed – except for the phenomenon Wise Guys. They are the most successful and most visited a cappella group in Germany, which attract crowds of people with their “vocal pop” music.

If you have a closer look at the a capella scene, one finds many small groups which make music on a high standard. At concerts, one can listen to the really cool and interesting arrangements – vocally perfectly performed. The high standard of many of those groups can hardly be find in the mainstream music market.

Slightly, this subculture of the a capella scene develops toward the public and more and more people are reached with this kind of music. Of course, I am personally very happy about this development.

This Vocal Blog, founded by Florian Städtler, is the perfect platform for artists and fans for exchanges. Besides A Cappella Online, this is another important meeting point for the scene.

A couple of weeks ago, another platform established, which makes a dream come true for a capella-fans: ACAPPELLAZONE. Acappellazone is an online shop, which offers a great variety of a cappella CDs for sale. The perfectly designed website, invites to browsing and allures to give ones savings to artists, in order to be able to listen to the beautiful sounds of the a cappella art at home.

The offerings of the zone is broad: starting with the internally famous Naturally 7 and Rajaton over lone wolves like Martin O. to choirs like the Jazzchor Freiburg and Vocal Line.

To artists Acappellazone is very attractive, as their major target groups make use of the platform and get informed about the variety of groups – ones they even did not know before. Artists can also take advantage of banners on the website to draw attention on ones music. Thus, the platform has a high potential for artists to attract more listeners of their music. Such promotion is otherwise only possible at concerts.

To a cappella groups it is very comfortable, when they can outsource the sales and shipping of their CDs to such a provider. They can sell their music on their own website as well as on Acappellazone’s one. “The Swingle Singers”, for example, have outsourced their entire sales for CDs and have directly linked their online shop to the Acappellazone website.

Besides CDs, one can also buy DVDs, notes, merchandising material on the platform. However, these sections are presently at an early stage and about to develop within the next couple of weeks.

The search function on the website facilitates users their search for their desired a cappella group. The detailed descriptions of any product on sale and a filter make it possible to find a certain style or group on the website. A comprehensive list of artist provides a good overview on all a cappella groups joining the platform. Shipping takes about one to three days and thus is very consumer-friendly. Online newsletter inform subscribers steadily about new products available on the platform.

As a fan, I really hope that all a cappella groups will join the portal soon. Acappellazone is on its way to become an important corner stone for sales in the a capella scene.

Another milestone to arouse the public interest in a cappella music.

With lots of effort and energy Florian Städtler provides a growing space for a cappella much in his event agency. “Thank you!” for founding “Vocal Blogs” and “Acappellazone” and finding this market niche.

Nina Ruckhaber is singer and organizer with the pioneering Jazzchor Freiburg (cond.: Bertrand Gröger) and one of these 100% acappellified people. She was one of the chosen few who sang a solo with Bobby McFerrin during one of the “Vocabularies” concerts with Bobby.

Let us know what you think about Acappellazone: Would you want to sell your stuff there? Is there anything you would want to find there? What’s your experience with a cappella online shopping?