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July 18, 2008

Brian Eno loves a cappella

I posted once before how mega music producer Brian Eno had formed his own a cappella group and now he has written an article in Resurgence about the experience. How refreshing, after the recent oft snide comments in the media about a cappella, to have somebody as credible as him write so favorably about the experience.


How the starting of an a cappella group led to a musical addiction: the joy of making an unexpectedly beautiful sound together.

This is an article about singing. It’s about you singing. I am writing this because I want to encourage you to sing.

A few years ago my friend and I realised that we both loved singing but didn’t do enough of it. So we started a weekly acapella group with just four members. After a year we invited others to join. We didn’t insist on musical experience – in fact some of our members had never sung before. Now the group has ballooned to around fifteen people.

Now, the reason I’m going to try to persuade you that you should start your own acapella group is because I believe that singing is the key to long life, a good figure, a stable temperament, increased intelligence, new friends, increased self-confidence, heightened sexual attractiveness, and a sense of humour. There! That got your attention. But it wasn’t all made-up: a thirty-year study conducted in Scandinavia sought to discover which activities seemed to relate to a healthy and happy old age. Three stood out: camping, dancing and singing.

So what’s so good about singing? Well, there are indeed physiological benefits: you use your lungs in a way that you probably don’t for the rest of your day – you breathe deeply and openly. And there are psychological benefits: singing aloud leaves you with a sense of levity and contentedness. And then there are what I would call ‘civilisational benefits’. When you sing with a group of people you learn how to subsume yourself into a group consciousness – because acapella singing is all about the immersion of the self into the community. That’s one of the great feelings: to stop being me for a little while, and to become us. That way lies empathy; the great virtue. Continue reading

Posted by acapnews at July 18, 2008 10:05 PM


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