October 31, 2013
A cappella tears
Is this not the most adorable reaction to a cappella singing you have ever seen? I do so love babies.
Happy Harmony Halloween folks. Beware of the decapitated Dans!
October 30, 2013
Pentatonix latest video
The prolific Pentatonix latest video release "The Evolution of Beyonce" has already racked up three million views in only five days. Just three weeks ago they released a video cover of The Royals "Lorde" which has 11 million views to date. They clearly represent the new paradigm in the business of music with revenue from ads on You Tube replacing income from CD sales. Call me old fashioned but I still much prefer popping in a CD and listening on a good sound system rather than having to watch a soap commercial before every gosh darn song on the computer.
October 18, 2013
University studying health of seniors in choirs
San Francisco Chronicle:
It seems true that singing in a choir can be therapeutic, especially for older adults, but a groundbreaking clinical trial is under way in San Francisco to see whether science agrees. Over the next five years, researchers at UCSF will create a dozen senior choirs throughout the city to compare the physical strength, balance, memory and moods of singers versus non-singers.
Backed by a $1.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, the new Community of Voices/Comunidad de Voces choirs will be offered to 400 adults older than 60, who agree to wear Bluetooth-enabled belts that measure their balance, participate in memory tests and coordination tests and answer questionnaires about their mental well-being.
Singers will meet for 90-minute rehearsals each week for a year, be paid $105 for completing three study interviews, and will be invited to perform concerts for the public. Singers will be measured against other seniors who have been asked to wait six months before starting their choir.
"In our culture, we really focus on physical activity as a way to promote health, but a lifelong hobby in the creative arts can also promote overall health, and singing is the most popular group activity in the U.S.," said lead researcher Dr. Julene Johnson, a cognitive neuroscientist and professor at the UCSF School of Nursing's Institute for Health & Aging.
October 17, 2013
Paul McCartney to release a cappella track
Well how cool is this. Paul McCartney sings an a cappella version of his "Wonderful Christmas Time" with Straight No Chaser on their upcoming holiday EP release Under the Influence: Holiday Edition. Not sure they actually sang together in the studio but nevertheless how great is it to have a Beatle on your a cappella CD
October 10, 2013
Vocal group given $100,000 to investigate 'mondegreen'
The Wellcome Trust has given £60,000 (US$100,000) to The Clerks choral ensemble to explore the science behind misheard lyrics.
The project will be called Tales from Babel: Musical Adventures in the Science of Hearing and will see the choral ensemble speaking to members of the public in the UK and trying to establish why they can understand some song lyrics and not others. The research aims to aid the Trust's understanding of music perception among the hearing-impaired.
Speaking to The Times, Edward Wickham, director of The Clerks, said audience members will listen to the ensemble sing different lines simultaneously, using an electronic handset to record which words they can hear clearly and which lines they cannot.
Prior to experimenting with the public, the Wellcome Trust has conducted a survey into the most commonly misheard song lyrics in popular music, discovering songs by David Bowie and Oasis among the most commonly misunderstood.
The line "Making love with his ego" on David Bowie's 'Ziggy Stardust', was heard as "Making love to a seagull" by some while some believed the "You’re gonna be the one that saves me" line in Oasis' hit 'Wonderwall' was actually "You’re gonna be the one at Sainsbury’s."
A misheard song lyric is known as a 'mondegreen', so called in homage to the mishearing of the words "laid him on the green" as "Lady Mondegreen" in a Scottish ballad.
October 9, 2013
Miley Cyrus, Jimmy Fallon and The Roots a cappella
Check out this new video as Miley Cyrus, Jimmy Fallon and the Roots perform an a cappella version of "We Can't Stop." Pretty darn cool!
October 7, 2013
Chanticleer takes on battle of the sexes
Ann Arbor New (MI):
The latest entrant into the age-old battle of the sexes just happens to be an all-male chorus. When Chanticleer, the renowned a cappella male vocal ensemble, performs at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church Thursday, Oct. 10, under University Musical Society auspices, “She Said/He Said” is the topic at hand, conveyed in repertoire that’s All About Eve – and Adam, too – and the complex and emotionally charged dialog between the sexes.
There’s music of Brahms, for example, in which the dialog of masculine and feminine is a musical one, executed in contrasts between bass and treble voices. And there’s music of the Mendelssohns, Fanny and Felix, brother and sister, setting poetry in very different ways. “In the pieces we’ve chosen,” said Wittig, “her writing is more florid and reliant on the higher voices, and Felix is more reliant on the bass and tenor.”
In choral pieces closer to our own time, Chanticleer presents pieces like Eric Whitacre’s “A Boy and a Girl,” that traces love from courtship to death; and those in which She Said (Emily Dickinson) and He Wrote (Steve Hackman); and He Said (Carl Sandburg) and She Wrote (Stacy Garrop). Read more.
October 4, 2013
Mo5aic, longtime opening act for George Wallace, back in a Vegas venue
Las Vegas Review-Journal (NV):
There are two versions of how the a cappella quintet Mo5aic came to be. But because George Wallace is George Wallace, his story is funnier than the real one.
“I call ’em my kids,” the comedian says of his former opening act. Really. “Each one of these is my kids,” he would tell audiences. “I met their mothers in different places. … The tall kid Josh, I met his mother in Colorado. I met another one in Jamaica.”
The real story is more conventional: Josh Huslig, working in vocal groups at Walt Disney World in the early 2000s, inspired to “modernize” a cappella and recruited other talented theme park employees to form Mo5aic.
But Wallace is still a key part of the saga. Huslig and his vocal partners agree that being part of the comedian’s Flamingo show for more than three years taught them how to be themselves onstage.
“He taught us how to react in that moment,” Huslig says. “Before, I think we were a much more structured group. We never really came off as stiff or unrelaxed, but we were always very structured. With George, we really developed a more off-the-cuff style. It was very influential on what the product has become today.”
That product has returned to a Las Vegas show venue. This time, Mo5aic is selling tickets on its own in the Las Vegas Hotel’s Shimmer Cabaret.
And although Huslig may be the rare a cappella singer to sport a multihued mohawk, singing without instruments has only gained more street cred over the years for him, Heath Burgett, Jake Moulton, Corwyn Hodge and Roopak Ahuja.
October 1, 2013
An interview with Smooth McGroove
Smooth McGroove went from relative anonymity to a celebrity within the YouTube gaming community seemingly overnight, after his awesome a cappella rendition of 'Guile's Theme' from Street Fighter 2 blew up on the internet. He now has half a million subscribers on the video-sharing site, and his a cappella covers of gaming themes regularly attract millions of views. So how does he feel about about becoming "YouTube Famous?" I tracked down the bearded, velvet-voiced wonder to discuss how he feels about his newfound popularity. Read more.