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Home > Main > Life as an A Cappella Addict

Life as an A Cappella Addict

by Indra Tedjasukmana
March 1, 2010

Sitting in cars, trains and planes, looking up routes, surfing the internet for the newest CDs, looking up the nominees  for the CARA Awards, checking RARB,, A Cappella News, sending and receiving tons of emails, speaking on the phone or via Skype to people on the other side of the planet, getting nervous and excited when you sit in a bar or club and hear percussion coming out of the speakers that sound like beatbox or the same thing with vocal harmonies. Checking facebook, calling agencies, collecting event calendars, searching for vocal bands, a cappella groups, marking the days in your calendar. Constantly showing the hottest new a cappella music in pop/rock/jazz to your friends, burning “best of a cappella pop 2009” compilations and playing them in your car, at work, on your ipod. When you hear well known songs or melodies imagining them in your head as a cappella versions. I could go on, you’re getting the point.

Do these things sound familiar to you? Yes? Congratulations. Then you are an a cappella addict! In comparison to the average music consumer we are a very small and special, yet growing group of people whose lives are somehow centered around a cappella music be it pop, jazz or whatever.

For quite some time now I have been thinking about our function. Oftentimes people would call me crazy or possessed by contemporary a cappella. And they are right! POSITIVELY obsessed. Think about it: We are the ones that turn other people to a cappella music, the ones connecting fans and groups alike. We bring Contemporary A Cappella from the inner circle of performers, agencies and a cappella organizations to the outside world, to the people. People that have often never seen or heard groups like The House Jacks or Naturally 7.

Is Contemporary A Cappella an elite thing? Should only musicians, music professors, arrangers and tuning perfectionists know about it and listen to it? Definitely not. ..!

You know… I remember that six years ago even before my music studies I was enrolled at University studying “Modern History” (Bachelor of Science). My plan was to prepare for the entrance exams of the Music Universities while studying at the “normal” University. So…I didn’t plan to finish the degree from the beginning. I knew I would study music.

And now in this course I had a professor, a young professor for History. And the first lecture he gave was about being possessed with History. History as a way of life. A lifestyle. And he was telling us that when he was 11 years young, at night he was hiding under the blanket where he would read books about ancient times instead of sleeping right away. He also said that it doesn’t matter how much other people think you’re crazy as long as you are positively obsessed which means spreading the word, connecting worlds, following your way and sharing your excitement and knowledge with those around you. Now I was not planning to finish this degree but I enjoyed every lesson and conversation with this man because he sparked this interest in me during that time I studied at that University.

And maybe it’s this energy, this positive sensation that counts, much as I hope people enjoy my workshops, lessons and performances. When I give an a cappella CD to a friend or a person I study with and see their smile and their facial expression when they realize what it takes to sound like this, or when they are fascinated and surprised by the sounds that voices can produce, or simply enjoying the music itself, it is always a very rewarding experiences that makes up for all the nerdy moments and for all extra work and energy I invest in all of the actions I undertake.

So to all of you who are addicted to contemporary a cappella: Let’s continue living the aca style.


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  1. 1. März 2010, 12:41 | #1

    Oh Indra, you describe my life. But you’ve forgotten: Always be bankrupt because of all the train and concert tickets, to know the best tricks to sleep and drive cheaper, to have friends all around the country, but not in your hometown, to meet on concerts, … Long telephone calls with other crazies to scheming again new concert tours …

  2. 1. März 2010, 17:43 | #2

    Hi, my name is Emily May and I’m an A-capella Addict.
    I’m so happy to read about other addicts and to discover that I’m not abnormal.
    Before, I was always a little ashamed when friends were searching in my cd-collection and discovered that there was nothing but vocal music in it. And when people asked me which music I like I was affraid to answer.. ‘almost everything… as long as it is a-capella’. I’ts hard when you try to explain to not-understanding people that you’re singing in a a-capellagroup and hear their remark: ‘Ah, that’s without music, isn’t it!’
    And then… it’s not easy to be an a-capella addict in Holland. There is not enough ‘good stuff’ to be found around here. I have to cross borders to get it or pay a lot of money to get it shipped over…. I’m now trying to grow my own…

  3. 2. März 2010, 19:09 | #3

    Hello Emily May and welcome to AAA ;)

    Living in Germany with all its magnificent and diverse a cappella groups does not automatically mean that you don’t have to cross any borders. The grass grows greener on the other side … ;) Noooo, many of my favourite bands are from Germany. But I’m just too curious on every band name I hear :)

    Where are you buying your “stuff” at the moment? You are building up an own shop, did I understand you correctly?

    What I forgot to tell you about my symptoms: To give up the old job to live entirely for the a cappella music.

    Well, I guess I’ve got to go and work on my homepage. CU, Sandra

  4. 2. März 2010, 21:48 | #4

    I buy my stuff on the internet. Before I liked, but I had to wait several weeks to get it shipped from America. To get an instant boost I buy on I-tunes now (if possible). And to get the perfect satisfaction I create my own group to become Hollands best!

  5. 16. März 2010, 17:41 | #5

    Oh, your own group. I’ll have a look (and ear) :)

    By the way, here’s my diary of an a cappella addict:

  6. 18. März 2010, 08:47 | #6

    I’m also an a cappella addict from Holland and I agree with Emily – there’s not enough good stuff around here. Therefor I moved close to the German border a couple of years ago ;-) and now I can reach a lot of German groups a lot easier. I even learned German to be able to understand the German lyrics and be able to communicate with other addicts from across the border.

    I always find it hard to explain my addiction to other people. Moreover, most of them really don’t understand how listening to vocal music can be satisfying. Does anybody recognize this problem and how do you deal with it?

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