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, acappella-online.de, 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.
Did you like this article? Do you agree or (even better) disagree? We want you to let us know, so feel free to post your comments. If you want to share ideas with more a cappella and vocal activists and recommend the site via facebook, twitter or at your blog – thank you!
Do you think there are groups or people who should be featured in the Vocal Blog interview series? Do you want to interview someone for Vocal Blog? Guest posts can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org, we look forward to your contributions.