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Home > Main > Go North – Get Ready for Vokalarm!

Go North – Get Ready for Vokalarm!

Elin Valvatne, singer with Apes&Babes (NOR) and one of the initiators of Vokalarm (Trondheim, October 7 – 10, 2010) gives her thoughts about the process of creating an a cappella festival in Norway.

I of course know that there has been a cappella activities and festivals going on for decades. However, for quite some time this had “nothing to do with me”… It was the college groups in the States, and I had heard some rumors about a festival in Germany. But the tendency had clearly been to keep a cappella music within country borders, unless you where The Real Group, The Swingle Singers or The Manhattan Transfer.

Now, there seems to be an a cappella awakening (and exchange) in Scandinavia, too! The first major step was made by Aarhus Vocal Festival (Denmark) in 2006. The Danes are a bit closer to Europe than we are, and do not have so many mountains. So they just did it, just like that! This festival made me realize that my vocal group wasn’t the “only one in the world” – a feeling that you easily get when you come from Norway, where everybody lives on their own mountain top, so to speak.. ;) All of a sudden I had made friends with a bunch of excellent singers and vocal groups from around Scandinavia, yes, even with some from around the world…and I got to hear groups like Rajaton and Cosmos for the first time. Now this was an awakening to me indeed. Here was a cappella music taken to the next level. Long awaited!

Then The Real Festival (Sweden) came along. The Real Group will always impress me. They could easily have spent the rest of their career “resting on their laurels” and relying on old fame. But here they go and make a festival (a neck-breaking initiative in itself!), and hereby making a very important contribution towards uniting the Scandinavian (as well as European) a cappella environment even more.

The idea of a Norwegian vocal festival had existed for some years already. But how to make it possible, was a mystery for quite a long time. It seemed to be an exclusive group of enthusiasts that was eager to make it happen, but without the means to do so. Also, we had very little information about Norwegian vocal groups other than our own ones. Where was the common ground to build a festival upon? We crossed our fingers that there was. Fortunately, Norway has got a strong and powerful choir organisation, only problem being that its members are scattered all over Norway, as many things are in this vast country. The “Mid-Norway departement” decided to go for it, and a Nowegian a cappella festival could finally be realized. In Trondheim – in the middle of Norway!

Having experienced the a cappella magic twice in Aarhus and once in Västerås, we are now eager to share this with other Norwegian vocal groups. We do believe that there is a lot of unreleased a cappella potential in this country. Hopefully the international inspiration and bonding will help to unleash it.

The goal of this festival is to discover and unite the Norwegian vocal group environment, and to continue the uniting of the Scandinavian/European/Global a cappella environment. We want to present amazing vocal music to a Norwegian audience, and we look forward to present Norwegian vocal music to the world.

We hope that the festival can contribute on many levels, that Vokalarm will complete the range of Scandiavian a cappella festivals rather than compete with them, and in this way strengthen the international a cappella bonds.  Outcome: One big happy a cappella family regardless of country boundaries!

Performing groups and inspirationists @ Vokalarm 2010:

Apes&Babes (Norway)
Cosmos (Letland)
Pitsj (Norway)
Pust (Norway)
Rajaton (Finland)
Jake Moulton (USA)
Jim Daus Hjernøe (Denmark)
Peder Karlsson (Sweden)

..together with many exciting groups and vocal enthusiasts participating at the festival J

Last minute enrollment still possible!

Whole groups enrollment is closed, but we still have an opening for individual participants who want to join the festival – there might even be places left for active participants on some of the workshops. Contact information can be found at

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