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Archiv für August, 2012

The Real Group Festival Kaleidoscope

by Florian Städtler, Vocal Blog

if you’ve read my last but one blog post “My Favourite Real Group Festival Moments” you might either have entered what The Real Group would call “Nostalgia World” or – if you weren’t able to attend the Stockholm extravaganza – might have caught a glimpse of the atmosphere and musical magic of The Real Group Festival 2012.

You might also have caught yourself in spending much more time on Facebook and Twitter than ever before, watching all the snapshots coming in, frantically tagging, liking and commenting as if this would bring back the fun of singing, talking and real-world-befriending of August 16th to 19th.

For those who like it a bit more comfortable and efficient, I have browsed the a cappella interwebs and have compiled a few of the pictures and videos that you might find yourself or your vocal music heroes in. If you have more to add (you sure will), just add them at the comment section below this post – it would be great to have it all in one big Real Group Festival Kaleidoscope.


via (@PPAbrigo): The ultimative TRGF2012 summary.


via Annemarie Homann (@anneinitalia)


via Stig Krogstad

You can find many more The Real Group Festival related videos at the Acappellazone YouTube channel, menu “Top A Cappella Live Videos”.



Enjoy and PLEASE add more videos in the comment section. Thanks for sharing and hope to see you all again at future a cappella highlights.

Florian Städtler is the founder and editor-in-chief of Vocal Blog, an vocal music agent and lover, the co-founder of the vocal music online shop Acappellazone and the Chairman of the Board of the European Voices Association. Or in a nutshell: He’s a vocal music lover aka a cappella nerd.

So…Business and Pleasure

by Tine Fris (Postyr Project, DEN), originally posted at on Aug 11th, 2012

So… it’s been busy -not boring- lately, and that’s why I haven’t written you a blog for a while. I feel like I have been living inside a washing machine for the last couple of months. Trying to find some solid ground under my feet, but constantly finding myself turning upside down, bending over backwards or simply just dizzy.

So… what’s the fuzz about? Well, basically we have been trying to build a sustainable structure around the ”Postyr Project” to ensure our continuous creative development. Maybe you would think that would mean a looot of time spent in a nice summer house by the beach writing songs, drinking red wine and eating a home cooked meal, but no.

So… Yes, I also really like to cook, but that’s besides the point. For now, I will leave it at letting you in on my basic recipe for writing music

1)    Inspiration (red wine, summer house, life, other artists, a bird, what ever)

2)    Improvisation (in the bath, on the bike, walking, where ever)

3)    Composition (taking the best parts of the improvisation and developing and shaping them into a certain more or less fixed form –it’s like a puzzle, suddenly it’s all into place)

4)    Arranging (What aspect of the song should be in focus? –It’s like arranging the meal on the plate –just to top it off with a food metaphor)

So… basically it all starts with inspiration. But let me tell you what is NOT inspirational: Bills, tech stuff that doesn’t work and not sleeping at night because the to do list keeps getting longer every day.

So… Basically, what we found out during the fall of 2011 was that in order to be able to have the time to be inspired (and write music and rehearse it and record it etc.) we needed to do a couple of other things first:

1)    Make a business plan that would make us able to make enough money to quit most of our day jobs, so we could spent more time on Postyr Project.

2)    Find the right business partners that could help us realize the business plan.

3)    Find out what yet undiscovered creative, organizational and personal resources we had within the group and find a way to use these resources in the best way.

4)    Find a way to improve communication to ensure that information is shared and everyone has their say and is on the same page as to where the project is heading and why we are making the decisions we are making

5)    Find a way to handle the physical stress in relation to heavy traveling and touring so the voices are ready for rehearsal, recordings and concerts when needed.

6)    Find a way to handle the emotional stress of dealing with uncertainty of the future, outside pressure and personal ups and downs.

So… We haven’t been bored. It’s been and it still is a true journey into the minefield of the business and into the hearts and minds of everyone in the group. And then after we got the most important things done, we wrote a whole bunch of new songs and recorded it and now we are in the process of mixing it and deciding what to do with it, and tomorrow we are meeting at my new place to hang out, talk and enjoy a bottle of red wine or two. I think that’s what they call business AND pleasure.

If you want to become (or already are) a Tine Fris fan, too, check her out on Facebook, Twitter and through the Postyr Project website.

The UK Collegiate A Cappella Fringe Report 2012

20. August 2012 1 Kommentar

by George Chambers, Oxford (UK)

As a roving reporter for Vocal Blog, I have had the great pleasure of seeing so much a cappella talent at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival. You’ll catch a good glimpse of most groups by walking down the famous ‘Royal Mile’ where they often perform on the three temporary stages. This is a short round up of the groups I managed to see, but this is a mere taste of a few collegiate groups taking part in the Festival this year. For full booking details, please go to the main Fringe webpage at



In The Pink are one of the two all-female a cappella groups from Oxford university. They are sassy, stylish and very natural on stage, exuding confidence in every number. The group did have some major tuning issues throughout the set, often going up to a tone and a half flat, but I imagine this was probably down to first show nerves. Some of their ‘mash up’ arrangements lack harmonic finesse and don’t quite achieve necessary fluidity between songs. Overall, this is an enjoyable afternoon show, nonetheless.


Next on my list was the mixed group The Oxford Gargoyles who specialise in jazz a cappella. This group dazzle their audience with complex arrangements, tight choreography and spellbinding musicality. If you want to sit from start to finish with your mouth wide open in amazement, go see these guys. They will be competing later this year in the BBC Choir of the Year Final,  and you can see why. This is certainly a five star show, but if I could give them six stars, I would!


Joining the Gargoyles in the Choir of the Year final will be some home-grown Scottish talent from the mixed group The Alleycats from St Andrews. These guys are masters of perfect blend and infectious energy. They command the stage and give you 110% with their a cappella engines firing on all cylinders – this is a show to remember. Their arrangements are extremely strong, bringing the best out of each singular voice to produce a crystalline clarity to their group tone. As usual, their choreography didn’t disappoint and I had my foot stomping throughout the whole thing. A virtually flawless set expertly delivered.


The Oxford Alternotives were on their ninth show when I saw them, and unfortunately their tiredness did show through a bit. Choreography was a little slapdash and more complex harmonies often fell very flat. They give a great show nonetheless and the highlight was an a cappella Blind Date compared by the hilarious Natasha Heliotis. Blend is generally good, especially in the men’s voices. Again, with some more care and attention to arrangements, this group could be fantastic.


I was expecting a lot from these boys. Fresh from their Voice Festival UK victory, their set was well-delivered with oodles of energy and commitment. Their arrangements can sometimes be a little simple, and I sat wanting to jiggle parts around to make the most of some exceptional voices. When it comes to ballads, the boys aren’t afraid to use the full extent of their power, and really do give us some welly. Their sound this year is rich and full and their dynamic control very impressive. Their show is secure at the moment, but I wonder what the future holds for ATKM if they were to raise the bar a notch with the complexity of their arrangements.

Do you like what you read? Want to join the vocal music conversation and come to know a great number of international a cappella singers and fans? Then follow Vocal Blog on Twitter, become a member of the Facebook group and a fan of the Facebook fanpage.



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My Favourite Real Group Festival Moments

by Florian Städtler, Vocal Blog

“A life-changing experience” – this was only one of the enthusiastic descriptions of the 2nd vocal music festival hosted by The Real Group in their hometown Stockholm. Can three festival days in the Swedish capital change your life? How comes that even seasoned professionals could be seen wiping a tear at The Real Group Festival’s improvised closing ceremony? Why do people accept a lot of little glitches by the mostly volunteer organization although they spend a significant amount of money to travel, sleep and take part in workshops and concerts? And why do a cappella people seem to hug each other at every possible opportunity?

I’m going write another blog post about the things that we can learn from The Real Group Festival, to maybe end up with an even better festival experience. But right now, I would like to give my dear readers (those who joined the Stockholm extravaganza and those who couldn’t make it this time) a very personal explanation, why I enjoyed this festival so much and was one of those who had to wipe away a tear when the celebrations reached its climax in Eric Ericsson Hall. So here are my favorite Real Group Festival moments:

1. Stockholm, capital of Sweden: This city is certainly one of the most beautiful capitals of the world. Friendly, clean, safe and with people who make a very relaxed and open-minded impression to visitors. Even a heavy rain shower right when I had to find my way from “Centralstation” to my hotel couldn’t spoil the positive impression of the Swedish capital.

2. The Opening Concert (1), Postyr Project: Maybe the 5 Danes who started their journey of “ecappella” (vocal music fused with electronic music) less than 2 years ago haven’t even realized how quickly they have become both the darling of the festival hosts and highly praised vocal music teachers. Not a dream, Line, Tine, Anders, Andreas and Kristoffer: But certainly an obligation to keep pushing the borders of vocal music.

Christine Liu (Voco Novo) with Florian Städtler (Vocal Blog)

3. The Opening Concert (2), Voco Novo: My personal discovery of TRGF2012. A Cappella music from Taiwan? Vocal music from Asia? Fasten your seat belts, ladies and gentlemen. When our friends from the East do something, they do it 100%. And they have learnt very, very quickly that their true strength is not copying the American or European groups, but finding their own voice. You can’t out-realgroup The Real Group anyway.

4. Watching Jim Daus Hjernoe: Jim is not only an exceptional teacher of rhythmic choral music, a professor and a member of the European Voices Association core team. As if that wasn’t enough, he just looks damn’ good. As the Danish answer to George Clooney and a colleague of Bobby McFerrin the number of his disciples is constantly growing. Watch this space for more news on the latest vocal music edu news – you can be sure that Jim is pulling some of the strings.

5. Meeting acafriends from other continents: Yes, there are people who fly many thousands of miles to be part a three-day event and – judging from their happy smiles, perpetual hugging, Facebook posts etc. – they don’t regret having booked the trip to Stockholm. Judy Fontana (USA), Kari Francis (USA), Jonathan Minkoff (USA), David Longo (USA), Paul Jay (CAN), Christine Liu (Taiwan), Catherine Liu (Taiwan), Bill Hare (USA) and a vocal group leader from Venezuela (who ran out of business cards) are only a few of those long-distance a cappella travelers.

6. Meeting Jeff Meshel (ISR): Jeff Meshel, well, what can I say. I have not known his work as a music journalist and publisher for too long. However I’ve completely fallen in love with his blog and writing style. His knowledge about jazz is almost scary. And his enthusiasm for authentic music and authentic vocal music easily made him part of the Stockholm aca-family. The intense talk about the global development of what Jeff calls “The New A Cappella” (in a restaurant on a ship next to Skeppsholmen island, close to the festival center) was a 2-hour deep-dive into the worldwide phenomenon of vocal music. Can’t wait to continue this conversation.

"Swingle Singers?" "Bello impossibile" - Erik Bosio (Cluster) with Florian Städtler (Vocal Blog)

7. The Swingle Singers, live in concert: It’s hard for me to be objective, so I won’t even try. The Swingles have been part of my musical and agent’s life for a decade now. And I love them. No…after the performance at China Teatern (after Rajaton, no big deal, really…), I believe in the NEW Swingle Singers and I am proud of the seven of them. The current line-up sings originals. They have the best soloists the group ever had. And when it counted (a gig at TRGF is more or less one of the most important showcases on planet a cappella), they delivered what David Longo called “the perfect set”. If there were any doubts about the Swingles going to have a glorious 50th anniversary year in 2013, they wiped them away with musical perfection (“Clair de Lune”, “Libertango”) and world-class entertainment (“All the Swingle Ladies”, “Diva”) that proved that this group belongs to the champions league of vocal music.

8. The Story of Perpetuum Jazzile: It was one of these tough choices you have to make when attending a jam-packed festival. Should I see Jim Hjernoe’s vocal rhythm workshop or do I want to get the inside scoop of the YouTube wonder with the strange name? I chose Bostjan Usenik’s workshop on the success story of Slowenian pop choir Perpetuum Jazzile. Their story, the story of 55 (amateur) singers going viral on YouTube with one of the unjazziest and covered-to-death songs in the world – Toto’s “Africa” – is as unbelievable as the fact that they use the word “Jazz” in their group name and have as of today not only appeared in major European TV shows, but tour Germany with the support of the country’s most prominent tabloid newspaper and national TV channel SAT1. The funny thing is: Bostjan wasn’t really able to explain WHY it all happened as it happened. But one thing became very clear. He and his team worked very, very hard and for a very long time.

The Stockholm Vocal Jog #1 team

9. The Stockholm Vocal Jog was a triple success. Despite the completely unrealistic starting time of 7:30am, both the Friday and Saturday Vocal Jog was well attended – six heroes on Friday, five Vocal Joggers on Saturday. The real surprise was a single jogger who for years had only laughed at me and told me that “one can only run from something” (or for something…that something being pudding, chocolate etc.), the Swingle Singers “alto, arranger and party planner” Clare @dinkyswingle Wheeler. Wheelie, you made me smile before, but  this time, it’s special. Keep on running, we can’t wait until you join us!

10. The EVA Open Meetings: The European Voices Association (EVA) was founded on the 1st of January 2012. And it was time to get the movers and shakers from all over Europe on board. In two meetings a great number of interested people who represented the whole variety of European vocal music gathered: Singers in vocal groups and choirs, conductors of classical, jazz and pop choirs, representatives of national vocal music institutions and friends from similar organisations like Vocalasia and CASA (Contemporary A Cappella Society, USA). Volunteering needs motivation – here you are. The EVA board went home with lots of new ideas to be thought about and homework to be done. NOTE (1): EVA needs members! You can become one for 60 EUR per year via – welcome and thanks for your support! NOTE (2): EVA needs volunteers, e.g. benefit scouts, fundraisers, EU funding specialists, PR experts, researchers etc. etc. Apply via if you want to contribute and share!

11. The Real Group: “Define The Real Group”, I asked the members of the Vocal Blog Facebook group. And nothing happened. It’s hard to put in words what five Swedish singers have achieved for themselves and the vocal music community in more than 25 years. Authenticity. Openness. Curiosity. Approachability. Innovation. Modesty. Genius. Empathy. Charisma. Humanity. Inspiration. Role Models….all of this is true, but it only partly describes the work of art that now inspires a new, self-confident and competent generation singers, conductors, arrangers, composers and producers. Maybe we just shouldn’t solve this mystery and simply enjoy the beauty and the kindness we see and hear. And stay curious. Forever curious.

A big thank you to TRGF team, who made this event possible. And for all the beautiful moments that linger on and made our love of singing in groups even stronger. See you at the London A Cappella Festival in January 2013.

Florian Städtler is an agent, blogger and vocal music lover from Freiburg Germany. He is founder of Vocal Blog, Acappellazone and Chairman of the Board and co-founder of the European Voices Association.

The A Cappella World Tour Report (2): Hong Kong Peak

by Florian Städtler, Vocal Blog founder

this is a very short post – the reason is that in less than two hours, I’m boarding a train to Frankfurt airport. Again, you might say, and you’re right. If someone had told me that long-haul-flights would become “business as usual” for me, I would have shrugged my shoulders and returned to my desk, looking forward to the next exciting trip to Munich, Cologne, Leipzig or Hamburg. With one phone call, four corporate roadshows (which Sao Paolo is the fourth of) and about 4-5 new US and Swiss inquiries by the same international client, things have changed. Read more about the “Voices of Sales” project in my earlier blog post, “A Cappella World Tour Report (1)”.

Now, before I hop a flight to Brazil I absolutely wanted to share two little videos with you. They marked on of the most exciting short trips of my life, my 4-day visit of Hong Kong and Shenzen, including the taping of the first Sing-Off China episode and a one-day sightseeing trip with my newly-found friend Kwok-tung Fung. Kwok-tung works for Vocalasia, the fast growing Asian organisation for contemporary vocal music. See what we had to say “on top of the world”.

Peak video greeting by Kwok-tung Fung (Vocalasia)

Peak video greeting by Florian Städtler (Vocal Blog)

Stay tuned for more footage of the “Voices of Sales” project and more global a cappella fun here on the blog. The next report will show you videos by four groups from four continents, singing the same song in their individual style. And some pictures, anecdotes and impressions from a town of 19.7 million inhabitants: Sao Paolo.

See you in London (August 15th, “Pub & Curry Night with London aca-friends, just drop a line if you would like to join us) and at The Real Group Festival in Stockholm (August 16th-19th)!

Thanks for sharing Vocal Blog via Facebook group, Facebook fanpage and Twitter. If you’ve got a story for the vocal music community, let us know via We love your input, as long as its personal and more than blatant self-promotion. What would you like to read here? Who would you like to be featured? Make your comments and be part of the conversation!