10 People You And I Want to Meet at LACF 2013
Happy New Year, everyone – I hope you had some nice relaxing holidays and are ready for another year of fantastic news for all of us vocal music afficionados. The first wonderful thing to happen every year is an event that most of us only refer to as LACF: The London A Cappella Festival, curated by The Swingle Singers and executed by their longtime partners in crime, Ikon Arts. In only four years, LACF has become a top-notch international festival, featuring artists like The Real Group, FORK, The Swingle Singers, Cadence, The Boxettes, Witloof Bay, The Vasari Singers in earlier years as well as a growing programme of workshops, panels and network activities.
This year’s line-up is quite spectacular in many ways, too: The Swingles inviting The King’s Singers shows the mutual respect between two groups who are both living legends and at the same time alive and kicking. Finally, one of Britain’s most successful live acts, The Magnets, have their LACF spot as well as Finnish vocal music stars Rajaton, who will spread their soundscapes of pop and Nordic music at King’s Place for the first time. And don’t forget the next generation: Postyr Project from Aarhus, Denmark with their blend of electronic and vocal music. The Exchange (USA), a five-part all-star band from NBC’s Sing-off supporting The Swingle Singers. Vive, one of the big hopes of young British vocal music. Retrocity from Canada with their mix of pop, soul and funk…you better get your tickets now at www.londonacappellafestival.co.uk.
With the first two articles about LACF2013, I would like to feature some people who I want to meet in London in person. Simply because I know that it will be fascinating to talk to them about their reasons for coming to London, about the festival’s artists and the development of vocal music in Europe, America and Asia. This first one is about what we might call “hidden champions”: People who work backstage, people who organize and network, people who care so much about the a cappella community that they travel from (very) far to see the concerts and meet their aca-friends. It goes without saying, that this is a very subjective selection and of course I could easily have titled this “101 People You and I…”. However, if you meet some of these featured, you will sooner or later bump into more inspiring, thoughtful and/or crazy a cappella people.
Here are the hidden champs I want to meet and talk to from Jan 24th-26th:
Alex Godfree (UK), because as the figurehead of Voice Festival UK, she is one of THE movers and shakers in the UK a cappella scene. Watch her on that little LACF2012 video greeting and check out Voice Festival UK’s brandnew website, Facebook page and Twitter.
Jeanine Rondas (BEL), because Jeanine is one of these people who have made a cappella their favourite thing. She probably knows more about vocal music in Europe than most of the “vocal music pros” around. Get to know her via Facebook and ask her anything about aca-travelling – she’ll have the dates, names and figures.
Jessica Hill (UK), because her work with the Ikon Arts team makes LACF happen. Thank you! Watch Jessica, Nicola and Beccy in their LACF 2012 video greeting and check out Ikon Arts via Facebook and Twitter. (To meet these ladies during the festival buzz will be rather easy…talking to them will be much more difficult. #busybuddies
Yael Levin (ISR), because she (together with Yarden Cohen) seems to be very a cappella active in her home country – and I want to learn more about what happens over there regarding vocal music. Welcome to London, Yael – who else will be coming from Israel?
Sven-Michael Salzer (GER) – I’m actually not sure if “SMS” aka Festival-Sven will be joining us at LACF2013, but I do hope so. He is a member of the Hannover-based vocal group Essenzen and fell in love with another LACF2012 attendee – which means we have one more aca-couple. Here’s Sven’s Facebook and Twitter contact…ah, and by the way: Sven works as a manager of Hannover A Cappella Festival, one of the major vocal music events in Germany for more than a decade now.
Michele Manzotti (ITA) – Michele, a journalist and writer based in Florence, Italy is one of the greatest Swinglesingerologists on the planet. Ask him a question about Swingle Singing and he will have the answer. He made his debut as a performing vocal artist joining the fabulous “Single Singers” (no typo; pun intended, find more on this project’s website) at LACF2012. Michele is such a great guy – chat him up if you can!
Joan Hare (USA) - Well, what can I say about Joan? She is probably one of the most unique and wonderful people in a community that is not exactly poor regarding original personalities. Joan “A Cappella Mum” Hare actually is the mother of Bill Hare, the world’s no.1 vocal music producer (the list of his clients would make this blog explode). But Joan is much more: She’s a symbol of what makes this community so special, the figurehead of aca-love. You won’t be able not to meet her – and that’s perfectly fine.
Hans Cassa (NED) - Is Hans a hidden champion or should he rather be mentioned in the next blog post, when the stars on stage will be featured? Difficult, because being a longtime member of Dutch a cappella pioneers Montezuma’s Revenge as well as a passionate “Single Singer“, aca-traveller, teacher and fan, he is a perfect example of how the border between pros and amateurs have no meaning at all at the great a cappella festivals . It’s the joy of music and good company. You will certainly meet Hans both at the “Festival Pub” called “The Fellow” and at the Premier Inn’s hotel bar. He’s not tweeting a lot, but anyway here’s his Twitter and Facebook contact.
Deborah Rosanwo (GER) – If you want to meet a passionate choir singer (with Bonner Jazzchor) and want to learn about the best things about Stockholm, Aarhus or other festivals in Europe, just ask Deborah. She seems to be online 24/7 and her posts are often real vocal music gems. I’m not sure, well, actually quite sure that Deb will be joining the “Single Singers” at their 1st anniversary gig at King’s Place. If you want to learn more about Deborah, see if she wants you as a Facebook friend and follow her on Twitter….if you can find her.
Willy Eteson (UK) – Richard “Willy” Eteson was The Swingles high tenor and business director for almost ten years. He is a passionate cook and deli expert. This passion culminates in an annual slaughter of a pig, executed (literally…) by Willy and some former choir boys. He married his beautiful wife Joanna Goldsmith-Eteson (don’t look into her eyes, you will both faint and Willy will consider you to become a delicate home-made sausage) on Copacabana beach (not kidding!) in Rio de Janeiro and they now live in Hackney, a part of London that will soon be as glamorous as Rio’s seaside. Meet Willy live and be prepared to be offered exceptional home-made delicacies. Meet him online and you will experience British humour and obscure fourth league football comments.
And now….! As I have left out dozens of other, equally nice, charming good-looking and nice-smelling people: Who do you want to meet in London? Post your comments and I promise every single suggestion will be featured with a mini-portrait on the blog. Let’s introduce your personal LACF2013 star and meet them in the real world very soon!
I’m Florian Städtler, 42 (the answer to life, the universe and everything) a father of two wonderful daughters who can sing but don’t admit it. I studied electric guitar, became a marketing and event planning pro and finally decided to fall in love with a cappella (#Iloveyouall). Meet me, tweet me, facebook me, watch me, buy me, join me.