April 10, 2010

Voz en Punto - Canta A Cri Cri

We were treated to the live show of mixed-voice (3 men, 3 women) a cappella Mexican Vocal Jazz sextet Voz en Punto at the 2010 Harmony Sweeps Bay Area Regional, where their funny, sophisticated set drew a strong ovation and a third place finish. The ensemble has been singing together since 1990 when they were founded by director Jose Galvan. While still students, the group won some very important choral competitions, such as the Int. Choral Festival of Tamper (Finland) in 1991, and the Int. Choral Festival of the Netherlands in 1995. Since then the group has gained an international career with live performances in Europe, Egypt, Russia, Romania, Japan and the U.S., sharing the stage with a cappella legends Bobby McFerrin and the King's Singers. In 2010 "canta CRI CRI," the group's fifth CD, is nominated for a Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award. The beautifully-designed, extensive, full-color liner notes of the album have a lovely photo and great graphics, but they are all in Spanish, as are the 15 song titles. We can pick a few favorites, such as "Negrito Bailarin," "La Merienda," "El Telefono," "Cucurumbe," "Mi Amigo Hans," "Di Por Que," the sassy "Metete Tete," "Mexico Canta Cri Cri" and "Tema De Cri Cri," but this is all wonderfully-crafted, upbeat, sometimes silly, entertaining stuff! 4263 CD 15.95
Listen to "Metete Tete

Posted by acapnews at 12:56 AM

Brass Farthing

We got a chance to experience Brass Farthing, 8 authentically-costumed, hard-drinking, sweet-harmonizing men, at the recent Harmony Sweeps Bay Area Regional. Raising their steins to us, they belted out classic drinking songs that one could expect to hear at a college fraternity rush party, getting many of us to join in! Most of these, like "God Bless the Human Elbow," "Red is the Rose," "All Among the Barley," "Boozin'," "Babylon is Fallen" and "Bellman," the heart-tugging (sort of ) tale of a beloved hound dog, are traditional tunes. "Another Irish Drinking Song" was written and composed by Da Vinci's Notebook's Paul Sabourin, "She Was Golden" was written by Brass Farthing's Daniel I. Briggs, "Glorious Beer" by Steve Leggett & Will Godwin" and "Eat Bertha's Mussels" by John Roberts. There are 10 authentically hammered, very funny tunes here, with arrangements by the group. This is good old, testosterone-soaked material, the stuff of sea shanties, or sung in a drinking sessions in the cabin of a fishing boat while a 20-foot mechanical shark cruises the dark waters outside. Also, don't miss an opportunity to see BF live! 2334 CD 14.95
Listen to "Boozin

Posted by acapnews at 12:01 AM

Solstice - Rise

"Rise" follows "Full Circle" as the Bay Area's own all woman World/Folk septet Solstice's second excellent, finely-crafted recording. Winners of the 2007 Harmony Sweeps Bay Area Regional and placing 3rd in the National Finals, the powerful harmonies and wonderful song selection have won this group a special place among our favorites. As Solstice's repertoire usually has consisted of strikingly performed World folk tunes like Sari Kaasinen's "Kappee," Japanese children's song Hotaru Koi" (Ho, Firefly), "Three movements from Finno-Ugric Landscapes" and Bela Bartok's "Legenycsufolo" (Boys' Teasing Song) included here, we see a whole new side of the group with the inclusion of Claude Debussy's "Dieu! Qu'il la fait bon regarder!," the Aretha Franklin hit "Chain of Fools," Paul Simon's early S&G hit "Hazy Shade of Winter," the Bluegrass song "West Virginia My Home," Edith Piaf's signature tune "La Vie en Rose" and Palestrina's "Tenebrae Factae Sunt" (Darkness Fell Over the Earth." One of our favorite songs from the group's 2007 live performances, Joni Mitchell's melancholy "Blue," completes a beautiful, surprising collection from spirited, talented Solstice. 9938 CD 14.95
Listen to "Blue

Posted by acapnews at 12:00 AM

April 2, 2010

Bobby McFerrin - VOCAbularieS

Ten-time Grammy Award winner/vocal innovator Bobby McFerrin surprises us yet again with VOCAbuLarieS, his first new release in eight years. Like his #1 worldwide hit song Don't Worry Be Happy and his multi-platinum duo album Hush with cellist Yo-Yo Ma, VOCAbuLarieS is based on Bobby's experiments with multi-track recording and his ceaseless exploration of the potential of the human voice. VOCAbuLarieS is Bobby McFerrin music for the 21st century. A collaboration with the composer/arranger/producer Roger Treece, VOCAbuLarieS features over fifty of the world's finest singers, recorded one at a time and in small groups to create a virtual choir made up of over 1,400 vocal tracks. Constructed as meticulously as a Mozart symphony or a Steely Dan album, intricately synthesized from countless stylistic elements, VOCAbuLarieS may be unlike any album anyone has ever recorded. Yet the music is always accessible, joyous, and inviting. VOCAbuLarieS celebrates Bobby's love of all musical genres, from classical to world music, R&B to gospel and beyond, building upon McFerrin's past explorations and journeying into bold new territory. If the song Don't Worry Be Happy is all you know about Bobby McFerrin, sit back and prepare to be amazed. 2336 CD 16.95

Posted by acapnews at 11:50 PM

Realtime - Take 5

Based in Vancouver, Canada and Bellingham, WA, a very talented pair of brothers, Tim & Doug Broersma and Mark & Tom Metzger, form four part a cappella quartet Realtime, who have been singing together since 2003. They quickly placed 2nd in the Harmony Sweeps Pacific Northwest Regional in 2004, then they became the 2005 International Quartet Champions of the Barbershop Harmony Society in Salt Lake City! Having reached the pinnacle of the barbershop world, they stopped competing in Barbershop contests. However, they continued to compete in the Harmony Sweeps, winning the Pacific Northwest again in 2007, and again in 2010, where this supergroup is an early favorite to win the upcoming National Finals May 15th! Listening to their jazzy, wonderfully arranged rendition of Dave Brubeck's jazz standard "Take 5" underlines the group's determination to "sing and record music of many styles, whatever (we) decide we like!" What Realtime likes includes 13 diverse selections, Lennon/McCartney's pop hits "With A Little Help From My Friends" and "Blackbird," "Over the Rainbow" from The Wizard of Oz, the Tennessee country anthem "Rocky Top," The show tune "On A Clear Day" (You Can See Forever), the scattish jazz favorite "Flight of the Foo Birds," the haunting spiritual "Follow the Drinking Gourd," and the Doobie Brothers' foot-tapping rocker "Listen to the Music." The last two cuts, "Funny Valentine" and "Georgia On My Mind," are harmoniously performed with the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra. "Take 5" is great stuff, the rock-solid harmonies and pure entertainment chops of this gold-medal-winning Barbershop group, joyously applied to some of our favorite tunes in other genres. Listening to it, we can't wait to hear Realtime at the Finals! 2783 CD 14.95
Listen to "On A Clear Day

Posted by acapnews at 11:48 PM