Owing to its long history of definitions, musicians have used the term a cappella to imply something distinct and different. Cappella actually translates as "chapel" and A cappella translates as "at chapel". In case you’re wondering what this means with respect to music, a cappella means unaccompanied music, usually vocals without accompaniment. A cappella music, has not only inspired new interest among religious groups, but the secular groups as well. Since the explosion of Pitch Perfect, this style of music has received additional attention thanks to Darren Criss and NBC’s The Sing-off.
Fans of this kind of singing would know that this isn’t new. For those of you who do not know, here are a few a cappella groups you probably should be listening to :
Street Corner Symphony
Runners up on Season 2 of NBC’s The Sing-Off, Street Corner Symphony is an a cappella group based out of Nashville, Tennessee. The group, known for its unique, laid-back-yet-dynamic style ofa cappella, consists of brothers Jeremy Lister and Jonathan Lister, along with Adam Chance, Kurt Zimmerman, Kaleb Jones and Mark McLemore. With a repertoire covering gospel and barbershop to rock and pop, Street Corner Symphony has released its work through their own label UnPractice Records.
Easily the biggest name in the game, Pentatonix is a Grammy winning and platinum selling acappella group that was formed in 2011. Its members are Avi Kaplan, Scott Hoying, Kirstin Maldonado, Kevin Olusola, and Mitch Grassi. The group gained recognition after having won the third season of The Sing-Off. Their work mostly consists of covers of existing songs. Pentatonix is known for its arrangement style and a diverse range of vocal riffling, basslines, percussion, and beatboxing.
Considered one of the most imitated vocal groups, Rockapella was founded in 1986. Over the years, the group has gone from pop to R&B. Currently, the Rockapella line-up features Scott Leonard, Jeff Thacher, George Baldi III, Steven Dorian and Calvin Jones. Remembered for their role on the show Where In The World Is Camren Sandiego?, the group has released over 19 albums in North America and 3 compilation albums in Japan. USA Today summed up the lasting appeal of their ever-evolving dynamic sound like this :
“The best musical instrument of all is the human voice – if you’ve seen Rockapella you know that’s the truth.”
Straight No Chaser (SNC)
Straight No Chaser consists of band members Jerome Collins, Walter Chase, Seggie Isho, Michael Luginbill, Charlie Mechling, Steve Morgan, Don Nottingham, David Roberts, Randy Stine and Tyler Trepp. Their 1998 video "The 12 Days of Christmas" received over 8 million views, leading them to a five-album deal with Atlantic Records. This a cappella group has a style based on a combination of musical brilliance balanced with a dose of self-depreciating humour.
This American a cappella group of five vocalists, namely, Austin Brown, Rob Lundquist, Adam Rupp, Tim Foust, and Adam Chance, won the 4th season of The Sing-Off. Home Free is structured like a traditional barbershop quartet, with a lead tenor, two harmony voices, and a bass. In addition, however, there are percussion sounds provided by beatboxer Adam Rupp.
Let us know which one of these groups had you obsessed!