AAVF 2013

Author: Christine Liu
Date: 2013-06-15

Aarhus Vocal Festival is one of the biggest vocal festivals in Europe.  This year there were almost 700 people from at least 17 countries.  It contains 2 competitions (for small and large ensembles), lots of workshop (3 full days, each days has 3 periods, each period has average 5 workshop selections), lots of concerts (a main concert a day, at least 5 midday concerts per day, and night stages after main concerts), lots of singing, lots of loving, and meeting lots of singers from all over the world.

Vocal Innovation

The theme for this year’s festival is “Vocal Innovation”, and many workshops that help the creativity in vocal music were offered.  For example, “Improvised Performance” by Rhiannon from Webe3, “Vocal Technique and Improvisation” by Mette Maagaard, “Innovative Arrangements” by Postyr, “Music of the Moment” by Kristian Skarhoj.  In the competition, there is also an award for the “Best Innovative arrangement”.

This theme is also expressed in the evening performances.  Different groups were experimenting new things or collaborating with each other. For example, the improvised performance of WeBe3; and the idea of having a loop station when The Real Group performed one of their classics– Words.  There was also collaboration between the Danish Girls Choir and Vox North, between Postyr and DJ Static, and between The Real Group and Rajaton (Level Eleven).

Rhythmic Choir   

Denmark has a very unique modern choral tradition, which they call the “rhythmic choir”.  It is basically a large group of singers (with or without a conductor) using microphones to sing songs in the pop/jazz music genre, some adapt the modern Danish vocal technique called “The Complete Vocal Technique” developed by Catherine Sadolin. One of the most famous examples of this tradition is the Vocal Line, founded and still conducted by Jens Johansen. The participants got many opportunities to experience such tradition in workshops like “Vocal Jazz” by Jesper Holm, the conductor of Touche, “Inspiring Rehearsal for Choir” by Line Groth from Vocal Line and Postyr, “The Rhythmic Foundation” by Roger Treece, “Get Your Groove On” by WeBe3, “Rhythm and Groove” by Jim Hjeroe, “Move n’ Groove” by Lene Norgaard, and “Complete Vocal Technique” by Catherine Sadolin herself. Evening performances also features this tradition with Vocal Line, Vox North, Danish Girls Choir... etc. 

Highlights and extras 

A special feature in the festival was the Mzansi Youth Choir from South Africa. This group of teenagers sang with powerful voice, performed with beautiful smiles and energetic moves, taking all of us from the northern Denmark all the way to the South Africa.  It was one of the highlights of the festival.

One of the organizers, Jens Johansen, spoke about how this festival is where the participants can meet the artists/teachers in a casual way. You get many opportunities to talk to the artists when you see members from Postyr in the selling booth, or The Real Group having drinks by the bar, or seeing Rajaton walking and chatting in the hallway… etc. 

The whole festival’s atmosphere is just great, participants gathered like a big family for the 4 days, lots of loving and positive energy, and lots of singing together too. The quality of the workshops and concerts is very high, definitely something you don’t want to miss next time!      



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