Five Chinese A Cappella groups that you cannot miss

Original Source : The House News
Author : Edison Hung
Published on : 2013-12-17
Translated by : Jay Gao

After writing a piece on “Five A Cappella groups that you cannot miss”, I always had the urge to introduce excellent groups that is in the neighborhood rather than those further away. I was planning to make Asian groups the subject, as I have heard that Japan and Korea has a lot of hidden gems, but due to the languagebarrierthey are not yet well-known among Chinese-speaking society, thereforeI do not want to pretend to be an expert and had to narrow the range down to just Chinese A Cappella groups.

1. O-Kai Singers

Taiwan A Cappella music has become well-developed, fostering many high-standard performing groups, some which even can make it onto the international stage and be recognized, amongst them all O-Kai Singers stand out as one of the most successful group. O-Kai Singers use indigenous musicas a selling point, mixing characteristics of native music into differentstyles of music such as jazz, not only to retain its own characteristics, but alsoto connect with the international pop music,which is ultimately the key reason that they can successfully “pop-up”.

2013 is a fruitful year for O-Kai Singers, started off with their first album “O-KaiACappella” winning the American CARA(Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award)for “Best Jazz Album”, which is equivalent to the Grammy Award in the A Cappella music world. Subsequently they were nominated for several Taiwan Golden Melody Awards, and won Best Vocal Group Award, Best IndigenousAlbum Award and Jury Award. They were also nominated for severalChineseGolden MelodyAwards, thus to highlight that O-Kai Singers receivingsufficient recognition from the mainstream music industry.

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2. Semiscon

Founded in 2002, Semiscon as the first group in the form of pure vocal performance has just finished their 10th anniversary music tour last year. They are truly the pioneer of Taiwan A Cappella music industry. AlthoughSemiscon’s members are not full time musicians, each having their own professions (such as engineers, doctors), but the quality of their performance is not affected. In 2003, after winning theThirdTaiwan National Contemporary A Cappella Competition, Semiscon representedTaiwan to enter the International A Cappella Competition Graz held in Austria, and came back with winning first placein the pop music category, proving to the world their musical talents.

Despite not having the indigenous selling point, Semiscon's music is filled withTaiwaneseflavor, apart from performing folk songs, using ethnic voice or Taiwanesedialect to sing, they also use everyday life events like “Late-night Supper” as the theme of their songs, which is very representative of their repertoire. No wonder they were guest performers for the Taiwan 101st National Day Celebration.

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3. The Gay Singers

Hong Kong group The Gay Singers’ status in the A Cappella music world is similar to Semiscon, alsopioneers with even longer history, they started performing in 1998. At the time, the group members all graduated from The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Chung Chi College, thususing the homonym “Ji” (the pronunciation is similar to the slang word for Gay), together with“Singers” to form the name of “The Gay Singers”.

The Gay Singers’ songs are mainlynostalgic, not limited to using Chinese and will also incorporatehumorous adaptations and stage actions, which are both quite unique. They have successively released five albums, this result is leading the way amongst the A Cappellagroups. In addition to performances, individual group member and former members Fung Kwok-tung, Ng Cheuk-yin and Patrick Chiu also setup their own organizations to promote A Cappella music. The former created the Contemporary A Cappella Society Hong Kong and Macao, the latter two teamed up together to form another group called Yat Po Singers and served as Artistic Director.

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4. Yat Po Singers

Yat Po Singers is the first Hong Kong professional A Cappellachoir group, currently consist of three Artistic Directors Ng Cheuk-yin, Yuri Ng and Patrick Chiu alongside four resident artists. In 2008, Yat Po Singers performed their first play “Rock Solid” (then not yet a professional theatre), this won them the CASH Golden Sail Music Awards as the “Best Serious Composition”, they were subsequently invited by the Hong Kong government, to perform at the Shanghai World Expo in 2010.

Yat Po Singers’ music focuses on originality and experimental, often inviting young composers to write their next piece, but at the same time also encourage the creative work of their four residentartists. Yat Po Singers are actively involved in working with different artists, such as dancers and clarinetist, to conduct cross-sectoral performances and to explore the unlimited possibility of A Cappella music. Not too long ago Yat Po Singers finished the performance of their second original A Cappella musical repertoire‘SING SANG SUNG’.

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5. MICappella

Lion City (Singapore) representative MICappella is made up of four men and two women, their powerful stage performance can easily light up the atmosphere. In 2012, MICappellaparticipatedin an A Cappella music competition (Chinese version of the U.S. The Sing Off)organized by Shenzhen TV, and won second place. This is a milestone inMICappella’s music career. Since then their reputation catapulted to the next level, received the U.S. A Cappella Community Awards in 2013 as “The most popular Asian Group”, and participated in a local A Cappella music festival called SoJam in the same year.

They also began to get involved in the mainstream music industry, recently took part in the Hong Kong Asian-Pop Music Festival and also received the Media Recommendation Award at the Singapore Hit Awards 2013.

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The above-mentioned are mainly on the more well-known and highly-skilled side of Chinese A Cappella music groups.

However, talented Chinese groups are far more than five, other groups include Voco Novo, Sirens Vocal Band, Vox Vocal Ensemble from Taiwan, Orange, Set Tone Men from Hong Kong and Hey Boy from China, are all talented groups that is worthwhile noticing.

(Author has given permission for the use of this article)



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