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A Cappella FAQ Part 6/7

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Subject: A Cappella FAQ Part 6/7

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
            A Cappella FAQ - Part Six: Specific A Cappella

Q 6.1 What's the story with...

     Acappella, AVB, etc.
     The Accidentals
     The Blenders
     The Bobs
     Five O'Clock Shadow
     The Gas House Gang
     The House Jacks
     King's Singers
     Ladysmith Black Mambazo
     The Nylons
     The Persuasions
     The Real Group
     Sweet Honey in the Rock
     The Swingle Singers
     Take 6

NOTE: This is in no way an attempt to list all of the a cappella groups --
it's only a listing of some of the most asked about, award winning and
well-known groups. If you wish to learn more about other groups, check the
a cappella web directory on the CASA web site at

NOTE #2: You will find mention of Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards
(CARAs) with many of these groups. For a complete list of all CARAs that
have been awarded since 1992, go to the CASA Web site, under Programs
( where you will find each year listed
separately. There are also listings of all the nominated groups for some

Q 6.1 What's the story with...

* Acappella, AVB, etc. *

Acappella and AVB are contemporary Christian a cappella groups that are
part of the A Cappella Company. Founder Keith Lancaster is also
responsible for his own solo recordings, the prolific "A Cappella The
Series" albums, and many other recordings - over 40 in all.

     The A Cappella Company
     Keith Lancaster
     PO Box 15
     Paris, TN 38242

The A Cappella Company is a multiple-CARA award winning group; having won,
been named runner-up, or both nearly every year since the inception of the
CARAs in 1992.

* The Accidentals *

This group, a mixed voice octet, came together 8 years ago to sing at the
Bottom Line in NYC in a benefit for a homeless shelter. In 1995, they were
the named National Champs and Audience Favorite at the Harmony Sweeps and
released their first album "The Accidentals". In 1996, they won 2 CARAs;
Best Contemporary Song ("You Win") and Best Humorous Song ("Rudiana").

More info about the group can be found at

* Acoustix *

One of the biggest names in barbershop, this quartet has a couple of
exceptional recordings: "The New Science of Sound" and "Stars and Stripes"
(Patriotic Songs).

     Acoustix Productions
     Todd Wilson
     10455 N Central Expressway, #109-128
     Dallas, TX 75231
     Phone: 214.265.STIX (7849) or 888.448.STIX
     Fax: 214.265.9555

* The Blenders *

The Blenders are a four part, Nylons-esque group with tight harmonies and
great style. They  have released several albums - "Totally Whipped" and
"From The Mouth" (a cappella); "The Blenders," (contains one a cappella
track, Sailing, which was taken straight from the album "From The Mouth");
and 2 albums on the Primarily A Cappella label, "Now and Then", an
compilation of some of their best songs along with 2 previously unreleased
tunes, and "Nog" a Christmas album. They were signed by Universal in 1998
after their (non-a cappella) hit "McDonald's Girl".

     The Blenders
     PO. Box 26037
     Minneapolis, MN 55426

In 1995 The Blenders were awarded a CARA for their entertaining cover of
"Don't Worry, Be Happy" and in 1998 for their rendition of "Rudolph the
Red-Nosed Reindeer".

* The Bobs *

One of the biggest a cappella groups of the last 20 years, this quartet
(quintet for the brief period after Joe Finetti joined and before Gunnar
Madsen left) can do anything from Jimi Hendrix to They Might Be Giants.
The older albums are now available from Rhino Records, and their newer
releases are on Rounder.

     "The Bobs" (1983)
     "My, I'm Large" (1987)
     "Songs for Tomorrow Morning" (1988)
     "Sing the Songs Of..." (1991)
     "Shut Up And Sing" (1993)
     "Cover The Songs Of..." (1994)
     "Plugged" (1995)
     "Too Many Santas" (1996)
     "i brow club" (1997)
     The Bobs
     PO Box 5645
     Berkeley, CA 94705

The Bobs are another of those groups that have been awarded multiple CARAs
-- as winners and runners-up in various categories. Check out the complete
list of CARA winners on the CASA page.

* Chanticleer *

Chanticleer, the only full-time classical a cappella ensemble in the US,
has developed a remarkable reputation for its interpretation of vocal
literature, from renaissance to vocal jazz, from gospel to venturesome new
music. The ensemble made its debut in San Francisco's Mission Dolores and
went on to garner national and international acclaim. Today, the ensemble
sings more than 100 performances annually throughout North America, Europe
and Asia.

     Debby Hersh, PR/Marketing
     650 5th St. Suite 311
     San Francisco, CA 94107

In 1996 Chanticleer's rendition of "Es Ist Ein Ros Entsprungen" received a
CARA as the best Classical Song. In 1998 they received as CARA for Best
Folk Album: Wondrous Love.

* The EDLOS *

The EDLOS (Excessive Decibel Levels from Outer Space) is a male quartet
with operatic roots whose musical/theatrical presentation pushes the
boundaries of the genre. The EDLOS, being the only group ever to win all
the prizes at the Harmony Sweepstakes, are audience favorites everywhere
they perform. Their varied and well crafted arrangements, devilishly
delicious humor, fantastic voices and stage presence combine to make a one
of a kind group. They cover all the bases... from Gregorian chant and
opera to Motown, Country, Reggae, 60's psychedelia and more! They've
performed with top acts such as Chicago, Huey Lewis, Bernadette Peters,
Bonnie Raitt and Leann Rimes and had their own one hour national PBS TV

    Loud Is Good (eclectic pop)
    A Cappella Country (duh!)
    WinterSongs (holiday)
    Sampler (2 songs from each record plus The Lion Sleeps Tonight and new
hit, Garbage Man)
    Just Us

    The EDLOS
    433 Town Center
    Suite 670
    Corte Madera, CA 94925
    Phone: 510.843.3567 (510.TH.EDLOS)

* Five O'Clock Shadow - FOCS *

This male sextet is a popular fixture in the Boston area who went
full-time in early 1997. They were the regional winners of Harmony Sweeps
in Boston in 1995 and the New York regional winners in 1997 and that year
went on to place third at the Nationals. They began as a quintet -- hence
the name -- but added a 6th member when they decided to add a full-time
vocal percussionist. They have gone through various member changes over
the years and have released 3 albums, each with a different line-up, which
is different from the present one -- Quintet (1994), Buzz (1996 -- mostly
live) and So There (1998). 

     Five O'Clock Shadow
     PO Box 22
     Boston, MA 02199

In 1999, FOCS received a CARA for Best Original song "What It's All About".

* The Gas House Gang *

In the 1930's The St. Louis Cardinals baseball team was nicknamed "The Gas
House Gang" to describe the players' fiery attitude toward the game and
their fun-loving style of play. In 1987 a barbershop quartet from the St.
Louis area chose the name to match its own personality. Since that time,
the foursome's energetic singing style and diverse repertoire have proven
the appropriateness of the title to people across North America and
Europe. After winning the 1988 Central States District Competition in
their first attempt, they began a steady climb up the International
Competition ladder which culminated in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where
they were awarded the 1993 International Quartet Championship. They have
released 3 albums -- "Our Rough And Tumble Best", "A Little Night Music"
and "Face The Music".

For Bookings or Other Information:

     Rich Knight
     5 San Camille Court
     St. Charles, MO 63303

The Gas House Gang received a 1997 Best Barbershop CARA for their "Strike
Up The Band Medley".

* The House Jacks *

Formed in San Francisco by CASA president Deke Sharon from East Coast
college a cappella singers, The House Jacks were the first a capella group
to feature a designated vocal percussionist. They've released 2 albums
("Naked Noise" and "Funkwich"), and they tour extensively around the US
and the world. The group's pioneering "in-your-face" rhythm section driven
pop/rock/r&b sound has put them at the cutting edge of the current "vocal
band" movement. In 1998 they singed a German record deal and released an
album there titled "Naked Funk".

     The House Jacks
     c/o Prince S/F Productions
     1450 Southgate Ave., Suite 206
     Daly City, CA 94015-4021
     Phone: 650.550.0005
     Fax: 650.550.0006

Note: Due to Deke Sharon's involvement in the CARAs, the House Jacks have
withdrawn themselves from eligibility, so as to remove any appearance of
conflict of interest or impropriety.

* King's Singers *

The six Englishmen known as the King's Singers enjoy a reputation as one
of the world's most sought-after and highly acclaimed vocal ensembles.
This group was started by ex-students at King's College, Cambridge in
1968. They sing mostly madrigal and classical style music, including a
cappella arrangements of famous classical pieces, and have recently
branched out into the contemporary scene, making several successful pop
albums as well. They have recorded over 30 albums, many of which move in
and out of print. Contact DJ records at a list of their currently
available releases.


For information or subscription to the King's Singers Newsletter (annual
subscription $5.00 and it comes out quarterly) contact:

     Erica Zaffarano
     The King's Singers Newsletter
     17005 11th Avenue N
     Plymouth, MN 55447

In 1998 the King's Singers were awarded a CARA for Best Classical Song:

* Ladysmith Black Mambazo *

This is the charming South African "Mbube" group that can be heard on Paul
Simon's "Graceland" album. Simon also produced the group's first US
release, Shaka Zulu, which won a Grammy for Best Traditional Folk
Recording in 1987. Although many of their recordings aren't in English,
their rich sonorous music still speaks deeply. They have many recordings
that can be found is many record stores.

     Ladysmith Black Mambazo Fan Club
     Roger Dean, President
     104 Worral Drive
     Newark, Delaware  19711

In 1998 there were awarded a CARA for Best Religious Song: Ilungelo Ngelako.

* m-pact *

Winners and audience favorites at the 1996 National Harmony Sweeps after
less than one year together, these 5 guys perform in a variety of styles
-- from jazz and R&B, to gospel/soul and pop. They hail from around the US
but now live in and work out of Seattle, WA. In 1996 they released their
first album "It's All About Harmony" which contains 5 covers and 5
originals. In 1998 they released their second album, aptly named "2",
which contains 9 originals and only 1 cover. The Fall of 1999 saw the
release of their Christmas album called "The Carol Commission" so named
because they commissioned several of their favorites to arrange the
holiday numbers on this album.

     PO Box 51248
     Seattle, WA 98115-1248
     Phone 206.517.5981
     Hotline: 1.999.PACT

m-pact received 2 CARAs in 1997; Best Male Vocalist (Carl Connor-Kelley)
and Best Doo-Wop/R&B Song for "Change In My Life". In 1999 they received
the Best Cover CARA for "Fanatay".

* The Nylons *

The Nylons are a Canadian male quartet that sings contemporary covers and
some originals. They have been around for years and have been an
inspiration for many of today's a cappella singers. The members for most
of their recordings were Paul Cooper, Marc Connors, Arnold Robinson and
Claude Morrison and hit songs for this group included Up the Ladder to the
Roof, Happy Together, Kiss Him Goodbye and The Lion Sleeps Tonight. Micah
Barnes and Billy Newton-Davis replaced Paul and Marc and took the group in
a more synthesized, hip-hop direction. They were replaced by Garth
Mosbaugh and Gavin Hope and, although some of their recent recordings are
not a cappella, their live show reflects the group's early days of
finger-snapping a cappella. In 1996 they reunited with Peter Mann, the
arranger on many of their early albums, and their latest release is a
return to their a cappella roots. In 1997, Mark Cassius replaced Gavin

Check out their web site at

They have a number of albums, all of which should be available from your
local record store.

     "The Nylons" (Attic Records ACD 1125), 1982
     "One Size Fits All" (Open Air OD-0301), 1982
     "Seamless" (Open Air Records OD-0304), 1986
     "Happy Together" (Open Air OD-0306), 1987
     "Rockapella" (Windham Hill WD 1085), 1989
     "Four On The Floor" (Scotti Bros. 72392 75224-2), 1991
     "Live To Love" (Scotti Bros. 72392 75255-2), 1992 [hip-hop]
     "Best Of The Nylons" (Windham Hill 01934 10308-2), 1993
     [consists of tracks from their second through fifth album]
     "Because" (Scotti Bros. 72392-75435-2), 1994 [not a cappella]
     "Harmony" (Scotti Bros. 72392-75440-2) 1994 [Christmas album, not a
     "Run For Cover" (Scotti Bros. 72392-75499-2) 1996
     "Perfect Fit" (Windham Hill/Attic) 1997 [cover songs from previous
     "The Nylons - Hits of the 60's" (1997)
     "The Fabric of Life" (1997) [this album comes in 2 versions, a
cappella as the Nylons   do it released in the USA and the Canadian
release which is accompanied]

* The Persuasions *

The Godfathers of A Cappella. Over 30 years, and they "still ain't got no
band". This legendary quintet became a quartet after the loss of baritone
"Toubo" Rhodes in 1988. The group still tours constantly and shows no
signs of letting up. They've recorded countless albums, many of which are
hard to find and some of which have been re-released on CD.

     The William Morris Agency
     David Snider 
     Phone: 310.859.4518

* The Real Group *

The Real Group is a professional vocal group formed at The Royal
University College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden in 1984. Everyone
enrolled in the music teacher program had to have an ensemble of some kind
and they chose to have a vocal group. The original plan was to sing
experimental, avant-garde music, but nothing came of that plan. Instead
Anders Jalkéus wrote some arrangements of songs that he found in "The Real
Book". After a group member booked a practice room, there was a note on
the school's bulletin board that told where "The Real Group" would
rehearse -- and the name stuck. Today the group has gained wide
recognition as being one of the finest a cappella jazz groups in the

     The Real Group (1987)
     Nothing But The Real Group (1989)
     Röster (1991)
     Varför fĺr man inte bara vara som man är? (1994)
     The Real Group... Unreal! (1995)
     Original (1996)
     Live in Stockholm (1996)
     Debut (re-released 1996)
     Et Ritkig Jul (A Swedish Christmas - 1997)
     One For All (1998)

For bookings contact:

     Arts Management Group Inc.
     Mr. William Capone
     Phone: 212-337-0838
     Fax: (212)924-0382

To contact The Real Group: Email

To contact "The Real Society", their fan-club, please write to:

     The Real Society
     c/o Kristina Bennet
     Rĺbystigen 17, S-197 31
     Bro, Sweden
     Phone: #46 8 582-49660

The Real Group is a multiple CARA winner, taking many awards every year
they have released and album.

* Rockapella *

These guys can be seen in the "Do It A Cappella" special and had a 5 year
run as the house band on the PBS TV game show "Where in the World is
Carmen Sandiego?" Originally a quartet, the group became a quintet when
they added a full-time vocal percussionist. They have a number of
excellent recordings available in Japan which can be imported via various
sources. Most People recommend getting #2, if you prefer a cappella cover
songs and a more "classic" a cappella sound, and #4 if you prefer original
tunes and vocal percussion. The Third and Fifth are Christmas albums.

     "Rockapella One: To NY"
     "Rockapella Two: From NY"
     "Rockapella Three: Bash!"
     "Rockapella Four: Vocobeat"
     "Rockapella Five: Out Cold"
     "Rockapella Six: Best Fest"
     "Lucky 7 - Memories and Dreams"

The soundtrack to "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" features a few
tunes by Rockapella and one by Rockapella and the Persuasions. "Carmen
Sandiego - Out of This World" has 1 Rockapella track.They also have
released several albums in the US -- "Primer" (sort of a "best of" album),
a domestic version of "Lucky 7" minus a few tracks that are on the
Japanese release, and "Rockapella" the first album featuring their new
second tenor, Kevin Wright, who replaced Sean Altman in April of 1997.

On February 16, 1999, Rockapella released their latest album "Don't Tell
Me You Do" on the J-Bird Records and it is available in many record
stores. It is also widely available through the typical online music
ordering sites, the regular a cappella mail order companies, and directly
from J-Bird Recordsat

For more information on Rockapella, check out their web site at It's a great site complete with bios, concert
schedules, photos and messages from the guys in the group.

Rockapella has been awarded many CARAs over the years including Artist of
the Year (1997), Best Male Vocalist (Sean Altman 1996); Best Original Song
(My Home) and Best Cover Song (Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress) both in
1993, Best Pop/Rock Song (Lift Up 1998) to name just a few. To see all
they have won, look at the complete CARA list on the CASA page.

* SoVoSó *

SoVoSó is a creative a cappella ensemble that sings a unique, rhythmic mix
of jazz, gospel, world and R&B music. Originally known as Voicestra, the
group was formed in 1986 by Bobby McFerrin and performed with him through
1993. They were on at least one of McFerrin's albums.

Their debut album "SoVoSó-World Jazz A Cappella" (1996) was recently
released on the PAC's own label and received a CARA as Studio Album of the
Year. Their second album "Truth and Other Stories" was released in late

In May of 1997, SoVoSó was named National Champs and Audience Favorite at
the Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival.

* The Swingle Singers *

Ward Swingle formed the Swingle Singers in Paris in 1963 and their
repertoire was classic baroque music. When the Paris-based Swingles
disbanded in the early '70s, Ward Swingle moved to London. He reformed the
group using classically trained English singers and they expanded their
repertoire to include romantic composers, jazz greats and pop classics.
Ward Swingle retired in 1984 but the group has continued to grow, always
looking for new and challenging music to sing. A Swingle Singers' show has
a musical variety that spans the boundaries of many genres and this,
coupled with their humor, ensures an evening of pure entertainment.

     Swingle Singers
     Unit 24-Alpha Business Centre
     60 South Grove
     London, England E17 7NX

* Sweet Honey in the Rock *

With over 20 years under their belts as a cappella performers, this female
sextet (5 singers and one sign language interpreter) offers its vision of
world peace with a beautiful blend of styles -- including elements of
gospel, folk, and world music. Their music is motivational and their
spirits uplifting. They have several CD's available:

     "Sweet Honey in the Rock" (Flying Fish FF 70022), 1976
     "Feel Something Drawing Me On" (Flying Fish FF 70375), 1985
     "The Other Side" (Flying Fish FF 70366), 1985
     "Breaths" (Flying Fish FF 70105), 1988
     "Live at Carnegie Hall" (Flying Fish FF 70106), 1988
     "All For Freedom" (Music For Little People), 1992
     "In This Land" (Earthbeat 9 42522-2), 1992
     "Still On The Journey" (Earthbeat 9 42536-2), 1993
     "I Got Shoes" (Music for Little People 9 42534-2), 1994
     "Singing For Freedom"
     "Selections 1976-88"
     "Sacred Ground"

     Katea Stitt, Executive Director
     PO Box 11454
     Takoma Park, MD 20913
     Phone: (301)270-1750 
     Fax: (301)891-1413

     Judith Ann Moore, Booking Agent and Artist Representative
     PO Box 204 
     Burtonsville, MD 20866
     Phone: .301.549.4281 
     Fax: 301.549.4479

Sweet Honey has won several CARAs both for their efforts as a group and as
well as for the soloists.

* Take 6 *

A six-voice male a cappella "Contemporary Christian" group, with jazz and
R&B influences. They started in the late eighties at college in
Huntsville, Alabama and have gone on to receive critical acclaim,
including several awards from the Gospel Music Association (Doves) and

They have released six albums (all easily obtainable): "Take 6," "So Much
2 Say," "He Is Christmas," "Join The Band" and "Brothers" -- the last 2 of
which are not a cappella. 1998 saw the release of a new album that is 90 %
a cappella -- "So Cool". If you're interested in seeing a complete
discography and all of the latest news from the band, David Das --
probably their #1 fan - maintains a web site at David can be reached via email at:

Their official web site can be found at

In 1992, Take 6 received the CARA for Signed Professional and Best Group,
in 1995 Mark Kibble was named Best Male Vocalist. They received the Artist
of the Year CARA and the Best Religious Album in 1999.

A   PMB #1449, 1850 Union St. #14
S   San Francisco, CA 94123-4309 USA
A   415.563.5224 -

End of FAQ Part Six

                   Ann Griffee - FAQ Maintainer 
           The Contemporary A Cappella Society - CASA
          Reply to or
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