Es klappert die Mühle am rauschenden Bach

A personal review of this year’s International A Cappella Competition in Graz by our Vice-Chairman Peter Martin Jacob

„Es klappert die Mühle am rauschenden Bach“, an Arrangement of this traditional German Folksong by German Vocal Group str8voices was considered to be the „most creative arrangement of the pop category“ at this year’s International A Cappella Competition Graz. The jury also praised the performance of the song. str8voices from Hannover also won the 2nd prize in the pop category. Some of you might know the eight singers from their little youtube-hit, an arrangement of the Star Wars Soundtrack of „The Force awakens“. If not, check it out here. I wish this extraordinary vocal group a continuing splendid career, as they already sing together since eight years. May the Force be with u!

Graz in summer is always worth going there. Where else can you experience around twenty vocal groups of all over the world in three days, not to mention the fabulous climate, the great food and the lovely tiny second largest city in Austria? It’s also very cool to meet so many folks of the a cappella family and have a chat or two.

Apart from str8voices, that surprised me as I have never seen them before, I especially was deeply impressed by the ensemble Georgian Six from … tataaa… Georgia, the European Eastern state at the south-end of the Caucasus. The two female and four male singers showed a highly remarkable performance, in the Jazz Category and particularly in the Classical Category. In both Categories they won the audience award, which is a great statement, I think. I’ve never heard such an amazing version of Khachaturian’s „Sabre Dance“ before, as well as I was very impressed by the own compositions of this perfectly singing group. Their music, as we learned by the adorable and really sweet tall black-haired female singer, is a mix of asian, arabian, georgian, slavic and european influences. A great worldmusic-mix. Highly recommended to everybody. Check out the Vokal Total youtube-channel. You will see and hear what I mean.

Another really striking appearance at this year‘s competition had the young German Vocal Group Quintense from Leipzig. The young two female and three male singers are music students, they founded the group one and a half years ago. Graz was about their fifth public gig, and they won the Jazz Category. Isn’t that amazing? In Pop, they managed to reach the third prize and the audience award. Congratulations! What an outcome! Oh, and they also received the magenta talent trophy, which is given since two years to a very talented ensemble.

In my opinion also worth to mention: Gretchens Antwort, four girls from Berlin. Really great singers. And I like the attitude! And their versions of „Männer“ from Herbert Grönemeyer and their arrangement of Cohen’s „Halleluja“. Upsweep from Rome/Italy. Check out this video. They can sing AND move. They also know how to dress on stage (Italians!), Their „Cry me a river“ thrilled me. And I really liked the grooving base.

Under this link you get an overview of all the prizes, diplomas and awards that were given this year to the participating groups.

Come to Graz in July next year and experience the outdoor opening ceremony called „Marktschreierei“ as well as the great „Dom im Berg“ and the pretty „Minoritensaal“ as the two venues of the competitions. Really extraordinary! Listen to the singing world, dance with the participants at the party, drink and have fun till four o clock in the morning (or later) or just be impressed of great voices.

Yours

Peter

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