a capella recs

My parents linked me to this cover of Toto’s “Africa” by a Slovenian a capella group (whose great performance is especially marked by its simulated thunderstorm at the beginning), and it made me realize:

I really like good a capella.

And, in parallel with my taste in instrumental music, what I especially like is neither the melody nor the beat, but the stuff in the middle: the harmony, the changing chords in the background, all that good substance. I never really paid attention to that layer of “Africa” before now, but something about hearing it rendered in human voices made it really appeal to me. So help me, o internets: can you recommend good a capella albums that do a lot of that kind of thing? (Not covers of Toto songs; strong and interesting harmonies.)

0 Responses to “a capella recs”

  1. j_cheney

    Absolutely awesome!

  2. kmousie

    Most of my recs involve some awesome Dartmouth groups:

    I adore pretty much everything by the Aires. They have four albums (plus one album of Dartmouth standards) available. The Cords’ Elements of Style album is really good, too. And if you’re into coed a capella, I recommend the Dodecs. I own It’s That Kind of Party, and I know most of the songs on Gin & Phonics.

    The Tufts Amalgamates (a coed group) came to campus while I was at Dartmouth and blew my mind. (Juice is the album I have.) And the Tufts Beelzebubs (just boys) are amazing. I own Next, which is unfortunately out of print. That makes me feel old. Heh.

    Happy listening!

  3. kernezelda

    Adiemus is a vocal group I discovered via a gorgeous Farscape vid by , which I’d link to except that I currently can’t find it at her site.

    The first song in the listing is the one used in the vid. It’s lovely.

  4. zellandyne

    I have a fairly large collection of a capella music on mp3. And I’ve been meaning to invite you to hang out. Why don’t we combine those two things, and you can come over and go through that collection to see if there’s anything you like?

    • Marie Brennan

      Any chance you’d be able to come up here tonight? I’m carless and therefore not so mobile, but I’ll be all by my lonesome, since ‘s heading up to the city.

  5. Marie Brennan

    I have most of the Adiemus albums already. ^_^

  6. lanerobins

    I’m ridiculously fond of Anonymous 4, a female a capella group that covers songs from traditional masses, madrigals, and american folk songs.

    They can get a little same-y if you play them non-stop, but for additions to iPods, etc, they’re awesome.

    • norilana

      I love Anonymous 4 and agree that they sort of flow into one thing if listened non-stop, but they work great when mixed into other madrigal play-lists. Ty The Deller Consort and Anonymous 4 in a mix.

    • Marie Brennan

      I’ve got a couple of their albums, but so far they’ve mostly lived in the compartment of my brain where I listen to them for specific purposes — the ones I have are Wolcum Yule (Christmas, obviously), English Ladymass (for when I need religious music), and Love’s Illusion (for when I need early music). Haven’t gotten into the habit of listening to them casually, though the American folksongs sound better for that.

  7. norilana

    Wow, that was stunning, especially the rain sound effects! I also love a capella, and recommend the Nylons.

  8. Marie Brennan

    Oooh — a capella and world music, all in one package. Love!

  9. shanna_s

    There’s an Irish choral group called Anuna that does some lovely a capella stuff — in fact, it took me ages to realize that the only instrumentation on a lot of their songs was the occasional violin or acoustic guitar. There’s so much going on with the vocal arrangement that it sounds like there has to be instrumentation, but there isn’t. It’s mostly Celtic music. Some of it sounds very made-for-PBS, but they do get some good sounds.

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