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December 21st, 2009

Travel Meme

Why not? The places I've stayed in 2009 away from home:

Ashland, OR*

And that's it.

I did spend my birthday on the beach, but we didn't stay the night.

Wow, that makes my year sound boring.


The Sing Off has ended, and at least a decent group made it through and will get a recording contract. Nota impressed the hell out of me with their sound. The 'Bubs have released music before, and will continue to do so, and that's a good thing.

Hopefully the rest will just record themselves and sell their music. The Bobs have been recording small and still have an avid fan base, which is typical of A Capella. It comes and goes. It was popular when Bobby McFerrin first sang "Don't worry be happy" and it's back for a while.


My problem with the basic conceit of The Sing Off, American Idol, and all the others of their ilk, is that you, the viewer, are watching a commercial for at least one album. You are participating in market research because the record companies don't know what to do with these "untested" musical groups, because a pretty face has been more important than musical ability for decades.

My second problem stems from this stupid idea that there can be only one A Capella group, like Nota will have to represent the entire "genre" for a year or two. This is dumb because a) there are hundreds, all worthy of attention, and b) A Capella, as was demonstrated by The Sing Off, isn't a genre. I don't have the right term in my head, but A Capella is an instrumentation, or an orchestration. A Capella is found in classical, jazz, rock, pop, folk, and country. There is room for Nota, the 'Bubs, Maxx Factor, the SoCals, Noteworthy, Face, and Solo. The tradition of American Idol, as I understand it, is the winners generally suck from excessive blandness and the runners-up are the better ones. It's a giveaway.

Luckily, most of the performances were good, and displayed the power of the simple unadulterated human voice. Yes, people can imitate all sorts of instruments and evoke a bass with "yiddish-bow-dip." The human voice, through pursed lips, can do a Dizzy Gillespie trumpet, or a trombone, or flute, or (God help us) the banjo. Human beings make all sorts of instruments, but nothing truly beats the one we are born with.

... plug ...

Check out CASA.org, acapodcast.com for more great music.

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