Going onstage (www.esplanade.com).


Making A Scene: All About A Cappella

How this genre took off in Singapore


Published: 19 Nov 2021

Time taken : ~10mins

The human voice is so flexible and so unique. It can do so many things.

Jason Ong, In-A-Chord

A cappella is a style of singing without any accompanying musical instruments that originated in chapels. But contemporary a cappella has long since branched out from these religious roots. In fact, the genesis of the genre in Singapore is very much wedded to the creative possibilities of pop sensibilities.

In this episode narrated by performer and director Hossan Leong, some key members of Singapore's a cappella community talk about how this scene started, how it evolved, and what the future holds.

You’ll hear about how early a cappella groups such as In-A-Chord and Budak Pantai found their groove, how platforms such as the AKA A Cappella Festival and The A Cappella Society energised the scene and inspired new blood, and how more recent groups such as 1023 and MICappella are exploring new frontiers in multiculturalism and technology.

Indeed, this celebration of the human voice is also one that is very much intertwined with technological developments. Unlike choirs, singers in a cappella groups typically sing with electronic amplification, and rely on expert sound engineers for live and recorded performances. They even embody technology, by using their voices to mimic the sounds of musical instruments. In fact, a key milestone for a cappella music was the introduction of vocal percussion—using the human voice to create the sound of percussion instruments such as drums.

What could the next milestone in a capella be? Tune in and find out.  

This episode of Making A Scene is commissioned by Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay in conjunction with Voices – A Festival of Song. It is produced by Hong Xinyi and Tay Jia Ying. Many thanks to the interviewees for permission to use the song excerpts.

Credit for theme music

Song: Angels
Artist: hauste (FB/IG: @haustesound)
Publisher: Maker Records (FB/IG: @MakerRecordsGrp)

Warm up your vocal cords

Voices – A Festival of Song 2022

Journey with song as we connect with one another through the beauty of vocal music!

1 – 4 Dec 2022
Find out more
You have 3 out of 3 articles left this month. Create a free Esplanade&Me account or sign in to continue. SIGN UP / LOG IN