Jeeves Murphy

SoJam X Descends Upon Raleigh! (and other reasons you should go)

With all of the “end times” talk lately – all of the prophecies of the world ending on May 21st, Facebook Shutting down in October, or how the Mayans apparently got lazy and didn’t finish their calendar (bastards) – I’m surprised that this one got overlooked.  I guess it’s a lesser known prophesy, but nonetheless an important one. It goes something like:

And yea, the celebrants descended upon the city of Oaks,
And feasted not upon the flesh of beasts, but upon the sounds of man,
And raising their joyous voices to the heavens, they extolled
“SoJam is f***in awesome!”

It’s surprising to me that, already, a year has gone by since the last SoJam.  I’ll be honest with you – I wrote that last article never having gone to a SoJam before.  I had been to festivals before, and I thought I knew what to expect, but nay, I was mistaken!  I was lucky enough to be front row for the entire event (VIP, BABY!), and I can’t even explain to you how incredibly intense the experience was!  But don’t take my word for it!  Florian Städtler from the VocalBlog took some awesome interviews post-fest to catch the reaction of CASA and Event volunteers, Performers, and other people who were lucky enough to experience the festival.  My personal favorites are Kate Brown from the Boxettes (because I am in love with her!), Ben “Jamin'” Stevens (smartest guy I know!), and of course Dio and Rachel (because Naturally 7, did in fact, contribute to us almost breaking the theater – that’s how baller the show was!).

Fig. 1: SoJam X kicking last year's SoJam in the face.

I know, I know – you’re already really excited about SoJam X.  I am too – I already bought my ticket, for God’s sake (they had only been on sale for about an hour when I did!)!  But wait a minute… I haven’t even told you about what to expect this year!

“Wait, Jeeves!  You mean to say all this excitement was because of last year’s SoJam?”

You bet your sweet bippy it was!  But this year’s SoJam has the potential to make last years’ SoJam question its manhood (see figure 1)!

 

EVENT: Collegiate Competition

A six-man vocal band, The Edge Effect combines pop, R & B, jazz, rock, and funk in a show unlike any other.

Something that really excites me a lot about a cappella today is the college scene.  Not only is there a lot of unrealized talent, but there is also a ton of the other kind of talent!  At the past few festivals – BOSS, VoCALnation, LAAF, etc – I have seen some incredible performances by college groups; groups that come together in one song for one goal – to melt your face!  And believe me… faces have they melted!  Headlining the Collegiate Competition this year is an incredible group of men (manly men!) called Edge Effect.  These guys are taking a pitstop between their performances with such notable artists as John Legend, Stevie Wonder, and The Pussy Cat Dolls to show us how it’s done!  Instruments or no instruments – it makes no difference to E2!  These guys create unique reinterpretations of popular hits and produce inventive originals as well!

But there’s more!  For those college groups out there, CASA is still looking for groups to compete for the glory of being crowned SoJam X Champion!  The winners (at least usually – they haven’t posted the prizes yet!) get to open for the Professional Showcase saturday night (see update below), a master class with the headliner of their choosing, and get to be do the collaborative recording with the headliners and other VIPs (not to mention – ultimate bragging rights)!  If you are interested, take a look at the SoJam X Competition page for information.  October 3rd is the deadline for submissions!

EVENT: Professional Showcase

And SPEAKING of Professional Showcase – I can safely say that you are not ready for how incredible this show is going to be.  On top of that, you have no hopes of preparing yourself either – so don’t bother trying.  Just buy your ticket now and save us both the hassle, okay?

You thought I was joking. Seriously - Fork are rock stars! You have been warned.

Fine, I’ll give you some insight.  The winners of the college competition and Edge Effect will be returning Saturday night with some new friends.  The break-through a cappella group and winners of season 3 of NBC’s “The Sing-Off,” Pentatonix brings a fresh attitude and an exciting new sound to a cappella.  With an average age rivaling that of most college groups, PTX pairs vocal artistry with a musical prowess, while remaining poised and humble at the same time (believe me – some of the nicest/coolest people you’ll ever meet!).  I was front row for their show in LA and it was pretty awesome!

But that’s not all, sports fans!  CASA, this year, is bringing you a band all the way from the Frigid North!  Scandinavia’s best kept a cappella secret isn’t much of a secret anymore.  Fork, a four part a cappella band that… well they… Umm… To experience Fork is to… you know what, there really is no easy way for me to explain Fork.  They’re just… Fork!  You aren’t ready for how awesome they are, but you should accept that challenge anyway.  I saw them in London earlier this year for the first time and it was easily the most rockingest concert I’ve ever been to.  They are rockstars, and don’t you forget it!

EVENT: Masterclasses

I believe that the concerts are amazing learning experiences for a cappella fans.  They are ways for people to explore what else is being done in a cappella.  But other than the concerts, the Masterclasses are great places for you and/or your group to expand your knowledge about a cappella music, about the possibilities, and about yourself as a singer/performer.  I can tell you that I’ve walked in to some classes not expecting to learn anything and have had my mind completely blown!  I’ve also gone to some classes where I expected my mind to be blown and had my mind blown again.  It’s a messy experience, but necessary to grow as a performer and expand your thinking!  SoJam gathers some of the smartest people from around the world to tell you what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong, and about this thing over here that you’ve never thought about before.  Oh, and this sort of thing happens too – the Boxettes improvised this song.  I mean… I would buy that track! (Thank you, Mama Hare for taking that video!).

EVENT: Afterparty

If you are a fan of a cappella music at all, then these guys need no introduction.

Are you exhausted yet?  Well, find your second-wind!  My favorite part of a cappella festivals is hanging out with my own kind – people who love a cappella music just as much (if not more) than I do.  Realizing that, no matter if you are an international superstar like Edge Effect or Fork, currently rising to greatness like Pentatonix, or singing in your bathroom because you’re too scared to take the stage, we are all the same.  We do this for the love of the music, for the love of the community, and because it’s what makes us happy.  The afterparties are the best way to meet these people – amazing people who will be with you for the rest of your life (I can guarantee that!)

And that’s about all there is to know!  Don’t get me wrong, I’m just skimming the surface when it comes to SoJam.  There is so much more, but really… what else do you need to know?  Head over to the SoJam Website and buy your ticket now!! Oh, and one more interview from last year’s SoJam.  Tat Tong is my boy!  Runs an awesome production company.  I must give him a shout.  If you think that Raleigh is too far away to travel for an a cappella festival, just remember – TAT CAME TO NORTH CAROLINA FROM SINGAPORE!  That’s so far away that Google Maps won’t even give me directions!  So distance is no excuse!  And besides, if the Mayans ARE right, this will be the last SoJam ever.  All the more reason to be there!

UPDATE (8/21/2012 – 7:37pm EST): I was informed that the winning group will actually not be opening for the Professional Showcase.  That’s okay though – there are still some AWESOME prizes as well as the bragging rights of being the best college group at SoJam.  Stay Tuned for the official prizes!

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