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February 26, 2012

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A cappella group mimics falling petals

THE Taiwanese a cappella group Voco Novo isn't content to just sing songs the way they were originally intended.

The five-member group comprising two women and three men like to mix it up and give audiences something new.

Fans in Shanghai can see the group's mix of jazz, pop and Chinese songs at Shanghai Daning Theater on March 4.

The audience will hear some famous songs such as "The Moon Speaks My Mind" and "Kangting Love Song," but both will have some new twists that will likely surprise fans. Of course, Voco Novo also plans to sing some original songs.

Liu Yuru, also known as Shuang Shuang, is the group's leader. She says a cappella helps audiences focus on the lyrics of a song.

"Though most of our songs are presented in a traditional a cappella way, so as to be better received by the audience, we add some very experimental elements," Liu says.

For example, a special melody is added in the Hakka folk song "Under the Flower Tree." The melody is of random speed and rhythm to mimic how a flower petal falls to the ground. And in a song that tells the story of the cowherd and the weaving maid, the group imitates the sound of a loom, as well as the movement of stars.

Liu says she founded Voco Novo in 2009. Though the members have different backgrounds, including pop singers, chorus singers and classical musicians, their shared interest in a cappella helped them find each other.

Liu, a big fan of Slixs, a German a cappella group, has been interested in the form since young age. She decided to set up a group in 2009. Through friend's recommendations she found the other members of Voco Novo quickly.

The members have changed somewhat from the original formation, but the current group has been together since last year. The other members include Stanley Huang, a former pop singer.

Huang says he was attracted to the form after hearing an a cappella group from Singapore.

"I knew that I wanted to do this right away," Huang says. "And luckily, I was introduced here."

Liu says a cappella is more challenging compared with pop singing.

"A small mistake may not be noticed when you are singing a pop song with a band, but every one's voice makes such a difference in a cappella," Liu says.

According to Huang, being an a cappella singer also requires full-time concentration, as you are always singing, either as the lead or as chord.

Date: March 4, 2pm

Venue: Shanghai Daning Theater, 1222 Pingxingguan Rd

Tickets: 20-80 yuan

Tel: 962-388


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