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Image credit: Fauxtography by udjinn
By now we’re pretty sure you guys have come across this video of a group of pretty a capella singers belting out tunes from AR Rahman’s famous hits from the 90’s.
For those still living under a coconut shell, give the video below a listen (and make sure to share it because it is THAT good!)
These ladies are not your calang-calang musicians kay! It took The Vochale Project only two rehearsals to record and release this video in time for this year’s Deepavali.
The group’s music director, Ann Salina Peter says that the risk taking all-ladies vocal ensemble was formed in 2011 through her colleagues and mutual choir friends.
The inspiration behind the group’s formation; American television singing competition, Sing Off, which regularly featured a capella groups. The 2012 musical romance film Pitch Perfect also served as a catalyst for the group’s formation, according to Ann.
Coming from various musical background but sharing the same love for music, the ladies got together once a week to jam and sing some songs out, completely oblivious to where the group was heading at that time.
“Most of us are music teachers. We’ve sang in different choirs together. Since there were so many talented singers around, (we) thought it’d be nice to start something for the ladies,” Ann says to Eksentrika via email.
She adds that the idea to do a cover of the Mozart of Madras’s songs had been around for sometime. However, the group only got the ball rolling when, Krutika Muralidharan, who moved to Malaysia from New Delhi, India, joined The Vochale Project recently.
“We clicked so well from day 1! It was a random thought we both had sometime last year to do a cover of AR Rahman’s songs as we both love his music and we both LOVE a cappella music,” Ann reveals.
With that, the group got together a few months back to arrange the music albeit each member’s busy schedule.
“We picked songs that were popular here in Malaysia and also were hits in India. Krutika was the brain behind this!”
But why name the group… Vochale? Sounds so Hindustani!
Ann explains that the word “Vochale” (pronounced Vok-hale) is a mash up between the words ‘vocal’ and ‘inhale/exhale’. It makes sense since vocals consists of the voice and breath and it’s basically what the ladies do throughout the entire duration of their performance.
“Project’ because we thought it’d would be just a small ‘singing club’ thing where we would get together when there were events.”
As they regularly met and practised, The Vochale Project landed their first gig in 2012 and since then the group has been busy with performances and shows.
To date, the group consists of Ann, Scholastica Tan, Sharlene Rani, Ching Hsia, Sulyn Ooi, Low Li Yien, Chow Yee Mun, Joaan Foo, Carolyn Boudville, Melinda Sik, Aiman Ahmad Marzio, Krutika, and Sarah Wong.
The ensemble has also recorded themselves singing Hari Raya tunes too!
“We always do something for Christmas as that’s the peak season for all a cappella groups! Then we thought of doing something for Chinese New Year. I guess one festival lead to another.
We really enjoy singing in different languages because we are SO Malaysian in many ways!
Is there any plans for an album? Ann says they’re open to the possibility.
“At the moment, we are still learning and trying our best to master the art of a cappella especially being an all ladies group. Singing without the guys has its own set of challenges,” she says.
Despite the lack of testosterone, The Vochale Project seems to be doing pretty awesome with just estrogen alone. As a testament, June this year, it produced the 1st ever A Cappella Night featuring seven local a cappella groups in the Klang Valley – which was a huge success.
In September, the group organised a Jom A Cappella to celebrate Malaysia Day together with three other local a cappella groups. Both were sold-out shows.
The Vochale Project aspires to produce an A Cappella Festival someday.
“For that we need a lot of budget! To those who would like to join us in this journey of raising the standards of the a cappella music in Malaysia, do contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org,” Ann says, adding that the group welcomes venue sponsors too!