If you've endured ghastly school choirs screeching out soft-rock numbers you may be justifiably suspicious of vocal music. But the good news is that it's been reinvented by a new generation of singers, and the best of it is fabulous! Here are a few that caught my fancy.
When this song started to pop up on my Facebook page, many of the comments were along the lines of "Oh my God, this is why I sing!" Having sung in choirs and quartets for around 15 years, I've learned there is something profoundly joyful about blending your voice with others to create a fabulous sound. This track really captures that magic.
The performance by the lead is an absolute knock-out, but take the time to listen again to the exquisite arrangement of the backing voices. Amazing!
Pentatonix are the Grammy-winning superstars of modern a cappella, comprising four singers and a beat-boxer (who is also an accomplished cellist - go figure!) They have released several albums and squillions of videos on YouTube. Their Evolution of Music video really shows-off their talents.
Their Christmas album, That's Christmas To Me, has been a huge seller, and might be just the thing to save you from another year of Bing Crosby.
Not surprisingly, reality TV has jumped on the bandwagon. The US has The Sing-Off, which Pentatonix won in 2011, and in the UK The Sons of Pitches were the recent winners of The Naked Choir.
And of course Hollywood had to get in on the action. I confess I've never actually seen the Pitch Perfect movies, but my kids gave them the thumbs up.
Australian musical comedy trio Tripod joined forces with actor/musician Eddie Perfect to form Perfect Tripod and produce a fantastic live show and album of Australian songs, performed a cappella with occasional guitar. It is a bit hard to find good videos on YouTube, but the album is on Spotify.
Of course old-school barbershop is still going strong. Ringmasters are a young quartet from Sweden who won the international men's competition a few years back. (Seriously, has anything bad ever come out of Sweden? Except Viking invasions, of course)
And then there is women's barbershop, which is the style I sing. I know, I know, it is a bit cheesy, but those ringing chords are so cool to sing! Lovenotes won the 2014 international women's competition with this fun song.