Ever wondered what acapella music is? Or where it got its name from? Or how it started? Well, we got the answers for you. A cappella music is choral singing but performed without instruments. The name derives from “capella,” which in Italian means chapel.
See, a few centuries ago, religious music destined for use in chapels was for voices only. Why? Because unlike big churches, chapels didn’t have any musical instruments. That’s how the whole “a cappella” genre was born, even though some historians may disagree and claim that cavemen humming to themselves were singing a cappella too.
One way or another, a cappella has come a long way since those days. The 25 Best Acapella Groups that follow, demonstrates best that many musicians from around the world are hitting stardom nowadays, without the use of musical instruments or expensive music videos to accompany their undeniable vocal skills.
Almost fifteen years ago, six friends who share the same passion for jazz, pop, a cappella and beatbox decided to perform as a group. In 2011, the group represented Belgium in the prestigious Eurovision Song Contest.
Face is an American group from Boulder, Colorado. They started doing their thing back in 2002 and seventeen years later they’ve won every a cappela award there is, including “A Cappella Music Awards Quintet of the Year 2019.”
Voice Male is a six-man contemporary a cappella group based in Utah. These guys have been singing together since 1994 and have remained good friends who still get to have fun and be slightly silly on stage. Other than good vocal skills, they also have a very good sense of humor.
Vocal Majority is a Dallas-based men’s chorus of 100+ volunteer musicians who have performed throughout the U.S., Canada and the UK. They have won a total thirteen gold medals in BHS chorus competitions, with their most recent win being in 2018.
Street Corner Symphony
Street Corner Symphony is an a cappella group from Nashville, Tennessee and a contestant on the second season of NBC’s reality show The Sing-Off. The group has also been featured in many commercial advertisements for the show, which can be seen on YouTube.
These seven guys met for the first time at the gospel choir of their school. They quickly discovered that every band member had his own style and favorite songs. So, they decided to create a musical “cocktail.” If you want to combine soul, rap, rock and folk in one harmonious balance, Naturally 7 are your guys.
Founded back in the early 1980’s, Acapella is an all-male Contemporary Christian vocal group. It was founded in 1982 by a guy who has been the singer, songwriter, and producer of the group for the past 37 years. One way or another, a group named Acapella just couldn’t miss from a list about a capella groups, right?
The Voca People
The Voca People is an Israeli band performing vocal theater combining a cappella and beat box vocals to reproduce the sounds of an entire orchestra. Their motto is: “Life is music and music is life.”
The Idea of North
This quintet of musicians from Australia was founded in Canberra in 1993. The band includes a tenor, an alto and a soprano. They claim to be “deadly” serious about their music without taking themselves too seriously though.
With two ARIA awards, a wide local and international fan base, and 10 studio albums released during the past 25 years, this is probably the most decorated a acapella band in Australia.
Gentleman’s Rule is a male a cappella group based in Chicago. The band’s fans call them “the next generation of vocal entertainment.”
Founded in 2012, G-Rule stepped on the scene with their viral hit The Pachanelly Canon. Since then, the band has appeared on MTV, Billboard.com, BuzzFeed and The Huffington Post among other outlets. Not bad.
The Puppini Sisters
The Puppini Sisters are an English close harmony vocal trio composed of Italian-born singer Marcella Puppini and English singers Kate Mullins and Emma Smith. Heavily inspired by The Andrew Sisters and 40s music, the Puppini Sisters’s debut album became gold in the UK, while band has collaborated more than once with the great Michael Bublé.
Home Free is country music’s most recognized and popular cappella group. Starting as a show group back in 2000, they are performing an average 200 shows a year across the United States. Home Free released their first album under a major label, Crazy Life, in 2014.
Vocal Point is a nine-member, male a cappella group at Brigham Young University (BYU). Founded by students in 1991, Vocal Point operates under the direction of BYU’s Performing Arts Management. The group has won three Pearl Awards and it was the winner of the 2006 International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella.
Metro Vocal Group
Hailing from the Midwest, the Metro Vocal Group performs a cappella versions of Cantonese and Mandarin pop songs, besides singing in their native English. That alone makes them as unique as it gets.
With more than one million followers on Facebook, VoicePlay isn’t just one of the best modern a capella groups in the world, but one of the most popular as well. This award winning a cappella quintet based in Orlando, Florida, do something right…obviously.
Straight No Chaser
Straight No Chaser’s members turned a collegiate hobby into a recording career that has taken them around the world on tour. Back in November of 2018, the group released an album titled “One Shot,” where they tell us (by singing of course) their story from 1996 that they were formed to 2018.
Rockapella is an American a cappella musical group formed in 1986 in New York. Thirty-three years and 19 albums later, even though the band has seen many members from the original lineup departing, it still continues to do what knows best: perform a cappella covers of pop and rock songs live on stage.
The Filharmonic is an Los Angeles based a cappella group of Filipino-American singers. In 2016, the band made some noise with their unique blend of hip hop, pop and 90’s nostalgic sound to more than 150 college stages all over America. The band was named the #1 college booked entertainment group of the year.
The House Jacks
The House Jacks is a professional a cappella quintet from San Francisco. The group was founded in 1991 by Deke Sharon, the man who’s also known as “the father of contemporary a cappella.” The group mainly performs original material unlike most modern a cappella groups who focus on cover songs.
The House Jacks are considered the first professional a cappella group to have a dedicated vocal percussionist and has won a total of 22 Contemporary A Cappella Recording and A Cappella Community Awards.
Take 6 is an American a cappella gospel group formed in 1980 on the campus of Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama. The band’s definitely one of the most decorated a cappella groups in history with an incredible career that includes 8 Grammy Awards and the release of a gold and platinum album in the US.
The band has worked with several great musicians such as Ray Charles, Whitney Houston, Quincy Jones and Stevie Wonder just to name a few.
The King's Singers
The King’s Singers are a British a cappella vocal ensemble founded in 1968. They are named after King’s College in Cambridge, England. In 2009, the band’s album titled Simple Gifts, won a Grammy Award for Best Classical Crossover Album. Three years later they won another Grammy for Best Choral Performance.
The group has always consisted of six singers in total, with their membership changing over the years. None of the original members remain.
The Real Group
This awesome Swedish a cappella group was formed in 1984, when its members were still students at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. Since then, the band has performed more than 2000 concerts worldwide.
In 2002, they performed at the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup in Seoul, South Korea, to an audience of 60,000. There are not many (if any) other a cappella bands who can claim performing live in front of such a massive audience.
The Manhattan Transfer
It’s been forty years since Tim Hauser, a former Madison Avenue marketing executive, formed this harmony vocal quartet. The group’s name comes from John Dos Passos’ 1925 novel “Manhattan Transfer” and refers to the band’s roots.
They band has won more Grammy Awards than any other a capella group in history, grabbing ten of them.
The Swingle Singers
Originally a French vocal group, founded in 1962 by Ward Swingle, the Swingle Singers specialized in singing classical songs with a capella and jazz arrangement. They were also doing background vocals for singers such as Charles Aznavour and the legendary Edith Piaf. They became very popular in the US and managed to win three Grammy Awards during the 1960s.
The group continues to this day with a turnover of new members. More than 50 singers have been a Swingle during the long “life” of the legendary group (nearly fifty years old).
Since 2011 that the band won the third season of The Sing-Off, things have been wild for Pentatonix. Two #1 albums in the US – an unprecedented feat for an a cappella group – several multi-platinum, platinum and gold albums and singles, three Grammys and numerous other awards, are just a few accomplishments of the band.
With their YouTube channel currently having over 17 million subscribers and 4 billion views, Pentatonix can easily claim that they are the most influential a cappella band of all time, popularizing the genre more than any other a cappella artist or group in history.