All vocal and proudly local » Manila Bulletin Entertainment

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AUDIO JUNKIE:

Acapellago makes its case for all-voice-less-of-the-noise ethos in original Pinoy pop with the release of their eponymous debut album.

Acapellago (front to back): Joshua Cadelina, Almond Bolante, Michelle Pascual, Bogart Laderas, and Ron Laderas (Photo by Viva Records)

They are an all-vocal unit that turns popular songs into a capella highlights. Acapellago, or APG for short, went viral more than a year ago when their version of “Tatlong Bibe” hit the net, which to date has around 6.9 million views on YouTube.

But the group is more than just an overnight sensation. Before all that duck nonsense, Acapellago was busy establishing a reputation locally and abroad. Besides winning local competitions, APG bagged top honors in Singapore in 2016 in the World A Capella Championships; and more recently in Graz, Austria where they aced the Total Vokal International competitions.

Their debut EP starts with the Thyro Alfaro-written tune “Peroplano.” Considering there’s nary an instrument used, this mid-tempo pop track sounds full. The main voices of Michelle Pascual (soprano), Joshua Cadelina (tenor), and that of Almond Bolante (counter tenor) ring clear like a bell and cut through the cobbled up but solid “rhythm section” of brothers Gavin “Bogart” Laderas on beatbox and Ronnel “Happy” Laderas on bass. While this track has enough vocal flash in it, it’s the arrangement that stands out, courtesy of Ron.

Acapellago album cover art (mb.com.ph)

Acapellago album cover art

Likewise, APG’s cover of “Triangulo” benefits from nifty arrangement. There’s chockfull of vocal gymnastics here, and tasty ones at that. But the thing with singing a capella style is all about knowing where and when to sing and that spelled the difference for this track.

APG cites American vocal group Pentatonix as their main influence. They somewhat channel their idols on their cover of “On The Wings Of Love.”

The Philpop (2016) finalist song “Stars Are Aligned” was written solely for an all-vocal setup. It sounds so full and realized in APG’s hands (check out the bass and beatbox work!).

The group’s competition piece “Conga” is a sample of how they warm up their audiences when they’re out there in competition mode. The vocal adlibs of “vamanos”’ and “caliente” is their own invention though.

As a bonus, “Tatlong Bibe” is here. Quack-quack-quack, bibe-bibe.

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