Swedish a cappella ensemble The Real Group performed at the University of Indianapolis on Sunday, Feb. 22. in Ruth Lilly Performance Hall. The quintet is currently celebrating their 30th anniversary, while wrapping up their United States tour before returning to Europe in March.
The Real Group is comprised of five members: Emma Nilsdotter, Katarina Henryson, Anders Edenroth, Morten Vinther and Anders Jalkéus. According to the UIndy website and the group’s website, the group was formed at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden in 1984.
Since they assembled, they have released 22 albums, received 12 Contemporary A Capella Recording Awards and performed thousands of concerts worldwide. Since its formation, the group has only had eight different members. Two of the original members, Henryson and Jalkéus, still perform and record with the group today.
The ensemble is known for its unique sound, which is a blend of jazz, classic rock, contemporary pop and Nordic choral music. During the performance they performed a number of jazz and pop renditions, including a Michael Jackson arrangement, which received a great deal of positive reactions from the audience.
Freshman communication major Braylen Morgan was very impressed with the group’s sound.
“I knew the group had many different styles of music that they sang, such as jazz and pop. And I knew they weren’t all from the same country, so I was interested to hear their sound,” Morgan said. “It was surprising during the performance that you couldn’t hear their accents. I was very surprised by the Michael Jackson tribute medley as well.”
The group also held an instructional and informational workshop on Friday, Feb. 20. It was attended largely in part by students and faculty from the music department, as well as high school choirs, but was open to anyone who wanted to attend.
For the first portion of the workshop, the group answered questions about their experiences, origin and other topics of interest from attendees. In the second part of the workshop, the group listened to UIndy vocal groups Crimson Express and Schola, in order to give feedback and help the groups with different techniques.
Morgan attended the workshop and learned a few new musical techniques.
“I really enjoyed the whole performance and not only was I entertained, but I learned a lot too,” Morgan said. “In their workshop I learned about improving as a singer, technique-wise. For example [they talked about] listening to each other while singing and how to take care of your voice.”
Freshman general music major Kelly Hartley also recognized the group’s signature sound and expressed appreciation for the unique experience.
“Whenever I go to concerts in the performance hall, the performers play older stuff, so it was fun to experience the change of style,” Hartley said. “It was a really cool show and they’re very well trained performers. It was something that I would attend again if they were to come back.”
The group still has 34 concerts remaining in 2015 that will be held across Europe and Asia.