I would call Beat'achon a true acapella singing group in that they formed as an acapella group as opposed to releasing a special acapella CD. There are seven members at least on the album cover, more are listed on the web site. They have a full group style of singing similar to maybe a barbershop quartet or do-wop groups of the 1950s. But then again as with many Jewish music groups, they are hard to categorize. Who else releases acapella albums? Who else does the kinds of musical things that Jewish groups do?
One of the groups members id Jordan B. Gorfinkel who after Beat'achon went on to produce the Voices for Israel: We Stand as One project in 2004 with Yehuda!. The two CD set features the largest gathering of Jewish and singers together for a pro-Israel tribute. A follow-up CD of all women singers was released in called Keeping the Faith. Gorfinkel also writes and draws the Jewish themed comic strip Everything's Relative.
Beat'achon has three discs. West Side Zmirot is mostly Shabbat songs and familiar melodies for such traditional standards as Eyshet Chayil and Shalom Alechem. The music is mostly straight forward group singing. Jewish A Capella has more "doop doop doop" in it and also features traditonal songs, such as Psalms with some new a upbeat arrangements. They have a third CD called Soul Food.
As a side note, I have a friend named Teddy who in high school was very much into Israeli hip-hop such as Subliminal and TACT records. Once he came on the radio with me and started raving about Beat'achon and how "tight" and "sick" their vocals were. It surprised me, but I try never to argue with the musical taste of a high school student.
I also discovered some new Jewish acapella CDs which I hope to get the time to review They are: Avrumi Flam presents Songs for the 3 Weeks, Y-Love and Yuri Lane the Human Beatboxer's acapella rap CD, Lev Tahor volume 3, Eli Gerstner's hasidic acapella album, TACT records acapella rap singles, David D'or sings Yemenite acapella and a disc with no cover simply entitled Hasidi Vocali.
This week on The Beat: A Step-Mother's Poem for Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva Student
Poetry week on the Beat continues with Leah Moses, step-mother of a Merkaz HaRav student. Plus Sreekara Sharma calls in from Malaysia, Eli Newman, Jean Krainik, Rachel Beitsch and Lester Mobley.
Plus an interview with Jack from Teruah Jewish music blog. An exciting, in-depth discussion on the thriving Jewish music scene and his exploration of it.
Download the mp3 (right click and choose "save target as" or "save link as")