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Good News; Rude; Too Close for Comfort; All at Once; If You Really Love Me; With a Little Help from My Friends; Song for Gene.
Jean-Baptiste Craipeau: tenor 1; Simon Åkesson: tenor 2; Danny Fong: tenor 3; Andrew Kesler: tenor 4; James Rose: baritone; Evan Sanders: bass.
International Jazz A Cappella Group Releases Debut EP Six guys. Five different countries. One sound. They found each other on Internet through their common musical interests despite a great distance between them. Though they have been singing “together” since 2011, they had never met in person before June 2014. It all began when Simon Åkesson (Sweden) and Jean-Baptiste Craipeau (France) got to know each other on a forum for the 1950s group The Hi-Lo’s. Jean-Baptiste had previously done YouTube collaborations with Evan Sanders (USA), Andrew Kesler and Danny Fong (Canada). Having successfully recorded four-part arrangements, they wanted to extend to six-part singing. Jean-Baptiste contacted Simon and also James Rose (England). Each singer recorded his part, one at a time, starting with Evan on bass and moving up to Jean-Baptiste on top. Though the project was meant to be a one-time collaboration, an experiment of sorts, they felt like a real group when they witnessed the positive response from their YouTube audience. It was a reaction unlike any they had seen from previous projects, propelling them to do many more. Calling themselves “Accent,” the guys have been collaborating nonstop ever since. When Swedish choir Kammarkören Sångkraft was planning to host a choral festival, Accent was one of the groups that everyone was interested in inviting. “We have talked a little about meeting, that it would be fun,” says Simon, “so when we got the offer from the festival we just accepted.” A few days before the festival, the group met—for the first time—at Simon’s place in Skellefteå, Sweden. Though moving from digital collaborations into the live domain dealt many unknowns, the connection was immediate and strong. The blend, groove, emotion and showmanship were all there. All six guys agree that the group functions at a higher level than they thought possible. What was once a fun bedroom project has blossomed into a real live group with a wonderful message about the power of music. The guys got to work on their first official release immediately following the festival in Sweden, culminating in their debut EP, Here We Are. The project capably demonstrates their skills as equal parts pop, jazz and contemporary. Paying homage to their inspirations—Take 6, The Hi-Lo’s, Singers Unlimited—Accent has an energy, youthfulness and sonic quality all its own. As an album title, Here We Are has double meaning: Accent is “here” in the sense that they have landed on the scene; but also, they are physically together—”here” and no longer “there” relative to each other.