Female Contemporary A Cappella Groups

Are you one of those people who get a kick out of it when someone blows stereotypes all out of the water? Good. So are we. And that’s why we get such a thrill out of our women’s contemporary groups – they challenge the stereotypes and throw them out on their ear, proving you don’t need a Y chromosome to rock the house and deliver a ballad with a punch. Heck, you don’t even need one for a floor-clearing bass line! Contemporary women’s groups are holding their own with the men’s groups out there – if you don’t believe us, take a listen!


Vocal harmony and percussion creates the sound that is Akasa. This four member group from Melbourne, Australia sing passionate, rhythmic music a cappella style. Four distinctive singers, who combine great songwriting skills and musical abilty to form a repertoire that is original and distinctive. Influenced by the sounds, politics, social and cultural movements across the world, Akasa's music is immediate, relevant and empowering. Akasa formed in 1998 in Melbourne Australia.

Within a short time Akasa was heralded as the most promising vocal act in Australia, and although each member of the group had established solo careers outside Akasa, the band soon became the major focus for the women as performance schedules increased and interest in the group grew. In 2000 Akasa received two awards from the Contemporary A Cappella Society (CASA) - "Best World Folk Album" for their self-titled EP and "Best World Folk Song" for the composition "Walk With Me" by the group's main songwriter, Melanie Shanahan. Akasa rapidly built a dedicated fan base in Australia through their powerful performances infused with social justice themes, world/roots sounds, beautiful ballads and great songwriting. Recordings


Aquabella is an all-female vocal group whose members live in Berlin, Bremen and Amsterdam. Sharing an interest in languages and cultures from around the globe, the singers of Aquabella have found a musical identity in their farreaching search for diverse cappellic beauty. Aquabella gathers sounds rich in story and emotion from the heart of distant lands and times past. The five dedicated singers bring a contemporary outlook to historic songs, creating music that embraces the past, yet remaining fresh in its conception. Recordings

Black Voices

Black Voices was established in 1988 in Birmingham, and is a female performance company and quintet who "sing in oral tradition". All five members started their singing careers in the black churches and have a thorough grounding in the music of a black international community. Spirituals, gospel, reggae, blues, jazz, traditional African and Caribbean music and original contemporary compositions by group members are delivered with a sense of feeling and understanding that touch every audience. Crossing language and cultural barriers, the music of Black Voices is powerful and uplifting, emotional and inspiring. Black Voices have performed for Nelson Mandela in South Africa and London. They have toured Africa and the Caribbean, have performed with Ladysmith Black Mambazo and have appeared on numerous television and radio programmes nationally and internationally. Join them in a celebration of the powerful human voice. Their music is available on five CDs and future plans include tours of Canada and the USA. Recordings


Winners of Northern Harmony, The Canadian A Cappella Festival, in 2003, The CHICKAdivas cover a range of genres, impressing their audiences with the harmonies of well- known standards and their own original arrangements and songs. Whatever the song style, The CHICKAdivas set a high musical standard and without instruments. All members are experienced singers who have an ear for a good vocal production and blend. The result is a sweet, rich sound. The CHICKAdivas began with an interest in Canadian folk music from various regions across the country: Klondike saloon songs, Newfoundland sea- shanties, prairie settlement songs, Quebec folk songs and the all-time favourite, The Logdriver’s Waltz. Recordings

Coco's Lunch

Coco's Lunch has built an impressive reputation as one of Australia's most outstanding and innovative A cappella groups. Their music is unique, weaving earthy songs with driving percussion, drawing on the sounds of the world in a distinctly Australian way. For the past eight years they have performed throughout Australia at leading festivals and venues along with performances at schools throughout Australia and parts of Asia with the "Musica Viva in Schools" program, inspiring children to sing and create their own music through improvisation. They have also performed many regional evening concerts for Musica Viva's Countrywide program. This group of five outstanding singers perform heartfelt original works with an irrepressible sense of joy. Coco's Lunch features Nicola Eveleigh, Jacqueline Gawler, Sue Johnson, Gabrielle MacGregor and Lisa Young. Recordings

Copper Wimmin

Copper Wimmin are three obstreperous young women who set audiences on fire with their brilliant lyrics, haunting voices and fierce harmonies. They create a sacred hurricane of sound which leaves their audiences spellbound and often, in tears. Creating a buzz wherever they go, these vocal amazons have been singing together since they were twelve years old. They have evolved a sound so moving, so pure, that upon hearing them many recall a collective memory in which women sang together in caves and cathedrals before time began. Copper Wimmin are a sonic epiphany. They weave their voices together so expertly that it is hard to know where one voice ends and the other begins. The combined impact of the arrangements, lyrical content and outrageous stage presence is that of a sublime sledgehammer effortlessly crashing through the door that separates the soulless from the sacred. Also appearing on the Bay Area Regionals stage in 1999, they were also finalists in the Lilith Fair talent search. Recordings

Dis Moi

'Dis Moi' is a powerfully soulful A Cappella trio of women (Samantha Keller, Tamar Fogel and Heather Houston), who enchant their audiences with songs sung straight from the heart! Their musical repertoire incorporates a wide range of styles from around the globe, as well as inspired originals, with themes of love, hope, healing and unity. 'Dis Moi' means 'tell me' in French, and reflects the members' belief and hope that their music will open people to expressing themselves as they feel called. As a visionary trio, they feel that their calling is to be an integral part of the healing movement of the planet. Their radiance is intoxicating, as they shine their deep love for one another, for their music, and for humanity as a whole; inspiring the crowd to open their hearts to the healing harmonies. Their thought provoking lyrics, and grounded words of wisdom, uplift spirits, stir souls, and inspire movement in consciousness. This is not your typical A Cappella music. Let the harmonies of these lovely women take you on a journey of heart, mind and soul as they weave their voices in a unique tapestry of spirited song. Recordings


The vocal ensemble Faraualla was founded in 1995. Each member of the group had individually followed her own course of vocal study in many different musical settings before the four singers discovered a common interest in researching the use of the voice as an instruments; both through the practice of polyphony as well as through a familiarity with the vocal expression of various ethnicities and periods of history. The results of this research have transformed themselves into the repertory of the Faraualla; many of its original compositions evolved out of improvised matrices, much as traditional melodies do. The flavor of many far-away cultures merge in a highly original synthesis, though the cultural roots of this Pugliese group are still strong and evident. They have taken part in important festivals and concert series, and has been featured live on the radio show "Radiotre Suite"and on the Raitre television program "Solstizio di Estate". The artistic activity of the group also includes collaboration on many different theatrical and television projects, as well as various well-known Italian musicians. Recordings

Johnson Girls

Formed formed in 1997 following the Sea Music Festival at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut, The Johnson Girls is a primarily a capella group performing traditional and contemporary folk music with an emphasis on Sea Chanteys and other Maritime Music. With diverse backgrounds, each member of Johnson Girls brings a specialty to the group, including traditional work songs, riverboat and minstrel songs, songs in the African American tradition, songs of fisherman and their wives and songs from the Irish tradition.Ê "Their repertoire ranges from driving chanteys to ballads and laments, all rendered with rich harmonies in their own inimitable style. Whether leading a sing- along aboard the Peking at South Street Seaport in New York or firing up a festival stage, this group is a winner." Craig Edwards. Johnson Girls have performed at numerous venues on the East Coast including: South Street Seaport Museum, the North American Music and Dance Festival (NOMAD), the New England Folk Festival (NEFFA), The Sound Waters Festival, The Good Coffeehouse, 22 Below, People's Voice, The Seamen's Church Institute, Richmondtown Restoration, The Little Red Lighthouse Festival, The City Island Maritime Festival, and Mystic Seaport Museum, Songs of Sail festival in Kennebunk, Maine and OpSail 2000 CT, the Bodmin Folk Club and the Wadebridge Folk Festival in Cornwall, England. The Johnson Girls are also part of a larger sea chantey group, the New York Packet and can be heard weekly Tuesday evenings from June through September at South Street Seaport in New York. Recordings

Key of She

Key of She started in 2001 and a year later won the coveted “Audience Favorite” title and runner-up at the 11th Annual New York Harmony Sweepstakes. Since then, they’ve been on quite a ride. In May 2002, they opened for Ray Charles at the 1400-seat Union County Arts Center in Rahway, NJ. In December 2004, they appeared on the nationally-syndicated Jane Pauley Show. In between, Key of She has performed at Philadelphia’s Annual Paradigm Award Luncheon, the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania’s Women’s Initiative, Philadelphia’s Heart Ball Patrons Party, Phoenixville PA’s A Cappella Jam, New Hope, PA’s Bastille Day Celebration, Philadelphia’s Annual Women of Distinction Awards Dinner, Montgomery Township’s Cultural Arts Center. and annual fundraisers for Princeton Friends School and The Princeton Girlchoir. On New Year’s Eves 2002, 2003 and 2004, Key of She took center stage at Newtown, PA’s annual First Night. Recordings


Kitka is a women's vocal ensemble unlike any other. These sophisticated singers blend a contemporary sensibility with specialized vocal techniques from Eastern Europe that have been distilled over centuries. Using only the pure unaccompanied voice, they create a constantly shifting landscape of sound, pulsing with angular rhythms, where dynamic leap from velvet stillness to shattering resonance, and flinty unisons explode into lush incomprehensible chords.

Kitka's material ranges from ancient villages duets to classically-based choral works, from early music to contemporary theater. The sound of their voices is exotic, both elegant and eerie. The melodies are strangely beautiful. The languages they sing are largely unfamiliar to American ears - Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Georgian, Hungarian, Macedonian, Romanian, Russian, with the occasional Latin, Galician, and ancient Greek. It is exactly this unfamiliarity that is so riveting, as Kitka's sensitive precision lifts their work our of the merely musical into a universe beyond words, an experience that is primal, and elemental. Recordings


Libana, now in their twentieth year, is New England's international touring world music ensemble specializing in the research and performance of songs, dances, and instrumental music from around the world, especially as handed down through women's traditions. The seven women who make up Libana present an exhilarating cross-cultural performance, and are expert in many vocal styles including a cappella Bulgarian music, exquisite Balkan harmonies, and the traditional singing of Berber women in Algeria. They also present, among others, music and ritual dancing of Egypt, Hawaii, Africa, and Latin America. In addition to their compelling a cappella singing, the women of Libana also play an array of instruments including double bass, clarinet, dumbek, accordion, oud, charango, hammered dulcimer, and conga. Recordings


Madrigaïa was born in Manitoba, in the heart of Winnipeg's French community, in the spring of 1999. The women of Madrigaïa, all musicians, dancers and actresses among the most respected in their musical community, took their love of singing and improvising together onto the stage. Combining breathtaking harmony with pulsing vocal and instrumental percussion, Madrigaïa sweeps audiences into a storm of music from around the globe. Madrigaïa has created a highly original and entertaining show which unerringly enchants and captivates its fast-growing audiences. Drama, movement and pulsing, percussive elements are combined as they perform songs from over a dozen different countries, such as Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, India, Poland, Israel and of course from their French-Canadian roots. Recordings


Malaika is a four-woman vocal group that sings music from around the world. Based in Ottawa, Canada, Malaika consists of Neema Mugala (soprano), Lee Hayes (mezzo-soprano), Beth Ferguson (alto), and Stella Haybukhai (bass). These women blend their diverse musical and cultural influences to create fascinating musical collaborations of traditional and original material. Malaika's captivating rhythms and richly interwoven harmonies, combined with genuine warmth and natural humour, create an overwhelming audience response wherever they perform. Malaika's repertoire includes songs of social struggle, African music, traditional folk songs, gospel tunes and pop songs, with some jazz, country and even a Japanese love song thrown in! While much of the material is in English, the group sings in many other languages including French, Swahili, Portuguese, Xhosa, Swedish, and Japanese. The group works democratically, with everyone sharing in the songwriting, the arranging, and the lead vocals. Recordings

The Metropolitones

Founded in 2001, The MetropoliTones is a New York City based a cappella group composed of graduates from the Seven Sisters Colleges.  The ‘Tones perform songs both old and new -- waxing sultry and sentimental one moment, breaking out the bass and beat the next.  They have graced the stage at several of NY City's top venues, including Cipriani Midtown, the Bitter End, the Avon Breast Cancer Walk, the Metropolitan Room, the TriBeCa Performing Arts Center, the Slipper Room and more. They have also performed “The Star Spangled Banner” for the Jets, Knicks, Devils, Red Bulls and Nets. Recordings

Moira Smiley & VOCO

VOCO digs deep into the amazing spectrum of the human voice as they sing post-folk, improvisation-built songs, ballads, vocal symphonies and dancesongs. VOCO, founded in the summer of 2004, sings with the energy of street singing, improvisation and the wilder side of harmony and rhythm. Moira Smiley's original songs are often emotional, playful dialogues with sorrow, cynicism, and loss. They are somewhere between the wild precision of an Eastern European dance song, the rich rhythm of a South African mbira tune and the plaintive improvisation of an Appalachian or African-American spiritual. VOCO's songs are inspired by Smiley's childhood 'wailing' of early American hymns, her travels around the world, and music where the songs and dancing are inseparable.

Moira Smiley, singer-composer, leads her powerhouse vocal-band, moira smiley & VOCO, travels the world as a soloist in traditional music, and creates new work for dance, theatre and film. Her songwriting stirs playful percussive movement with hair-raising rebel-harmony. Moira & VOCO were chosen to represent the FARWest at Folk Alliance ’07, are a cappella champions (Harmony Sweepstakes) playing Kate Wolf Festival, California WorldFest, WorldOne Festival, LOTUS Festival, Cerritos Center, The Getty, San Luis Mozart Festival and many other listening rooms around the U.S. Recordings

The Sirens

The Sirens are one of New York City’s premiere female a cappella groups, dedicated to musical excellence and quality performance. A group of fabulous and talented women, they strive to break new music ground by choosing songs that have never been attempted by others in the cappella world in order to challenge themselves and surprise the audience. They balance fresh and innovative songs with numerous well-known and recognizable favorites. The result is a diverse repertoire including contemporary, pop, jazz, rock classics and oldies, ensuring that there is something for everyone.

The Sirens have been singing together since the Fall of 2000. In Greek mythology, sirens were beautiful sea nymphs who lured sailors to their doom with the irresistible charm of their song. Just like their mythological namesakes, The Sirens captivate all who hear them, however, doom and destruction on the rocks are not usually part of the bargain. Recordings


Founded in 1996, Solstice is a female vocal ensemble specializing in music written by women or for women's voices. Our music spans many different genres with an emphasis on world, classical, pop, and jazz. We are also committed to performing new works for women's voices and regularly compose, commission, and arrange new songs.

Solstice has performed in many Bay Area venues including Freight and Salvage, La Pena, the San Francisco Community Music Center, Music on the Hill, the Berkeley Arts Center, Trinity Chamber Music series, and Villa Montalvo. Solstice has also performed on KALW's Folk Music and Beyond On-Air Folk Festival. Solstice was a featured performer at the 2001 West Coast A Cappella Summit along with nationally known groups such as the Bobs and M-pact. At the 2007 San Francisco Regional Harmony Sweepstakes, we were awarded 1st Place and Becca Burrington’s arrangement of Joni Mitchell’s “Blue” won Best Original Arrangement. We ranked 3rd at the 2007 Harmony Sweepstakes National Competition. Recordings

Sweet Honey In The Rock

The beginning of Sweet Honey In The Rock is discovered in the life and times of Bernice Johnson Reagon, the founding and only consistent member of the group. To be fair, all of the twenty-one former and current members are Sweet Honey, for Sweet Honey is the musical embodiment of the spirit of freedom whose roots go back to Africa, were nurtured by slavery, the Jubilee and the continuing struggles to realize that freedom. You must understand that Sweet Honey is a true community. Bernice is quoted saying, "I feel Sweet Honey as a woman with a single voice created out of many voices and when we walk off the stage, she really isn't there." None the less that single voice does have a beginning. Through out the years Sweet Honey has been inspiring audiences and receiving awards for their musical virtuosity such as the Grammy in l988 in the category of Best Traditional Folk Recording for their version of Leadbelly's "Grey Goose" from the album Folkways, A Vision Shared. They've also been awarded countless CARA first and runner up awards. Though there has never been an award, that we know of, for best sign language interpretation of song, there should be. Shirley Childress Johnson discovered within herself the expressive balletic capacity to sign songs with the power and beauty of the singing members, and has been doing so since 1980. Recordings


Vocolot takes its name from the English word "vocal" and the Hebrew word "kolot" meaning voices. Since 1988, they have been performing for audiences across the United States in English and Hebrew, with a sprinkling of Yiddish, Latino, Arabic and American Sign Languages. Vocolot draws upon ancient and contemporary sources that evoke the power of centuries of women's repertoire, primarily composed by Linda Hirschhorn, and mixes traditional modes with Folk, Jazz and Classical idioms to create an innovative sound. They are a California Arts Council Touring Artist and perform internationally, uplifting and enthralling audiences of all ages with songs of celebration, community and Jewish heritage. Recordings

Witches of Elswick

The Witches - Becky, Gillian, Bryony and Fay - set up a coven in Elswick, Newcastle in 2001 and have since shot to stardom through their spells, magick and massive talent. Superlative harmonies, luscious vocals and punky image and attitude. Newcastle based, they all and have backgrounds in various British folk scenes. Bryony Griffith, who used to play for a Cotswold Morris dancing side called Dog Rose also sings with the Demon Barbers. Becky Stockwell, who's originally from Broadstairs in Kent and used to play in a ceilidh band called Florida and Gillian Tolfrey is from Jarrow near Newcastle. Her background in Irish music and church singing. They all sing different parts in different songs and do most of their own arrangements and perform at folk clubs and festivals all over England. Recordings


es, Nicole, Sylvia and Marina are members of the fast-rising new Austrian a cappella quartet WO'xang, and One is, appropriately enough, their first release. These talented, beautiful young women have a fresh, avant-garde sound with elements of Folk, Jazz, Pop, and Choral with many original arrangements, compositions and lyrics that catch and hold our attention. Favorites are "Sweet Temptation," with lyrics by Nicole added to a Venezuelan traditional melody (with some non-vocal percussion); "Sunday," "I don't know" and "Just for Yourself," with music and lyrics by Marina, the powerful "Black Dog" and "Tickles" by Nicole Weiser; and "Supervibe" with music and lyrics by Sylvia. Strong covers of Judie Tzuke's "For You," Tori Amos' "Leather," Joni Mitchell's "Shadows and Light" and George Michaels' "Father Figure" mesh perfectly with the original material. The final cut, "Kyrie," joins the music of Marina with Nicole's lyrics, and is guitar accompanied. All songs are in English. Recordings

Contemporary A Cappella Female Groups CDs

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