HomeMusic: Four vocal cords, and the truth!

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"A cappella is completely real. It's as basic as you can get with music, since it's just voices," says Craig Knudsen, local talent agent, a former member of the EDLOS a cappella group and a judge at the upcoming 29th annual Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival. "Performing it is like walking a tightrope with no net. There's no piano or other instrument on stage defining the pitch for you as a singer—it's all based on listening to each other within the group. In an age when we have techno everything, the appeal is that it's real, it's honest.

"And somehow people really respond to that."

Of course, this ain't your grandfather's barbershop quartet: the festival has delivered such novel attractions as Radiohead's raucous ode to self-loathing, "Creep," sung a cappella sans crunching guitars and bashing drums.

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