Back in tune: Rockapella plays Manhattan Beach amidst a capella revival

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Where in the world is Rockapella? Manhattan Beach!

The all-male a capella group — best known for its appearances on the ’90s PBS kids’ gameshow spin-off of “Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?” — will be performing a show at Kingsborough Community College on April 5.

The five current members of the group will grace the stage without instruments or backing tracks, using only their vocal talents and microphones to perform songs from their new album “Motown and More.” The one-night show will feature popular songs from artists such as the Temptations, the Commodores, and the Jackson 5.

“They really cover a broad spectrum of Motown,” said Anna Becker, executive director at On Stage at Kingsborough. “They don’t just cover one or two groups. You really get a range.”

Rockapella originally hails from New York City, and was formed by a group of Brown University alumni in 1986. All of the founding members have since moved on, but several from the group’s 1990s era still remain. In addition to the quintet’s foray into geography-themed gameshows, it has also recorded songs for many TV commercials, and has released 19 albums in its almost 30-year existence.

The group does not enjoy quite the notoriety it did a few decades ago, but with the popularity of a capella-centered films and TV shows such as “Pitch Perfect,” “Glee,” and “The Sing Off,” the Rockapella’s sound is very in sync with current trends, said Becker,

“A capella is an extreme phenomenon right now and everyone loves the music of Motown,” she said. “It just seemed like a natural to bring to Brooklyn.

“Rockapella: Motown & More!” at Kingsborough College [2001 Oriental Blvd. at Oxford Street in Manhattan Beach, (718) 368–5596,], April 5 at 8 pm. $30.

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