Society Showcase: Cardiff DeciBelles
This month, to celebrate World Music Day, we wanted to shine a light on Cardiff Uni’s female and non-binary A Cappella group, DeciBelles who define themselves as a group with sass, sensitivity and power! We spoke to them all about their society and what they get up to!
Hype: Hi DeciBelles! Can you tell our readers a little bit about your society?
DeciBelles: Hi! We are The DeciBelles and we are an all-female and non-binary competitive A Cappella group from Cardiff University. We’re composed of students from a variety of backgrounds; from first years all the way up to PhD students. We’ve been a part of the Cardiff A Cappella scene for almost ten years now – actually/in fact, The DeciBelles were the first A Cappella group at Cardiff University!
Hype: You define your society as an A Cappella group with sass, sensitivity and power. How do you convey this in your performances?
DeciBelles: We love to showcase music from strong female and non-binary artists from AURORA to Little Mix. Our recent EP Watch Your Back demonstrates exactly what we mean by sass, and power with our mashup of BO$$ by Fifth Harmony and Confident by Demi Levato, as well as a sexy and moody Billie Eilish medley. That doesn’t mean we can’t be sensitive either. We really love to pour our heart and soul into a performance through our choreography and try to tell a story with each song we sing.
Hype: The appreciation and love for music are what binds your members as a society. What do you love most about the DeciBelles?
DeciBelles: Over the years, The DeciBelles (or the Belles as we call each other) have formed a real sisterhood through rehearsing and performing together. You can really see the love that we have for music when we get up on the stage and it’s great to be able to share that with members of our group as well as the audience when we’re performing. It’s also a great feeling to see past generations of the Belles in the audience at our shows – everyone’s so supportive of each other.
Hype: What has been one of the most challenging songs to perform?
DeciBelles: A Cappella can be a real challenge, especially when trying to replicate a sound with your voice as you hear it in the original track. Sometimes at the beginning of rehearsals a song can take a while to get to grips with – like Laura McAlpine and Jacob Collier’s Erase Me that we performed earlier this year. At times it felt like vocal gymnastics trying to pull off some of the riffs and slides, but it’s all the more rewarding once we’ve nailed it as a group!
During the pandemic, it was particularly challenging to perform as a group as we were scattered all over the place and unable to gather together even for rehearsals a lot of the time. But we still managed to pull off some great video performances with everyone independently recording their parts and then putting them all together. Check out our social media to have a listen!
Hype: What would be the ultimate song to perform?
DeciBelles: Now this is a tough one and I’m not sure we could pick just one! We’ve definitely got some exciting numbers in the works for this coming year so we don’t want to give too much away just yet!
Hype: Earlier on in the year, DeciBelles was shortlisted for Society of the Year (Small) at the Societies and Volunteering Awards. What an achievement! How has your society progressed over the years?
DeciBelles: We were so grateful for the nomination in the first place, as we believe it reflected the past year’s hard work and effort from everyone in the society. We’ve been going for ten years and with that has come a lot of changes! We’ve travelled all over the UK to compete and perform, from the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella to the LUKAS showcase which had its pilot performance in April. We’ve even performed at the infamous Edinburgh Fringe. Of course, the pandemic threw us some curveballs, so we’ve had to learn to adapt to whatever circumstances the group finds themselves in. We believe that we can only get stronger!
Hype: What is your vision for the future of the society?
DeciBelles: We constantly have plans to grow the society and introduce more people to A Cappella as it is so much fun and takes us all over the place! We have exciting ideas about how we’d like to celebrate our tenth year together as The DeciBelles, and to re-introduce Interchorus, which is the A Cappella society’s non-auditioned, non-competitive group. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic we lost the group for the past two years due to the pandemic last year but now the competitive groups have found their feet again, we can’t wait to get Interchorus back together and welcome new members to the society in September.
Hype: Finally, for anyone who is interested in A Capella and/or the DeciBelles, how can they find out more?
DeciBelles: The DeciBelles will be opening up auditions to students in Cardiff in the Autumn, so keep an eye on our social media pages over the summer for more information. The Cardiff University A Cappella Society have three competitive groups which are open to all and auditions will be held at the end of September/start of October so keep your eyes peeled for more information soon, and a non-auditioned group, Interchorus, for those who may not have sung A Cappella (or even at all before) but want to get involved and learn something new. (Or for those who unfortunately don’t get a place in a competitive group this year but want to keep singing. Being a member of Interchorus is a great way of improving your chance of getting into a competitive group in the future and being a part of a fun, very sociable and inclusive society!)
For those who may not be able to get involved in a performing capacity but would like to keep up to date, check out @cu_acappella or @cu_decibelles to see what we’ll be getting up to this year – and stream The DeciBelles EP Watch Your Back on Spotify!
You can also check out the DeciBelle’s incredible performances on their YouTube.