Have you ever encountered a flash mob? Sometimes a flash mob can be an unexpected delight, sometimes they can be downright annoying. The term flash mob, as it is currently used, originated in 2003 after a series of prank assemblages of people in Manhattan organised by Bill Wasik. The 1st successful flash mob was in June 2003, when 130 people gathered around a carpet in Macy’s Department Store.
The group claimed to belong to a commune that made decisions as a group & was shopping for a “love rug”. Modern flash mobs, often organised on social media, have similarities with the political street theatre of the 1960s, which has led to the distinction between flash mobs & smart mobs, with smart mobs being more organised & having a purpose. Here is a fun video of a surprise performance:
The action takes place in a cafeteria of UNASP-EC University, Brazil. As you’ve seen, the students are happily tucking into a surprisingly healthy looking lunch (the fruit looks fantastically fresh), when a young man with a cordless mic stands up and sings an elongated, high-pitched “can”. A female chorus takes over with “anybody find me somebody to love”, at which point a piano backing appears and we’re in the midst of a stirring cover of the Queen classic by Academia da Voz (Academy of Voice).
Donald Jefferis says it all when he comments: “This video shared with us amazing harmonies from dozens of talented singers, two incredible soloists, a tight, dramatic arrangement, and production qualities to rival those of a professional company. Bravo. This made my day the first time I heard it, and continues to do so with each successive listening.” The next video of Academia da Voz is the most popular video on its own channel (the Queen cover is on a channel that curates flash mob videos):
Beautiful isn’t it. As you’ve no doubt deduced, that is also not a conventional performance by Academia da Voz. Uploaded on 9 October 2020, it was recorded at the height of the pandemic and features the remote performances typical of the Covid19-era.
Academia da Voz claims to offer an innovative approach to learning vocal techniques, “which includes the historical, anatomical and physiological” aspects of the voice and its effective use. It uses a method called CEM, devised by the head teacher, Professor Heffer Chaves, The Academy’s website states: “With over 12 years of experience teaching vocal techniques, Chaves is one of the most renowned singing teachers in Brazil.”
To return to my original comments on flash mobs, I’m not so sure that the performance in the cafeteria of UNASP-EC University was a flash mob. Certainly, it took the students by surprise, but given that it was a carefully planned performance by a trained choir, I would be inclined to call it a “smart mob”. Not that the Academia da Voz has any reason to complain about their inclusion on the Flash Mob Geek YouTube channel, where it is the most popular video, or about the poster’s description. Academia da Voz’s cafeteria Somebody to Love has 11M YouTube views. The most popular video on the academy’s own channel has 420K.
The second most popular video on Flash Mob Geek’s channel is a surprise performance of We Will Rock You at a mall in Hamburg, Germany, in July 2013. Check it out:
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