Fundamentally Sound: Pentatonix Take A Cappella Mainstream - The Culture Files Blog - Los Angeles magazine

Fundamentally Sound: Pentatonix Take A Cappella Mainstream

The L.A. based quintet is leading the charge into a new and instrumentally challenged landscape


His bass is so smooth, it earned him a special award at the collegiate a cappella championships.



The lone lady cast off her show-choir roots to embrace five-part harmony, thank God.



Songwriter. Pianist. Baritone. PTX’s tallest member can produce vocal runs for days.



A tenor and the group’s youngest member, he’s been referredto as the “secret weapon.”



Not only does he beatbox, he “celloboxes.” YouTube it. And he’s fluent in Mandarin.

A cappella, long regarded as pop’s nerdy cousin, has doo-wah-diddied its way into the mainstream. Leading the charge is Pentatonix, a local quintet that won season three of NBC’s The Sing-Off. The group’s arrangements showcase original tunes and diverse covers (everything from Beyoncé to Korean rapper Psy).

Think you’re hearing an instrument or two? That’s Kevin Olusola, a beatboxing demigod whose snare drum and crash cymbal sound effects are anchored by Avi Kap­lan’s bass. Harmonies from Scott Hoying, Mitch Grassi, and Kirstie Maldonado add the final layers. In the middle of a sold-out world tour, the group performs at the Orpheum Theatre on March 1 and 2. That’s music to our ears, no auto-tune required.

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  1. Jill0 posted on 03/01/2014 06:57 AM
    I love these Kids. Their beautiful tones and beautiful faces. I love every song I've heard. I could only imagine how awesome to hear them life. Best of luck to them.
  2. Wendy Clare posted on 03/01/2014 08:43 AM
    This group DESERVES every accolade they get...they are gifted, polished, prodigious vocalists, their arrangements are stunning--and they are genuinely nice people who are managing to stay humble in an egocentric industry. More power to them!
  3. Linda posted on 03/01/2014 12:21 PM
    If you haven't heard them, you've got to do yourself a favor and listen. They are simply amazing, each one more talented than the next. I could listen to them all day.
  4. Joan S. posted on 03/01/2014 08:42 PM
    I just wanted to let you know that I love your music. I am a 62 year old wife, mother of 2, & Grandmother of 2. When you post a new song I share it on facebook. My 13 year old Grandson loves your music also. Thank you for the beautiful music. <3
  5. Michele posted on 03/01/2014 11:40 PM
    Thanks for your article regarding Pentatonix. My grandson introduced me to them & I am so glad he did. I listen to them daily.
  6. Captain Chris posted on 03/19/2014 02:10 PM
    What a combined talent! As an old man, I've lost interest in most of my old favorites, this has spurned an interest in a new sound that is making my dying love of music alive again. I mean like how many times can you listen to 'Whole Lotta love' before you puke. Thanks kids, I thought the music died.
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