Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards

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There exists an entire community of music-makers that dedicate their time and/or careers to making music with nothing but the human voice. This community has grown enormously over the past three decades and now includes lovers of all kinds of music, united in the common goal of expanding the horizons of what can be produced without instruments.

The annual Contemporary A cappella Recording Awards (CARA) recognize the best of recorded a cappella music. We are the only truly global a cappella recording awards. Every year since 1992 hundreds of albums are considered in this celebration of the highest quality a cappella recorded around the planet.

The CARA mission reflects that of its parent organization, the Contemporary A Cappella Society (CASA): we aim to reward artists that create outstanding work and to promote innovation, creativity, and continued growth of the a cappella medium.

Timeline

Mid-November Application for nominators and judges are due.

If you would like the opportunity to participate in the CARA process, please fill out our nominator/judge interest form. You may apply at any time during the year to be a nominator in the upcoming cycle. All applications received after the deadline will be considered for the following year.

Mid-December Nominations begin.
December 31 Submission application form due.

The submission application form must be filled out by this date in order to be considered eligible.

End of January Nominations end, 11:59 PST
Mid-February
Nominees are announced and judging begins

Nominees are announced in all categories; judges log in to the CARA system and begin assessing and ranking the nominees.

Mid-march
Judging ends, 11:59 PST
TBA Winners are announced live at BOSS and on www.casa.org

One winner and one runner-up is announced for each of the awards.

Eligibility Guidelines

Your album/track is eligible for the 2021 CARAs if:

1. It was released to the public in the 2020 calendar year. With so many creative endeavors being released exclusively on the internet recently, we have changed the CARA rule to accommodate these works. Therefore, public release date is the time at which either:

a. your complete, packaged, retail-ready CD was delivered to your group or

b. your work became available online for free or paid consumption by the public

We cannot accept CD-Rs or any other unfinished form of your album/individual tracks, but we will be glad to accept the work the following year, once it has been publicly released.

2. If you are submitting an album, at least one track on the album must be entirely a cappella (use no instruments). In order to be considered in any album category, more than half of the tracks must be a cappella, but even a single a cappella track will be considered in a song category. Any tracks with instruments (including percussion instruments) will not be eligible.

If an album contains music of multiple styles, each song will be considered in the category for which it is most appropriate. Our nominating panel listens to every song on every album no matter what (so long as it’s a cappella).

3. A submission application form has been filled out on carawards.org and submitted by December 31.

 

Category specific eligibility is determined by genre, voicing and group type. Learn more about our definitions of these classifications.

 

Submission Instructions

 

1. Fill out the submission application form at carawards.org. If you have questions or would like to follow up on receipt of the form, email the CARA team at [email protected].

2. If you are unable to upload your album: Contact [email protected] to troubleshoot or arrange to mail a physical copy.

Nomination/Judging Process

The CASA Awards programs allow people all over the world to assist in the nominating and judging process. By using the web, we can get more people involved, and simultaneously guarantee consistently high-quality judging.

Becoming a Nominator / Judge

In order to join a nominating committee, any person may fill out our nominator/judge interest form no later than September 28 (AVAs) / November 17 (CARAs).

What We Look For

An applicant must have adequate a cappella experience and knowledge, have no relations/conflicts of interest with any competing groups in the category(ies) in which they are working, and they must be committed to impartiality.

Judges and nominators can be anywhere in the world while they are performing their duties but they must be CASA members in order to participate.

A diverse subset of the individuals from the pool of applicants will be chosen as judges. Qualifications may include superior musicianship, a cappella experience and knowledge, and recording or production experience. We take the qualifications of our judges very seriously in an effort to maintain the prestige of the CARAs. These positions require a lesser time commitment than do the nominating positions (because there is significantly less music to which you must listen) but is reserved for individuals who have demonstrated the highest level of proficiency in the a cappella domain.

Process Overview

We have released a detailed article describing our philosophy and process. It's good to be familiar with, but intimate knowledge is not a prerequisite for volunteering.