Wednesday, 25 June 2014

A Bonnie evening...

Wonderful last night in Alba Iulia, where we were sandwiched between two acts, the great Bonnie Tyler and 3 O'CLOCK - with 15,000 people in the open air at the Citadel.

The latter being an Andrews Sisters type trio (as you can see above) accompanied  in this gig by jazz trio (guitar, bass & drums).  They were great fun; and elicited much excitement from members of Bonnie Tyler's band... (all was OK, the girls were surrounded by their boyfriends, friends and families after their set and were well protected!)

Then it was time for us to say hello and goodbye to Alba Iulia for this year... we sang Penny Lane & then organiser Mihai talked to the audience in Romanian whilst we nodded and smiled... it appears we promised a job to any Romanian who appeared on our doorsteps!  Luckily, everyone thought this very funny!

Then it was stadium rock time and on came Bonnie Tyler and her band - marvellous stuff indeed and the huge crowd sang along with lots of her hits (and heard a few from her new album too)...  great to hear It's a Heartache live...

Another excellent early summer in Romania - mainly lovely weather, super people good food & drink and delightful atmosphere:- see you next year!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Grand Orchestral nights

Two excellent evenings at our regular early summer haunt, Alba Iulia in Romania.

Both with orchestra...
Firstly our own concert with the Alba Iulia orchestra gloriously conducted by Remus Grama - the audience were even good enough to continue listening/watching even when rain came (luckily it was only light showers!)...
We gave them, Schubert/Shakespeare's Who is Sylvia, Dankworth's The Compleat Works of Shakespeare, Pavane (from our new album Songs of Love & War), Michel Legrand's Summer of '42 & J'attendrai (I Will Wait for You), Everbody's Talkin', As Time Goes By & other musical hits... Music of the Night & Bring Him Home  and even some pop! - Stevie Wonder's I Just Called..., the Bond theme flowing into Skyfall and that ubiquitous song Happy!
Romanian pop song Vara Nu Dorm also had another outing! The last two songs garnering lots of joining in (at least clapping along!)
A lovely evening with some excellent musicians who also enjoyed themselves.
Remus Grama was a splendidly attentive and wonderful conductor.

The next evening, there was a performance of Aida by the Opera Naționala Romana din Cluj-Napoca - in the open air (thank goodness, the afternoon's rain stopped in the evening!)...
As a prelude to this, we sang the first two numbers from Tim Rice & Elton John's Aida - the Musical, with the opera orchestra.
Again wonderfully conducted by Cristian Oroşanu, it was terrific to perform these songs (Every Story is a Love Story & Fortune favours the Brave) and the packed Citadel audience were a delight.
We began by playing an audio message from Tim Rice who apologised for not being there (he is in Brazil for some reason - what's he want to be there for!?), and sent his greetings as we sang his and Elton's songs to them... but, as he said, not Don't Cry for Me, Alba Iulia!
A good use of two knights of the realm in international relations!

Thank you as ever to Mihai Coser for inviting us, and for him & all at Alba Iulia City Hall (especially Robert Roman) for working so hard!

We're introducing fellow Brit, Bonnie Tyler tonight...

If you want to see our gala performance from Sibiu (amidst an awards ceremony - 4 short slots) - you can look here ! [It possibly helps to be in Romania!]

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Two Sibiu nights in Thalia Hall

The splendid Thalia Hall here in Sibiu was wonderful to be in for two nights...

Firstly our solo concert, and then four spots within a gala evening of awards to theatre people from around the world (we are singing  in the Sibiu International Festival of Theatre - FITS in Romanian order!)

Everyone took to us wonderfully... & even heard and understood our Romanian (both introductions and a song!)

Thanks to my Romanian friends Gabby & Dan for suggesting we sing Vara Nu Dorm - a beach hit from 2012 - to which the audience listened in concentrated silence (which was worrying...) and then cheered and applauded madly (which was not!)

Mike and I also took part in the 'cultural conversation' chaired by UK academic Professor Noel Witt with Oliver Bray from Leeds Metropolitan University Performing Arts course & a lady from Che Theatre, Minsk, Belarus: she talked of the troubles of working around government censorship and fear in Belarus, Oliver talked of the importance of non-mainstream arts teaching/learning  and new ideas of what performance can be & we shared stories of our trip to Minsk in January and also  how we wished to both enrapture and amuse our audiences... This will be transcribed for the Sibiu Festival archive (they already have years of it!) so our words will be held in aspic for future generations to er... marvel at (or whatever!).

The BBC weather site had promised loads of electrical storminess - they were, thank goodness, wrong... and it has been sunny all the time!

On to Alba Iulia at the end of next week... Cant-TLQ with orchestra, Bonnie Tyler & a full production of Aida (plus we sing a bit of the Elton John/Tim Rice musical version) and a chap with panpipes...)


Friday, 13 June 2014

Romania fortnight begins...

Sitting in the exquisite beauty of Sibiu (or Hermannstadt if you prefer - both names are in use!)...
Very lovely here, and the present sunshine is very welcome (as welcome as the coming huge storm which we are promised is not...)

We sang last night at The Cisnădioara Fortress (20 minutes drive from Sibiu) an amazing place - which was on top of a very steep climb (luckily we had time to get our breath back before we sang.

Here are the altar and the grand entry:

A lovely space in which to sing and we started very early, singing some Hildegard of Bingen! Then took the time-honoured journey through to the present day - our appreciative audience came with us with great joy - and were happy with our Romanian and German intros - tho' their English also appeared very good!
A slightly scary walk back down the hill in the pitch black - but a great experience...

Next two nights we are still here, but in the Thalia Hall in the City...

Glad England appear to be able to play cricket again - wonder how our Rugby U. and Football teams will fare tomorrow!?

Thursday, 5 June 2014

We're on a new CD...

Excellent new CD from wonderful jazz singer Kate Dimbleby, Love Comes Again: featuring many talents... Jonty Fisher on bass, Sophie Alloway on percussion & Naadia Sheriff on piano to name but three...
...and on the last track us as well!
(Everybody Eats... Cab Calloway)

Some classic jazz numbers and Kate's own hilarious/poignant songs!

Simply go here:- & you can have it yourself.... either download, or physical (plus free download!)


PS: Don't forget to get your Songs of Love and War, if you have yet so to do!

Monday, 2 June 2014

Montréal & Toronto

Marvellous times in Canada...

Firstly in Québec, just across the water from Montréal in St Lambert at the Centre Multifonctionnel; as ever in francophone Canada, we were greeted with great enthusiasm & the audience were excellent.
Great to exercise our French material again - Priez pour Paix (Poulenc) from our new CD, Songs of Love and War especially moving.

Then we chased over to Toronto, where we took part in SING! - The Toronto Vocal Arts Festival... delightful to meet (and hear) the excellent Aaron Jensen & his vocal tremendous group Countermeasure.
Aaron a great leading light in vocal music worldwide (composing, arranging, workshopping and singing) - very good to know him now.
Splendid to see Pat Silver too, whose idea SING! was (now in its third year), having met her in various events around Canada before - excellent to work for her!

Members of Countermeasure were kind enough to come to our workshop on Saturday afternoon, and join in with gusto, as well as some individuals & also an octet, Maple Jam from Vermont, who sang a glorious rendition of a piece by Piazzolla - great to hear them too!

We very much enjoyed our workshop, listening to great singing & sharing some knowledge.

Pity we were only in Toronto for 23 hours - there was so much of SING! to enjoy... a feast of vocal music...

The Little Trinity Church was truly wonderful to sing in, it was like having another two members with us! Great acoustic...
The audience were equally delighted by the classical and the pure, and by the jazzy and funny...

All in all, a quick but rewarding trip to Canada - we're back in Ontario and Québec in October...