Centrestage go ‘Unplugged’

2015-07-29 12:26

ACOUSTIC music aficionados and fans of the cello, accordion, mandolin, double bass, banjo and guitar will be thrilled to encounter Centrestage as you have never seen them before in their latest tribute to the MTV unplugged phenomenon, set to open a two-weekend run at Old Grey on 31 July.

Based on the concept of taking artists from different genres and getting them to recreate their songs using only acoustic instruments, Centrestage Unplugged will revitalise some of the most famous Mtv Unplugged performances. Also included are songs by artists who never got to do an Mtv unplugged show, but were either influenced by that sound or would have been a perfect match.

Popular acoustic virtuoso and Neil Young sound-alike Alan Kozak fronts the 8-piece unplugged band which is crammed with PE’s top vocalists and multi instrumentalists.

These include starlets Megan Du Toit and Claire Venn, Wayne Kallis in a more subdued role than usual, the versatile Hugo Kleinhans, Andrew Warneke on bass and double bass and Devon van Rooyen on sympathetic percussion.

An exciting first-time-ever addition of the cello in its line-up will be in the capable hands of Ian Du Toit, who recently returned to PE after a stint of mentoring music students in the UK.

The acoustic stylings have special appeal to the band members themselves:

Musical director, Wayne Kallis, says he has always been drawn to acoustic versions of songs, as these when the quality, melody and the performance itself stand out.

“I’m looking forward to bringing it back to the basics,” says Megan Du Toit. “Stripped down and honest interpretations of songs ... you can really appreciate the subtle beauty of the melodies and lyrics in their unplugged versions.”

“It will be wonderful to get a chance to play some of the songs that I first heard in the formative stages of my music career - songs that undoubtedly helped develop my passion for music. I am also excited to play a show that is all about sensitivity and musical dynamics,” enthused bassist Andrew Warneke.

“For me, acoustic music is transparent and pure. It will always survive in whatever shape or form because it goes straight to the heart. In the age of digital music and video, we still want to hear the sound of instruments built a hundred years ago,” says Kozak.

“I have no doubt that the audience will be blown away by the way that we have interpreted some of the songs.... I like it that the show is not hard-rocking, but is very much a listening kind of show, lending itself to so many musical colours created by the beautiful vocals and instrumentation,” adds drummer Devon Van Rooyen.

For Claire Venn, the show is all about nostalgia, “Doing some of my all-time favourite songs, all unplugged, is definitely something I have always wanted to do. Being able to do that with an amazing group of musicians, who I know also share my passion for a show like this, is the cherry on top for a show that’s already so special.”

Loving acoustic recreations of beautiful harmonies and rearrangements by artists such as Eric Clapton, Bon Jovi, Jason Mraz, Ed Sheeran, Crowded House, Alanis Morrisette, The Civil Wars, Duran Duran, Roxette, George Ezra, Crowded House, Neil Young, Crosby Stills and Nash, The Dixie Chicks, REM, Nirvana, Melissa Etheridge, Rod Steward, Soul Asylum and Neil Young can be expected.

‘Centrestage Unplugged’ runs at Old Grey on July 31 and August 1, 7 and 8 .

Shows start at 7:30pm on July 31 and August 1 and 7 and at 8pm on August 8.

Tickets are R130 per person or R120 per person for eight or more and can be booked at Computicket or by calling Wendy on 082 661 6921

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