Listen to Tina ‘with your eyes’

2016-12-20 06:01
Ramaine Barreiro-Lloyd as Tina Turner

Ramaine Barreiro-Lloyd as Tina Turner

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If you’ve ever wanted to see Tina Turner live, now’s your chance – well, almost.

Glenhaven performer, choreographer, producer and director Ramaine Barreiro-Lloyd will be bringing her impersonation of the iconic 77-year-old singer to stage at Hillcrest Quarry on Boxing Day as part of this year’s Tribute Fest.

The festival will also see some of Cape Town’s best tribute artists recreate the music of Elvis, Neil Diamond, Bon Jovi, Rolling Stones, Deep Purple and more.

For Ramaine, impersonation is a serious business. “There are particular things that particular people do really well and if you can’t do it like that or better, leave it alone.”

She says anyone can sing like a specific artist, but to impersonate them properly, a performer needs to focus on their nuances. “I believe that an audience listens with their eyes.”

Ramaine has been playing Tina for 22 years and spent five months studying the singer intensely; looking at both her music and her history. She considered the way she moves and says: “When I put on my heels to do Tina it’s a completely different walk.”

She doesn’t just sing Tina Turner: she becomes her. “I can’t complain, Tina’s paid a lot of my bills.”

Ramaine has been performing for as long as she can remember and says she grew up on the jazz circuit, but the thought of covering Tina Turner songs had never crossed her mind until it was suggested by the owner of a club she was playing at when she was just 13. “It’s the voice and the legs,” she recalls him explaining.

So, the rock and blues fan did a little research and the more she got to know the music, she realised that Tina started out singing blues with her husband, Ike. “There’s nothing like singing the blues.”

She did her first show as Tina when she was just 14 and was soon invited to replace Vicky Sampson in the production of The Rock Circus at Bertie’s Landing.

She was 15 at the time.

These days, despite a repertoire spanning more than 5 000 songs, fans come to see Tina, not Ramaine.

After spending time in the United Arab Emirates, Ramaine ended up playing Tina for the Barnyard Theatre for 17 years. The list of people she’s worked with reads like a “who’s who” of the entertainment world, but she says one of the most memorable points in her career was a personal thank-you call from Ian von Memerty. “I don’t even think he realises what a big impact he made.”

Ramaine was already on her way home from performing Broadway Rocks when Ian phoned to say: “I just wanted to tell you, you were absolutely amazing tonight. People don’t tell you that because they expect you to know it.” She hopes to work under his direction again one day.

Besides her own performance, Ramaine is looking forward to enjoying the other acts at Tribute Fest, like Johan Liebenberg who she performs with regularly. “No-one else must sing Neil Diamond for me; he just makes me jello at the knees.”

Since she’s a huge Duck Chowles fan (the two worked together for many years), she’s also looking forward to seeing Jeandré Swanepoel who’ll be playing Mick Jagger, like Duck did, and James Marais, since Duck often spoke of his Elvis impersonation.

Other acts on the line-up include the Deep Purple Tribute Band, Kiss the Sky, The Rivertones, The Brothers from Hell and Mark Haze. “After 35 years in the business”, Ramaine has finally found someone she trusts to manage her and will be sitting down with Marlize Stander this week to plan for 2017.

Fans can also catch her on stage at the V&A Waterfront on New Year’s Eve with Sizzling Divas.

V Tribute Fest will be at Hillcrest Quarry on Monday from 13:00. Gates open at 11:30 and tickets cost R160 from Computicket or at the door on the day. Call 072 383 3283 or 073 016 1932 for more.

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