Getting to know Graham Weir

2019-02-26 06:00
Graham Weir

Graham Weir

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Being confident in his beard, Graham Weir, a local artist, says sarcastically that this is what makes him stand out from the rest of his peers in the industry.

He shared his story prior to his show, Songs from Shakespeare, featuring lyrics and sonnets by the Bard set to his original music.

The show will take place at Maynardville Park in Wynberg on Sunday 3 March at 19:45.

Weir is returning to the stage a decade since his last live performance.

Besides complimenting his beard, Weir attributes his successful career to the uniqueness of his voice which allows him to cover both baritone and tenor vocals in a single performance, letting his passion shine through on the stage.

He has been a professional singer for 30 years and says he has made his living solely from being an artist – which he refers to as “living from hand to mouth”.

Because of his passion, it was never about having a fat wallet, but rather following his dream and making a name for himself and carrying forward his family legacy.

“I grew up in Benoni where my parents started an amateur dramatic club and ran a choir, which is where I started developing a love for theatre and performing. My father was proficient on the piano and we would often have sing-a-long evenings and my parents’ friends would come to our house and sing. I took part in eisteddfods as a boy, so singing and performing were part of my life from an early age.”

Through that long-lived passion, he raked in the accolades and became a music writer and composer.

Weir has worked with prominent artists and music groups including Cape Town Opera to compose an opera, and has performed in stage musicals such as Jesus Christ Superstar and Sweeney Todd through to Queen at the Opera and traditional Celtic and folk music in shows such as Songs of Hangings and Redemption, and alongside his sister Christine Weir in her early stagings of her production, Christine and the Kilts.

He said the comeback has not been difficult because being an artist for so many years has taught him the importance of adapting to changing times and keeping relevance, hence the inspiration of Shakespeare.

“Shakespeare has moved way beyond being thought of as a writer limited to interpretation in any one language – think of Welcome Msomi’s Zulu musical Umabatha, based on Macbeth, or Akira Kurosawa’s version of King Lear, called Ran, performed in Japanese – through to Heiner Muller’s Hamletmachine, performed in German. In 2012 productions from 37 countries were presented at London’s Globe Theatre in 37 languages, including a performance by the Isango Ensemble from Cape Town. “And so, for me, I hope to celebrate that universality and timelessness of the writing of Shakespeare in this show, with the words written by Shakespeare, and the music written by me,” Weir said.V Bookings can be made at Computicket or via Dial-a-Seat on 021 421 7839.

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