An Interview with Devon More

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Devon More will soon be rocking into Vancouver with her Flute Loops. The Mumble caught her for a wee blether beforehand…


Hi Devon, so where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
Devon: I grew up in Kamloops BC, and now live in East Vancouver, but I also spend a lot of time in New Westminster.

When did you first develop a love of performing?
Devon: I always wanted to be “an artist” – even before I knew what that was. At 6 years old, I learned my first instrument – the flute – at a summer music camp. Recently, my parents shared a home recording of me singing an “original song” (called “The Froggy Dance”) around the same age, so things haven’t changed much.

What are the strings to your showbiz bow?
Devon: I’m a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, though I think of myself primarily as a songwriter – and there is always an element of story to my work. I tour my original musical storytelling shows to festivals across Canada. I’m the frontwoman and guitarist for Hang Lucy – a Vancouver-based punk-pop indie rock power trio (also featuring John Pigeon on bass, and Ariane Tasca on drums). We just released our debut EP this spring! “Stroke of Luck” is now available on iTunes, Spotify, and all digital music outlets. I perform musical works of “edutainment” at schools across British Columbia, where I also conduct workshops with young people and work with educators on arts integration. And I started my own indie theatre series in New Westminster.

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Can you tell us about Way Off-Broadway Wednesday?
Devon: Way Off-Broadway Wednesday is the underground theatre series I run. It’s my effort to keep the “Fringe” spirit alive year round, and create a casual live performance space that is inclusive, unspoiled by market capitalism, and connects people face-to-face. It started by accident in November 2016: I was in the middle of a month-long run in the cozy cabaret-style back room of The Heritage Grill (a legendary local music venue in New Westminster, BC). And then He Who Shall Remain Nameless was elected on Tuesday, November 8th… Performing Berlin Waltz (my Cold War cabaret that details the history of the Berlin Wall and my years living in the city) the following night – to coincide with November 9th’s anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall – was strange: suddenly “Walls” were a hot topic again – and much closer to home. But it also was therapeutic and empowering to share the incredible story of the peaceful revolution enacted by ordinary people that ultimately destroyed the Berlin Wall and the oppressive regime behind it. I have been programming a different weird, wild, and wonderful weekly work ever since. Every Wednesday night, at 7pm, Way Off-Broadway presents a unique show, ranging from Fringe circuit hits, to intimate storytelling events, to first readings of brand new plays. And W.O.W. always operates at a postcapitalist price point: Pay-What-You-Want, with proceeds going directly to the evening’s performers.

What does Devon More like to do when she’s not performing?
Devon: Surf. Cycle. Swim. Be a super auntie to my 2 nieces and 1 nephew.

You’ve got three famous figures from history coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starter, mains & dessert?
Devon: Patti Smith, Bonnie Raitt, and Ella Fitzgerald. I’d cook whatever was in season at the nearest farmer’s market.

You are bringing FLUTE LOOPS to the Edmonton Fringe. Can you tell us about it?
Devon: Flute Loops is a comedic music-based play set at the rock concert of a hipster band: The Flute Loops have just gone viral, thanks to Thomas’ knack for translating face-melting guitar solos from classic rock into fancy fingerwork on the flute. I play Thomas’ girlfriend: a classical music-loving, quantum physics PhD student (and fish-out-of-water) who is filling in at the merch table for the evening. The concert doesn’t run as expected…and it might have something to do with my character’s thesis project, which aims to warp space-time – using the pressure of sound waves. It’s worth mentioning that she is heavily under the influence – of Stephen Hawking.

Where did the idea come from?
Devon: Flute Loops started at the intersection of music and math. I wanted the subject matter of this summer’s show to be relevant to my method of music-making. I often work with a loop-station so that I can live-mix the accompaniment for my songs, and in effect play several instruments at once; the result is a progression of patterns and intervals that made math seem like the natural choice. And math lead me to fall down the rabbit hole of Quantum Theory – which from a writer’s perspective is so rich with philosophical questions about the nature of space, time, and certainty. At it’s core, Flute Loops is an exploration of the “space between” – whether it be the intervals between music notes, the gaps in our subatomic structure, or the alienation we feel as humans.

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Can you tell us about the backing band?
Devon: If I am honest, I put a lot of my pet peeves regarding the worst of musician-types onto The Flute Loops’ band members. They’re a 4-piece band of attractive, straight white guys who managed to go viral thanks to a gimmick of instrumentation, sloppy, sexualized lyrics, and an infectious dance video. Thanks to this taste of fame, their egos have grown so big they can’t even be bothered to turn up on time for their audience. The Flute Loops’ also rely heavily on “samples” from pop music, which in turns inspires my character to sample some of the most famous riffs and licks – from the classical genre…! I had a chance to spend a month composing the soundtrack at the Lookout Arts Quarry (in Washington) this spring: the resulting indie rock songs explore the nature of space-time, and are embedded with traces of Ravel, Mozart, Strauss, and Beethoven – among others.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show in the streets?
Devon: Flute Loops is a rock opera about quantum physics where anything that can happen does… Only suitable for patrons who like live music, strong female characters, and – this is important: who have a sense of humour. Another useful prerequisite would be a small degree of curiosity about the universe. We’ll warp space-time, and transcend all 4 dimensions…and sometimes the spirit of Stephen Hawking even swings by.

What does the rest of 2018 have in store for Devon More?
Devon: After spending 5 months on the road this year, I’m looking forward to a creative and productive autumn back home in East Van. I miss my Hang Lucy bandmates! We will be hitting local stages. I have a brain full of new story and song ideas to bring to fruition, along with an exciting season at Way Off-Broadway Wednesday.


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FLUTELOOPS

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THE CULTCH

Sat Sept 8 @ 6:15pm
Mon Sept 10 @ 8:15p
Tues Sept 11 @ 7:45pm
Thurs Sept 13 @ 5:00pm
Sat Sept 15 @ noon
Sun Sept 16 @ 8:15pm
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www.devonmoremusic.com

Interview: A Jive Ace & A Satin Doll

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Anthony & Cleopatra; Napoleon & Josephine; The Jive Aces & The Satin Dollz; some unions simply transcend romance. The Mumble managed a wee blether with Ian & Bella…


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Hello Ian, so where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
Ian: Originally from Essex and East London but I got a bit posher and moved to Sussex 😉. I was actually born in Liverpool while my parents happened to be there for work, so basically an Essex Scouser… 😉

When did you first realise your were a natural born performer?
Ian: I guess at the age of 9 when me and my sister put on a whole circus in the back garden for all the neighbors and raised money for charity. There had been a circus workshop in the park near our house during the holidays and it certainly inspired us.

Hello Bella, so where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
Bella: Hello! I am from a town called Folkestone, in Kent, and that’s where I currently live!

When did you first develop a love of music?
Bella: I’ve loved music from a very young age. I started dancing at the age of four and developed a love for music beyond my years.

By 2018, what are the strings to your showbiz bow?
Ian: I think the main thing is really that I absolutely love doing this ‘job’ and I love the audience and making people happy. (I would say that goes for the whole band too). So because of that I feel I can entertain naturally so that’s the basis. I sing, play trumpet and ukulele. And I have the best bunch of musicians with me and we also love to surround ourselves with and nurture great talent such as the gals that are with us on this show – singing, dancing showgirls the Satin Dollz!

You’ve got three famous figures from history coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starter, mains & dessert?
Ian: They would be Louis Prima, Dean Martin and Elvis Presley – I would definitely cook (with a little help from the Grazia, our accordion player) calamari for starter, then sea food spaghetti with garlic and obviously Tiramisu for dessert, with a ball of gelato. Obviously it has to be Italian food with two of those guests being bonafide paisano

You have a wonderful, traditional voice – who are your influences?
Bella: I’m influenced by many artists including Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Eva Cassidy.

What does Bella like to do when she’s not performing?
Bella: I have a love for vintage clothes, so in my spare time I love to attend vintage events and go shopping!

Who are the Jive Aces & what is your role?
Ian: The Jive Aces are a six piece jump jive and swing band who have been together, same line-up, for 21 years. Some of us have known each other since school! We very often have extra guests with us usually at least a female vocalist but we have added more and more variety in recent years until this show at the Ed Fringe which kicks off a tour with the lovely Satin Dollz! I am the band leader, front man and co-founder and basically the ‘Ring Leader’ in this great show!

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Who are the Satin Dollz & what is your role with them?
Bella: The Satin Dollz are group of singing and tap dancing pinup darlings. We mostly perform songs from the 1940s with slick choreography and tight harmonies. We have three divisions, LA, Paris and London. I am the vocal captain for the London Dollz.

You are bringing a show to the Edinburgh Fringe. Can you tell us about it?
Ian: The show is “Swinging the Fringe” and is our first show at the Fringe with the Satin Dollz – it is upbeat fun jive and swing music with the gals tap dancing, singing and great choreography with colorful frocks and suits with the style and glamor of the 40s and 50s

How did the link up with The Jive Aces come about?
Bella: Originally through Facebook through mutual performers over 10 years ago. They first met in LA when the Jive Aces were touring over there and performed a show together at Warner Bros. Then when the Paris and London Dollz were started they invited us to do many concerts. We are doing a four show theatre tour in Northern Ireland in November and several UK theatres next Spring too.

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Can you describe your working relationship with Ian in one word?
Bella: Laughter

Can you describe your working relationship with Bella in one word?
Ian: Posh…

What will the Jives Aces & The Satin Dollz be up to after the Fringe?
Ian: This kicks off a theatre tour that takes us to Ireland, across the UK and even to the US – can’t wait!!

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show in the Edinburgh streets?
Bella: The UK’S No.1 Jive and Swing Band and a talented bunch of singing and dancing pinup darlings, what more could you want?


Swinging the Fringe

Assembly Checkpoint, Bristo Place

Aug 13th (21.30) 14th (18.30) 15th (15.00)

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www.thesatindollz.com

www.jiveaces.com

An Interview with Rosie Sings

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It is a rare gift indeed to be funny AND sing like an angel. The Mumble were honored, then, to catch a wee blether with Rosie Houlton…


Hello Rosie, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?

Rosie: Hello Mumble, well I was born in the city which lacks all culture – Milton Keynes! I now live in the city where culture thrives – EDINBURGH!

When did you first realise you could sing really well?
Rosie: When someone told me they thought I could and then I asked someone to teach me how to try and do it well.

Which singers inspire you?
Rosie: Oh SO many singers are inspirational and I am constantly learning! However the artists I’m listening to at the moment would mainly be Morgan James, Shoshana Bean and Anne Marie.

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When did you first develop a passion for performing?
Rosie: Being born a Princess I’m no stranger to performance. I grew up touring the UK with my Dad in the circus and I often got asked to help with his act which I found fun and got to have a small taste of ‘showing off’. It wasn’t until I started Rosie Sings where I found the passion because I can just express who I want to be in the ways I want. It’s more of a true and honest passion.

You’re washed up on a desert island with an all-in-one solar powered DVD/TV combo & three films, what would they be?
Rosie: Three movies to pick me up if I was ever to be bored of the sea and sand would be – From Up on Poppy Hill, Moulin Rouge and Batman Begins.

Last year you were performing at the Fringe. How did it go?
Rosie: Last year was my first show at the fringe however a lady from the audience after one of my shows did came up to me and say ‘I come to see you every year – but this year you were the best you’ve ever been’… so I’m going to go with what she said and say – I was the best I’d been!

What have you got for us this year?
Rosie: This year the show is about all the men from my love life… or as many as I can fit in within 60 minutes.

Your show is quite a mish-mash of styles, just what exactly ARE you?
Rosie: … I’m me Bitch … I love everything from Old School Garage to Whitney.

How much of Rosie Houlton the person is there in Rosie Houlton, the performer?
Rosie: All of the stories in my shows are factual. How I perform them and the confidence I have on stage is the Rosie I inspire to be in my day to day life… but usually I just spend my time eating oreo cookies while I bathe.

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Can you tell us about your band?
Rosie: The band well … the band are what bring my show to life and add the unique character and sometimes aroma most boys bring along with them. I’ve been a very lucky Princess indeed as I’ve had a wonderful time working with different musicians throughout the year which has helped adapt the show creatively. The arrangements for the show have mostly been worked on with my Fairy Godmother Neil Metcalfe, if you live in Edinburgh and work as a musician you will know or want to know Neil, he is a genius and I wouldn’t have a show at all without him. During August I’ll have the wonderful Doug Price flying over from Canada to take on the role of Musical Director for the Fringe. Doug and I worked together last year and it will be so much fun to have him back by my side to see what we can get up to this time! I’ve also worked with Linda Stewart who stepped in on keys Sunday 1st July who has been working with the musical Wicked and touring the world on cruises. But the boys who make me smile and often wet in my pants are the very tall, sexy Scottish duo you got to see me perform with recently – Damien Quinn and Callum Morrison. We will be seeing more of them alongside Rosie Sings in the future but for now my lips are sealed!

How do you select the songs for your show?
Rosie: The songs I select can be for a number of reasons. Most importantly I have to like the songs I’m using and make sure that they have relevance to my story. Sometimes the song comes first because it reminds me of a story and other times I have a story and have to find a song to go along with it.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the street, what would you say?
Rosie: I’m the voice of an angel with the mouth of a sailor. I will sing some of the greatest love songs to compliment the stories of my turbulent yet fruitful love life… and I just discovered Gin, which has nothing to do with me turning 30.

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How will you know & feel when you have just given a good performance?
Rosie: From how it effects my audience. I’m always pushing myself out of my comfort zone and encouraging others around me to face their fears. With this show being specifically about the trials and errors of my Love life, I’ve already found in my previews it is connecting with some people who can relate to a mutual experience. The show is to entertain through being honest about who I am. I’ve made some mistakes and I’ve learnt some things and when an audience member connects with that and tells me afterwards, I find that really rewarding.

Can you describe the experience of performing at the Fringe in a single sentence?
Rosie: Last year I caught a photographer taking photos of me and so I stopped to smile at him, he said, ‘No don’t stop, I’m just here to capture your struggle.’

What will you be doing after the Fringe?
Rosie: I’ll be getting on the next plane to the hottest place where I will stay until someone pays for me to come home … and eat cheese.


Rosie Sings Facts About Love

Fingers Piano Bar

Aug 4-26: (16:20)

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www.Rosie-Sings.com

An Interview with The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

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The Edinburgh International Festival is just on the horizon, & the Mumble managed a wee blether with four members of The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; conductor: Marin Alsop, Vice-President: Tonya McBride Robles, Director of Operations: Rebecca Cain & Director of Artistic Planning: Abhijit Sengupta


Where are you from and can you describe your musical background?

Marin Alsop

Marin: When I was nine years old, my father took me to see one of the New York Philharmonic’s Young Peoples Concerts. I studied violin, but when I saw Leonard Bernstein conduct that concert and watched the freedom of his movement and his passion for the music, I knew then that I wanted to be a conductor. It was a dream come true years later when I had the opportunity to study with him at Tanglewood.

Tonya: I’m originally from North Carolina. My father is a minister, and my mother is a church musician, so I grew up singing in church. I started voice lessons at the age of ten and later attended a performing arts high school to study voice, music theory and music history. I graduated from the Peabody Conservatory and received a Bachelor of Music Education and a Performer’s Certificate in Voice; I studied voice with Phyllis Bryn Julson. Just before my final year of college, I worked as an intern with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in the artistic administration department. I found my calling as an orchestra administrator and am thrilled to serve the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as General Manager for this international tour some 25 years after I started as an intern.

Rebecca: I’m from a very small town in North Carolina. I played a variety of instruments before settling on the bassoon and becoming a professional bassoonist, my first career.

Abhijit: My parents are from India, but I was born in New Jersey and grew up mainly in Houston, where I began viola lessons at age 11. Although I attended an arts high school and was a very active young musician, I attended Yale University and graduated with a degree in economics. Campus life was musically rich, and my college years were full of orchestra concerts, chamber music, recitals and music history. I ultimately chose to pursue a career in music, attending the University of Southern California School of Music in Los Angeles for a master’s degree in viola performance before joining the New World Symphony. I was a special jury prize winner at the 1997 Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition and went on to serve as principal viola of the Florida Philharmonic, the Houston Grand Opera & Ballet Orchestra and co-principal of the Bergen Philharmonic in Norway before realigning my career to include administrative duties. I have continued to play professionally as a core member of the Grand Teton Music Festival and as a regular extra with the Houston Symphony.


For you, what are the qualities of a great orchestra?

Abhijit Sengupta

Rebecca: I think the most important quality over the long-term is people who really listen to each other – musicians who are truly committed to listening every second they’re playing music, supported by everyone else who makes concerts possible.

Tonya: First, it’s all about the music – a great ensemble performing extraordinary repertoire under the leadership of a gifted Music Director. In this day and age, the music must be met with a connection to the orchestra’s community to bring relevance to a centuries-old art form. One of my favorite aspects of the work we do is watching Baltimore city schoolchildren hear live symphonic music for the first time at an education concert: this music retains the ability to transform and inspire.

Abhijit: In addition to the precision and virtuosity we have come to expect from the many great orchestras in the world, I really listen for sound quality. The conductor plays a major role in the way an orchestra produces sound, but there is a core sound that is always there with great orchestras. But greatness cannot only be achieved through artistic means. Great orchestras, in my view, also serve their respective communities through education, innovation and inclusion. The reason the repertoire endures is that it has the power to transform people, so the orchestras that are sincerely making an effort to ensure this incredible music touches the lives of as many people in their communities as possible are the truly great ones.


Who are your favorite three composers and which is your favorite piece by each?

Tonya: It’s difficult to narrow my favorite composers to three. Since I come from a vocal background and love choral music, two of my favorite pieces are the Requiems of Mozart and Verdi. They’re completely different in their approach but equally powerful. I also love the Concierto de Aranjuez of Rodrigo because I lived in Spain for three years shortly after marrying my husband, and this concerto is so evocative of a place and time I loved.

Abhijit: I couldn’t possibly name any favorites, but here are three of my desert island composers and pieces from the orchestral repertoire: Mahler Symphony No. 3, Brahms Symphony No. 3 and Sibelius Symphony No. 5. It’s hard to choose just one Sibelius symphony actually, as I hear them as one epic journey, but I include the fifth in this list because it was a rare moment of joy in an often dark life.

Rebecca: It’s almost impossible to choose, and my answers to this change a lot, but right now it’s:
Mozart – Gran Partita Serenade
Mahler – Symphony No. 2
John Adams – Dr. Atomic Symphony


What other genres of music do you like besides classical?

Rebecca Cain

Abhijit: I listen to and love all sorts of music, and my own collection has a little bit of just about everything in it. I have presented a great deal of jazz in my career, so I have a special affinity for it. I also have a soft spot for Brazilian music.

Rebecca: I listen to a lot of different genres, but lately have been listening to lots of American “roots” music – blues, bluegrass, folk – with a side of the Hamilton soundtrack.

Tonya: I like a variety of popular music – my three most played albums are the Greatest Hits of Michael Jackson, the Original Cast Recording of Hamilton and U2’s Joshua Tree.


What do you like to do outside of working for the BSO?

Rebecca: I read, knit, and compete very slowly in triathlons. Knitting is a cover for my other hobby – watching tv.

Abhijit: I’ve always been a soccer player, but that is hard to do without a group or league of some sort. I’m new to Baltimore, but perhaps I’ll find one. Beyond that, I’m an enthusiastic, if somewhat mediocre, tennis player and an active hiker, especially in the mountains of Wyoming. I also love to cook and wish I had more time to read.

Tonya: There’s not a lot of time outside of work, so it’s fortunate that I love my job! I enjoy spending time with family and friends, especially at the beach. To that end, my family spends a portion of every summer at a Chautauqua community on the coast of Maine.


What is the history behind the BSO’s Edinburgh International Festival performances – how did they come about?

Tonya McBride Robles

Tonya: Our Music Director, Marin Alsop, is so beloved in the U.K. that our invitation to the festival came to us initially through her. When the head of the festival heard the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra play live, he realized that we have a world-class orchestra. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has a distinguished international touring history, but it has been over a decade since the orchestra had toured abroad. I can’t wait for Edinburgh Festival audiences to experience what we’re able to enjoy each week in Maryland.

Abhijit: I joined the BSO in February 2018, and these performances were already planned. One of the programs is an homage to the great American conductor, pianist, composer and educator Leonard Bernstein, who was Marin Alsop’s teacher and mentor. Marin is a paragon of all that Bernstein represented, and she has been presenting concerts throughout the world in celebrating the Bernstein centenary.

Marin: I’m very excited to bring the BSO to Scotland for their Edinburgh International Festival debut. It’s especially meaningful to me that we will be performing the music of my mentor, Leonard Bernstein, on what would have been his 100th birthday, August 25. We’ll also be joined by the fantastic violinist Nicola Benedetti for Bernstein’s Serenade, which is one of the highlights of our tour repertoire. After Edinburgh, we go on to London for our BBC Proms debut and finally the National Concert Hall in Dublin, where we open their International Concert Series 2018-19 season.

Have you visited Scotland before? If so, when and which cities?
Tonya: My maiden name is McBride, and research into our family ancestry indicates that I’m descended from the Clan Donald from the Isle of Skye. As part of this research, my family visited Scotland and stayed in Edinburgh and the Isle of Skye. I’ve been back a couple of times, including a trip to Dunoon for the Highland Games, and absolutely love your beautiful country.

Abhijit: This will be my first visit to Scotland. I love Islay whiskeys, but sadly, I won’t have time to make a trip up there.

Rebecca: I’ve been to Scotland twice – both times to Edinburgh. (One of the visits was a whirlwind trip to prepare for this tour).


What pieces will the BSO perform at EIF?

Tonya: We are performing two concerts at the Edinburgh International Festival this year, one on August 24 and then a second on August 25, with BSO Music Director Marin Alsop leading both performances. The first concert includes Stravinsky’s Suite from The Firebird, Schumann’s Symphony No. 2 and Gershwin’s Concert in F with Jean-Yves Thibaudet. The second concert, which falls on the 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth, is a tribute to Bernstein. We perform selections from Birthday Bouquet, a set of variations written by eight different composers in honor of Bernstein’s 70th birthday. The program also includes Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, Three Dance Episodes from On the Town and Serenade, with violinist Nicola Benedetti.


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Usher Hall
Fri, Aug 24, 2018, 7:30 pm Marin Alsop, conductor
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano STRAVINSKY //Suite from The Firebird
GERSHWIN // Concerto in F
SCHUMANN // Symphony No. 2 in C Major

BUY TICKETS HERE

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Usher Hall
Sat, Aug 25, 2018, 7:45 pm Marin Alsop, conductor
Nicola Benedetti, violin JOHN WILLIAMS, LUCIANO BERIO, JOHN CORIGLIANO // Birthday Bouquet
BERNSTEIN // Serenade
BERNSTEIN // Symphonic Dances from West Side Story
BERNSTEIN // Three Dance Episodes from On the Town

BUY TICKETS HERE

www.bsomusic.org

An Interview with Monica Salvi

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Three years ago Monica Salvi stunned the Fringe with her Mad Women in My Attic… & we at the Mumble are delighted to discover she’s coming back to Edinburgh with a new version of her magical show…


Hello Monica, so where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
Monica: I’m originally from Milan, Italy, but I’ve been a London resident for the past 12 years.

When did you first develop a love of music?
Monica: Strange as it may sound, I was a hardcore heavy metal fan up until I was 16… Then just like that, I switched to a deep love for musical theatre! But until I was 18 years old, I had never considered the possibility of being a performer. I was shy, had never sung a single note in my life, and the only school play I’d done, I hated it so much, that I faked fainting just to be sent home before the start of the performance. Then, my personality, taste, and ultimately life, completely changed thanks to two musicals.  The Rocky Horror Show, which helped me connect to that inner part of me that actually wanted to be on a stage and wanted to be looked at and heard and acknowledged. And the Phantom of the Opera, which helped me to find my voice. At 19, only by singing along the CD, in my room, over and over again, I discovered that I could actually sing… and that I was a soprano!

Where did you train as an actress?
Monica: After the discoveries in the previous answer, I trained for three years in Italy at the Bernstein School of Musical Theatre, in Bologna, which had a great international flavour and style, as its founder is Canadian, and some teachers were American, British… Then, after the diploma, and to pursue my dream of doing musical theatre in London, I got a place on the Royal Academy of Music Postgraduate Musical Theatre Course (I know, it’s a mouthful!). I loved every second of it!

What does Monica Salvi like to do when she’s not performing?
Monica: I love to travel the world, and I’m able to do that a lot and afford it, thanks to the home exchange system. I go to people’s homes while they come to mine. This way, I’ve been in some gorgeous houses for free, in the Canaries, in New York, Canada, all around Europe.. I am also a gong practitioner and sound therapist. I have very big gongs and other therapeutic and shamanic instruments, and I play them while my clients lie on a mat. The powerful sound of the gongs reach deep into people’s souls like no other instrument, and the vibrations are deeply healing on a mental, physical and emotional level. The frequencies of these instruments, and the soundscape of harmonics they create, wash over the subconscious of the client and create a multi-sensorial experience, that can be described as a massage of sound, and it puts the brain into a semi-trance meditative state. It’s a one of a kind experience with many beneficial effects which leaves people pretty in awe, afterwards.

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This year you are bringing MAD WOMEN IN MY ATTIC! back to the Fringe, can you tell us about it?
Monica: I took the show to the festival three years ago, when it had some great feedback from both critics and audiences. But, being a perfectionist, I am always trying to improve the show, the script, my performance… Over the past three years, I think it has changed a lot, because I have changed a lot, and also because I occasionally discover new great songs to add to it. I love the Fringe, and I’ve been coming every year for the past 5 years, either as a performer or as a visitor. I thought my updated version of Mad Women in my Attic! deserved a chance to be seen again, and here I am!

Having acclaimed performances in London and the United Solo Festival in New York, having your official off-Broadway debut, winning Best Cabaret Award at the festival with Mad Women In My Attic. Has this level of success emboldened the forthcoming Fringe Performances?
Monica: If I have to be honest, no, it’s unrelated. I’ve always wanted to take the new version of the show back to Ed Fringe, but this is the first year I could afford it! If it was not so expensive I would do this festival every year. It also takes quite a lot of time and energy, which is something not many people are aware of. I’m a self produced performer, and I do everything by myself. Of course I act and sing in the show, but that is a holiday compared to everything else that goes into producing a run at the festival (especially if you are after a certain standard of quality). Since I don’t have an unlimited budget, I do my own PR, I am my own promoter, I take care of marketing and social media, I design all my posters and flyers, research and sometimes make or commission the props and costumes, look for the accommodation for everyone on my team (pianist and stage manager), deal with the venues and the fringe office, and once I’m in Edinburgh I perform not just my own show, but also various slots in other people’s compilation shows. All this requires a huge amount of energy and dedication, which takes up 3/4 of the year (if you are serious about the fringe, you usually start pre-production in January). I do not have the energy and money to do it every year, just every few years! So, catch it while you can!

The subject matter of your work, couldn’t be any more challenging and unique. How much of your work as a sound therapist has informed the writing of the script?
Monica: None, as I wrote my script a few years before I trained as a sound therapist (or even knew what that was).  It’s my acting career which inspired the theme and script of Mad Women in my Attic!.  You know how some people are typecast as the heroine, the mother, the ingenue, the villain.. Well, I was always typecast as a mad woman, or a quirky eccentric character. By studying and preparing for these characters, I started to find common points between me and them, and I figured out that the typical mad character in a story, is just a heightened version of psychological issues that we all have deep within. I started to collect songs about mad women, or with any relation to psychology and psychotherapy, not just from the musical theatre repertoire. Some of these songs are hilarious, like “I need a Stalker”, “The Ballad of Group Therapy”, others are pretty intense and dark, like “Sirens”, “Mam’selle Syphilis”. I also have some well known musical theatre mad women, but I won’t give any spoilers!

When we first saw you perform this show, it was in the Gothic Splendour of St. John’s Episcopal Church on Princes Street, which in my opinion was the perfect venue. This year you have chosen a 15th Century Free Masons Chapel in Riddles court on The Royal Mile. Again a place of mystery and worship. Is this coincidental or is it part of the plan?
Monica: You mean my plan to conquer the world? Mwahahahahaha (evil laughter).
I think it is a coincidence, though it’s never just that is it? I have always been hugely attracted to old ancient buildings, and gothic architecture. The whole of Edinburgh is a treasure trove to me. The choice of the gorgeous St. John’s church, three years ago, happened because I was looking for a venue with a grand piano, and with lots of “nooks” where I could hide during the show, for the costume changes (i.e. the pulpit!). The church was a fantastic space to play in, but it was a bit too light and spacious, and in the end this is a sultry cabaret with a dark theme, despite the comedy moments. So this year I decided to look for a typical black box type of theatre, but I also wanted it to be really central, and in a venue with a nice atmosphere. I had stumbled upon the beautiful Riddle’s Court three years ago, and it immediately intrigued me as it seemed I had entered another dimension.. Outside on the Royal Mile, the madness of the fringe, a few steps inside, peace, silence and no people. I took pictures of it and left. Then, a few months ago, I read that Riddle’s Court would be used as a new venue this year, and that they would build three different theatre spaces in it. I applied, and got the largest space, a 100 seater black box theatre, PQA One.

Are there plans for an album release of your recorded work, featuring songs from the show? (If so we would love a copy)
Monica: No, though I would consider it, if someone offered to produce it, market and distribute it. Having said that, this show is so visual, so “in the moment”, that I feel it would lose a bit of charm as a recorded album.

Are there plans to offer Gong therapy sessions after each performance?
Monica: You know, I had thought about that, but the problem is that the gong set is very heavy and it would be a huge expense to transport it to Edinburgh, also I wouldn’t be able to really carry them around by myself. I already have a heavy suitcase of props and costumes, and honestly I don’t even have space for normal clothes! But of course, who needs those, at the Fringe!

What does the rest of 2018 have in store for Monica Salvi?
Monica: Lots of travelling! Can’t wait to get back to my roamings and adventures, after all the production admin I’ve done in the past few months. And hopefully a few industry people who I invited to see the show, will pick it up and I will be able to do it again!


Mad Women in My Attic!

PQA Venues @ Riddle’s Court

Aug 3-5, 7-12, 14-19, 21-27 (19.10)

MonicaSalvi_A5Front

www.monicasalvi.com