Pears takes audience on thrilling journey

Violinist Fiona Pears prepares for her concert, which kicked off the Southern Festival of the Arts last night.
Violinist Fiona Pears prepares for her concert, which kicked off the Southern Festival of the Arts last night.

Her passion for violin started with the stamp of her foot. It was that same vigour that exploded into Centrestage last night when Fiona Pears opened the Southland Festival of the Arts with Swing Driven Thing.

At 5 years old she stamped her feet and demanded her first violin; by the age of 12, she was performing concertos with local orchestras in Christchurch.

Now internationally acclaimed and living in Britain, Pears has dismantled the conventions of violin to create an eccentric modern mix of gypsy jazz, swing and classical.

Backed by two guitarists and her husband, pianist Ian Tilley, she takes audiences along a diarised journey of her life. Daylight thrusts audiences into an aching turmoil, and exposes the grief and agony of losing a family pet. Memories, a song inspired by the sounds of French gypsy, the type that play by the Liffe, reminds listeners of Bizet's Carmen.

Her majesty draws audiences into a world beyond reality. Each song takes them from their seats in Southland to a European country where gypsy law is king - Ireland, France, a tango in Barcelona.

The influences on her music are more Celtic and Spanish than Viennese or German.

This is a violin show you would never expect. It's anarchy to the classic enthusiast.

 

The Southland Times