Akd Philharmonia gets hip hop remix
Fri, 18 May 2012 11:59a.m.
By Dan Satherley
In a classic scene from The Simpsons, rap legends Cypress Hill attempt to perform their song 'Insane in the Membrane' with the London Symphony Orchestra.
The joke was that hip hop and classical music don't mix – but nobody told the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.
At the end of this NZ Music Month, they're getting on stage at the Auckland Town Hall with some of the country's best MCs for a night of beats, bass – and bassoons.
Over the last five years the Philharmonia has been running a programme in Otara called 'Remix' for at-risk youth and up-and-coming young hip hop musicians.
"We threw the kids in a room with half-a-dozen classical musicians just to see what happened," says Philharmonia publicist Richard Betts.
With the help of hip hop heavyweights like David Dallas and Tyree, so far there have been four 'Remix' CDs and a few small gigs showcasing the artists' work.
"It's always been quite small, so to celebrate the fifth year of 'Remix' and for NZ Music Month we decided we'd do it properly," says Betts, "so we're playing – hopefully to a full hall – at the Auckland Town Hall.
"There will be 70 orchestral players on stage, there will be a whole bunch of hip hop musicians and a band."
The one-off concert will feature DJCXL, Frisko (of Deceptikonz fame), Tyree (Smashproof) and Ermehn (original member of OMC), as well as eight young up-and-coming MCs.
Classically-trained pianist – and hip hop musican – Anonymouz is overseeing the music side of the project.
"He's the guy who bridges both worlds," says Betts. "He's from Mangere, and is a hip hop musician but is classically trained."
The music is all written by the musicians and MCs collaboratively – don't expect any Puff Daddy-style wholesale cribbing.
"It's a lot more – I hate to say the word 'organic' – but it is a lot more organic and a lot more collaborative than that," says Betts.
"The lyrics are all written by the participants, and they work with the musicians just like a band would, really."
The music has been arranged for full orchestra by Victoria University's Kenneth Young, who has been involved in the 'Remix' project in the past.
But there's a world of difference between classical music and hip hop, and not just in the musical sense – did the orchestra have any concerns about the MCs they were collaborating with?
"It's no secret that Ermehn is from the streets," says Betts. "He has been heavily involved in – or was in the past – involved in some quite unsavoury stuff. But you know, he's been a success story, really, because he's now a reputable businessman who's doing very well.
"The fact that he is from the streets and stuff, that's his truth, that is his story – there's no hiding that – but it's a success story at the same time."
The lyrical content also could pose a problem for audiences not used to the frank, uncompromising language of rap.
"We have asked people, 'Please don't swear,' but we don't know – it could happen," laughs Betts.
"We're not 100 percent sure of the sort of audience that's going to come. Hopefully it's a really wide range of people who are really interested because they know what we do and they trust us, and they know that if we're involved there's going to be a level of professionalism.
"But hopefully it'll be the sorts of people that would normally turn up to a Deceptikonz gig who are just really interested to see what happens when you put hip hop musicians on stage with a 70-piece orchestra."
Tickets to 'Remix the Orchestra' are $20 for general admission, $30 for the upper circle. It's on May 31 at the Auckland Town Hall. Check out a preview below.
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18/05/2012 12:20:59 p.m.
Mike Ward wrote:
wow that song is AWESOME
i really enjoyed that
18/05/2012 12:20:58 p.m.
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