Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cirque du Soleil, La Nouba - the music

Imagine going to a Cirque du Soleil show with earplugs blocking your the sound. You would only be experiencing half of the show. Here is a highlight of how the music brings the show to life. It's hard to believe that only six musicians and two vocalists can create the incredible soundtrack. If you're coming to Orlando, make La Nouba a priority on your list of 'don't miss' entertainment.

Clowns entertain as people take their seats. The lights go down. Spotlights illuminate the aisle dividing the lower section from the upper seating and a parade of characters steps out from the right. Brightly attired acrobats form a parade followed by a trumpeter as a tease of the upcoming show.

Stage lights come up suddenly and performers start moving. All eyes are focused on the brilliance and activity. The music is perfectly synchronized to enhance every motion. The two components are inseparable yet the musicians are virtually invisible. Elaborately costumed vocalists seem like part of the backdrop to the fantasy world of La Nouba. Dancing melodies create the auditory adventure appropriate to the swelling excitement on stage.

Overlooking the stage Glazer prompts the musicians through headsets and earpieces to ensure that the music compensates providing seamless accompaniment ending each act with a simultaneous stroke of the drum and beginning the next scene perfectly as he whispers “Un, deux, trios, quatre” to the musicians on platforms five stories high in towers on each side of the stage. Former opera singer Ralph Daniel Rawe and the soulful, European-sounding vocalist Sisaundra Lewis-Reid wear tiny earpieces to hear Glazer’s cues allowing their voices to blend with the instruments to create the live soundtrack.

Six musicians juggle instruments in the towers giving the impression of a large troupe of artists hiding behind the scenes. The horn section consists of Glazer on trumpet and Alain Bradette alternating between soprano, tenor and alto saxophones. Dany Lamoureaux switches between electric and acoustic guitars and adds a mandolin to the mix. The violin is bowed passionately by Benoit Lajeunesse. Eric Bergeron moves quickly between his bass, upright bass and cello. Throw in two organs, played by Glazer and Bradette and you hear the hint of an accordion. Drummer Georges “Joe” Bertrand keeps the rhythm. Instrumental solos provide emphasis during different acts. Imagine the shifting of instruments in virtual darkness.

“Music is a team activity; like a sport,” Glazer said. “If the team doesn’t work well together and one athlete isn’t willing to pass the ball to make the play, it is not a winning combination.”

No comments: