If you haven’t heard about Bang Bang Strings, where have you been? This dynamic duo give classical music a fresh new meaning as they use the violin to play Hip-Hop, Jazz, Disco and much more.
Davina Gordon and Louise Parker have performed at the SATMA awards, the Nedbank Million Dollar Golf Challenge, Castle Light unlocks Chance the rapper and on many more stages. We took a few minutes to get to know these two and to find out what the story behind the music is.
How did you two meet?
DG: We were booked by a mutual friend to play at ProVerb’s album launch back in 2015. I didn’t know how to apply make up for stage performances and Louise didn’t hesitate in helping me with the liquid eye liner! We hit it off instantly.
LP: There was an immediate connection, and we have a lot of things in common (same taste in music, similar style, same work ethic). The decision to start a project together came very naturally.
What’s the most difficult part of having this offering and performing with a classical Instrument?
LP: I guess the hardest part of starting any new project is building new relationships to a point where people trust you enough to know that you will deliver a quality product or performance.
DG: Basically what LP said. It’s gaining that trust from the audience, going above and beyond delivery and exceeding peoples expectations. Like any other “start-up” business.
Describe the sound you create ?
We do remixes of popular songs. Think old school classics, from Nina Simone to Janet Jackson, sampled and reworked with some chilled hip hop beats. We also love the punchy string arrangements of the disco era.
Are there still a bit of classical preconceptions attached to what you do, and how does that affect what you do?
LP: The fact that we’re an electric string duo changes peoples’ expectations of what we’ll do. We also use those preconceptions to our advantage. We have some showstopper tunes where we’ll start off with a classical piece and then just take it in a completely different direction – it’s a lot of fun to see peoples’ reaction to that!
DG: We love the element of surprise, where people go, “Oh my goodness, they really just did that AND it worked so well!” The fact that we play electric violins already allow for those pre conceptions to disappear as the instruments itself looks very different to that of the classical acoustic one. We’ve learnt that corporates today want something lighter in terms of music and people really enjoy the familiarity of covers and the like.
Do you each have preferences in terms of which keys or parts you prefer to play?
LP: We like to keep things interesting and challenge ourselves!
DG: We’re very fair with regards to who does what. For instance, I’ll take on the melody for one track.L P will take on the melody for the next, so we like to bounce challenges off each other and take turns.
They say a piano loves and enjoys “heartache and longing”, what is it that your instruments love and thrive on?
LP: Electric violins are such versatile instruments! You can easily do emotional, sentimental thing, but I love the punchiness and energy that the violin can offer – it can put you in such a good mood.
DG: hmmm, I like to change the common misconception that the violin sound is only suited for really melancholic moments. I think it works equally well for up beat music too!
What’s the secret that only your instrument shares with you?
LP: I guess it won’t stay a secret if I share 😉
DG: Well my acoustic violin has a name, but it’s my secret!