Violaine Corradi on the Music of Zaia

violaine-corradi-zaia

This is an interview by Keith Johnson (Seattle, Wa – USA) of “Cirque Fascination” with the music composer of Cirque Du Soleil’s ZAIA show, Violaine Corradi. I hope Keith will not mind me posting the full article here on my blog for three reasons:

  1. I will include a link to his original ezine article here: Corradi Zaia Interview
  2. I am quoted in the article with comments mined from my blog. (Which I think is very cool).
  3. Many people come to my blog here for info on Zaia, and they may also be interested in following Keith’s ezine “Cirque Fascination”. (Follow the article link).

As assistant bandleader for Zaia and in writing the string arrangements for the Hong Kong Symphony on the Zaia album – I’ve had the pleasure of working very closely with composer Corradi. Because of Violaine and Cirque’s influence, terms that are now part of my regular music vocabulary include “organic”, “cosmic”, “evoke”, “provoke”.

Thank you Keith for the wonderfully detailed article. Even being in the middle of all of it, I learned quite a bit from the article! And now for the Cirque music buffs – read and enjoy….

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ZAIA takes Bollywood stars on a space journey

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKmB4IOYBAU

June 2009 – Stars of Bollywood and the movie “Slumdog Millionaire” see the ZAIA show by Cirque Du Soleil in Macau, China.

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Cirque Du Soleil ZAIA Band 2009

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The Cirque Du Soleil ZAIA band, June 2009 in Macau, China. A rare moment where all the musicians are together for a photo opp.

In this photo: Eduard Harutyunyan (percussion), Jay Elfenbein (viol, dare I say cello, strings, bass guitar), Darrin Johnson (drummer), Olivier Milchberg (guitar, Turkish banjo, plucked strings), Maria Andersson (singer), Steven Bach (keyboards – bandleader), Rose Winebrenner (vocalist), Racheal Cogan (recorder, EWI)and Conrad Askland (keyboards, assistant bandleader).

“Bollywood Awards” at Venetian Macau June 11-13 2009

Videocon IIFA Awards

The Videocon IIFA 2009 awards will be televised from the Venetian Macau June 11-13, 2009. This award for the Indian film industry is popularly called the “Bollywood Awards”. Artists from Cirque Du Soleil’s ZAIA show will perform during the ceremony. I am told these awards are televised to 300-500 million people worldwide.

Yes, this is a pretty big deal. I don’t know when the ceremonies are aired in the USA but I’ll add info to this post if I find out before the airing. We’ll have extra shows of Cirque Du Soleil’s ZAIA for attendees of the event – and you can bet that the artists are working VERY hard right now to prepare for this presentation, in addition to their regular show schedule.

And did you know Cirque Du Soleil’s 25th Anniversary is the middle of June 2009? Things are jumping at the Venetian Macau in June!

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ZAIA CD Soundtrack Released

ZAIA - Cirque Du Soleil

The official soundtrack for Cirque Du Soleil’s ZAIA show (Venetian Macau, China) was released on May 26, 2009. You can currently purchase on Amazon.com: ZAIA CD Amazon.com – or go to Amazon.com and search for “ZAIA”. A cut from the CD should also be on the Cirque Du Soleil 25th Anniversary CD which will also be available on Amazon.com late June 2009.

If you follow the Amazon link you can also listen to Mp3 excerpts from the album. I’ve heard rumors there will be a “Making of ZAIA” documentary released that will include many of the musicians and artists involved in creating the CD soundtrack. 

To my knowledge, this is the first Cirque Du Soleil original soundtrack CD that has been recorded by the original show musicians. Most tracks recorded in Macau (SAR) China, string parts recorded in Hong Kong.

Music composed by Violaine Corradi. As a sidenote, I was asked by Violaine to arrange string parts for the CD which were recorded by members of the Hong Kong Philharmonic. That was a very fun project to work on. Hope you enjoy the soundtrack!

CNN Comes to Zaia – March 2009

CNN came to our ZAIA show on March 26, 2009 to interview Daniel Lamarre, President of Cirque Du Soleil. In this interview you will also footage of that night’s ZAIA show and backstage shots of artists warming up and preparing for the show.

Daniel Lamarre talks about strategies of the arts and entertainment during the global financial crisis.

Also in attendance on this show was the band that opened for Coldplay, which did a concert in Hong Kong on March 25, 2009.

ZAIA is Cirque Du Soleil’s resident show at the Sands Venetian in Macau (SAR) China.

Aomen TV Backstage with ZAIA in Macao

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUrHrWuuk0c

Aomen TV goes behind-the-scenes of ZAIA to give you a glimpse of what goes on backstage. The more you see this show the more you will enjoy the experience. The artists and crew do an excellent job of bringing the magic of theatre, dance, and acrobatics to life. This is a must-see experience in a fantastic purpose-built theatre. So, if you haven’t already been, go on a journey of your own. If you’ve been once, see it again!

Zaia Music Soundtrack CD

The soundtrack for the Cirque Du Soleil ZAIA show is completed and will be printed to CD soon and available to the public. I don’t know a specific release date, but somewhere around early Summer 2009.

My part in the project was to play keyboards and arrange string parts recorded by members of the Hong Kong Symphony. Most of the recording was done on location in Macau (SAR) China, and the string parts with the HK Philharmonic players was completed at a recording studio in Hong Kong.

Rumor mill on the street is that Guy LaLiberte (founder of Cirque Du Soleil) has heard the soundtrack and loved it. I’ve even been told he asked to hear a second time the next morning.

Members of the ZAIA band got to hear a preview of the finished soundtrack with composer Violaine Corradi at the end of February. I won’t give you any spoilers, except to say that I was very pleased with the project and enjoyed the creativity in the mixes.

Violaine Corradi (ZAIA composer) told me one of her goals of the finished soundtrack was to have it be like looking at a prism held in your hand, then rotating it to look at the prism from different perspectives. I definately got that feeling from the soundtrack.

To my knowledge, this is also the first Cirque Du Soleil soundtrack CD recorded by the actual performing musicians in the show. The other soundtracks are recorded with studio musicians in Montreal I’ve heard. (With the exception of some subsequent live releases from shows like Mystere).

So I hope you all enjoy our work on the ZAIA CD when it’s released. Of course I’ll post on my blog when I know the official release date.

Kung Hei Fat Choy 2009 from ZAIA

macau-new-year-2009

Kung Hei Fat Choy 2009 (Happy Chinese New Year) from the cast of ZAIA. 2009 is the Year of the Ox. Macau will be a crazy one week party starting the week of January 26 2009 for the week long Chinese New Year celebrations.

Around 1996 I was in Tokyo for New Years Eve celebrations with monks ringing gigantic bells with wooden rams. But this is my first CHINESE New Years in China. Techs of Cirque’s ZAIA show were here for the 2008 Fat Choy, but this is the first one for artists of Zaia. We’ve been told “Macau will shut down” during the holiday week.

We’ve all been given red envelopes with the ZAIA embossed logo to fill with money and give to locals for good luck; another traditiion of Chinese New Years. Our work week includes 11 shows for the celebrations, along with many special mini performances around the Venetian in Macau. Anyone know where I can buy some fireworks?

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Guy Laliberte 2008 Artist Christmas Presents

Guy Laliberte

For Christmas 2008 Guy Laliberte had a fantastic gift for the artists of the Cirque Du Soleil ZAIA show (and other CDS artists worldwide): a handbag made from the tarp of a retired Cirque big top tent. The handbags are made of the recycled material and fit into Cirque “eco-friendly” attitude, as well as featuring the wonderful bright yellow and blue of the traveling Cirque big tops. Just like the tarp you see behind Guy in the photo above.

Thank you and Merry Christmas 2008 to Guy!

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Cirque ZAIA Helps Macau Children

For Christmas 2008 the cast of Cirque Du Soleil’s ZAIA show, along with matching funds from Cirque, have raised over 45,000 MOP ($5,500 USD) to buy Christmas clothing packages for the babies and children of CRADLE OF HOPE and the FOUNTAIN OF HOPE groups in Macau (SAR) China.

ZAIA artists and staff helped wrap the gifts and even took the older children on shopping trips in Macau to pick out their own clothes. A couple days before Christmas the older children will get to see the ZAIA show live and meet Cirque artists in person. Merry Christmas Macau!

Manchester United visits Zaia in Macau

manchester-united-1108

Photo November 2008 at the ZAIA Theater – Venetian Macao.

Manchester United visited Cirque Du Soleil’s ZAIA Theater in Macau, China as part of their promotion for the new Manchester United Interactive Football Experience located at the Venetian Macao. Here is the photo of MU with the ZAIA cast (I’m on the far right in the top photo).

Update December 2008: Manchester United wins the World Cup!

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