Cirque Du Soleil ZAIA Band 2009

zaia-band

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).

3 comments

  • What a great looking bunch – and what fun to see and hear
    you all at work in the Bollywood clip!

  • It really is a great group of people to work with. I’m blessed. πŸ™‚

    The ZAIA music CD was released in May 2009. We recorded the Cirque Du Soleil music for ZAIA in Macau and Hong Kong in late 2008. Very fun project!

  • Hey there,

    I watched Cirque Du Soleil at The Venetian in Macau last month.

    http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/zaia/en/intro/intro.asp

    Here’s a trailer for you to get an idea of this magical musical, acrobatic show. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Y4gedmnj3U

    It was brilliant, top notch entertainment. I was totally amazed and mermerized by the show. So, I thought I should share this! The whole setup, props and acrobats were awesome of course. But I want to focus on the music here.

    Some points to mention:

    1. Live Band
    Musicians play live during the show. They’re behind glass windows on both sides of the stage (like on 2nd floor). It was hard for me to watch the show and see what the musicians are doing all at the same time. How tough it is to coordinate the timing and execution of each act!

    2. Fusion Music
    The music throughout the whole show is brilliant. I cannot emphasize more! I can’t describe it except fusion. There are tracks that sound celtic, arabian and indian. They are very well mixed and with very contemporary techno sounding beats and groovy bass. There is never a dull moment with the richness of sounds. Thats why I bought the soundtrack!! Totally enjoy it on its own.

    My goodness! The composer, Violaine Corradi, took 2 years to compose the soundtrack.
    http://www.conradaskland.com/blog/2009/10/violaine-corradi-on-the-music-of-zaia/

    Check out this blog post by Conrad Askland who does the arrangement for the soundtrack.
    http://www.conradaskland.com/blog/2009/03/zaia-music-soundtrack-cd/

    3. Fantastic Vocals
    Lead vocals: Chicago Rose and Maria Andersson (sorry, can’t find pic for Maria Andersson in the act)

    The vocalist were fantastic. When I first hear them, goosebumps were raised. Especially when they sing Blue Ales (Track 7. Sounds very celtic, reminds me a little bit of Titanic…after the ship went down and the camera captures all the people freezing to death). They are part of the act and they have to appear on stage, dancing and stuff.

    As to the language they sing in, I totally have no idea. The theme song: Noi, I thought it (the lyrics) looks Italian. Other tracks, even my European colleagues cannot tell. They said that it could be Russian.

    The chanting by the vocals for Undae (Track 12) is really mysterious and sounds Indian and Celtic at the same time.

    4. Multi-talented Musicians
    The musicians are from various countries and very very talented.

    Please check out this blog post for info and pic of the musicians.
    http://www.conradaskland.com/blog/2009/07/cirque-du-soleil-zaia-band-2009/

    Maria Karin Andersson – Singer – Sweden
    β€œChicago” Rose Marie Winnebrenner – Singer – United States
    Steven Victor Bach – Keyboards, Bandleader – United States
    Conrad Lewis Askland – Keyboards, EWI, Asst. Bandleader – United States
    Oliver Alexandre Vincent Milchberg – Guitars, Turkish banjo, plucked strings – France
    Rachael Cogan – Wind Instruments – Australia
    Jay Aaron Elfenbein – Viol and bass – United States
    Darrin Eugene Johnson – Drums – United States
    Eduard Harutyunyan – Percussion – Armenia

    5. Unusual Instruments Used
    Besides the arrangement which sounds unusual, the instruments used are very unusual indeed.
    – Roland V accordian: An electric accordian!! How cool is that!!!
    – Recorders: Including bass recorder, ganassi in C (soprano recorder), ganassi in g, etc
    – Rebab: a skih instrument
    – Irish whistle: thats what gives some of the music the celtic whistful sound
    – Viola da gamba: a 6 string cello-like instrument. This is used in my favourite track! Ellam Onru (Track 14). The musician was on stage playing with the vocalists singing. The musician was plucking and using a bow (most of the time) with this instrument. Very enchanting.
    – EWI 4000s: this is used in Gaudiumni (Track 15) playing something very Arabian with thumping electric bass. Very groovy!

    I enjoyed this show and the music very very much. I hope that you guys would have the chance to watch and listen to the music for yourself too.

    *Wow…while I’m doing this post, I had listened to the soundtrack straight through twice!

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