Conrad Askland, from Mount Vernon, WA USA, is currently living in Macau (SAR) China while working with the Cirque Du Soleil ZAIA show at the Venetian Macao. In Asia he has also performed in Shanghai, South Korea and Japan.
October 1, 2009 – 中国加油，中国万岁
Happy Sixty Year Anniversary to the People’s Republic of China!
It’s a four day holiday for the locals here in China. When locals have holidays it usually means that I work more; doing entertainment shows to accommodate the tourists.
China’s last 60 years has been bittersweet with a unified people exposed to both hard living and the largest economic boom in modern history. At the end of my blog post there’s a link to a great CNN article by Jaime FlorCruz that gives an overview of China’s 60 years as The People’s Republic of China.
Indian movie stars at the “green carpet” outside the ZAIA Cirque Du Soleil Theater in Macau, China at the Sands Venetian June 11, 2009. The Bachchan family, as well as other dazzling stars, are greeted on the green carpet for the 10th Annual IIFA awards in Macau.
In this “part one” video you will also see some photo shots of Cirque Du Soleil “ZAIA” artists.
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!
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.
Clips from Valentine’s Day 2009 at the Sands Venetian, Macau (SAR) China. This is some of the cast and myself handing out balloons to customers at the Venetian before the show. It was very hard work handing out balloons to the pretty ladies. 🙂
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!
“11,000 To Lose Casino Jobs in Macau” – front page featured news at CNN.com today. They are referring specifically to the Sands Venetian.
Well now, not the best news for us working at the Venetian in Macau – but insiders have known it was coming. The dream to make Macau the Vegas of Asia does not come without an element of risk. Granted, Macau IS currently the largest gambling destination in the world, having already surpassed Las Vegas. But a 12 billion or so development project (just to START) by the Sands is monstrous.