As a musician, I really enjoy weddings. I love the pressure and the keen sense of responsibility – this is the most important day in someone’s life, after all. Most of all, I enjoy adapting to new styles and the needs of each particular occasion. This drives innovation and forces me to engage all the tools of my trade: composition, arrangement, programming and technique. In this article I’ve put together four samples of myself playing in four distinct genres. In each one I’ve collaborated with other musicians who are specialists in that genre. I hope you enjoy listening as much as I’ve enjoyed putting them together.
Sample #1: Fusion
The fusion genre makes so much sense in a place like Durban. Often, people want a wedding that represents the multi-faceted identity of a diverse city. This sample comes from an improvisation with a Durban-based tabla virtuoso. I brought my own Greek flavor to it by using the tune from an old Greek folk tune and fusing it with one of my favorite Bollywood Themes, Teri Meri. What I really like about the tabla is its flexibility. The deep pulse combines with the more ephemeral, decorative rhythms on the top. This makes it so easy to improvise with the violin. You can also change direction, key and theme without actually stopping, in a way that doesn’t attract attention. The listener simply finds herself immersed in a new theme, with a new pulse.
Sample #2: Contemporary Wedding Music
This is a song most people will instantly recognize. I got together with one of Durban’s most well known guitarists and played through a mix of contemporary hits. Music like this gives so much space for interpretation, and the vocalist (or violinist) can take cues from the guitarist’s chords and playing style. The mood is content, lazy, a Saturday afternoon at the beach. Other artists we cover often include Ed Sheeran, Christina Perri and John Legend.
Sample #3: Movies
Film scores are always a pleasure to play. They’re also very popular requests for weddings, because of their expressiveness and the wide recognition they enjoy. One of my favorite soundtracks is Howard Shore’s score for The Lord of the Rings. In this sample, I arranged one of the most famous themes from this score for string quartet: 2 violins, viola and cello. Like a wedding, this excerpt opens with solemnity and ends with mischief and adventure. This entire score is perfect wedding music for strings.
Sample #4: Country and Western
This sample comes from a collaboration with a country band. This is just a few brief moments from a sell-out show featuring covers of Johnny Cash, Fleetwood Mac and Lady Gaga. Country songs make for ideal wedding music because of their rhythmic quality and their lyrics: at once expressive and earthy. This sample features a Carrie Underwood cover.