BangBang: The duo blurring the line between classical music and hip-hop

BangBang: The duo blurring the line between classical music and hip-hop

Electric string duo BangBang. Picture: Supplied

The duo takes pleasure in getting people dancing and introducing them to some elements of classical music.

Meet BangBang, the gorgeous electric string duo of Davina Gordon (DG) and Louise Parker (LP).

The musicians, who have frequented the corporate entertainment scene in various projects for over 10 years, open up about the difference between classical acoustic and the electric instrument, their most memorable gigs, and what brought them together.

At what age did you fall in love with music?

DG: I can’t be too sure but I think it started when I understood what vinyl was. My dad had quite a collection and would spend evenings playing them – especially Beethoven’s 5th on his huge Telefunken speakers.

LP: Music has always been a part of my life, from Buena Vista Social Club to Cesaria Evora, The Beatles and Laurika Rauch.

Where did the two of you meet?

DG: We were booked by a mutual friend to play at ProVerb’s album launch in 2015. I didn’t know how to apply makeup for stage performances and Louise didn’t hesitate in helping. We hit it off instantly.

LP: There was an immediate connection and we have the same taste in music, similar style and same work ethic. So the decision to start a project together came naturally.

How did your interest in the violin come about?

LP: My parents listened to Soweto String Quartet’s Zebra Crossing, which initially sparked my interest in the violin. But when I heard Eleanor Rigby by The Beatles, I was intrigued that a classical instrument could be used outside of a classical context.

DG: I was about seven or eight and spotted the violin at a school talent show, and couldn’t stop talking about it on the way home. So my mom encouraged me to pursue it.

Do either of you play any other instruments?

LP: I’m a multi-instrumentalist. I also play the viola, guitar, bass and keyboards. I’m also a vocalist and I’m very interested in production.

DG: Yes. If you consider the little bit of piano I know to accompany my kids whenever they play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star [laughs]. I do know a little bit of viola as well.

How is the violin you use different from the traditional violin?

LP: An acoustic violin, that is traditionally used in classical music, makes sound through the wooden body, whereas our electric instruments are plugged in to a sound system.

It has a different tone, but also opens up an array of interesting possibilities like adding effects to the sound. It is also very practical, and is much easier to travel with.

What’s the most memorable gig you’ve played at?

LP: There have been memorable gigs, but personally I would have to say headlining the main stage at the Oppikoppi Festival with one of my other projects.

Touring in Europe as part of another band and playing at incredible festivals was also an incredible experience. BangBang is still a relatively new project but I’m very excited about where it will take us.

DG: My most memorable gig was when I opened for Chance The Rapper at the Castle Lite Unlocks concert last year. I had to compose my own intro piece and there were lights, smoke machines and dancers. It was pretty epic.

Tell us about your musical arrangements and why you chose this genre?

LP: I think we’ve both been drawn to genres outside the classical field from the onset. Both of us still play some classical music from time to time, and I think it’s important to keep up one’s technique.

But it is way more fun being able to create a festive atmosphere, to get people dancing and to introduce people to some elements of classical music. We use some classical samples in our tracks, and create a kind of “remix” by introducing those samples with some chilled hip-hop-inspired beats.

Where can you be reached for bookings?

DG: For bookings, e-mail us at info@bangbangstrings.com. People can also follow us on Instagram to see what we’re up to – @bangbangstrings.

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