Adelaide International Guitar Festival: Christopher Hale’s Sylvan Coda Project

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UnknownChristopher Hale’s Sylvan Coda Project promised flamenco infused jazz and a Sunday afternoon of cool, sultry sounds; happily, it did not disappoint.

The show opened with Aloysius Leeson playing beautiful Spanish solo guitar before introducing his Quartet to the stage.

The Aloysius Leeson Quartet comprising of percussion, guitar, violin and double bass played for an hour, entertaining the audience with original compositions and Leeson’s arrangements of existing songs.

With guest performances by an incredibly passionate and talented flamenco dancer (Kristy Manuel) and an equally skilled Spanish singer, Aloysius Leeson Quartet were both entertaining and expert with their instruments.

After a twenty minute interval, Sylvan Coda Project – an eight piece ensemble complete with a vocal section led by Gian Slater and a flamenco dancer (Johnny Tedesco) – took to the stage

The three female vocalists were perfectly matched and created haunting harmonies together which complemented the cool, jazz accompaniment by the band.

Singing into megaphones to match the sounds of the saxophonist created an illusion of a horn section and in one section of a song, the vocalists made half-whistle sounds, which were eerie, sultry and very original.

One of the vocalists (Jacq Gawler) supplied percussion along with a drummer, and a second percussionist (Tedesco) who also danced flamenco, in perhaps one of the most impressive displays of the Spanish dance ever to grace an Adelaide stage.

Each performer was skilled in his or her instrument, particularly acoustic guitarist Nathan Slater whose fingers danced across the strings and produced heavenly sounds.

Christopher Hale on six string bass proved why he has a reputation for being one of the most unique and respected musicians in Australia.

All of Hale’s musicians appeared to be genuinely enjoying themselves and each other’s performances and the ensemble worked perfectly together.

Lighting on the stage was minimal, which contributed to the cool, eeriness of some of the songs but made it difficult to see the musicians.

The afternoon was a perfect combination of great playing, wonderful culture and good fun, but perhaps the air conditioning could have been set at a more comfortable level as many audience members were shivering.

Reviewed By Libby Parker

Sun 20 July

Dunstan Playhouse

 

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