Romano Viazzani, accordionist and composer and Bethany Jameson, Anglo-French singer and lyricist launched two new shows in summer 2012. They have been a successful duo since 2009, writing and performing a range of material in concert and in music-theatre, including traditional French chansons, Argentinean Tangos and their own songs covering a range of topics. They have now created a quartet and two brand new shows, launched in 2012 and preparing for touring in 2013.
The quartet – Cabaret Vérité Quartet – has been created with like minded musicians, who are well established in their own fields and up for taking the plunge into cabaret! The new team members are Declan Daly, superb violinist who recorded for Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, is a regular with the BBC proms and has performed with Ravi Shankar and Goldfrapp among others and Ben Hazleton, accomplished double-bassist. Ben won Young Jazz musician of the year in 2003 and is now a regular at Ronnie Scott’s, has performed with Wynton Marsalis, Jacqui Dankworth and many more, and is internationally in demand.
The quartet launched in July 2012 with a new selection of French chansons and Tango pieces, beautifully arranged by Romano Viazzani to give them a special cabaret twist, while respecting the integrity of the original pieces. Viazzani and Jameson also wrote several new cabaret songs, including one in collaboration with Karen Street, on a range of topics both comic and tragic including politics, lost love, the beauty products scandal and looking after older parents. The show takes the audience on a full-on rollercoaster of emotions, in keeping with the passion, depth and romance of the French and Argentinean pieces.
The accordion specials included Gus Viseur’s Flambee Montalbanaise, Piazzolla’s Yo Soy Maria and Romano’s extraordinary solo introduction to Les Trois Cloches. This last was originally arranged for Piaf and a group of young male singers: Les Compagnons de la Chanson. Audiences, including native French audience members, judged Viazzani’s arrangement and Jameson’s deeply personal rendition of this timeless song to be extremely special.
The launch tour included five performances in London and the South West. Their tour included the performance of a selection of songs at a one of London’s top Cabaret venues the Battersea Barge, where they won the ‘Best Act’ of the evening. As a result of this win, the quartet will be playing on 4th November at The Pheasantry, one of Time Out’s Top 10 Cabaret venues, with the full suite of cabaret songs, and some additional instrumental pieces by Richard Galliano and Piazzolla.
Another highlight of the tour was the discovery of the Lyric Theatre in Bridport, Dorset, a converted church, war time picture house and now a perfect gem of a venue for an intimate musical cabaret. It is all Parisian shabby chic, nostalgia and romance, but also excellent acoustics so the musicians in the audience could appreciate the finer qualities of the arrangements and the superb performances.
The quartet has been invited back to the Lyric Theatre on 1st December – matinee and evening – with their second show ‘Soirée Parisienne’. For these performances the double bassist Ben will be replaced by include Yaron Stavi best know known for his work with Nigel Kennedy’s band and with Gilad Atzmon and the Orient House Ensemble, while Ben is on paternity leave!