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Living on the edge; Rhyl date for Blake.


LYING somewhere between popular and classical music, all male group Blake debuted their unique sound at a house party. Apparently, their rendition of Moon River wowed their fellow revellers. That sounds like some party. It was, and is, quite to the contrary explains the group's bass baritone Stephen Bowman. On the edge of a genre as traditionally uptight as classical and opera, his group is doing its best to avoid lazy stereotyping.

"In our first meeting as a group no one had brought any music. The only thing I had on me was an instrumental tape of Moon River. Unfortunately that's been part of our legacy ever since! I would have preferred it to have been something a little bit cooler - but no."

Their first meeting as a band was in fact the first meeting of them as people. Only two members knew each other before forming Blake on Facebook.

"Afterwards we all went for drinks," continues Stephen. "It was a bit of bonding and we were all slightly worse for wear. We ended up at a house party trying to remember the notes to Moon River.

"It was fun and we were very drunk but to get a reaction as positive as we did was brilliant. It was a very good initial push for the group."

As if to place the final nail in the coffin of classical's stuffy reputation he adds: "I suppose alcohol has very much been a part of it ever since."

They have come a long way since and are preparing to play Rhyl Pavilion on September 24 as part of a UK-wide tour.

That is not to say their output has been gratefully received by everyone. Their latest album And So It Goes was deemed 'not classically eligible' in the UK.

"It's fair to say the core of the classical community can't stand us," jokes Stephen. "And I say that with a massive smile on my face!

"The core of that group is very important - but if that was all there was, classical music would be lost to a lot of Stephen Bowman potential fans."

In combining both styles the group hope they can take it to a new audience. The fact that their album went to number 12 in the UK pop charts is testament to them experiencing success in doing so.

"Our concerts are very light hearted - quite unlike something more traditional. We, though, are happy to push boundaries where others might not be," says Stephen.

"The reality is this kind of music has to broaden its appeal. Much like Bill Bailey did with his introduction to the orchestra.

"We are equally influenced by acts such as the Beach Boys. They were phenomenal musicians."

He adds: "We try and educate in that way by explaining when we sing a standard song - what opera it is from and what it means."

That said, listeners to their electro rendition on Nessun Dorma may class it as an attack on the art form rather than a celebration of it.

TICKETS Blake are at Rhyl Pavilion on September 24.

Call 01745 330 000 for tickets and more information


Stephen Bowman 330 and more Blake's first meeting as a band was also the first time they clapped eyes on each other
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Sep 10, 2010
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