Vanessa Mae to perform

Bangkok Post - Monday, April 04, 2005

Famed violinist to help close the 'Bridges' series of talks


What better way to express peace than with music? Following last year's eloquent finale to the ''Bridges _ Dialogues Towards a Culture of Peace'' by Jessye Norman, this time virtuoso violinist Vanessa-Mae will help wrap up the peace talks with music from around the world.

The concert, being staged by the Bangkok Opera Foundation and the International Peace Foundation to raise funds for people affected by the tsunami, will take place in the Main Hall of the Thailand Cultural Centre tomorrow.

British and living in London, she was born in 1978 in Singapore to a Thai father and a Chinese mother. Vanessa-Mae gave her first performance at the age of nine and by the time she was 10, she was playing with the London Philharmonia Orchestra.

The young violinist released her first classic-pop fusion album, The Violin Player, when she was 16.

Vanessa-Mae will perform music from her latest album, Choreography, at the benefit concert in Bangkok. The music draws on the rhythms and beat of dance culture from around the world including the Argentinian tango, the Spanish bolero, African tribal dances and Indian music.

She took the time from her world tour to talk about changes in her life, career as a musician and her dream.

Regarding your status as one of the first to merge techno and classical music together, do you feel at times that you hold a responsibility towards newcomers in this field by showing them a successful route in the media?

I am happy to have inspired a new wave of entertainers but I believe that every project and every artist should strive towards originality so there can be no guaranteed formulas in music.

In light of your separation from your mother and her influence as a manager, do you feel that you made the right decision in going off on your own after all these years?

Without change, life and music are so stale.

Your album 'Subject to Change' revealed you sing with panache _ do you plan to continue singing on future albums? What other changes do you plan to bring to your career?

I am always seeking something new and challenging but even though singing was fun, I was never very comfortable with it.

With your debut with Sony Classical on your album, 'Choreography', where do you foresee this partnership taking you in the future?

A record label is made up of so many individuals but I would say that the key to a good relationship is enthusiasm, trust, freedom and a sense of responsibility.

Throughout your vast career as a musician, what dreams (if any) do you still have that remain unfulfilled? And what do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

My dreams change constantly so I am unable to predict the next five years now. I consider my first album to have been a huge stepping stone in confidence for me.

Your music as been called ''techno-acoustic-fusion'' by the media _ do you view it the same light, or do you wish to see your music as something else entirely?

I see my music as wide open to every description.

With relation to your nationality, what does it feel like to return to Thailand and perform for The International Peace Foundation in the shadow of the tsunami?

At the time, the world was in shock but even though the human spirit is strong, it is important not to forget the continued suffering of the victims' families.

Have you ever wanted to play another instrument, other than the violin?

I have wanted to play the guitar for some time.

You have collaborated with the producer Youth in the past. Are there other individuals in the industry with whom you wish to perform and/or collaborate with?

Choreography was the first album on which I collaborated with so many writers and producers, six in total, ranging from A. R. Rahmen of Bombay Dreams fame through to Vangelis, who wrote the soundtrack for the new film about Alexander the Great. It was a rich and rewarding change and I hope the next project will be as powerful.

What is your greatest fear and what is your idea of happiness?

My greatest fear is to start fearing death. Happiness is when I feel okay with life, just the way it is.

Tickets for the concert cost 4,000, 3,000, 2,000 and 500 baht and are available at Thai Ticketmaster booths. Call 02-262-3456 or visit