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June 2, 2005

Aussie quartet greets audiences

The Korea Herald

If you want relax and be entertained at the same time, there aren't many options. But things may be pleasantly different if you get a ticket for a concert that will serve those two purposes. That's what The Idea of North, Australia's No. 1 contemporary a cappella group, is geared up to perform at Naru Arts Center in Gwangjin-gu, near Konkuk University at 8 p.m. today.

The quartet is made up of Trish Delaney-Brown (soprano), Naomi Crellin (alto), Nick Begbie (tenor) and Andrew Piper (bass), all of whom are jazz graduates of Canberra and Adelaide conservatories. Today's performance will feature some of the best pieces including the scores of "Evidence," their latest CD, which was released early this year in Korea, and other jazz numbers.

Although Korean fans are not familiar with the group (this is their first-ever visit to Seoul), their refined musical tastes have a solid following in Australia, Europe, America and Asia. Four weeks before the Seoul performance, the quartet toured the United States, including a performance at Lincoln Center in New York City, and their schedules are literally packed with overseas tour programs.

In an interview with The Korea Herald, Delaney-Brown said the group first started in 1993 when the four original members were just friends, playing together and fiddling with roller blades. "We were just singing together for fun, but in 1997, there was a chance to record our first album, and we held a concert to raise money for our CD. And actually, there was an audience for our music," she said.

The positive reaction led the members to think seriously about their future career and in 1998 decided to work as a full-time quartet. Crellin joined the team in January 2002 in a move that other members call an "injection of vigor," and the four performers have since been continuing a "wonderful journey of music and friendship." Although some sacrifices should be made on a personal level due to the tight overseas tour schedules, the members said what they are doing is certainly "the best job in the world."

Notable is that all the members contribute not only musically but also business-wise. According to Begbie, the group's official leader, their repertoire for concerts has been arranged democratically, with members' opinions accommodated. At the same time, each member also shares business-related tasks, including paperwork.

But sometimes a performance in a different culture poses challenges. For instance, when the quartet staged a show in Taiwan, the audience remained quite silent throughout the show, making the members scratch their heads. "They were very polite, and we really did not now whether they were into it. And only at the end of the show, it was like a pop concert, people calling for encore. It's not what we are used to," Crellin said.

Perhaps, Korean audiences might show a similar reaction, but the quartet is pinning hopes on their lively performances that will include some comedy on the stage. Begbie noted that their underlying vibe is jazz, which will be reflected at Naru Arts Center, but for audiences, they will play some situational comedy during the show. When asked which songs on today's list shouldn't be missed, all the members gave out a quick answer a la a cappella mode: "All of them."

Posted by acapnews at June 2, 2005 12:17 AM