It’s a brave man who throws off the shackles of his classical traditions and embraces a bit of Dolly Parton. But Stephen Deazley is just the man for the job. Inspired by a suitably colourful youth basking in the joys of late 70s, early 80s Belfast punk, classically trained Deazley has carved out a vibrant repertoire working outwith the traditional fetters of 21st century compositions. Case in point his Music at the Brewhouse project, which this month boasts the free-flowing club event, Cabaret Baby.
Bringing together nine classical, jazz, rock and electronic musicians, to perform new arrangements of iconic pop hits, Deazley is keen to bring ‘a rich and fun’ element to his latest project. ‘I sit very comfortably in different musical arenas,’ says the composer who is currently overseeing the re-working of classics from Dolly Parton, Bj(rk, A-ha, King Crimson and Aaron Copland for his whistlestop tour in Edinburgh this month. ‘It’s a very versatile project. There’s a boldness there and a lot of risk-taking going on. If a classical band could be a punk band, then Cabaret Baby would be it.’
Perhaps best known for his work with Scottish Opera and his critically acclaimed Tramway piece Helter Skelter, Deazley has enjoyed working on the collaborative project. ‘It was funny seeing what pieces the different musicians chose to rework and de-construct, whether it was ‘Take on Me’ or ‘9 to 5’. You could really see people’s personalities coming out. Really, this is about being deadly passionate about music but letting our hair down.’
Queen’s Hall Edinburgh, Wed 15 Apr; then touring