Entertainment Hive 2017

Cecilia Low screams forth the music of rock diva Betty Davis

By Honey B

Adelaide's Cecilia Low is bringing the burnin' rock to the Adelaide Cabaret Festival this year. Powered by the music of 70s rock fusion queen Betty Davis, They Say She's Different is a raw, sonic homage to this powerful performer. Betty was once married to Miles Davis and she introduced him to her good friend Jimi Hendrix and she was pivotal in shaping a new generation of music. Low says the show will be "gritty, edgy and fun'' as a changing force swept through the music of the time. Read what else she has to say about the Cabaret Festival and music below. What is it about the Adelaide Cabaret Festival that you love or what have you heard about it? "I love how it has grown exponentially each year. I thought it was a classy festival back in 2006 when I performed in Dosostias for Paralleo and Simon Palomares … but now – wow – it's amazing! "The perfect blend of local, national and international artists and acts. If you can get to see Cassandra Wilson at a festival you’ve won me!'' How would you define cabaret? "Cabaret is a place where one can truly express oneself creatively through performance.'' Tell us about your show. "They Say She’s Different is a sonic and visual feast for the senses. Screaming forth the music of 70’s funk rock diva Betty Davis and loosely based on her life. We take you back to those volatile and exciting times through the use of narrative, live music, cinematic sequences. "It will be edgy. It will be gritty. It will be loud and dirty. It will be fun and funky. This is the sound of music changing.'' Cabaret seems like such an intimate art form - what scares you about it and what do you love about it? "It's intimate, yes, but that’s the exciting part. You can really feel people are on your journey with you. You can sense they are affected and that’s powerful.'' What is the first production/performance you ever saw and what do you remember about it? "So mum tells me she took me to some pantomimes in the Adelaide Hills – but I confess I don’t remember those! "I do remember going to the Festival Centre to see the Australian Ballet at a very young age – maybe six years old – I think it was La Fille Mal Gardee. Dance, and back then ballet was my first passion and I trained in classical ballet throughout my early years into my teens. "I remember loving sitting in the auditorium and being in awe of how big it was. I remember when I noticed the lights starting to go down in the house I'd close my eyes until it was completely dark and then open them as the lights came up on the stage and the orchestra started playing. "It was like I’d stepped into a dream. I continued doing this little ritual every time I went to see a live performance. Yes … even now! "The main part of that Australian Ballet performance I remember was the clog dance! I thought it was super special when the danced on pointe in clogs! Ha!'' What is your dream role or the favourite song you love to sing and why? "A pretty amazing role is Roxie Hart from Chicago The Musical. I was first understudy in London on the West End at the Adelphi and was briefly billed as Roxie alongside David Hasslehoff as Billy Flynn. She is a great to play. She’s cheeky, sassy, innocent, fun. She gets to sing high up on a ladder and then again surrounded by hot lookin' boys! She gets to wear foxy outfits and dance in front of a gold curtain. I mean who wouldn’t want to play her!'' The Adelaide Cabaret Festival puts many wonderful performers together in the one space - who would you love to perform with or see at this year's festival and why? "I think Mr Capsis is truly one special person. He is the real deal. Little Bird looks divine.'' (Little Bird, Her Majesty's Theatre, June 6 to 22) "Caroline Ninn – anything Parisian for me!'' (Caroline Nin, Space Theatre, June 6 to 7) "The Boswell Project – local ladies singing up a storm with the swinging 30’s – now that’s hot!'' (The Boswell Project, Banquet Room, June 8 to 9) "Johanna Allen – because she is a vocal powerhouse!'' (Johanna Allen in The Songs That Got Away: The Music of Harold Arlen, Banquet Room, June 19 to 20) "The New Score – blending music genres by the Rah Project, Iota, and Ms Ceberano is something not to be missed!'' (The New Score, Festival Theatre, June 21) Who are your inspirations? "My musical inspirations are: Betty Davis for her raw creativity and sounds. And for the power she brings to women. Cassandra Wilson – for blues, jazz roots. She is the woman! MeShell N’degeocello – the funkiest woman (and bass player) on the planet. Youn Sun Nah – Korean vocalist, multi linguist – new jazz. Generally I’m inspired by life … there’s a lot in it! You don’t have to go far for inspiration. '' What song can't you get out of your head at the moment? "It’s a Betty song, as we are currently rehearsing! It's Steppin In Her I Miller Shoes. This is Betty’s eulogy to her friend Devon Wilson, head groupie of Jimi Hendrix and main lover. She mysteriously died six months after Jimi’s death in early 1972. The song is a powerful song about the dark side of rock 'n' roll. It’s one hell of a song!'' Cecilia Low in They Say She's Different, Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Space Theatre, June 19 to 20. Bookings BASS 131 246
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