Stringfever plays at fevered pace

They’re a little bit classical; they’re a little bit rock ‘n roll. They’re also humorous, a little bit manic and whole lot entertaining.

Stringfever dazzled last Friday night in its Grand Cayman performance at First Baptist Church in the sixth event of the 2008 Cayman Arts Festival.

The Broadbent family quartet, which consists of brothers Giles, Ralph and Neal, plus cousin Graham, plays five and six string violins, a viola and cello, all of which are electric – as was their performance.

Classically trained musicians, the group showed its roots with a haunting performance of Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings. But even with the classics, Stringfever had fun. Its widely-known rendition of Ravel’s Boléro had all four of the Broadbent clan playing on a single cello.

Stringfever also played several compilation pieces, the first being the themes of 20 different movies, which they challenged the audience to identify. They also played a compilation of James Bond themes that would have made 007 proud.

Although primarily musicians, the group did try its hand at vocals with the Charlie Daniels Band 70’s classic The Devil Went Down to Georgia. The devil was no match for lead violinist Giles.

Humour was always an element of the Stringfever performance, particularly in the display of contorted facial expressions that seem to be a unique family trait.

Perhaps the only song that fell flat the whole evening was the rendition of The Beatle’s Yesterday. It seemed Stringfever was at its best in slower pieces when playing classical music.

The group’s standard finale, a compilation piece called the History of Music… in 5 Minutes, took the audience on a frantic musical tour that went from classical to rock.

With the audience screaming for more, Stringfever came out for a single encore, a wonderful rendition of a traditional Gypsy tune called The Lark, which left everyone leaving happy as one.

Stringfever also played in Cayman Brac last Thursday night, the first Cayman Arts Festival event to ever be held on that island.

Festival Artistic Director Jennifer Micallef said she had been told the event wouldn’t sell many tickets, however it ended up bringing in a full house. Ms Micallef said the Rotary Club of Cayman Brac even cancelled its meeting that day to attend the performance.

There was a slight glitch that almost cancelled the Cayman Brac concert. When the Cayman Airway flight carrying the musicians and their instruments landed in the Brac, it was realised the cello had been left on Grand Cayman, Ms Micallef said.

Facing cancellation of the show, the cello took a special flight to the Brac – on the air ambulance aircraft – to save the show.