When sexy isn't enough...
Humour is good for the soul, and this story left me chuckling this morning. It has to do with Escala, the all girl string quartet I posted about last Saturday. They were suppose to be releasing an album soon, but it's been postponed; they aren't ready yet. What's funny about this are some of the comments in the article.
A spokesperson said ""The girls did not want to rush the process and realised that it was going to be impossible to get it out at the standard they wanted in time for Christmas." Well, good for them in wanting the album to be good.
However, Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, the principal of the Royal Academy of Music in London, where two of the band members studied, said: "Often with bands like Escala, the marketing people are very good at creating an image, but then find they haven't got the material to take it further.
"You can't hurry the process with classical music. They are clearly well trained and attractive enough not to need to patronise their audience and be quite so obvious. Classical music does not need to dumbed down to a base level for people to get it. There are so many other attractive ways to present classical music than the Neanderthal approach of a generic thumping rock theme."
I do not laugh at this delay because I wish the girls of Escala ill. I don't think packaging classical music with a touch of sex appeal is a bad thing - and I don't think the music of Escala is (to date) "dumbed down". Although, if you watch any of their videos, they aren't playing the most challenging classical music and there is a fair amount of drums and effects over the top of what they're doing so that the music can be simplified to give it the punch a pop audience is used to. They are talented; they put on a good show and I very much respect that.
What I find funny about this whole situation is that marketing thought they could take four classical players and treat them very much the same way they've treated other performers in boys bands and girls groups. I think they expected the girls to just "sparkle" and accept that as enough. The girls of Escala obviously want the music to be more than that, and so they should. No, I don't think they're going to match the technical skills of Hilary Hahn or Nicola Benedetti - but the music will still be enjoyable. And, if they get their way, perhaps a step up from what we typically get from same sex groups marketed for their sex appeal.