WHEN IN ROME (AND SINGAPORE...AND SICILY)
Over the past few weeks playing the violin has allowed me to do a fair bit of travelling, and if you follow me on Instagram you may have seen me posting obnoxious stories of these exotic trips. If you enjoyed THAT, here’s a whole blog dedicated to that time abroad (and other such UK-based shenanigans *ahem* I mean, WORK).
The biggest highlight for me was the time away in Singapore last month with some of my favourite people from Entourage. With a 5-piece band made up of DJ, sax, trumpet, percussion and me on electric violin, we were booked to perform for a corporate event for Amdocs at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. We played a chilled set outside by the pool and then a short upbeat set at the end of the night indoors to bring the night to a close. It’s always an absolute pleasure to play with this talented bunch and I love bouncing off each of the different instrumentalists as everyone brings something truly unique.
Once all that hard work was done, we got a couple of days to explore some of the city. We checked out the famous Cloud Forest and Flower Dome by Marina Bay Sands. This was a real highlight, I would HIGHLY recommend to visit this to see how the city and some stunning nature can co-exist harmoniously in a beautiful, sustainable way. Here are some pictures of us being the ultimate tourists and getting really into biomes:
The rest of our time was spent eating and going from rooftop bar to rooftop bar, which has now given me an unrealistic expectation of of any future watering holes. A rooftop bar is now the only kind of bar I will frequent. Darling. We also visited an incredible prohibition-themed bar hidden away behind a secret door, and had a great time here at The Other Room. SUCH a cool bar playing Michael Jackson and serving very fun cocktails and individual 'finished' spirits. If you're ever in Singapore, this place is worth a visit!
André and Deji were so taken with all the night-time cityscape views, they had a bit of a moment when we did the OCBC Skyway:
On returning from Singapore, I had a weekend of performing at Indian weddings, first at the Natural History Museum, London, and then in Rome with André Saxman Brown. This was one of my favourite venues that I’ve ever performed in; a glorious ancient Italian castle with beautiful gardens called Castello Di Tor Crescenza. There was also a cracking buffet.
I mean, there were suits of armour in our green room! Obviously some selfies ensued:
The Italian fun continued this weekend as André and I were booked to play sax and violin with DJ at a wedding in Sicily. We got to stay over at the beautiful wedding venue, Commenda Di San Calogero. I played here back in September for another wedding, and Carla, whose family own the venue, saw me playing and decided to book André and I for her own wedding. It was lovely to be back there and the Sicilian weather was absolutely sublime! We were even treated to homemade pizza the night before, and PISTACHIO ICE CREAM. Yes. This photo does not do it justice:
I performed solo acoustic violin for the church ceremony and electric violin with André for the drinks reception and party. It is quite an experience trying to guess the cues for music in a Catholic wedding service all in Italian! With the help of some very basic GCSE Latin and my good friend Gloria (a lovely American translator we met who lives in Naples) all went smoothly! Like most places in Italy, the church was pretty special:
After this, I headed back to the venue and André and I performed for the canapé reception in a wheat field! We were then treated to a wedding breakfast with all the guests under a twinkly canopy of lights in the courtyard with the other 400 guests (casual!) and then headed to do our thing for the party in another outdoor dance floor area, which was decorated with incredible hanging lanterns:
This location was made even more spectacular by the presence of an actual desert TABLE. Yes, a table full of desserts. More pistachio ice cream was consumed.
Although football is sadly not coming home this year (too soon?!), I’ve enjoyed performing electric violin at other sporting events, such as Henley Royal Regatta with Entourage. I do have to admit however that we didn’t see much rowing... I also enjoyed performing a short solo electric violin show for the Presidents Sporting Club ‘Celebrity Golf Classic’ Charity dinner, with Frank Bruno in the crowd:
I’ve also had the pleasure of playing at private events at some of London’s most iconic venues this month, such as the French Ambassador’s Residence performing for Don Perignon with Silken Strings, as well as Claridge’s and Tower Bridge with Entourage. Guess who even turned up as guests!:
No, not really. But they did make me do a double-take when they strolled into our green room followed by the Queen.
Wedding-wise, it’s been a real joy this month to discover and perform at some British venues I have never played at before (especially in this marvellous English sunshine), such as the bandstand at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, on the terrace at Orchardleigh House, and at the Chester Grosvenor Hotel.
You may have also possibly spotted me making a cheeky TV appearance last month when I performed as one of the backing violinists for Gruffydd on the Britain’s Got Talent live final. Here we all are backstage looking like proper concert violinists/sparrows/clergy (you choose):
Anyway, that’s a wrap for now, folks! Wedding season is truly kicking in now so I’ll update you next time on all the ‘I Do’s’, wedding cakes, and probably more cakes. Until next time 👋 x