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Culture mash - the Symphony Orchestra and the rappers in Urban Classic

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Phil Hall Phil Hall | 11:46 UK Time, Tuesday, 6 March 2012

 

Photo of Phil Hall with Fazer

Phil with Fazer

The BBC Symphony Orchestra has done plenty of unusual concerts in its 80-odd years: gigs in railway stations, shop windows, a muddy field in Korea, even teaming up with Monty Python, writes sub-principal viola Phil Hall. But nothing prepared us for the Urban Classic sensation last night.

The idea was simple - a whole concert with Brit Urban Grime rappers Skepta, Devlin, Fazer and Ms Dynamite together at the Barbican. Both groups were pretty much out of their respective comfort zones but the roaring (literally) success of Saturday's concert was down to the excellent communication skills of conductor Jules Buckley. Jules managed to quell the anxieties of the rappers unused to having such a huge backing group and also the 85 classically trained musicians unfamiliar with Rap charts, dry ice and an audience that actually left their seats to dance in one of their concerts! It was wild. I shan't easily forget the frenzy Ms Dynamite whipped up in 'Wile Out'. The nice thing was that there was huge mutual respect on both sides and it felt as if the two contrasting genres moved a few inches closer. Jules even got the orchestra to 'rewind' in the manner of a club DJ who quickly winds the record back to the start when someone shouts 'reload' or 'pull up' half-way through. I just hope our conductor Jiri doesn't get any ideas to try that in Mahler 7 next week...

 

The BBC Symphony Orchestra with conductor Jules Buckley

The BBC Symphony Orchestra with conductor Jules Buckley. Photo copyright Mark Allan/BBC

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