By Romy Stephens
Olinda’s Cloudehill Gardens will delve into a different era and culture this month, as the Evergreen Ensemble performs Tree of Strings in recital.
The performance will bring an evocative program of Irish music, both baroque and traditional, to the stage.
Shane Lestideau is a violinist and the founder and artistic director of the Evergreen Ensemble.
She said she hopes the performance takes listeners on a journey.
“If the audience member can either feel as if they’ve listened to a night of storytelling or been transported to a particular place… that would be our work done,” she said.
“There’s something about playing traditional music. Given that it’s got roots in a particular country if you hear it and that’s where your mind goes that’s the ideal experience to have.”
The Evergreen Ensemble is a renowned assembly of musicians that bridge the gap between folk and baroque music.
“The defining feature of the ensemble is that we bring together folk music repertoire with early music,” Ms Lestideau said.
“Even though the two bodies of music come from the same period of time they are played differently.
“We find ways of building bridges between those two styles.”
The ensemble has previously played at Cloudehill and explored the music of Scandinavia, Scotland and Brittany (North-West France).
When asked about the difficulty faced when switching between the music of different cultures, Ms Lestideau said it becomes fluent with practice.
“I always compare music to language, so if you have had the experience of speaking two languages you know that you need to get yourself into a different mindset to be fluent in the language,” she said.
“Once you have that bilingualism, musically speaking, you don’t have to do anything in particular.”
The ensemble’s performance at Cloudehill will also feature singer and harpist Claire Patti, a multi-instrumentalist and honours graduate of the Victorian College of Arts in Melbourne.
Ms Lestideau said with the addition of Ms Patti and the beautiful environment at Cloudehill it should make for a wonderful experience.
“It’s one of the most beautiful gardens that I know of in Australia. The setting itself reminds me of descriptions that I’ve read of outdoor concerts in the baroque period,” she said.
“You have the hedges to allow for a bit of acoustic.
“Mixed in with the sound of your own music you’ve got birds and other little outdoor creatures.”
In March and April this year, Evergreen Ensemble will also host a performance for people with autism or sensory sensitivities and another with well-known countertenor Max Riebl and keyboard soloist Donald Nicolson.
Both will be at the Melbourne Recital Centre.
The ensemble’s Tree of Strings in recital is on 22 February as part of Cloudehill’s Summer Twilight Series.
For more information, visit www.cloudehill.com.au/twilight-events2019-2020.html.