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Celebrated singer wows Kaiwaka

 

IMG 5704-542Russian-born singer Yulia MacLean brought so much more than music to Kaiwaka in an outdoor matinee performance at the Kaiwaka community centre last Sunday.

Yulia together with her Moth-r, moved to New Zealand as a 16-year-old. Her musical talent was soon recognised and her future career propelled on its way.

Though she describes her genre as a ‘classical crossover’ with a world mixture, Yulia's voice was once described as a "lovely rich contralto with passion and conviction" though she also has the ability to perform in the mezzo-so-prano range.

In 2010 Yulia won the Grand Prix in the European Song Com-petition in Riga, Latvia and the national award for Best Nation-wide Entertainment in the Corporate Events Guide 2010 People’s Choice Awards. She was also the first female vocalist in New Zealand to have two back-to-back number one hit albums.

IMG 5713-657Sydney-based since April last year, New Zealand is still close to her heart and her own life mirrors her philosophy in making good her opportunities and now helping other young singers. So it was a coup for six young local singer/ songwriters to join her on stage and perform in front of a small but appreciative local audience. Molly Curnow, Tasha Perrett, Mercedes Von Dinklage, Michelle Clark and Ollie Knox all had limited experience and overcome personal chal-lenges to take their place on the stage in front of friends and family.

‘Yulia and Friends’ is her own initiative.

“People opened doors for me so the least I can do is offer the same to other young singers,” she says. “Improve, encourage and empower is my philosophy to encourage greater self-love and creativity.”

Yulia writes and works from home in the typical multi-tasking role as fulltime Mum to a three and one-year-old who also travelled with her while she delivered six New Zealand concerts in one week culminating in the Kaiwaka show.

The crowd enjoyed the varied repertoire from an entertainer who speaks four but sings in 16 languages.

From the husky romanticism of a Russian love song to the sensuality of French through La Vi En Rose and the tenderness of the Italian love song The Prayer (which she also sang at her own wedding) Yulia then joined the youngsters in performing the well-known Leonard Cohen version of Hallelujah.

Bitte Geh Nicht Fort, which many knew as the Charles Azna-vour song If You Go Away, was delivered in German with a distinct Marlene Dietrich flavour. Time To Say Goodbye was met with a chorus for ‘more’ which brought an-other dialect change with a touching Maori song and Don’t Cry For Me Argentina.

It was something of a coup for organiser Cheryl Anderson to attract the young ‘Kiwi’ to perform locally on the back of a six-show, week-long tour at such a humble venue .

“I sent her an email not even expecting a reply so I was blown away when I got such a positive response,” said Cheryl.

David McCarthy of Skylark Studio, Kaiwaka, videoed the concert and is making a DVD for each of the singers and has offered to give each one a complimentary session in his studio. Also, another crowd member was so impressed with the concert and the calibre of singing from the kids that he has set up a grant for each of them for $350 in the name of A.P. Education Charitable Trust to be used on educational/leadership resources.

On the strength of this, the evening must be considered a success.
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