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Questions and Answers with Belfast-based violinist Lisa Henderson


Classic rock: violinist Lisa Henderson

Classic rock: violinist Lisa Henderson

Classic rock: violinist Lisa Henderson

The violinist is a member of Belfast-based classical ensemble Lisaire Quartet, who will be showing their love for Police frontman Sting in a new album, Ode to Sting.

Tell us a little more about who you all are ...

We're a mixture of classical musicians from all over Northern Ireland. We have husband and wife, Tammy and Martin Surginor, on violin and viola, Scott Heron on cello, and myself on violin. We've known each other and worked together for years gigging in the local music scene.

So which came first: the quartet or the love of Sting?

One seemed to lead to the other. As a little girl I spent hours dreaming of writing and performing music, usually on long journeys in our family car and usually to the backdrop of Sting's melodic music.

Those daydreams eventually landed me with a violin under my chin and, while oozing enthusiasm, I didn't display much flare.

After knocking enough doors my dad found a teacher willing to consider miracles in the inspiring violinist Alan McClure. After setting up Lisaire it was clear our debut album would acknowledge the work of Sting and his influence on me as we ventured into the recording world.

Sting's pretty varied in his musical repertoire, from reggae to latin to rock to Elizabethan lute music. Do his songs transfer easily to a classical sound?

Absolutely, and I think it's one of the most appealing qualities of Sting's music ... such colour and excitement has you wondering what on earth he'll do next (he's just released a musical on Broadway!).

Sting's had a long-standing love affair with strings and there's never a violin too far away - his orchestral tour Symphonicities, not to mention the iconic strings on classics like Englishman in New York - so I've always felt that flavour was there to be further explored.

I worked the quartet hard with these arrangements.

Has Sting heard the album himself. If so what was his reaction?

Sting's management team have been incredible from the very start of the project. After I finished writing the arrangements they looked over the scores and we were delighted the project was approved. I sent Sting a CD once recording was complete so hopefully he enjoyed it, although I imagine he's been a little busy with his Broadway debut.

The album will be featured on Sting's official website, www.sting.com, so that was seal of approval enough for me.

Any plans to record or tour with the man himself?

Well, I'll have to check my schedule first! Sting and Paul Simon are bringing their On Stage Together Tour to Belfast on April 9. I had the privilege of seeing Sting live in Dublin during the Symphonicities tour and it was an amazing experience. These two masters of music combined will be an awesome show.

Are there any other well-known musical genres you'd like to pay homage to? Maybe a bit of heavy metal or rap?

You're on to a few good ideas there ... we have arrangements in our collection that would surprise you (Lady Gaga, Above & Beyond, Bruno Mars to name a few!).

And I have personal favourites I'd love to explore further with a full album but maybe I'll keep it to myself for now.

Ode to Sting is released on Monday, November 24. For details, visit www.odetosting.com

Belfast Telegraph