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(ABC TV in New York: televised ‘live’ on Nov. 24, 1997)
Hosts: Lisa MacCree and Charles Gibson
Translated by: Annie Gomez
LM: (Facing one of the cameras in the studio) If you think the violin is an old-fashioned instrument, you haven’t heard Vanessa-Mae, the 19-year-old British superstar who wants to be the Jimi Hendrix of the violin. At the age of 13, the former child prodigy, had recorded 3 classical albums, then came a ‘pop’ album of which she called ‘techno-acoustic fusion’. Now, she’s playing on Janet Jackson’s latest recording as well releasing a new CD of her own, it’s called ‘China Girl: The Classical Album 2’. In a few moment, she’ll perform for us but first let’s meet Vanessa-Mae.
(Turning left and facing Vanessa-Mae, who is sitting confortably in a couch.) I know you’ve been here before but I didn’t know this so tell me...where are you from?
VM: Yes, you joined in September, right?
(Note: Vanessa is wearing a yellow Chinese-styled, long-sleeved blouse and a pair of tight black leather pants and black high-heeled shoes.)
LM: Yes, right, right! So where are you from?
VM: blood, I’m half Thai, half Chinese. But I live in London since I was 3 years old so that’s my base really.
LM: And when did you start playing the violin and why?
VM: When I was 5 years old. It was just at school, like all my friends as a hobby. I think my parents wanted to enroll me just to keep me busy after school hours. That was all really.
LM: But when is it that you took the violin and started doing things your teachers weren’t telling you to do with your violin?
VM: Well, I think teachers started getting more excited, I think. They started telephoning my parents and saying "she’s got a bit of potential, maybe she’d like to develop it further". So it all rolled on from there. I think it was their encouragement that pushed me into the direction of making music my life really. But I think when I was 8, that’s when I really decided that I want to make the violin my profession when I grew older.
LM: And when was it that you made that turn though from playing the violin like the masters would tell you to play the violin and doing this thing you do now?
VM: Oh ‘pop’ as well! I think that...the thing is that I’ve grown up as a child of the ‘90s like all the teenagers out there. So even though I was trained as a classical violinist, I love to listen to pop, rock, acid jazz, rock ‘n roll, all those different kinds of things. So when I first came on this show, I was 16 with ‘The Violin Player’ album, my first ‘pop’ album and next year, I have a new ‘pop’ album coming out in America. But right here, I’m in a classical mood in America because I’ve got ‘China Girl’, my new classical album out. So l like having a parallel career.
LM: And what makes you wanna do ‘China Girl’ with a classical inspiration?
VM: Well...I think sort of like how Bertolucci was inspired by China for ‘The Last Emperor Of China’ and Puccini was inspired by China to do the opportune on. I have a sort of fascination growing up as a Western Chinese girl, if you know what I mean, and pursuing my Chinese roots. I think since my grandfather died when I was 15, I felt that my one link, real link to the Chinese past had gone missing and I wanted to pursue that further on this album...
LM: Aaahhh...(in amazement)
VM: it’s deeply romantic album., almost filmic and epic, in part.
LM: And your shows are well attended and well reviewed.
VM: Yesterday, we just did a show in New York...Shanghai Tang. They were opening a new boutique in Madison Avenue and that was an outdoor venue. Fantastic audience.
LM: And we have some videos over here.
VM: You have videos! Excellent!
(A clip of her performance of ‘Toccata & Fugue’ in front of the Shanghai Tang boutique is shown on one of the televisions in the studio.)
LM: And your costumes are also fabulous! Now, you have a good luck ritual before you get up on stage to perform. Tell me what your good luck ritual is.
VM: What I do, and I did it just before this show actually ‘coz I’m peforming ‘live’ on this one, is to pour ‘freshly spilt water’ on stage before I go on.
LM: To pour freshly...
VM: Between the dressing room and the stage, I get some water -- Evian or Perrier or tap water -- and I pour it in front of me and that brings me a lot of good luck.
LM: Wow!
VM: Yes!
LM: That’s not the only thing that spilled on our floor. I mean I don’t know if you could find your good luck charm anymore here.
VM: Yes, some people actually make the mistake of mopping it up! They think it’s a mistake but it’s meant to be there.
LM: We’re gonna be back with you in just a moment. Vanessa-Mae will perform for us right after this...
(Goes out to commercials with 10 seconds of ‘Violin Fantasy on Puccini’s ‘Turandot’.)
(Comes back from commercials with 10 seconds of ‘Butterflly Lovers Violin Concerto’. Vanessa is standing by her band -- her mother on piano, a flutist, an acoustic guitarist and a drummer -- and the hosts of the show.)
LM: And now Vanessa-Mae performs her adaptation of the Scottish folk song and it is called...
VM: ‘I’m A-Doun For Lack O’Johnnie’
LM: ‘I’m A-Doun For Lack O’Johnnie’. We’ll be back!
(Note: This is an actual ‘live’ performance, including a short vocal intro by Vanessa.)
(Performance ends, audience claps, commercials begin, commercials end.)
LM: I have to ask you. What is the blue finger nail?
(Note: Vanessa and everyone in her band painted their right-hand pinkie nails blue.)
VM: It means you’re part of a gang because we’re a whole group on tour for 3 or 4 weeks. But we’ll give you, guys, one later.
LM: Okay!
VM: Where you belong!
CG: That’s the way to get in! It’s like they check the blue fingernail and you’re in!
(Both hosts are announcing tomorrow’s guests.)
CG: We’re gonna go out with a little more of ‘I’m Dying For...For Lack...’
LM: No! I’m Doun!
VM: (laughing) I’m For Dying...It’s ‘I’m A-Doun For Lack O’Johnnie’.
CG: ‘I’m A-Doun For Lack O’Johnnie’!
VM: Yes!
CG: I love it when great musicians, like this, get ‘douned’!
VM: Doun...
CG: (to the viewers) See you tomorrow!
VM: Goodbye!
(The show ends with 20 seconds of Vanessa and her band playing ‘I’m A-Doun’ again, minus the singing this time.)


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