But to be fair, you probably wouldn’t expect him to sit down and play AC/DC or Michael Jackson, either.
Yet Luka Sulic, one half of the 2Cellos duo, is all about mixing things up.
He and Stjepan Hauser shot to fame in 2011 after their cello version of Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal hit Youtube and went viral. They’ve since released two studio albums, toured with Sir Elton John, worked with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Queens of the Stone Age and appeared on a host of TV shows from Ellen to Glee.
Now, after opening for Elton John here in 2011, they are returning for their own headline show at Auckand’s ASB Arena
“Everybody recommends New Zealand. I really want to learn this haka, the traditional dance – I love it, it’s so cool. I want to do it before the concert, it will give me energy and power,” Sulic says with a charming amount of conviction.
If anyone could pull off a pre-cello concert haka though, it’s probably Sulic.
He’s been playing cello most of his life and met Hauser at a summer music camp when they were both fourteen.
“There’s not a whole lot of cellists in Croatia, so it was not hard to know each other. We straight away became very close friends. We were both crazy enthusiastic about cello and we practiced like maniacs but we were also like rivals in a way, because we were always so ambitious and it’s still present to this day, which gives something extra to our performance,” he says.
Though the years after summer camp split them apart, Sulic and Hauser later reunited in London, having both taken up study in the UK; Sulic at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and Hauser at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.
The two decided to “join forces”, creating the Smooth Criminal arrangement that launched their careers, and they celebrate their fourth anniversary in just a few days.
Sulic says the thing that made the difference was their classical upbringing.
Because they spent their childhoods engrossed in the likes of Vivaldi and Bach, it wasn’t until their late teens that the duo discovered popular music.
“Everything was so fresh and unique to us, it was a whole new world of music. Michael Jackson was so fresh, you know? We could approach it with such fresh ears which wouldn’t be possible if we had been listening to it when we were younger,” he says.
“So we thought we could do something crazy, exciting and unique; break the boundaries, make a revolution, show our passion and skills and show how cello can be cool. Because in classical music cello is not regarded as a popular choice, it’s always playing the long boring notes.”
So now their cello repertoire involves tracks from Guns n’ Roses to Calvin Harris in an aim to appeal to a wide audience – “because why not?”.
“We want to connect all these musical worlds together, we just improvise, we know straight away if its going to work or not. They’re not covers, I hate the word cover. We do a transcription; mix it up, put our own spin on it. I think people will be surprised how powerful our show is.”
2Cellos play Auckland’s ASB Theatre this Saturday, January 17. Tickets are still available at Ticketmaster.
Source: Stuff NZ
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