This year’s annual Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo was in celebration of Scotland’s natural beauty as visitors from all over the world gather around Edinburgh Castle to see a performance unlike any other. Awe-inspiring Massed Pipes and Drums, Massed Military Bands, display teams and dancers from every corner of the globe unite as one for an international performance spectators will never forget.The music reflects the past, reminding us all that the freedom and glory we have today came with suffering and loss from our ancestors. These pipers and drummers are soldiers first and musicians second. Lest we forget.
The Edinburgh Castle’s haunting historical backdrop surrounded by flaring torches sets the tone for the evening, changing with each performance. Projected images and shadow plays were used to enhance displays for each season used in this year’s theme. The lighting throughout the night was impressive as each step marched by the soldiers and danced by the dancers is perfectly timed out, adding another dimension to the show. Imps Motorcycle Display Team took you to the edge of your seat as their stunt team drove backwards on their bikes and created pyramids. They were all under the age of 16 with the youngest performer aged 6. One of the life-sized horses used in War Horse also made an appearance throughout the evening.
As the evening comes to a close all performers take their places and a single spotlight shines upon the Lone Piper. Fireworks conclude the evening as the crowd sings ‘Auld Lan Syne’, holding the hands of the person next to them. All bands exit playing Scotland the Brave as the crowd claps along. If you are visiting Scotland during August I hope you have the chance to experience this incredible event.
The best thing about being in London over the summer is the number of FREE events. Sure the weather might not be the best, but when you can go see performances from every west end musical over the course of two days, you don’t care if it rains! West End Live provides you with the opportunity to witness a small piece of what each musical will be like. From there you can then decide which one (or few) to go spend the money on. We Will Rock You definitely got the crowd involved while I think I might just have a crush on the Jersey Boys. I will be saving my pennies to go see Top Hat or Singing In The Rain next. For theatre ticket deals check out TravelZoo UK.
If you plan on visiting Trafalgar Square over the summer double check to see what events are taking place. Next one for me will be the Canada Day International on July 1st. I’ll be volunteering in the morning so if you have any questions before the event please comment below.
A performance at the Royal Opera House is a must see while in London! The Royal Opera company itself is one of the best in the world and the Royal Ballet is Britain’s largest ballet company. The Royal Opera Chorus acts as the backbone of the Royal Opera and performs an average of 20 productions each season. The chorus was created in 1946, when the Royal Opera House reopened after World War II.
You can get a small taste of the opera experience for FREE during their lunchtime recitals on Mondays in the Crush Room. Nine days before the recital, tickets can be reserved online, then collected from the box office the day of the performance. The Royal Opera House is located in Covent Garden and has two entrances. If you can’t make it to one of the shows, at least walk inside the building. They even give tours throughout the building, we will have to go back for one of those.
We saw ‘Opera vs Ballet’, with Andriy Viytovych on viola and Stephen Bettaney on piano. The recitals last one hour and during that time we listened to both opera and ballet pieces. In my opinion, ballet won the battle with Three pieces from Romeo and Juliet, Passepied from Cinderella and Scene de Ballet.
The Jazz Cafe is located in the heart of Camden attracting internationally known musicians in Jazz, Soul, Funk, Dance and Hip Hop. The venue is great with a stage surrounded by an open dance floor, bars around the outside and upstairs looking down onto the stage is a restaurant. Once inside it’s difficult to believe the building was once a Barclay’s bank branch.
David and I have been here a few times since moving to London. We saw Roy Ayers, a well known Vibraphonist/Vocalist and the Godfather of Neo-soul here in London. His songs “Everybody Loves the Sunshine,”, “Searchin” and “Running Away” are loved by every generation as they dance and sing along throughout the show.
More recently we went to support one of our Canadian artists here in London, Divine Brown. Divine Brown is opening for Brian McKnight then is off to Cannes, France for Canadian Blast at MIDEM 2013. You can check out some of her stuff on the links above. Her voice is unbelievable.Thanks to Divine, she brought along one of our best friends from Toronto as her keyboardist, Kibwe Thomas. Kibwe is a very talented keyboardist and singer. He is also a music producer and director with his own recording studio “Heaven Sound” in Toronto. You can check out the recording studio’s youtube page here.