Zoë Keating was born in Canada but hails from San Francisco and is in Adelaide for only two performances of her “one-woman orchestra” as part of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.
Classically trained from the age of eight Keating also holds an arts degree and worked in the technology industry while playing cello in rock bands before quitting her day job to concentrate on her musical career. She has worked with a range of other artists including Tears For Fears, Dionysos and Imogen Heap.
Keating’s technological background appreciably assists her in producing a multi-layered musical production from her single instrument, using an on stage computer to enhance her live performance. Keating segues beautifully from the delicate and ethereal through to the gutsy and passionate melodic flow of a virtuoso. She explores the emotional and musical range of the cello with an intimate knowledge of the instrument and a commanding stage presence, always doing enough to sustain the audience’s interest and pleasure throughout the seventy-minute show.
Interestingly, Keating generally achieves that by taking the mild neurosis of Middle America and transmuting it into an empathic musical progression. Her introductions do go a long way in explaining her music and add to the enjoyment of each piece.
The stage and lighting are very simple yet effective and provide an adequate backdrop to the changing moods of the compositions without taking away from the presentation or getting in the way of the music. Judging from her elegant performance and the clearly satisfied crowd Keating made the right career choice for herself and her audience. During the hectic period and decision making of a festival season the time and money spent listening to Keating’s music won’t be wasted.
Zoe Keating is playing at the 2012 Adelaide Cabaret Festival, 8 — 9 June in Artspace. More info at www.adelaidecabaretfestival.com.au