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Gregorian puts new slant on rock music

The group, which chants modern pop and rock songs, will preform in Dubai on Thursday.

An enchanting evening awaits Dubai music lovers with Gregorian performing tonight at Madinat Arena.

The seven-piece, robe-clad German group transforms modern pop and rocks songs into ethereal and elegiac Gregorian chants.

The vocalist Amelia Brightman explains that the covers approach is not a cynical cash grab but acts a bridge for audiences to the centuries-old art form: "It is taking something very familiar and putting it in a new and interesting place.

"People report spiritual experiences when they come to the concerts because there is that familiarity with that sacred environment that comes from the voices but at the same time you are hearing songs that are familiar. So there are two things that you are comfortable with and you feel good about it melded together."

Examples of the rock staples taken to another dimension include Gregorian's takes on Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven and Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb.

Where the latter had Roger Waters sounding angry and despondent, Gregorian's version is uplifting and hymnlike.

According to Brightman, songs are picked according to how vocally flexible they are. "There are certain musical necessities because of the seven-tone element of Gregorian chanting," she says.

Brightman says there is more to the Gregorian live experience than seven ashen-faced monks crowded together. There is a fair element of theatre woven in, enhancing the otherworldly feel of it all.

"There is a lot of fire, including a fire-breathing drummer. The choreography is amazing and there are effects all over the place," she says.

Thursday night at Madinat Arena, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai. Doors open at 7.30pm. Tickets start from Dh295, available from www.timeouttickets.com

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