Katie Noonan and Karin Schaupp make a wonderful duo.
The two are both well known in their solo endeavours, with Katie as the singer in Brisbane groups george and Elixir, and Karin as a world-renowned classical guitarist. But together they have been exploring music from across the globe, including on their third and latest release ‘Songs Of The Latin Skies’.
Katie and Karin were spurred to work together after bumping into each other constantly. “We’ve admired each other’s work from afar for a long time,” Katie says.
"We kept on seeing each other at concerts in Brisbane, and Karin suggested we collaborate. It was such an awesome, fruitful pairing: two musicians from very different walks of life, but with so much in common as well.”
“It’s kind of become an ongoing thing we come back to every couple of years, and we’ve become really great friends along the way,” adds Karin.
After making two albums of well-known songs from the English-speaking world, it was Karin who suggested they move in a different direction by exploring the Latin American songbook. “Playing Latin American music has always been really close to my heart,” Karin says.
“I’ve played a lot of Latin music in my life, and it’s in music that both of us have loved for a long time. It was kind of the next obvious thing for us to do together. And the guitar is very much at home in this music. Latin music is a big part of what’s considered the classical guitar repertoire; we play sambas and bossas. For me, this was probably the most familiar.”
For this album, Katie and Karin explore a lot of different styles of Latin American music including flamenco, samba, bossa nova and Argentinian folk songs. But, rather than choosing well-known songs like ‘The Girl From Ipanema’ (a song the two feel is overplayed), they decided to shine a light on more obscure songs, with Katie singing the songs in their original languages.
Respected composers such as Astor Piazzolla and Antonio Calos Jobim will have their songs reinterpreted by the pair, but Katie is particularly excited for a more contemporary choice. “One of the most modern pieces is a Maxwell [American R&B singer] piece: 'Seguranca'.
"It was on a cool album from the mid-'90s called ‘Red Hot + Rio’, which was a fundraiser for AIDS research. I remember hearing it when I was 15 and wondering, ‘Oh my God, who is that singer?’. That’s the most contemporary work, but it’s written like a classic bossa. He’s technically the only non-Latin composer on our album, but I reckon it's close enough.”
The album was a collaboration-heavy affair, with Katie and Karin working with a number of musicians and interpreters. But, for most of their tour it will be just the two of them on stage, as Karin explains. “We just have such a familiarity now.
“We’ve always had a really great intuitive, musical connection, but we’ve now also got to know each other so well. It’s a really nice vibe. I think when the audience watches us it’s like watching a conversation between friends.”
Katie Noonan & Karin Schaupp Shows
Fri 17 Mar - The Spiegeltent (Hobart)18-19 Mar - The Spiegeltent (Adelaide)Thu 23 Mar - Quarry Amphitehatre (Perth)Fri 24 Mar - Bunbury Entertainment CentreThu 11 May - City Recital Hall (Sydney)Fri 12 May - Laycock Street Theatre (Central Coast)Sat 13 May - IPAC (Wollongong)Fri 19 May - A&I Hall (Bangalow)Sat 20 May - Queensland Conservatorium (Brisbane)Thu 8 Jun - Bendooley Estate (Berrima)9-10 Jun - Street Theatre (Canberra)Sun 11 Jun - Joan Sutherland PAC (Penrith)Fri 30 Jun - Melbourne Recital Hall