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Friday October 18, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Friday October 18, 2013 MYT 8:01:55 AM
by eddino abdul hadi
Wow factor: Bananarama, which comprises Keren Woodward (left) and Sarah Dallin, was one of the biggest girl groups in the 1980s. ‘Everyone was very individualistic, they had their own look. It was a really good, fun era,’ Woodward remembers the good old days.
Bananarama is still
rocking, but the duo
know audiences just want to hear their retro hits.
British 1980s pop group Bananarama can no longer hit the high notes of some of their past hit songs when they perform at concerts these days – and they gamely embrace that as part of growing older.
Keren Woodward, one-half of the group that is now a duo instead of a trio as in the 1980s, says in a telephone interview from London: “We’ve had to slightly lower a couple of them. When we put out Love In The First Degree as a single, it was slightly speeded up and it became very, very high pitch.
“As you get older, your voice gets slightly lower, so we would sound like we were on helium or something if we were to sing it in the same key.”
Woodward, 52, and Sara Dallin, 51, will be in Singapore tomorrow to perform at the Retrolicious Reunion! concert at Fort Canning Park together with fellow 1980s stars Belinda Carlisle and Rick Astley.
Though they have newer songs – the Now Or Never EP was released in September – they are under no illusion that most fans go to their shows to hear them sing their hits of three decades ago. Their set list includes 1980s tunes such as Venus, Love In The First Degree and I Heard A Rumour.
“Obviously, the Singapore show we’re doing is a retro show.
“Going to a 1980s show, you can’t suddenly start showcasing the new album,” says Woodward.
Yet it is not just old-time fans who are coming to their shows. She adds that they are seeing a lot of young adults and teenagers at their gigs, too.
Explaining why that era appeals to people who were too young to experience it then, she says: “I think it’s a 1980s thing. Everyone was very individualistic, they had their own look. It was a really good, fun era. The 1990s in Britain was a bit more doom and gloom and was not really fun, everyone was trying to be cool.”
Her 26-year-old son, Tom, from a former relationship with model David-Scott Evans, celebrates the decade, too.
“When he was in university, they had regular 1980s nights where they wore the fashion and danced to the music,” says Woodward, who has been in a relationship since the 1990s with Andrew Ridgeley from 1980s pop duo Wham!.
And yes, she adds, her son’s friends are aware that she is from Bananarama. “Recently he was at a festival, dancing with his shirt off. He had had a few drinks and someone had written on his back in red paint, ‘My mum is in Bananarama’.”
Woodward formed Bananarama with childhood friend Dallin and their mutual friend Siobhan Fahey in 1979.
Although they had their beginnings in the punk rock scene in the late 1970s, their first four albums were commercial hits.
Their debut album, Deep Sea Skiving (1983), peaked at No 7 on the British charts. The next three albums produced hits such as Robert De Niro’s Waiting..., Venus and I Want You Back.
Fahey left in 1988 and formed Brit Award-winning dark-pop duo Shakespears Sister. She was replaced by singer Jacquie O’Sullivan, who left in 1991 to form disco outfit Slippry Feet.
Bananarama have continued as a duo since then. Woodward says they will be busy for the next two years as they will be working on a new album, their 11th, as well as tour the United States.
“When we first started, I thought that we couldn’t possibly do it past the age of 25 because I’ll be too old,” she says with a laugh.
“And then you think, hmm, maybe I can push it to 30... and then you just stop thinking.” – The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network
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Entertainment, Entertainment, Bananarama, 1980s, Retro, I Heard A Rumour, Retrolicious
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