Gorillaz-Unofficial (gorillaz_news) wrote,

Monkey on Jools Holland interview and performance videos / BBC / The Sun

Promotion for the Monkey O2 shows continues apace.

Firstly, Damon and Jamie appeared on the BBC show 'Later With Jools Holland'. They gave an interview and a Monkey band including Damon on bass performed two Monkey songs 'Monkey's World' and 'Heavenly Peach Banquet'. Check them out on Youtube by clicking the links below:-

Interview

Heavenly Peach Banquet

Monkey's World


Secondly, check out a new Monkey video news report from the BBC here.


Finally, read an interview Damon gave to the UK newspaper The Sun here.






Monkey Sun article

By DEREK BROWN

Published: 07 Nov 2008

FIRST The Sun gave you cheap tickets to opera — now we have POPERA.

After 2,200 readers crammed into the Royal Opera House to see Mozart’s Don Giovanni, we are following its success with a deal to see lavish Chinese operatic stage show Monkey: Journey To The West.


It is a breathtaking two hours of entertainment, featuring flying acrobats, astonishing circus acts and stunning dance routines with a backdrop of colourful cartoons.



Spectacular ... scene from Monkey: Journey to the West

Tickets to the spectacular at London’s O2 usually cost around £50 — but 2,000 of YOU will be able to see it for a credit crunch-busting £9.50.


The mastermind behind the project is former BLUR frontman DAMON ALBARN — and he says the show will bring opera to a new audience.


Damon, 40, says: “The O2 is a temple of popular culture yet opera is something normally confined to the opera house.

"That’s not right. Coming to see the show is a cultural evening but there’s no room for snobs.


“Besides, this isn’t opera in the classic sense. It’s not even a musical. We’ve created a new thing here. Popera I guess.”


Those who watched the BBC TV coverage of this summer’s Olympics will recognise the look of Monkey and the other characters.


The music and graphics for the Beeb’s opening credits were designed by Damon and his brilliant cartoonist working partner JAMIE HEWLETT, 40, who is also behind the Monkey show.


Director CHEN SHI-ZENG’s production retells the ancient story of Monkey, king of the chimps.


He becomes bored with his lot and decides he wants to be immortal. He flies to heaven to demand this but is instead banished to a mountain for 500 years.


Eventually he is freed but Buddha makes him chaperone a boy priest, Tripitaka, on a trip to India to collect sacred scripts.



Monkey business ... Blur's Damon Albarn, Jamie Hewlett and director Chen Shi-Zheng

The show is full of kung fu, fairies and mythical beasts that appear during their quest.


Anyone who remembers cult Eighties TV show Monkey Magic will feel at home straight away.


Yet although the story will seem familiar to many, Damon reckons some Brits are still hung up about going to the Monkey opera.


Damon — also behind music sensations GORILLAZ and THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE QUEEN — says: “It’s strange how society says opera is for certain people and not others.

"Around 120,000 people, many of them kids, have seen Monkey around the world over the last year and a half and most of them have loved it.


“It has been at the Royal Opera House in London and theatres across the world. But we’ve brought it to the O2 to get across that this is for everyone.


“Monkey is the oldest story in Asian culture — there isn’t really a Western equivalent apart from maybe something as epic as The Lord Of The Rings.

"The difference is Monkey wasn’t written in the 1940s — it was written in the 1540s.


“Monkey isn’t a typical Hollywood hero. He’s irreverent and caring but a bit of a troublemaker. Buddha basically puts him on probation. You could say he’s been given an Asbo.”


Magical

While the story is epic in itself, it is the incredible production that is likely to blow your mind.


It features a cast of more than 40 Chinese performers — acrobats, silk dancers and contortionists.


It is all set to a beautiful blend of Eastern music and catchy pop, composed by Damon and available on an accompanying album.



Going ape ... the performers

As weird and wonderful as it sounds, Damon does not think the show is that far removed from Top Of The Pops.

He says: “Whether I was with Blur or Gorillaz, I always wanted to entertain. This is no different. The idea that this is arty and elitist is rubbish.

"People shy away from things like this because they’re afraid they won’t understand it. Check it out, you’d be surprised.”


Damon reckons kids will get the most out of the showcase. He says: “It’s a magical experience. It’s very different from the Disney experience kids have been force-fed.


“Children absolutely love the show. It’s strange, they watch it as if they are in some sort of trance, the vibrant colour, the acrobatics, the flying over the audience.


“It’s so much more valuable to them than, say, Disney On Ice.


“China is this incredible country, almost the final frontier on earth.


“In ten years they will be teaching China in school. It is important we teach our children more about it. It is a country that has a completely different reasoning than us. I think we need to get our kids engaged with China.”


Advertisement

Damon is a busy man. He’s halfway through a Gorillaz album and is writing a big-budget movie about ... ballet.


And for Blur fans waiting for the return of their Britpop heroes, Damon also has some good news.


Speaking about former bandmate GRAHAM COXON, who he fell out with, Damon says: “Graham and I have been hanging out quite a bit.


“It’s really nice to have my old friend back. We’re all mates again and anything can happen.”


Here’s to the birth of Britpopera ...



MAKE sure you buy The Sun tomorrow for your chance to get tickets for £9.50






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