The Beatles revisited as Cellophane Flowers trio head to Festival of Chichester

Cellophane Flowers
Cellophane Flowers

Cellophane Flowers return to this year’s Festival of Chichester to explore once again the vocal possibilities of the great Lennon-McCartney back catalogue.

They are promising The Beatles Revisited at the Pallant Suite, Chichester, on Thursday, July 11 at 8pm.

Guitarist/singer Alex Eberhard, leader of The All Things Must Pass Orchestra which played earlier in this year’s Festival, will be joined by vocalists Lucy Pickering and Rachel Myer for an evening of three voices and one guitar. As Alex explains: “The original idea was to have something that was very portable and easier to organise than the ten-piece band, and so this went the other way. I was thinking what are the basic necessities to do Beatles songs, and that is voices and an instrument. I thought that The Beatles themselves had really great harmonies on a lot of songs and that it would be nice just to focus on three voices.

“The original plan was that I wanted to sing with the other two singers from The All Things Must Pass Orchestra so that we had much more opportunity to get our voices to blend together, but the circumstances changed and one of the singers dropped out and the other singer said she didn’t think she had the time to devote to it, so the two singers I have got are not part of The All Things Must Pass Orchestra.

“But they are great, and it is great fun. When I first got into The Beatles, it was not just an endeavour so that I could get to play a lot of George Harrison. These are basically all the songs that I started listening to when I was 13 and when I started playing guitar. It’s really good fun now to pick them up, now that my guitar skills are a lot more advanced than they were back then.”

Inevitably, as you take the songs apart to rehearse them, you realise their quality: “The nice thing about the songs is that we can take a few liberties, add a bit in here and there because we have only got the one instrument, and because we have got female singers, we can change the key sometimes and give the lead part to a female voice and just make it a bit different. A lot of the songs have been covered before by female voices, of course.”

As for the selection of the songs for the set: “I ask Lucy and Rachel if they have got any favourite songs that they want to do. They have been playing Beatles songs since they can remember, and they have both got songs that they really want to do. It is also hopefully appealing to people that are not hard-core Beatles fans, people that just like The Beatles generally. But hopefully it also appeals to the dedicated Beatles fans who are interested in hearing something a bit different. I am sure that there are lots of gems for people to discover if they don’t know them already.”

As for where the trio might be going, Alex isn’t so sure. The ten-piece All Things Must Pass Orchestra is logistically difficult to tour and will probably stick to doing a handful of gigs every year in June and July. Cellophane Flowers has perhaps got more possibilities: “I think this year we have got around five gigs that we will be doing as the trio.”

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