"Persistence Will take You to Where You Want to Go", Christine Weir

Urban Craft magazine's own Godfrey Johnson has a candid chat with South African  icon Christine Weir. GJ: My Dear Christine, I hav...


Urban Craft magazine's own Godfrey Johnson has a candid chat with South African  icon Christine Weir.

GJ: My Dear Christine, I have been a fan of yours for many many years. Where are you from originally and where did you grow up?

CW: Thank you Godfrey,the feeling is mutual, I have always been a fan of yours too! I was born in Scotland in a town called Paisley. My family emigrated to SA when I was 4 so I've spent most of my life here. I grew up in the mining town of Benoni, Gauteng and after school I moved to Pretoria where I studied Drama at University of Tshwane, then moved to JHB for a few years, and finally moved to Cape Town where I put down roots.

GJ: Do you come from a theatrical family? What and who inspired you to go into the arts?

CW: Yes, I do come from a theatrical family; I grew up surrounded by music and theatre - my parents started a children's' choir /theatre group called 'Protea Choral Society' in Benoni. My father played the piano and was an avid Wagner, Gilbert and Sullivan and musicals fan, so I grew up listening to it all. My mother directed loads of the 'Protea' shows, so going into a career in the Performing Arts was just a continuation of my home life.

GJ: You have such a colourful career, can you share some highlights with us?

CW: Well, I guess there are 3 big highlights: 1. Graham and I founded Not the Midnight Mass which ran for over 25 years in South Africa.: Even though we haven't performed the show for years, every week someone will ask one of us when we are going to perform it again. It was a special and unique concept and it was a privilege to be part of it. 2. Also being the soloist at Sun City for 3 years: I sang in an extravaganza called Oddysey from 2002 to 2005. It was a memorable time. And 3., finally,my own group, 'Christine and The Kilts' was the most authentic expression of myself and the music that I deeply love.

GJ: You recently wrote a marvelous book about the voice. Many people don't view the voice as an instrument, I believe it should be protected and respected. Do you have one or two tips on how to protect the voice?

CW: I agree Godfrey, a good voice is a blessing from Mother nature and we definitely need to respect and protect it. If were to give 3 tips about vocal protection I would say.

If at any time your singing hurts you STOP what you're doing and go to see a respected voice coach or speech therapist - singing should never hurt.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate - you need water to keep your voice supple. Drink at least a litre of water in the daytime before you do an evening show
Give your voice adequate rest - sleep 8 hours or more, rest before a show, keep after-show chatting to a minimum.

GJ: What are you working on now?

CW: I've had to slow down this year because in June I discovered that I had breast cancer. I had a lumpectomy in October and am currently undergoing chemotherapy, which is ghastly because it leaves one continually tired and sickly and not much energy for getting shows together.

But, in spite of my health issues in November I earned a teaching diploma in Communication Skills through Trinity College London because I want to expanded my skills to teach Presentation and Voice.

I am also busy recording a Celtic music show for Fine Music Radio which is so exciting to me because I want to share my passion for Celtic Music.

GJ: Please can you tell us about the idea behind Christine and The Kilts? What performing plans do you have for 2020/2021?

CW: Well, as I say, I love, love, love Celtic music. Christine and the Kilts grew out of a music/comedy show called 'Whars yer Troosers' that I did in 2014 with Graham Weir(my brother) and Trevor du Buisson, Rayelle Goodman and Matthew Weir (my son). 'Whars yer Troosers' ignited my love for Celtic music and it inspired me to study an online course in Celtic Music Traditions through the University of Madison Wisconsin. Thereafter I did two very successful seasons of Christine and The Kilts in Cape Town as well as going to the NAF in Grahamstown. Staying with my Celtic roots, I'm now working on a new show called 'Great Scot' about the life of Robert Burns with Michelle Maxwell and Rayelle Goodman and Fiona du Plooy.

GJ: Where do you find inspiration?

CW: Life is an inspiration - there are so many interesting things around us. In addition to this I love studying and 5 years ago I made a deal with myself that every year I would get a diploma of some sort, and every year I would embark on a new creative project of some sort - I've kept those two goals up. They keep me on my toes and they are the fuel that feeds my inspiration. .

GJ: What advice do you have for a young person dreaming of a career in the arts?

CW: Don't wait for people to employ you - create your own work, go out and tell the world what you're about!.And stick with your vision, it's tough but persistence will take you where you want to go.

GJ: What are you reading at the moment?

CW: 'The Last Concubine' by Lesley Downer - I bought it to support a homeless person who was selling books and I'm really enjoying it whilst learning about the Japanese culture. Also lined up on my bedside table are a book on the voice by Patsy Rodenberg called "The Actor Speaks" and Michelle Maxwell lent me her copy of 'The Help' by Kathryn Stokket, which I'll read shortly

GJ: Do you have any New Year's resolutions?

CW: Due to getting ill I've recently stopped all alcohol, stopped dairy, stopped sugar and I exercise rigorously every day, I live like a monk these days. So, my resolution for 2020 would be to make more money

GJ: I absolutely adore you and Giovanni, what is the secret to a happy union?

CW: We've stayed the course. Relationships can be difficult, but with time, love and understanding you can find your way through everything.

GJ: Where can we find you on social media?

CW: christhecelt1@twitter, christinethecelt on Instagram, Christine Weir Singer, Songwriter, Author on Facebook, christineweir.co.za

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Urban Craft Magazine: "Persistence Will take You to Where You Want to Go", Christine Weir
"Persistence Will take You to Where You Want to Go", Christine Weir
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Urban Craft Magazine
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