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Arts and Culture
19.05.2011 12:36
MUSIC
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Slovenian, Croatian Cellists Make Breakthrough on YouTube

Ljubljana, 19 May (STA) - Luka Sulic, a young cello student from Maribor, and his Croatian colleague Stjepan Hauser, have become YouTube stars after they posted a cello cover of Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal". The pair had already been invited to go on tour with Elton John, signed a record deal and appeared on the popular US show hosted by Ellen DeGeneres.

Both Sulic and Hauser are students of the Royal Academy of Music in London. Since their "Smooth Criminal" video was posted on YouTube at the beginning of the year it has been watched by over 5.5 million people.

The video, a cover of a famous pop song performed on instruments very uncharacteristic of pop music, has turned the cellists' lives upside-down, Sulic told the STA in an interview. "It has literally been like a movie."

Already a week after the video was posted, the duo called 2Cellos received a number of invitations to US TV shows and was offered record deals from several labels, including Sony, with which they signed a deal.

Elton John invited them to accompany him on his upcoming tour. "This is a great honour for us and an excellent promotion of our first album, which is to come out next month," Sulic said.

They will be on the road with Elton John for a month and a half, also visiting Slovenia's Izola, the native town of Sulic's mother.

The album will feature covers of popular hits by Jackson, U2, Guns N'Roses, Sting, Kings of Leon, Muse, Coldplay and others.

"We chose songs with quality, such that convey emotions, a message and which after all are suitable for the cello," said Sulic, adding that all covers were created by him and Hauser.

"The important thing is that we managed to build a "brand" based on ourselves, which is very hard nowadays," Sulic told the STA.

2Cellos opted for Sony, because its classical music outfit is one of the leading in the field, according to Sulic, providing them with a number of opportunities. Among them will be iTunes festival in London in July.

Sulic does not believe there is a resemblance between 2Cellos and violinist Vanessa Mae, whose fame was fast in both coming and going. "Our voice is the cello, we don't use 'cheap' and, I dare to say, unneeded effects like techno beat, dance, orchestra and brass section."

He believes that 2Cellos took the more demanding way. "Creating such intensity and energy... only with the cello is very demanding both musically and technically."

"We explore the boundaries of playing the cello to the limits of the impossible and we make progress every day. But at the same time, we both have a long track record of classical music concerts."

Sulic, who has both Slovenian and Croatian passports, was born and raised in Maribor, although his parents come from the Mediterranean. His mother is a native of the coastal town of Izola, while his father comes from a musically talented family from the Croatian city of Dubrovnik.

mas/gj
19.05.2011 12:36

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