Star of stage brings unique "broadgrass" sounds to Barrow

9 January 2017 5:51PM

WEST End and Broadway star Ramin Karimloo is bringing bluegrass to Barrow for the first time this month.

By Samantha Ewen

Ramin Karimloo and the Broadgrass Band will perform at The Forum on Thursday January 19.

The Iranian-Canadian singer is best known for playing leading roles in both of the West End’s longest-running musicals – The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables.

He’s taking a step away from that spotlight and moving into his own, as the band bring a new genre to Cumbria.

Ramin says: “I didn’t want to play a character onstage because that’s not truthful, so we fused Broadway musical songs with bluegrass, which is a genre I love.

“I’m learning to become a better songwriter and tell stories with simplicity.”

The show will celebrate songs with a narrative, but will also include musical theatre hits such as Music of the Night, Bring Him Home, Oh What a Beautiful Morning and Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, performed in a unique broadgrass style.

Ramin tries to change his set around on a nightly basis, never performing the same order of songs twice.

He continues: “We switch between using a full band and just me and my guitar. Audiences want to hear something new, so we try to re-energise a lot.”

The 12-date tour begins in Milton Keynes and ends in Bury St Edmonds, calling at the likes of Manchester, Leeds and Nottingham on the way.

Ramin doesn’t get a huge amount of time to explore each place he tours in, but he's hoping to make the most of his short stay in South Cumbria.

He says: “It’s a matter of where we stay in the town, but I’d love some time to appreciate the county’s atmosphere and beautiful views.

“To reach a balance with my musical theatre career and touring with the band, I just stopped trying to orchestrate everything. I feel grateful and lucky when my schedule fills up.

“What was daunting at first was not being able to hide behind a character when touring with the band. I had to get vulnerable, as it’s not as though I had a background of huge 'hit' songs.”

The band is toying with a song from Evita and recently re-added Til I Hear You Sing from the musical Love Never Dies, for which Ramin was hand-picked to be part of by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The evening’s support comes in the form of Rob Richings, a folk singer-songwriter. Rob says: “I’m really excited to be heading to Barrow - not for the first time but the first time with a guitar in hand.

"I've no doubt it's going to be a wonderful evening."

The UK tour will lead up to Ramin’s return to Broadway to open the premiere of Anastasia, a musical that he agreed to be part of before reading the script because it seemed like a great opportunity.

He adds: “My motto is all about the hang, having a great time and constantly improving.”

The Barrow show starts at 7.30pm, and tickets are available from The Forum’s box office.

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