Monday, 27 May 2013

Renaissance Carries On After Loss Of Lead Guitarist

April 09, 2013|By ERIK OFGANG, Special To The CourantThe Hartford Courant

Annie Haslam is the lead singer of Renaissance, performing April 10 at Infinity Music Hall in Norfolk.It's been a year of triumph and tragedy for the progressive rock band Renaissance. Last September the group completed its first studio album in 12 years, "Grandine il Vento." The album was released to celebrate the band's 40-year history and included a guest appearance by Jethro Tull's front man, Ian Anderson. It features Renaissance's signature mixture of folk, classical and rock, and was supposed to propel a comeback for the band. But in November the group's principle composer/guitarist, Michael Dunford, died. Annie Haslam, the band's lead vocalist and lyricist questioned whether the band would continue.

"It was just so quick and so unexpected it was just such a shock. I'd known him for 41 years it was unbelievable. I was a bit of a mess it wouldn't sink in I just didn't want to believe it," says Haslam, who's haunting operatic vocals and five-octave vocal range have wowed Renaissance fans for decades. Ultimately, urged by fans, Haslam decided to carry on with the band in honor of Dunford. "In the end I realized that that's what he would have wanted," she says. "He would have wanted us to carry on his legacy — the music of Renaissance."
Renaissance is on its first tour without Dunford. They perform at Infinity Hall in Norfolk on Wednesday, April 10, at 8 p.m. Guitarist and vocalist Ryche Chlanda, veteran of prog rock bands Nektar and Fireballet, was chosen as Dunford's replacement. At the concert the band will perform two of its most celebrated albums in their entirety as well as select songs from "Grandine il Vento."
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