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Bond, A Classical Quartet That Rocks - 2002-11-17

Bond is a plugged-in classical string quartet whose four female members dress and act like rock stars. The international press has been referring to them as "classical music's answer to The Spice Girls." They currently hold the No. 1 spot on Billboard magazine's Classical Crossover chart.

When they first came together two years ago, the members of Bond had a mission: To help demolish the barriers between rock and classical music. First, however, they had a few barriers of their own to overcome.

In 2000, Bond's debut album, Born, went to the top of the British classical chart, but the quartet was banned by chart organizers for failing to meet all the criteria of "classical music." Seven months later, they got a standing ovation at the Classical Brits Awards ceremony. The album went on to sell 2.5 million copies worldwide. All four musicians in Bond are conservatory-trained, and have been playing since they were children. Violinist Haylie Ecker and violist Tania Davis are from Australia, while violinist Eos Chater and cellist Gay-Yee Westerhoff are from the U.K. They all play high-tech, state-of-the-art electronic instruments. Bond's second and latest album Shine blends classical melodies and dance beats with sounds from the Middle East, Spain and the "Bollywood-style" film music from India. They even arranged their own version of Led Zeppelin's Arabic-flavored rock classic, Kashmir, with an accompanying music video that features dancers and a "Bollywood" film set.

Bond's popularity soared in the U.S. when their music was used in routines by figure skaters at this year's Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, and as background audio by the producers of the telecasts of the Games.

Bond has performed all over the world, including outdoor shows in New York City's Times Square and in a New Year's Eve snowstorm at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Earlier this year, they stole the show at the MTV Asia Awards in Singapore.

Bond has just finished a tour of schools in Europe, where they introduced children to classical and orchestral rock music. Some of the students had never seen or touched violins, violas and cellos before.

To launch their latest CD, Bond recently played a few tunes for a sold-out audience at a London nightclub. They're already booking dates for their world tour, which begins in January. The long-haired women of Bond are also featured in a new advertising campaign for Clairol shampoo.