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Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 13:57 EDT

Will the Real Ms Glennie Please Stand Up?

September 8, 2008

By Marc Horne

IT SOUNDS like the most unlikely musical collaboration since David Bowie teamed up with Bing Crosby. But percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie has revealed plans to perform with rap hell-raiser Eminem.

The classically trained Scottish virtuoso grew up on a idyllic Aberdeenshire farm, while the US hip-hop star had a chaotic upbringing in a tough inner-city trailer park.

Despite their chalk and cheese backgrounds and styles, Glennie is convinced the pair could make beautiful musical together.

Having become one of the world’s most renowned instrumentalists and performers despite being profoundly deaf, she is determined to work with the controversial artist, whose real name is Marshall Mathers.

She said: “Eminem stands up for what he believes in and has pushed musical boundaries. I really want to do a collaboration with him, a double concerto for percussion and rap.”

Her spokeswoman revealed that the Scot was hopeful of teaming up with him in his home city. She said: “Evelyn would love to work with Eminem, perhaps alongside a distinguished orchestra such as the Detroit Symphony.

“We have made approaches and while we understand he is taking a break, we are hopeful that he may link up with Evelyn at some point in the future.”

Glennie has cultivated a wholesome image and was voted Scotswoman of the decade for her international success and tireless dedication to bringing music to youngsters in UK schools and overseas.

The percussionist is the patron of several charities and even made an appearance on the educational US children’s show Sesame Street. Her work was recognised by the Queen in 1993 when she awarded the OBE and last year when she became a Dame.

In sharp contrast, Eminem, known as Slim Shady, dropped out of high school and has battled drug and alcohol dependence as well as being sentenced to community service in relations to weapons charges.

He has become one of the biggest rap artists of all time, selling 70 million albums, despite facing near-constant allegations that his near-the-knuckle lyrics glorify violence, homophobia and misogyny.

Dr Martin Dixon, of Glasgow University’s music department, said of a collaboration: “This would be sensational. Glennie and Eminem are extremely gifted and interesting artists, and it would be fascinating to see how they worked together.”

Ethan Maltby, the director of the percussion group Noise Ensemble was intrigued by the prospect of the unlikely duet. The lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University said: “It would be fantastic to see how it would work out. Can you imagine the audience?”

Adam Gibbs, the owner of the online hip-hop music store Rapshack, thought the idea would find favour with Eminem. He said: “I really think he might do it. Something different like this might appeal to him.”

No one from Eminem’s Shady Records label was available to comment. He has taken a rest from recording in the past couple of years, but a comeback is said to be imminent.

Glennie is touring Germany but will return to Scotland this month for Proms in the Park in Glasgow and a low-key date in the Angus town of Brechin.

TOP 10 STRANGEST DUETS

1 David Bowie and Bing Crosby: At Christmas 1977 the Ziggy Stardust singer beamed down to Earth to record the baffling, but strangely great, ‘Little Drummer Boy’ with ageing crooner Bing.

2 Natalie Cole and Nat King Cole: Young Nat teamed up with her old man for a version of his classic hit ‘Unforgettable’. The trouble is, Nat King had popped his clogs years before. Spooky.

3 Prince and Sheena Easton: The pint-sized Bellshill belter, right, teamed up with the equally diminutive funk genius for the louche disco classic ‘U Got The Look’.

4 Texas and the Wu-Tang Clan: The Staten Island hip-hop crew teamed up with oor Sharlene for ‘Say What You Want’.

5 Sir Cliff Richard and Van Morrison: The famously grumpy Ulster bluesman and Sir Clifford kept it bland with the drippy cod-gospel ‘Wherever God Shines His Light’.

6 Kate Moss and Bobby Gillespie: The Primal Scream frontman got in ahead of Pete Doherty to record ‘Some Velvet Morning’ with the English supermodel.

7 Aerosmith and Run DMC: Hip-hop met hair metal in this raucous reworking of ‘Walk This Way’

8 KLF and Tammy Wynette: The country legend looked utterly bamboozled as she gamely sang ‘Justified And Ancient’ with the Scottish musical pranksters.

9 Leona Lewis and Jimmy Page: Eyebrows were raised when the goody- goody pop pin-up rocked out to ‘Whole Lotta Love’ with the former Led Zeppelin hellraiser during the Beijing Olympics closing ceremony.

10 Paul McCartney and Rupert the Bear: Macca donned checked trews to record the lamentable ‘Frog Chorus’ with Nutwood’s most famous and best-loved anthropomorphic resident.

See epages for “Straight Outta Aberchirder – A Doric Rap”.

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