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For this Red Bull Music uncut session, Dutch rapper Yung Nnelg came to perform a medley of two songs, Diamonds & Pearls / Serena with a string quintet! I was super excited because the classical strings were right up my alley, and I’ve never recorded classical stringed instruments before. The hip hop string arrangement was composed by Alexander van Popta. It was a unique collaboration! Yung Nnelg was a sweet, wide-eyed and polite guy, and his performance was clean and tight (also interesting with live auto-tune).

The last time I was around classical musicians was probably more than 10 years ago when I still played in an orchestra. How times have changed! The guys had an iPad each instead of sheet music, and two of the players had a foot switch to turn the pages.. The guy playing violin 2 had a 6 (!) string violin and the cellist had her pick-up installed inside the foot of the bridge. It was very interesting to talk to the musicians and see how it is as a string player to make a living in these times.

(A funny thing: I actually played in a music video for Kris Berry with the viola player 5 years ago, and I remembered her because of her name, Mara! How crazy is that?)

See the video below for the released uncut session!

See the gallery below of the set up of the microphones, and the list below of the mics we used:

Vocals: Sennheiser SM7B
Violin 1: Coles 4038 Ribbon Microphone
Violin 2: Coles 4038 Ribbon Microphone
Viola: AKG C451
Cello: Peluso P-12
Double Bass high: AKG C451
Double Bass low: Neumann U-87

Yung Nnelg’s crew:

Producer & String Arranger: Alexander van Popta
Violin 1: Çisem Özkurt
Violin 2: Yannick Hiwat
Viola: Mara Tieles
Cello: Susanne Rosmolen
Double Bass: Thomas Pol
Videographer: Kiet Hoang

For the full article on Red Bull Studios and photos (by Arenda de Hoop) see: https://www.redbull.com/nl-nl/music/Yung-nnelg-klassieke-remix-serena-diamonds-pearls

Recording & mix engineer: Thomas van Opstal
Assistant recording engineer: Janice Wong
Video production: Keanu Haumahu  
Studio manager: Jasper Djosa

Red Bull Studios Amsterdam
Official website: http://www.redbullstudios.com/amsterdam/studio
Address: Atlantisplein 1, 1093 NE Amsterdam

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