NEWS

2012-02-10

Cello Wars

A WACKY musician has proved he definitely has the force with this amazing Star Wars tribute featuring cellos being played with lightsabers - which has become an internet sensation. 

The hilarious video, by American classical musician Steven Sharp Nelsen, even features an accordion-playing Darth Vader as well as a cello-playing Chewbacca - and has attracted millions of online views. 

Steven, who has recorded on hundreds of different albums and performs over 100 shows every year, filmed the spoof video after being inspired by his six-year-old son, and big George Lucas fan, Eli.

The four-minute long video stars 34-year-old Steven playing tunes from the hit movie series in duelling roles as a Jedi and Sith cello player, complete with luminous lightsaber bows. 

Speaking about what he described as the most challenging project of his career, Steven said: "The motivation between all of what we are doing now is fun. It was a tremendous amount of effort.

"The video shoot itself was 24 hours straight. We started at 10am and ended about 10am the next day. 

"We only had so much time because we were borrowing the green screen studio so it was a lot of work.

"I remember getting half way through it and thinking I don't know if I will make it. It was actually the most challenging thing I've ever done."

Steven admitted the halfway point of the video was the most challenging part of the shoot but says he was glad he had someone close to his heart to keep inspiring him to finish the parody in the shape of his son Eli.

"Eli is a big Star Wars fan," added Steven.

"He's only seen two of the six movies by he loves the concept. The good versus evil thing is so clear cut in Star Wars and he just gets so excited about it.

"I use it as analogies to tell him truths about the world and how to behave."

Created by music store The Piano Guys, which consists of just five guys, the tribute video has gone viral across the world - with a staggering 3,879,165 views on YouTube since it was uploaded in December and people queuing up to praise Steven's skills.

One fan, using the name Mrcosmiccereal, commented: "This is by far the nerdiest thing I have ever seen, but it is incredible no doubt. 

"The cello is an incredibly beautiful instrument, and to be able to play it with as much soul and talent as Steven Sharp Nelson is mind-blowing!!!"

Another YouTube viewer, TheRIK731, said: "My brother and sister want to take cello lessons because of you, Steven! Thank you!"

Although the video was expected to be finished in a matter of weeks, complex production meant it took 70 days, more than 7,000 frames, 72 audio tracks, and 24 hours of filming through the night before the parody was even close to completion. 

The video, which took over 1,000 hours to edit, features five of composer John Williams' Star Wars movie themes - including 'The Imperial March' from The Empire Strikes Back, 'May the Force Be With You' and the 'Star Wars Main Theme'.

The scores for all six Star Wars films, which count among the most widely known and popular contributions to modern film music, were written by John Williams - from 1977 to 1983 for the Original Trilogy and again from 1999 to 2005 for the Prequel Trilogy.

Despite his recent online fame, the parody's star Steven is no stranger to the stage - with his unique "cello-percussion" technique combined with an emotional and passionate style earning him a place in front of sold-out audiences across the globe.

The married father-of-three, who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, has released three acclaimed albums - with his debut, 'Sacred Cello' featuring among Billboard's top 20 classical recordings in the world in 2006.

After recording with professional performing ensembles, including a project alongside the China Philharmonic Orchestra, Steven shot to fame as 'YouTube star' in 2009 when he worked alongside Jon Schmidt. 

And since joining forces with The Piano Guys, the talented musician has gathered over 10 million Youtube views overall and releases new videos every week - with his first solo video 'The Cello Song' featuring among YouTube's top ten videos on the web.