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Melodic pianist entertains audiences

Sarah Vabulas | Friday, October 17, 2003

What is something you remember from the last vacation you and your family went on together? Well, for many people who stay at the Westin Casuarina Hotel in Grand Cayman, British West Indies, the pianist who tickles the ivories six nights a week is what they vividly remember.

His name is George Davidson. He was born in Toronto, Canada, the last of five children and the only boy. His family moved around about every six months when he was a child. They would travel on ocean liners from the United States to Jersey Island or the North of England.

These travels affected Davidson musically.

“My musical influences came from all over – the Caribbean, Jersey, Canada and the North of England,” Davidson said. “I heard bar music and all types of music on the ocean liners.”

He began taking piano lessons at the age of eight, but he only continued with them for about one or two months before becoming bored. He started again when he was 13 years old and continued with his lessons until the age of 16, when he and his family moved to the Cayman Islands.

“It’s when we lived on the Island of Jersey that I fell in love with the piano,” Davidson said. “I was influenced at age 10, but didn’t start lessons until I was 13.”

The last piano teacher he had played at the Ritz Carlton in Naples, Fla; he encouraged Davidson to get a job as a piano player in a hotel, too. After moving to Cayman, Davidson and his parents were visiting the Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman and he saw a piano in the lobby. He sat down and began to play. The manager walked up and offered him a job, so at age 17, he landed his first position as a pianist.

“I played for the Governor of the Caymans every few months,” Davidson said. “I’ve played for every governor.”

Guests loved to listen to Davidson play the contemporary love songs each night. They loved him so much that they asked him if he had any recordings of his music. Unfortunately, Davidson did not, but it gave him something to work towards. He took down the names of the people interested in purchasing his music.

At age 20, Davidson made his first recording and sent it to the people who had requested it. He also began to sell the CDs to gift shops throughout Florida. He then began to travel throughout the United States, selling CDs to shops and boutiques.

“I’ve sold 50,000 copies now. I didn’t plan on making any CDs except one – then it sold well, so I made more,” Davidson said. “I have seven CDs by myself and two with a Paraguayan harpist named Eugenio Leon. I met him at The Wharf, a restaurant in downtown Georgetown in Cayman, 14 years ago.”

Davidson and Leon spend a couple of months on the road each year, touring through the United States, playing charity concerts. “We started touring about four years ago to raise money for kids,” Davidson said. “Now, we just tour for various fundraisers. We make about $75,000 per year.”

Check Davidson’s Web site, www.georgedavidson.com, for a listing of tour dates for the 2004 year.

Davidson met his wife, Eileen, four and a half years ago while working at the Hyatt. Eileen is from Vancouver, Canada. They dated for about a year and then married. They have been married for three and a half years now. The Davidson’s reside in Grand Cayman.

Davidson is a Yamaha artist. He plays and records on Yamaha Grand Pianos. “I swear by them,” Davidson said. “They are great instruments.”

Not only does Davidson cover popular love songs on his CDs while he plays at the Westin, but he also composes his own originals. One if his most recent composition is a song he wrote for his wife, which appears on his album called “Allure,” which was released in 2001.

“It takes a couple hours to get the melodies just right,” Davidson said. “It only happens every now and then. You have to be in the right mood.”

Davidson plays contemporary love songs, but with a slight twist. “My style of music is different then most,” Davidson said. “Probably from living on the island.”

“Loving You” is one of Davidson’s first releases. This album features two of Davidson’s original compositions, “Rebecca’s Rain,” written for his sister, Rebecca Davidson, who is a professional photographer in Cayman, and “Loving You.”

George’s sister, Rebecca Davidson, shoots most of Davidson’s pictures for his CDs and press. Her Web site is www.rebeccadavidson.com, where you can view her work.

This CD is one of Davidson’s most popular and considered one of his best, if not his best, among Davidson’s fan base.

This CD also features “Somewhere in Time,” the title track from the famed movie and “The Music of the Night,” a song from the popular musical, “The Phantom of the Opera.”

Davidson’s next CD is called “Somewhere In My Heart,” where he plays “Canon in D,” “Phantom Of The Opera,” and his original title track, “Somewhere in Time.”

Davidson’s next release is titled “For The Love of Music,” which contains one original called “Leah’s Tears,” as well as songs from “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Dr. Zhivago,” “Les Misérables” and “Cats.”

After the success of “For The Love of Music,” Davidson recorded “My Heart Will Go On,” which is also one of Davidson’s best. This CD contains “La Belle Isle,” a composition inspired by beautiful, sunny, Grand Cayman Island. The track “Joie de Vivre” is about the joy of life and was written for Davidson’s father. “Mariage d’Amour” or “Marriage of Love” is so precise and meaningful. Yannie’s song “In the Mirror” is also one of the best on the CD.

After these CDs, Davidson and Leon paired up for a release of a CD featuring Davidson on the Grand Piano and Leon playing the Paraguayan Harp. It is a beautiful combination of two talented musicians. Make sure to listen to the hauntingly beautiful “Speak Softly Love,” while “Chi Mia” will become a favorite melody. Leon’s composition, “Winter Rose,” is one of the best. Also remember to listen to “Starry Starry Night,” and two of the Beatles best loved songs, “Yesterday” and “Norwegian Wood.”

Nothing brings the piano to life like the sensitivity of Davidson in his release, “Perhaps Love.” The exquisite melodies of Chopin’s “Etude,” or “La Vie En Rose,” are sure to capture your heart. “Touched” gives the feeling of being under romantic Paris skies. Let Davidson take you to Paris and linger a while, humming along to Brightman and Bocelli’s “Time to Say Goodbye.” The oldie “Unchained Melody,” also makes an appearance on this beautiful CD.

Following the success of “Twin Strings,” Davidson and Leon again paired up for the recording of a second dual album, “Twin Strings II,” which features both contemporary and classical tracks.

On his CD “Allure,” Davidson turns to Lev Ljova, a Russian violist for some extra flare. “Feather Theme,” from the movie “Forrest Gump,” is found on the CD along with many other popular tracks. Classic song “Danny Boy” and Davidson’s melodic original, “Moments in Time,” make the CD worth the listen.

On Davidson’s most recent release, “Reminiscing,” he adds his own special romantic touch, which is sure to make you fall in love with some of your favorite oldies all over again. This is truly a classic and nostalgic release.

Davidson is releasing a CD in December which will feature many Italian songs.

“I’ve just been to Italy for three weeks,” Davidson said. “I wanted to do Italian songs.”

Davidson’s Web site features pictures of his house, his family and his dogs. You can also sample his music, purchase CDs and sheet music. His CDs are also found on Amazon.com. Some reviews of Davidson’s CDs can be found at www.solopianopublications.com.

Some of Davidson’s CDs are going on sale on TV commercials in the U.S. His CDs can be found in 32 different states, including cities in Indiana like Bloomington, Indianapolis and Madison. They can be found in privately owned gift shops and gift boutiques. He recently bought a new Yamaha grand piano for his home in Cayman using the money from his CD sales.

Davidson plays at the Westin in Grand Cayman every night except for Sunday. If you or your parents visit Cayman, be sure to drop in at the Westin for a night and listen to Davidson’s melodic playing, entertaining audiences of all ages and nationalities.

But if you cannot make it to the Cayman Islands to hear Davidson live in person, be sure to visit Davidson’s

Web site at www.geogedavidson.com and purchase a CD or two there. You will not be disappointed.

Contact Sarah Vabulas at vabu4547@saintmarys.edu