Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman to join Milli Vanilli?
Well, classical musicians Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman are not joining the 1980s pop group Milli Vanilli in the literal sense. But they are joining the ranks of Milli Vanilli and other groups who "lip" synced a live performance.
It was a big gig too. The cellist Ma, along with classic violinist Perlman and two others, performed before Barack Obama took the presidential oath of office on Tuesday.
It sounded great. No one disputes that. What you heard, however, was a recording (see video below).
No, it's not as though they thought they'd get stage fright and end up sounding like a garage band. It was the weather. Try 28 degrees at game time.
And sure, the Green Bay Packers might excel on the frozen tundra in Green Bay, but it's not the same thing for classical musicians. Things can happen with instruments out there in the cold. Strings can snap, instruments can break, and freaky sounds can occur unexpectedly.
So they had to pre-record it.
No other way
Ma wasn't thrilled by this, but he said because the stakes were so high that there was no alternative.
“I really wanted to do something that was absolutely physically and emotionally and, timing-wise, genuine,” Ma told the New York Times. “We also knew we couldn’t have any technical or instrumental malfunction on that occasion. A broken string was not an option. It was wicked cold.” (Ma lives in Massachusetts.)
Perlman put it more bluntly. "It would have been a disaster if we had done it any other way," he said.