bond: Firing Up Classical Music

Four gorgeous women clad in bikinis and colorful sarongs are standing ankle-deep in the waters off Cuba, their lean bodies posed seductively, their hair blowing gently in the coastal breeze. It's a lovely sight, yes, but one we've all seen before. Probably just a photo shoot for a swimsuit calendar or fashion magazine, right? But wait....upon closer inspection it becomes clear that each woman is not only holding a musical instrument, but is also playing it. And playing it well.

Welcome to the world of bond. And we aren't talking the 007 variety. These women aren't mere eye candy to a British womanizer, they're redefining classical music as we all know it. Meet Tania Davis, Gay-Yee Westeroff, Haylie Ecker and Eos (who mysteriously has no last name), the ladies who make up the stunning UK string quartet. Ranging in age from 23 to 26, the bond ladies have taken the UK and the rest of the world by storm with their new brand of classical music, made unique by pulsating dance beats and passionate world rhythms. It's the kind of music that appeals to both 13-year-olds and 63-year-olds -- ageless and captivating.

Consisting of four classically trained musicians, bond performs on electric violins, viola and cello. Bond's debut album, Born, was released in the U.S. in March 2001, after having thrived on the charts (both classical and pop) around the world. Born has gone gold in the UK, France, Australia, Sweden, Italy and Austria and was certified platinum in Turkey and Bulgaria.

But don't expect to find bond playing in the background of a stuffy reception -- these women take center stage and are entrancing performers, grabbing the full attention of the audience, men and women alike.

After rolling into the States in the spring of 2001, bond began a promotional whirlwind tour, including a Jaguar-sponsored concert outside the New York Stock Exchange and a performance at the New York Auto Show, as well as appearances on national television programs like Good Morning America. And add to that the fact that Born hit the top of the Billboard Classical Crossover Chart, ahead of Charlotte Church and Sarah Brightman, and the quartet's mass appeal becomes even more evident.

All of this success was the brainchild of Gay-Yee and Eos, who both used to do backing for pop artists. Gay-Yee performed with Primal Scream, Spice Girls, Talvin Singh, Bryan Adams and Barry Manilow, while Eos played with The Divine Comedy and Cocteau Twins.

"Gay-Yee and I met doing session work since we used to do backing for bands," Eos says, "So we got to talking about the idea of doing a quartet that wasn't just backing, that was up front."

The two girls then met Haylie, who introduced them to fellow Aussie Tania. And just like that, bond was born.

With the flair, good looks and attitude of a rock band and music that could easily play in the hottest dance clubs from London to Ibiza, bond is a group that breaks all boundaries.

"If I were to explain bond to someone, I'd probably call it eclectic," says Tania. "The music is quite a mix. It's a lot of different styles. The producer we've been working with has introduced a lot of different flavors to the music."

From the Latin elements of Quixote (by far one of the best tracks on Born) to house beats of Victory (the group's first single), each song on the album whisks the listener away to a different emotional state, from romantic to relaxing to heart-poundingly upbeat. But the base of the music are the strings, the main component that united all four women in the first place.

"I love classical music and I really enjoy every other style of music as well, so this is ideal for me because it brings all those together," Gay-Lee adds.

Classical music never looked (or sounded) so good.