Kate Bush tribute

‘Wuthering Heights’ flash mob to (dramatically) take over Somersworth

NH Weekend Editor
July 11. 2018 1:26PM
During last year's Kate Bush Day celebration in Somersworth, Emmett Soldati, owner of othe Teatotaller cafe on High Street, leads dancers in a recreation of the British singer's iconic campy music video for her 1978 hit "Wuthering Heights." 

SOMERSWORTH — Forty years ago, British singer Kate Bush beckoned the world onto the “wiley, windy moors” with “Wuthering Heights,” both amusing and confusing people with her distinctive vocals and quirky music video.

But fans of the eclectic singer and lyricist are a loyal bunch, and for a third year flash mobs big and small plan to overtake corners of Norway, Sweden, England, New Zealand, Australia ... and New Hampshire’s Somersworth.

So on Saturday — Kate Bush Day — keep an eye out for people in flowing red dresses and black hip scarves making some overly-dramatic hand gestures and body undulations on Saturday on High Street.

The theatrical Bush — whose “Wuthering Heights” topped music charts in her native England and other countries in 1978 — based her emotive ballad on writer Emily Bronte’s 19th-century tale of love found and lost on the unforgiving moors. (“Heathcliff, it’s me, I’m Cathy, I’ve come home, I’m so cold, let me in your window ...”). Bush’s undulations and high-hitching voice has both a haunting, feel and a child-like essence.

The downtown Somersworth dance, to take place outside of the Teatotaller cafe, is choreographed again by Seacoast dance director Sarah Duclos of Neoteric Dance Collaborative.

The event is free and open to all who want to participate. Just arrive by 10 a.m. for quick instructions on bewitching dance moves. The full performance will begin at 11 a.m., and spectators are encouraged.

“Definitely one of the silliest things I’ve done,” Duclos joked in a press release for the event.

The first year of the Somersworth celebration found three dancers recreating Bush’s overly dramatic choreography on a sidewalk outside the Teatotaller, 69 High St.

The 2017 tribute found a half dozen performers memorably performing the routine on an outdoor stage. That group was led by the mustached and bearded Emmett Soldati, owner of the Teetotaler, who donned not only the requisite red dress and black scarf but topped off the ensemble with a red ball cap and red sneakers — along with a dash of Bush’s unabashedly campy earnestness.

Go to youtube.com/watch?v=NGJWTMqMC4o to see the rendition, but first do an online search for Bush’s original music video to appreciate how dedicated the Granite State group is to her choreography. Bush actually did two videos for “Wuthering Heights,” but the red-dress version has become the iconic vision of the song. (As a side note, Pat Benatar did a cover of “Wuthering Heights” on her 1980 “Crimes of Passion” album.)

“It’s a lot of fun,” Soldati said. “Most of our staff are hard-core Kate Bush fans, and this is an extra way to celebrate her creativity and eccentricity.”

And for those too shy to dance, Kate Bush-themed treats, including Red Velvet Waffles and Chocolate Ganache Macaron, will be served at the cafe, where her greatest hits will be playing all day. The singer’s catalog includes “Running Up that Hill,” “This Woman’s Work,” “Babooshka” and “Don’t Give Up.”

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