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Titanic skit: how a Dublin musician went viral playing violin in an empty toilet roll aisle

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Violinists play in front of an empty toilet roll aisle (Bonnie Von Duyke)

Violinists play in front of an empty toilet roll aisle (Bonnie Von Duyke)

Violinists play in front of an empty toilet roll aisle (Bonnie Von Duyke)

She’s performed on Oscar-nominated movies, but a Dublin musician has become a viral sensation with a skit on the Titanic.

Emer Kinsella from Malahide and her friend Bonnie von Duyke decided to lighten the mood during the coronavirus crisis by playing violin in an empty toilet roll aisle.

Dressed in black suits and wearing life jackets, the duet mimicked the orchestra who played on while the Titanic sank, performing ‘Nearer my God to thee...’

“All the serious projects I do and then this skit explodes and takes over the internet,” Emer says.

“We wanted to create a little bit of warmth in people's lives and take their minds off the constant worry.”

The 32-year-old has been based in Los Angeles for past four years working as a film and TV composer and violinist.

“It feels like we are on a sinking ship right now. We got together and started planning the details together and the costume and the staging. There were people watching and taking videos of us and laughing.

"There were people that were curious and laughing. Everyone has been saying thank so much this has brightened their day. It seems like they are really appreciating it. It shows that music can really touch lives,” she says.

The video recorded of the two professional violinists in Vonn’s supermarket in Santa Monica went viral after being uploaded on social media. It has been picked up by numerous media outlets, including network TV channel, ABC and the BBC.

Just a month ago, she was celebrating after playing violin on an Oscar-nominated documentary film ‘St Louis Superman’. Now Emer is largely out of work for now as the movie and TV industry has gone into lockdown.

Her credits include working on the critically acclaimed Netflix science fiction drama how ‘Sense8’ and the movie ‘Jungle’, starring Daniel Radcliffe.

She composed the music for ‘In Orbit’, directed by Katie McNeice, which premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh and also screened at the Cork Film Festival last year.

She was also on the music team for the Netflix film ‘Go Karts’. which came out on Netflix last week.

Growing up playing the violin from the age of two, Emer attended the Guild Hall School of Music and Drama in London and then moved around Europe, studying at the Vienna University of Music and spending a year in Berlin.

Moving to the US, she completed a masters in film scoring at Columbia College in Chicago, before basing herself in LA.

“Having an Irish native and an American violinist playing together represents a great crossover of culture, especially as we're referencing the Titanic, and we only realised that afterwards,” she says.

From her home in Culver City, next to the famous Venice Beach area in Los Angeles, Emer is in touch with her family at home, but says the situation is “pretty tense” in the US.

“People are kind of avoiding everything and any close contact. It's kind of scary, you see people who are usually friendly. It's obvious everyone is being cautious. Most people are isolating themselves now.

"The big chains of restaurants are only doing take-out. Anywhere else looks a ghost town. Everyone is being very cautious and definitely fearful,” she says.

  • Emer's work can be viewed at emerkinsella.com

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