The MUSICAL MASTERY Of Great Canadian Duelling Pianos On Canada’s Got Talent

Great Canadian Duelling Pianos is one hell of a stage name, but on Canada’s Got Talent 2024, this two-man piano act encompassed pure teamwork and a musician’s instinct to improvise in all its vibrant force. Pro Toronto-based pianists Joel Lightman and Donavan LeNebat took to Season 4 of CGT completely unprepared, asking the judge panel to pick two songs for them to mash-up and perform medley-style. The result was unexpectedly wholesome!

Joel Lightman and Donovan LeNebat gave a pre-audition interview like no other, reckoning with head judge Howie Mandel that they could win CGT’s million-dollar prize without even rehearsing for their audition. When Howie requested they play Journey’s 1981 hit, “Don’t Stop Believing,” and judge Kardinal Offishall requested they mash it up with “Let It Go” from Disney’s “Frozen,” the audience laughed nervously, but the duo kept their cool.

With both pianos voicing the chords to Journey’s hit, Joel broke into the chorus lyrics of “Let It Go,” instinctively reharmonizing the tune to Journey’s chords without a glimmer of hesitation. Donovan took the reins of “Don’t Stop Believing”’s original pre-chorus lyrics, before recalibrating in harmony for the final chorus — both choruses laid over each other, original melodies and all, crafting a unique pop choir effect.

The judges were shocked, but Howie and Kardinal were especially taken aback, calling the act “magical” and “worthy of a million dollars,” while picking up on how Joel and Donavan pulled off a hip-hop style remix on live instruments. This earned Great Canadian Duelling Pianos four out of four yes votes and over 360k YouTube views on their audition so far!

Great Canadian Duelling Pianos was originally a lockdown project, livestreaming gigs at home to combat the crippling entertainment industry while raising money for charities and small businesses across Canada. Post-lockdown, GCDP found even greater success, performing across both the North American continent and Europe. Donovan eventually replaced GCDP’s original pianist, Cody Fenswick, who didn’t appear in their 2024 audition.

Joel and Donovan’s improvisational skills stem from their colourful careers as professional musicians. Donovan LeNebat is a Grade 9 classical pianist who’s been playing music since the age of three. Raised in a musical family and trained in jazz, Donovan is a seasoned cruise line entertainer, musical director, conductor, teacher and founder of multiple projects including Alt Vox (an up-tempo rock and pop band) and Jack Squat (an 80s cover band).

Joel Lightman, meanwhile, is a 44-year-old British-born Canadian composer and original co-founder of GCDP, boasting over twenty years in the music scene. Alongside his pop-piano solo project, Joel Lightman Band, Joel also performs keyboards, guitars and vocals with Always ABBA (an ABBA tribute act) while appearing as band leader and principal musician for Disney Cruise Lines.

If you enjoyed the unique and talented performance of the Great Canadian Dueling Pianos, you can follow them on their social media platforms. Check out their Instagram account here to stay updated with their latest performances and music collaborations. This duo, comprising of Joel Lightman and Donavan LeNebat, truly know how to put on a show with their impressive piano skills and creative improvisations.

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