Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Eileen Ivers - WOW!!!!

We had two friends call us to say that we need to see this violinist, Eileen Ivers. She was playing at the Denver Irish festival in a local park. It 95 degrees out, so it took that second call to drag us out into the heat. The sun wasn't the only thing on fire, I believe I saw smoke coming from Eileen Ivers fiddle.

I was hooked from the first song to the end of the show. I was first caught by how effortlessly she played the violin. The second thing was her immediate energy and great smile. The third and most importantly was music. Even though we could have fried an egg on the sidewalk, the crowd was moving throughout the show and I never thought about giving up my front row seat to hide in the shade.

In thinking about her performance and music, I walked away with a few observations from the show:

- Even though we came to hear a fiddler, it was the whole package that made the show. The band, called the Immigrant Soul was stacked with talented musicians. The violin, while a lead instrument, was only a component of the whole package. I've often seen the reverse when a lead guitarist takes over the show and the rest of the band is window dressing. I watched the guitarist, Greg Anderson, for most of the show. If I had learned to play rhythm like him, I'd still be playing bluegrass music.

- The music was a marriage of different styles. While based in traditional Irish music, flavors of jazz, R+B, and African music were readily apparent. I even heard some acid rock sneaking its way in. She referred to this as "world music." The bottom-line was these different flavors made a gourmet meal that I savored.

- They mixed instrumentals with songs with lyrics. Their lead singer, Tommy McDonnell, had an interesting blend of Irish and R+B influences (I love this "world music"). To make things even better the audience was asked to join in on the choruses for a few songs.

- The whole show exuded energy. Eileen would bounce around the stage while playing amazing rifts. Irish step dancers came on to the stage. This energy spilled out into the audience and a group of kids moved up front to dance. I even remembered some of my old clogging steps.

At the end of the show they announced that they will be playing with the Denver symphony in February. I hope it's really cold so I can warm up by their music. I won't have to be called twice to see this show!!!!

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At 6:35 PM, Anonymous Shawn Shea said...

I whole-heartedly agree with Mr. Oxenford...oh that's right - I'm one of the two people that called to tell him about the show. It WAS an amazingly great show - great music, great heart, energy and that Irish soul thing - elctrifying. A conga line at an Irish festival-- decidedly cool!
If they are ever within a 3 -4 hour drive GO see 'em! Eileen Ivers and Immigrant Soul- MAGICAL!


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