Fiddler Extraordinaire Eileen Ivers may have crossed many paths growing up in the multicultural melting pot that is the Bronx but I am sure she never encountered a bog much less a bog road in the northern-most borough of New York City. But in recent years, she has spent a lot of time in the West of Ireland near the homes in County Mayo where her parents emigrated from after World War II and bogland is still a valued natural resource in that area. And the time spent there as well as traveling all around the world with her own band, Eileen Ivers and Immigrant Soul and before that as the featured fiddling lead with Riverdance and member of the Green Fields of America ensemble and Cherish the Ladies have given her many opportunities to explore the connections between Irish traditional music and its many strands and mingling with other cultural influences. In particular, the Riverdance phenomenon gave her some valuable experience with a multimedia presentation blended into an explosive --and varied -- music and dance show that has influenced a brand new touring show she is embarking on this month and into the March St. Patrick's season.
"Beyond the Bog Road" is an entertaining and historic display that had a few trial airings last year but Ivers has punched up a full-fledged tour along with 12 other performers to fully debut the concept show that pulls together many facets of the Irish Immigrant experience in North America through its music, song and dance. It started out in Florida and continues to New Hampshire, Utah, Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania (see dates and venues below).
Along with her regular Immigrant Soul Bandmates Tommy McDonnell, Buddy Connolly, Greg Anderson and Leo Traversa (photo right) traveling the Bog Road Tour are special guests like the Dublin singer Niamh Parsons and dancers Matthew Olwell (photo left) and Kristyn Fontanella with behind the scenes video work by DJ Mendel and narration by Dermot Henry.
Bog music was once denigrated as the peasants music from the rural regions of Ireland but just as the simple mud landscape weathered by time and climate brought heat and warmth to the Irish fireside, so too has the music associated with that hearth and home found its way onto the finest stages around the world, often from the fiddle and bow of Ivers, herself.
Beyond the Bog Road tour can be seen at the following venues:
2/24 Hanover, NH Hopkins CenterDartmouth College 603-646-2422
3/01 Logan, UT Cache Valley Center for the Arts 413-448-8084
3/02 Logan, UT Cache Valley Center for the Arts 413-448-8084
3/14 Fairfax, VA Center for the Arts George Mason University 703-993-2787 www.gmu.edu/cfa