SOCORRO–Eileen Ivers’s bio reads like its own Who’s Who of Irish/folk music: nine All-Ireland fiddle titles and a 10th on the tenor banjo; more than 30 championship medals, making her one of the most awarded persons ever to compete in these prestigious competitions. Plus, she has a Grammy award, and was nominated for an Emmy.
And in another blockbuster coup for New Mexico Tech, the Performing Arts Series has booked this amazing musician for one of the first shows in her “Scatter the Light Tour.” Eileen Ivers and her ensemble will perform at Macey Center at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 25.
“We at PAS always try to schedule a Celtic band for the season,” said Ronna Kalish, director. “We are super excited to be able to bring this amazing artist and her band to Socorro as part of a statewide New Mexico tour, and, yes, there will be dance space available.”
A special treat is a pre-show Lucky Irish social hour featuring Bangers & Mash with soda bread for $10, plus an Irish drink special at the cash bar. The event will be complete with an Irish dance demo and you may possibly learn to dance an Irish jig if you’re willing. Advance tickets and/or an rsvp are required and may be purchased at nmt.edu/pas.
The daughter of Irish immigrants, Eileen Ivers was born and grew up in the Bronx, N.Y. By the age of 8, Ivers was already very involved in playing violin; when she was 9, she won her first All-Ireland medal for playing banjo.
She was “discovered” and mentored by Martin Mulvihill, a native of Limerick, Ireland, who never competed or played for large audiences but instead sought out young talent to educate. By the time she was 12, she had her first recording and also was playing in a Ceilidh band called Erin Og.
Ivers was graduated magna cum laude in Mathematics from Iona College, which in 2019 awarded her an honorary degree of Doctor of Arts for her “lifelong commitment to innovation, excellence and deep dedication to bringing people together through music.”
Being from a culturally-diverse community, Ivers immersed herself in the different genres of music which she experienced growing up. After college, Ivers began playing in Irish pubs, then on the festival circuit, where she met and played with well-known musicians such as Seamus Egan and Mick Moloney.
While gaining recognition for various gigs as well as her band, Cherish the Ladies, Ivers soon was collaborating with various artists, including Daryl Hall and John Oates, guesting on the 1990 Hall & Oates album “Change of Season.” Three months after the album’s release, Ivers joined the Hall & Oates band for a year-long tour across Europe, Australia and Japan.
Back in New York, Ivers worked with other notables, such as John Doyle and Kimati Dinizulu, whose background in the African-American tradition surprisingly blended well with Ivers’ Irish fiddling. Playing a mix of Irish/African music, the two became regulars at Paddy Reilly’s Manhattan bar on Monday nights. Ivers continued to experiment and broaden the definition of Irish music by playing with the band Paddy A Go Go, a Celtic/hip-hop/rap group.
Among her credits is the international hit Riverdance, where she was the fiddler. Her recording credits include more than 80 contemporary and traditional albums and numerous movie scores. She’s been called a “sensation” by Billboard magazine and “the Jimi Hendrix of the violin,” by The New York Times. “She electrifies the crowd with a dazzling show of virtuoso playing,” says The Irish Times.
“Perhaps it was the mathematical mind coupled with her passion for seeking parallels in certain traditional music styles that contributed to what has become Eileen’s signature sound: A beautiful and enthralling mélange clearly grounded in traditional Irish music that embraces the rhythms of African, Latin and American roots music in a natural way,” says World Music Central.
Ivers and her ensemble headline prestigious performing arts centers, guest star with numerous symphonies, perform at major festivals worldwide, and have appeared on national and international television. The L.A. Times proclaims, “Ivers’ presentation was music with the kind of life and spirit that come together when talented artists from different backgrounds find the linkages that connect all forms of music … no wonder the audience loved every minute.”
Ivers will change the way you think about the violin, she promises. The concert at NM Tech is sponsored by Bob and Kathy Markwell, Jon Morrison and NM Tech Student Government Association. Tickets to the PAS evening are available online. For more information, visit their website nmt.edu/pas, or call 575-835-5688 or email [email protected].
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