The Center for the Arts at the College of Staten Island presents Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul on Saturday, March 1 at 8:00pm. Tickets are $35, $40, and $45.
Ivers has established herself as the greatest promoter of the Irish fiddle in the world today. Her virtuosity gained international recognition with her mesmerizing musical performance in Riverdance and her acclaim as a founding member of Cherish the Ladies, an all-woman folk group. She appears for one night only at the Center for the Arts with her band, Immigrant Soul, and dancers Niall O’Leary and Caitlin McNeill from the Niall O’Leary School of Irish Dance. Ivers and her band are by no means limited to one genre, drawing heavily on Celtic traditions while employing elements of jazz, rock, reggae, and various world roots for their own unique style.
Ivers, an audience favorite, has toured the world and performed with diverse artists and ensembles such as The Chieftains, Hall & Oates, Afro Celt Sound System, Paddy Maloney, Patti Smith, Paula Cole, Al Di Meola, the Boston Pops Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, and the National Symphony at The Kennedy Center.
Born in the Irish enclave of Woodlawn in the Bronx, Ivers’s first love was Irish music. She was nine years old when she won the All-Ireland first-place medal for banjo playing, and second-place for fiddle. Ivers proceeded to win nine All-Ireland fiddle championships, a tenth on tenor banjo, and over 30 championship medals, making her one of the most awarded persons ever in these prestigious competitions.
She always credits her success to her teacher, the famed Limerick-born fiddler, Martin Mulvihill. “…it’s thanks to Martin that I played in Riverdance at Radio City Music Hall. He’s still part of the way I play—the rhythm is everything. Martin always said, ‘Don’t get fancy until you have the rhythm down and you get the feel of the music, she recalls.'” “You ain’t got a thing if you don’t got the swing—that’s what he told me. The way I play definitely had to do with the years I spent with different rock bands, playing jazzy things. I was much more open to other influences,” she adds.
In 1999, Ivers established a touring production to present the music that now encompasses Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul. This mix of African and Latin percussion and bass, Irish instrumentalists, and American soulful vocals headlines major performing arts centers, guest stars with numerous symphonies, performs at major festivals worldwide, and has appeared on national and international television. The L.A. Times proclaims, “Ivers’s 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’s recording credits include over 80 contemporary and traditional albums and numerous movie scores and she has appeared on numerous network television shows. She has performed for presidents and royalty worldwide. Her latest CD, entitled Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul, continues to display why Ivers is hailed as one of the great innovators and pioneers in the Celtic and World music genres.
Eileen Ivers: acoustic and electric violin, speaking vocals
Tommy McDonnell: lead vocals, blues harmonica, percussion
Buddy Connolly: accordion, whistles, keyboard
Greg Anderson: acoustic guitar, background vocals
Leo Traversa: electric bass, background vocals
Bronx, New York native Tommy Mc Donnell (lead vocals, Blues harmonica, percussion) is an inspired vocalist who brings a deeply soulful aspect to the multidimensional thrust of the Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul. McDonnell was a member of the original Blues Brothers Band with Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman, and a host of music legends.
A multi-instrumentalist and producer from the musical melting pot of New York City, Greg Anderson (acoustic guitar, background vocals) is a mainstay in the folk and traditional music worlds. He has worked with Cathie Ryan, Susan McKeown, Richard Shindell, Tommy Sands, Seán Tyrrell, and Steeleye Span fiddler Peter Knight, among others.
Three-time All-Ireland accordion champion Buddy Connolly (accordion, whistles, keyboards) hails from Newark, New Jersey. As a freelance musician, Connolly tours all over the U.S. with many bands. In 1995, he moved to Nashville and was introduced to bluegrass, Cajun, and country music. There were worldwide recordings with the likes of Tim O’Brien, Kathy Mattea, Rodney Crowell, Christian rockers Ceili Rain, Orleans, Matt Molloy (Chieftains), Jo-El Sonnier, and many others.
A native New Yorkers, Leo Traversa (electric bass, background vocals) is a founding and current faculty member of the Bass Collective in New York City; he has taught at the Collective since 1987. His extensive knowledge of a variety of musical genres and cultures and his mastery of their playing techniques makes him one of the most versatile and proficient bassists on the scene today. He has also garnered many television, film, and Broadway credits.
Niall O’Leary TCRG, ADCRG is a former All-Ireland and World Champion step-dancer from Dublin, Ireland. Featured in Irish America magazine’s Top 100, he is the director of the Niall O’Leary School of Irish Dance in New York City, where he teaches children and adults of all ages and levels the latest style and technique in Irish dance. He performs regularly as a solo artist and with his dance company, the Niall O’Leary Irish Dance Troupe. He is also an architect.
Caitlin McNeill from Brooklyn is a soloist with the Niall O’Leary Irish Dance Troupe who has performed all over New York in corporate events and festivals. She trained with the Niall O’Leary School of Irish Dance and is also an assistant teacher with the school.
For more information on Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul, visit: www.eileenivers.com
For more information on the Niall O’Leary School of Irish Dance, visit www.nialloleary.com
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Directions to the Center for the Arts (2800 Victory Boulevard, Staten Island, NY 10314):
By Car: The CFA is located within a few minutes’ drive from the Verrazano-Narrows, Goethals, and Bayonne bridges. Take I-278 (the Staten Island Expressway) and exit at Victory Boulevard, proceed to campus parking lots 1 and 2. Parking is free.
By MTA NYC Transit: From Manhattan, the CFA is served by the S62, S61, X10 buses coordinated with the Staten Island Ferry schedule. From Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, the CFA is served the S93 and S53 buses. To plan your trip, use the MTA trip planner at: http://tripplanner.mta.info/.