Tag Archives: United States of America

Artist Profiles: Grey Larsen

Grey Larsen

Grey Larsen discovered Irish music in the early 1970’s and then embarked on a passionate and devoted journey that continues to this day. In the ensuing decades he has become one of the United States’most highly regarded flute players. His accomplishments in the field and compositions in the tradition are equally respected by musicians in Ireland, the United States, and across the globe. He has written a comprehensive book series on the art of Irish flute and tin whistle playing for Mel Bay Publications exploring both techniques and philosophies of playing and presenting his own new notation system for flute and whistle ornamentation.

Grey was a longtime member of the renowned group Metamora with Malcolm Dalglish and Pete Sutherland, with whom he recorded three albums and toured extensively. His collaboration with French Canadian singer, guitarist and foot percussionist Andre Marchand resulted in their award winning album The Orange Tree.

Grey Larsen offers concert performances, master classes, lecture-demonstrations, seminars, residencies, curtain talks and private lessons. He also demonstrates the hosting of traditional Irish music “sessions”, the social institution that more than any other keeps the Irish musical tradition alive.

Grey is at home on half a dozen instruments and in several musical styles. He currently records, produces, and masters recordings, scores films, and edits music for various books and for Sing Out magazine.

Grey Larsen plays Irish flute, tin whistles, Anglo concertina, harmonium, field organ, and piano.

Discography:

Banish Misfortune, with Malcolm Dalglish (June Appal Records 1976)

The First of Autumn, with Malcolm Dalglish (June Appal Records, 1978)

Thunderhead, with Malcolm Dalglish (Flying Fish Records, 1983)

Metamora, with Metamora ( Sugar Hill Records, 1985)

The Gathering (Sugar Hill Records, 1986)

The Great Road, with Metamora (Sugar Hill Records, 1987)

Morning Walk, with Metamora (Windham Hill Records, 1988)

Helpless Heart, with Maura O’Connell (Warner Brothers Records, 199)

The Orange Tree, with Andre Marchand (Sugar Hill Records, 1993)

The Green House, with Paddy League (2001)

Dark of the Moon (Sleepy Creek Music, 2003)

Les Marionnettes (Sleepy Creek Music, 2004)

Cross the Water (Sleepy Creek Music, 2007)

website: www.greylarsen.com

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Artist Profiles: Goran Ivanovic Group

Goran Ivanovic

The members of the Goran Ivanovic Group group have a diverse and experienced background. Each musician brings a unique musical perspective to the band including jazz, classical, Balkan, Gypsy, and klezmer sensibilities. Formed in 2003, the group’s orthodox instrumentation has forged a sound which ignores borders that traditionally separate nations, cultures, and epochs. The group has created a musical idiom of its own imagining.

They have all performed on stages around the world and have collaborated with countless artists including Wynton Marsalis, Danilo Perez, Bob Moses, and Fareed Haque. In the Chicago area, members of the band regularly perform at prestigious venues such as the Chicago Symphony Center, The Metro, The Green Mill, Hothouse, Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago Cultural Center, Martyr’s, and The Double Door. The band just completed a tour of the Northeast and is looking forward to a fall tour, which includes a performance with Grammy winning guitarist Pat Metheny.

Goran Ivanovic is well known to guitar audiences throughout the US and Europe. As a soloist he has performed in major cities including San Francisco, Portland, Dallas, Cincinnati, Dayton, New York, Boston, and Detroit. In addition he has performed benefit concerts for various charity institutions. He has given numerous master classes around the country, and continues to broaden guitar repertoire by arranging and composing original material. Three records have been released under his name and he has collaborated on number of records as a special guest.

Discography:

Goran Ivanovic Trio (2015)

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Artist Profiles: Gogol Bordello

Gogol Bordello

Singer-songwriter Eugene Hutz arrived to the US from Ukraine after an epic seven-year trek through Eastern Europe refugee camps to escape the Chernobyl meltdown.

In 1996 Hutz landed in New York City and met the musicians who became Gogol Bordello. The band’s international underground reputation grew quickly due to their innovative blend of Eastern European Gypsy and Western culture and a stage show that resembles a three-ring circus of surreal stimuli.

Eugene Hutz – vocals, acoustic guitar

Sergey Rjabtzev – violin, vocals

Oren Kaplan – guitar, vocals

Eliot Ferguson – drums

Yuri Lemeshev – accordion

Rea Mochiach – bass

Discography

Voi-La Intruder (Rubric Records, 1999)
Multi Kontra Culti vs. Irony (Rubric Records, 2002)
Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike (SideOneDummy Records, 2005)
Super Taranta! (SideOneDummy Records, 2007)
Live from Axis Mundi (SideOneDummy Records, 2009),
Trans-Continental Hustle (American Recordings, 2010)
Pura Vida Conspiracy (2013)

www.gogolbordello.com

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Artist Profiles: Glen Velez

Glen Velez

Glen Velez is a master drummer, composer and educator. He won three Grammy awards and is considered one of the most influential percussionists of our time, as well as being responsible for a world-wide resurgence in the popularity of the frame drum.

He was born in Texas, of Mexican American ancestry. He moved to New York City in the late 196s. Although he began as a jazz drummer, he felt a strong attraction towards hand drums, especially frame drums.

Glen has also gained international recognition as a solo artist and is also known for his 15 year recording and performing collaborations with composer Steve Reich, as well as the Paul Winter Consort.

His teaching and performances inspired the Remo Drum Co. in 1983 to develop a line of frame drums called the Glen Velez signature Series. The Cooperman Drum Co. introduced a hand made Signature Series Glen Velez Tambourine and Frame Drum line in 1999.

In 1989, twentieth century composer, John Cage acknowledged Velez’ mastery when he wrote a piece especially for him, entitled “Composed Improvisation for One-sided Drum with or without Jingles.”

Other collaborations include: Tan Dun, Israel Philharmonia, Brooklyn Philharmonia, Opera Orchestra of New York, Suzanne Vega Pat Metheny Zakir Hussain, New York City Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Orpheus Chamber Ensemble.

Glen Velez

His own compositions have been featured on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and John Schaefer’s New Sounds and have been commissioned by the Rockefeller Foundation, Jerome Foundation, and Reader’s Digest. He has written music for theater and dance and recorded hundreds of albums on ECM, CBS, RCA, GRP, Warner Brothers, Deutsche Gramophone, Geffen, Nonesuch, Capital, and Sony.

Glen has several instructional videos, 5 instructional books and over a dozen recordings of his own music on CMP, Music of the World, Sounds True, Interworld, Ellipsis Arts and DafTof Records. Glen is a master teacher who conducts workshops worldwide and has published numerous books and articles on the subject.

Velez developed his own teaching approach called The Handance Method. It incorporates voice and body movement into the process of learning to play the frame drum and has been presented in hundreds of universities worldwide. He currently teaches frame drums at the Mannes School of Music, as well as series of master classes at The Julliard School and Manhattan School of Music.

While Glen draws upon the great drumming traditions of the Middle East, South India and the Mediterranean world (ancient and modern), he plays in a style all his own. Utilizing a vast culmination of complex hand and finger techniques, a symphony of sounds and textures remarkably stream forth from just a single hand held drum. Glen’s solos seem supernatural, a technical rarity that is beyond comprehension. However, beyond all the jaw-dropping spectacle of Glen’s super-human techniques, is a music that is so deeply emotional, a raw beauty, that perhaps, within it’s core, resides the most universal rhythm of all – the heart beat.

Glen is also an expert in Central Asian Overtone Singing (split-tone/harmonic singing). During concerts, he often gives his audiences a spontaneous crash course in this style, thus resulting into a spirited interactive overtone choir.

Glen Velez regularly performs and records with Trio Globo – featuring Eugene Friesen and Howard Levy; Coleman Barkes, world renown scholar/translator of the poetry of Rumi; Glen Velez Ensemble; Duo performances with vocalist/rhythm singer Lori Cotler – songs from their new recording are available on iTunes.

Discography:

Handdance (Music of the World, 1983)

Musica Esporadica (Nocd Records, 1985)

Internal Combustion (Schematic, 1985)

Seven Heaven (CMP, 1987)

Assyrian Rose (CMP, 1989)

Doctrine of Signatures (CMP, 1991)

Ramana (Nomad Records/Music of the World, 1991)

Mokave 2 (Audioquest, 1993)

Border States (1993)

Pan Eros (CMP, 1993)

Trio Globo, with Trio Globo (Silver Wave, 1994)

Carnival of Souls, with Trio Globo (Silver Wave, 1995)

Rhythmcolor Exotica (Ellipsis Arts, 1996)

Rhythms of the Chakras (Sounds True, 1998)

Ettna (Nomad Records/Music of the World, 1999)

Breathing Rhythms (Sounds True, 2000)

Rhythms of Awakening (Sounds True, 2005)

Rhythms of the Chakras 2 (Sounds True, 2008)

Steering by the Stars, with Trio Globo (Stonecutter Records, 2010)

www.glenvelez.com

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Artist Profiles: Gingger

Gingger

Gingger, an extraordinary gifted virtuoso violinist, singer and songwriter, toured since 1996 as a member of the pop duo, “Shankar & Gingger”, and as a solo and guest performer in many shows, winning over fans and critics alike. She has also lent her voice, violin and compositions to several album projects.

Born in Los Angeles, Gingger spent her beginnings studying within one of India’s most acclaimed musical families. Her initial training began with her mother, an accomplished singer, who toured the world and won many awards as a classical star. She began teaching Gingger from the time she was a baby.

Between the coaching from her mother and grandfather (violin), and her extensive training in classical Indian violin, opera, western classical music, piano, pop and world music, Gingger has developed a musical style all her own, yet one that encompasses all of these genres and creative experiences.

Discography:

Enlightenment, with L. Shankar, Zakir Hussain, Vikku Vinayakram (2003)
Anywhere But Here (2010)

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Artist Profiles: Gaelic Storm

Gaelic Storm

Gaelic Storm gained international success thanks to its 1997 appearance as the “steerage band” in Titanic. The band landed the part while they were still drinking pints and playing weekly at O’Brien’s, the pub in their adopted home of Santa Mónica, California. After years of playing together, co-founders Murphy (vocals, piano, accordion, spoons, harmonica) and New Yorker Steve Wehmeyer (bodhran, vocals, didjeridu) settled on a permanent line-up on St. Patrick’s Day 1996, including Englishmen Shep Lonsdale (drums and percussion) and Steve Twigger (guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, vocals). Gaelic Storm’s recent addition, Kathleen Keane, a Chicago native born to Irish parents, has been playing since she was five and step dancing since she was seven years old. She plays tin whistle, fiddle, flute and button accordion and singing harmony vocals.

Since then, they’ve splayed at the largest and most prestigious Irish festivals in the United States and played for thousands in concert halls, performing arts centers and universities worldwide.

Though huge crowds initially shocked the band, Gaelic Storm is as accessible as ever, signing autographs after every show and visiting personally with their fans. “At the performing arts centers, we invite the audience out for a beer at the local bar across the street or the best Irish pub,” Murphy says. “It’s another way to meet and greet and get to know them better.”

The reason for their popularity is the band’s combination of Folk, Pop and World music influenced interpretations of Irish classics alongside poignant, well-crafted originals.

It was Gaelic Storm’s first effort with producer Jim Cregan (Rod Stewart). “At our first meeting at O’Brien’s, we were most impressed with his Guinness drinking abilities,” Wehmeyer joked. “Once we ascertained he could drink with the band, we said, ‘You’ve got the job. Now what kind of producer are you? “’

“Then we were playing in Ireland when he was in England. He made a great effort to get to Ireland and see us there. Once he saw us, he got us immediately. In terms of our stage show and performances, he knew our strong points,” Wehmeyer said.

As producer, Cregan guided the band to new levels of excellence in songwriting and musical performance. “We gave him a sense of where we wanted to go in a way we’d already built, both live and recording,” Wehmeyer said. “What’s exciting is that Celtic music has never been a limiting genre. It’s always been adaptive and creative. “[Cregan] played to our strengths and knew untapped potential we were able to bring out.”

Discography:

Gaelic Storm (Higher Octave Music, 1998)
Herding Cats (Higher Octave Music, 1999)
Tree (Higher Octave Music, 2001)
Special Reserve (Higher Octave Music, 2003)
How Are We Getting Home? (Lost Again Records, 2004)
Bring Yer Wellies (Lost Again Records, 2006)
What’s The Rumpus? (Lost Again Records, 2008)
Cabbage (Lost Again Records, 2010)
Chicken Boxer (Lost Again Records, 2012)

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Artist Profiles: Eric Rigler

Eric Rigler

Eric Rigler is a well known piper who has performed for numerous Hollywood films and pop stars. He has been described as the most recorded piper of all time. Rigler is constantly in demand in studios, providing the sonorities of the uilleann pipes, the Great Highland bagpipe and the low whistle to film, television and recording audiences around the world.

Rigler is the son of a Scottish father and an Irish mother” although he was adopted by a California family. At age seven Rigler began to play the Highland bagpipe. In his early teens he won the California state amateur championship. He later moved to Scotland in 1984 to broaden his knowledge and lived there until 1986. He won the reputable Dunvegan Gold Medal on the Isle of Skye and the first Young Piper of the Year award from The Famous Grouse Whisky. While in Scotland Rigler studied the Irish uilleann pipes.

Eric Rigler is one of the founders of Bad Haggis. It is a band that plays a fusion of the most cutting-edge Celtic with influences of Alternative Rock African World Beat vocal and groove-based stylings.

Eric Riglers sounds can be hard on familiar movies such as Troy, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, The Road to Perdition, Titanic, Braveheart, and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. He has also recorded for CDs by Josh Groban, Phil Collins, Rod Stewart, Ruben Blades, Barbra Streisand, and Tracy Chapman.

Discography:

Celtic Spirit (1998)

Celtic Carols (1999)

A Highland Christmas (Brentwood 2001)

Celtic Aire Christmas (2010)

An Irish Christmas (2011)

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Artist Profiles: Eric Bibb

Eric Bibb

Eric Bibb, already enjoying success in Europe, is becoming a familiar face, and voice, on the U. S. acoustic folk-blues scene. His unique talent continues to draw critical acclaim around the world. Twice nominated for the W. C. Handy awards and winner of the “Best Newcomer” title in the British Blues awards, Bibb has been appropriately described as “discreetly awesome” and “a total original.” As his popularity escalates, earlier comparisons to legendary greats Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal are being replaced by quotes that speak to Bibb’s ability to “use standard blues ingredients to cook up something all his own.”

Born in 1951, Bibb is a native New Yorker with deep roots in American Blues and Folk tradition. He is the son of ‘6s folk and musical theatre singer and television personality, Leon Bibb. His uncle was world famous jazz pianist/composer, John Lewis, of the Modern Jazz Quartet, and singer/actor/activist Paul Robeson was his godfather. Surrounded by major musical figures of the day, the young Bibb was inspired and influenced by Odetta, Richie Havens, Pete Seeger, Earl Robinson, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Judy Collins and many others.

Bibb got his first steel stringed guitar when he was seven. By junior high school, he was consumed by music. At age 16, Bibb’s father invited him to play guitar in the house band for his television show “Someone New.” Later years found Bibb playing guitar for the Negro Ensemble Company in 1969 at St. Mark’s Place in New York. He left for Paris at age 19, making his way playing in restaurants, traveling from Paris to Sweden, settling in Sweden in the ‘7s. He returned to New York for a brief 5-year stay in the ‘8’s, where he continued writing and opening for headliners such as The Persuasions, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Tania Maria and Etta James.

Bibb’s first signing was to BMG-Sweden as a writer, in the early ‘8s. He later signed to the independent Swedish label Opus 3, producing several albums; Spirit & The Blues and Good Stuff were recently released in the United States on EarthBeat!, helping to place Bibb more prominently in the international spotlight. Bibb went to London in 1996 at the invitation of the London Blues Festival. Since then, he has toured the world, enjoying success in the UK, USA, Canada, France, Sweden, Ireland and Germany, appearing on major television shows and radio programs. Bibb has performed at many major festivals including Glastonbury, The Barbican American Festival, The Guinness Blues Festival, Midfytns Festival, Cognac Blues Festival, Vancouver Folk Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Seattle’s Earshot Jazz Festival, Chicago World Music Festival, Bull Durham Blues Festival, San Francisco Jazz Festival and others. He has toured the United States and Canada on bills headlined by Robert Cray.

A performance by Eric Bibb is an enriching experience–both musically and spiritually. His music, like his personality, is intimate, assured and passionate, drawing listeners into the moment more as participants than spectators. It is not uncommon for the audience to be left standing and wanting more.

Bibb’s rich and sensitive vocals and lyrics provide a perfect balance to his fine fingerpicking technique. Purveying a beautifully realized and deftly accomplished soulful and gospel-infused folk-blues, Bibb has no problem blending various genres effortlessly, melding a traditional rootsy American style with a subtle, contemporary sensibility.

Bibb continues to tour at festivals and notable venues throughout Europe and in the U. S. and Canada.

Eric is one of the new, young singers that has appeared on the scene that, much to my delight, has a great voice, is an excellent performer, and has a great knowledge about the roots of this music. I love him. He is highly regarded amidst a select group of young, new, black interpreters of this music.” Taj Mahal

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Artist Profiles: Eileen Ivers

Eileen Ivers – Photo by Patrick McBride

Eileen Ivers – The musical star of Riverdance and currently a sensation in Europe, Eileen Ivers is the most successful American-born competitor in the history of the all-Ireland championships. Along with her thirty medals, Eileen Ivers won seven All-Ireland fiddle titles and an eighth on the tenor banjo. The native New Yorker displays a breathtaking technical range and refreshing choice of repertoire.

Born in the Irish community of the Bronx, New York, Eileen Ivers began playing fiddle at the age of eight and eventually studied with famed Limerick-born fiddler Martin Mulvihill.

As an Irish-American raised in an ethnically diverse Bronx neighborhood, Eileen was forever intrigued by the multicultural sounds of her childhood environs. After graduating magna cum laude in Mathematics from lona College, Eileen passionately immersed herself in the myriad of musical genres that had once filled her young ears. 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 melange clearly grounded in traditional Irish music that embraces the rhythms of African. Latin and American roots music in a natural way.

Eileen Ivers in 2006

Eileen was a founding member of the all-woman Celtic folk group Cherish the Ladies and has been a member of such notable bands as, Hall and Oates, The Green Fields of America, and Chanting House before joining the World Wide hit show Riverdance.

On her album Crossing the Bridge, Ivers collaborated with a broad array of celebrated world-music performers, including John Doyle and Seamus Egan of Solás, Bakithi Kumalo (heard on Paul Simon’s Graceland album), Joanie Madden of Cherish The Ladies, and jazz artists Eddie Gomez and Randy Brecker.

In 1999 Eileen established a touring production company in New York City to present the music which now encompasses Eileen Ivers and her band, Immigrant Soul. This mix of African and Latin percussion and bass, Irish instrumentalists, and American soulful vocals is privileged to appear at major performing arts centers, guest with numerous symphonies is true to the heart of Irish music while embracing the multiculturalism of American life.

Discography:

Eileen Ivers (Green Linnet 1139, 1994)

Wild Blue (Green Linnet 1166, 1996)

So Far – The Eileen Ivers Collection 1979-1995 (Green Linnet 1185, 1997)

Titanic (Sony Classical SK 6691)

Crossing the Bridge (Sony Classical SK 6746, 1999)

Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul ( Koch CD-8494, 2003)

An Nollaig: An Irish Christmas (2007)

www.eileenivers.com

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Artist Profiles: Earl Scruggs

Earl Scruggs

Earl Scruggs was born and grew up near Shelby, North Carolina in Cleveland County.

For many bluegrass began when Earl Scruggs joined Bill Monroe’s band with his blazingly fast three-fingered picking banjo style. It quickly became and remains the standard for the true bluegrass banjo sound.

Earl?s next endeavor, Flatt & Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys, continued his fame and legend through work in films and television. From 1948 until 1969 Flatt & Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys dominated the bluegrass field due to their residency on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville yet that renown was dwarfed by their huge success in 1962.

In 1962 they recorded the theme song for The Beverly Hillbillies leading bluegrass into mainstream American culture. That popular TV show led Flatt & Scruggs’ long-time signature tune, Foggy Mountain Breakdown, to be chosen as the background music for the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde. In 1969 Earl sought a more contemporary sound and split with Lester to make music with his sons and other musicians in Nashville.

Though it’s been more than three decades since they broke up the music of Flatt & Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys continues to define the bluegrass sound. The band was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1985. Earl Scruggs received the National Heritage Award in 1989, the highest honor given by the National Endowment for the Arts to folk and traditional artists.

www.earlscruggs.com

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