Fiddle Virtuoso Eileen Ivers to present An Nollaig: An Irish Christmas 2010 throughout North America

Recalling the roaring hearths and roars of laughter that are part and parcel of Christmas in Irish families, virtuoso fiddler Eileen Ivers will perform age-old Wren Day songs, beloved American carols, and even a jigging Bach in An Nollaig: An Irish Christmas. With her signature warmth, Ivers invites listeners in for a tuneful, soulful celebration that’s as comforting as a favorite carol and a slice of Christmas cake.

Ivers and her ensemble will take the festivities across the U.S. this December, with a final gala performance at Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles. Whether teaming up with local orchestras or with community dancers and singers, Ivers presents a vision of Christmastide that embraces the friendliness of a family gathering and the supreme musicality of a seasoned, skilled master.

There is so much joy in the season, and I wanted to bring that out to welcome listerners in,” explains Ivers with a smile. “Just like ornaments on a Christmas tree, the tunes in An Nollaig have been lovingly passed down through the generations as well. Some are hundreds of years old-some are new.”

In Ivers’s capable hands, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” becomes a playful jig, and the 20th-century classic “Do You Hear What I Hear?” becomes a rousing reel. Even Bach takes on an Irish lilt, as Ivers transforms “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” giving the 9/8 piece a striking feel of an Irish three making dancing irresistible, much to the delight of conductors and classical musicians when performed with orchestra.

This clever rethinking of Christmas chestnuts comes naturally to Ivers, who is equally adept at bringing ancient Irish traditions to life. She explores the curious traditional celebration on December 26, the feast of St. Stephen, which is also known as Wren Day in Ireland . Ivers draws on songs sung by young village boys who would decorate a wren and go from door to door, as well as on the Irish legends surrounding the wren, as betrayer of St. Stephen’s hiding place to the Romans, or as the sly winner of a contest among birds.

Ivers also touches on a sensitive Yuletide topic: the dreaded fruitcake. Though Ivers recalls her family’s luscious porter-and-whiskey-soaked version, she recounts the quirky adventure of the hapless Miss Fogarty, whose Christmas cake leads not to merriment, but to food poisoning (“Miss Fogarty’s Christmas Cake”).

Ivers has performed with a myriad of pop icons and world-class orchestras, yet for An Nollaig, she invites local Celtic dancers and choirs to join her ensemble in sharing the stage and the fun. Presenters get into the act, too, bringing in Christmas trees, fireplaces, rocking chairs-anything to make the stage merry and bright. “We’re involving the community as we go around to theaters. It’s always a delight and creates this special connection to the show,” Ivers says.

The spirit of sharing has led Ivers to donate some of the proceeds of CD sales on tour to the Salvation Army. “It’s a full circle,” she notes. “We give back to people who don’t have the same blessings. That’s what Christmas means to us, and that makes this one of my favorite times of the year to perform.”

Buy Eileen Ivers’ albums:

Eileen Ivers An Nollaig: An Irish Christmas tour details

12/02/2010, Thu
Huntsville, AL
Von Braun Center, 700 Monroe Street
Tickets: $68/$58/$45/$42/$36/$28
Show: 7:30 pm
Ph: 256-539-4818

12/03/2010, Fri
Birmingham, AL
BJCC Concert Hall, 3621 Sixth Avenue South
Tickets:: $72
Show: 8:00 pm
Ph: 205-251-7727

12/04/2010, Sat
Helena, AR
Lily Peter Auditorium, 1000 Campus Drive
Ph: 870-338-8327

12/07/2010, Tue
Easton, MD
Avalon Theater, 40 East Dover Street
Tickets:: $30
Show: 7:00 pm
Ph: 410-822-0345

12/08/2010, Wed
Bay Shore, NY
Boulton Center, 37 West Main Street
Tickets:: $35/$40-non-members
Show: 8:00 pm
Ph: 866-811-4111

12/09/2010, Thu
Ridgefield, CT
Ridgefield Playhouse, 80 East Ridge
Tickets:: $50
Show: 8:00 pm
Ph: 203-438-5795

12/10/2010, Fri
Woodstock, VT
Town Hall Theater, 31 The Green
Tickets:: $38
Show: 7:30 pm
Ph: 802-457-3981

12/11/2010, Sat
New Brunswick, NJ
State Theatre, 15 Livingston Avenue
Tickets:: $52/$42/$32
Show: 8:00 pm
Ph: 732-246-7469

12/12/2010, Sun
Mahwah, NJ
Berrie Center for the Performing Arts At Ramapo College, 505 Ramapo Valley Road
Tickets:: $30/$27/$24
Show: 7:00 pm
Ph: 201-684-7844

12/15/2010, Wed
Wausau, WI
Grand Theater on Artsblock, 401 4th Street
Tickets:: $49/$29
Show: 7:30 pm
Ph: 715-842-0988

12/17/2010, Fri
Wickenburg, AZ
Del E. Webb Center, 1090 S. Vulture Mine Rd
Tickets:: $42
Show: 7:30 pm
Ph: 928-684-6624

12/18/2010, Sat
Wickenburg, AZ
Del E. Webb Center, 1090 S. Vulture Mine Rd
Tickets:: $42
Show: 7:30 pm
Ph: 928-684-6624

12/19/2010, Sun
Longview, WA
Columbia Theater, 1231 Vandercook Way
Tickets:: $45/$35/$25
Show: 7:30 pm
Ph: 360-575-8499

12/21/2010, Tue
Steamboat Springs, CO
Strings in the Mountains, 900 Strings Road
Ph: 970-879-5056

12/22/2010, Wed
Beaver Creek, CO
Vilar Performing Arts Center, 68 Avondale Lane
Tickets:: $42
Show: 7:30 pm
Ph: 888-920-2787

12/23/2010, Thu
Los Angeles, CA
Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 South Grand Avenue
Tickets:: $95.75-$-36.00
Show: 8:00 pm
Ph: 323-850-2000

Author: World Music Central News Department

World music news from the editors at World Music Central


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