Celtic fiddler Eileen Ivers and her band Immigrant Soul presented a diverse Performing Arts Series concert of Irish and American folk tunes to a sold out crowd in Sauder Concert Hall on Saturday. The multicultural music influences reflect Ivers’s own experiences growing up in New York as a second generation Irish immigrant.
Ivers was accompanied by band members Tommy McDonnell (vocals, percussion), who was a member of the member of the “ORIGINAL Blues Brothers Band”; Buddy Connolly (accordion, whistles, keyboards), a three time All-Ireland accordion champion; Greg Anderson (guitar, bouzouki), who played with The Klezmatics when they toured with Itzhak Perlman; and Houseand Leo Traversa (bass guitar), a faculty member of the Bass Collective in New York City.
Ivers and Immigrant Soul performed live in every sense. Ivers sidled up next to Connolly, the fast-plugging accordion-player, for perfectly in-sync duets. Ivers often swapped her fiddle for a deep blue-black, electric violin and dug wildly into its strings to simulate the sounds of an electric guitar.
McDonnell left his post at the drums to lead the audience in singing several tunes, including, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”
From the group’s own rendition of “Pachelbel Canon in D,” to slower, more mournful ballads such as “Reconciliation,” a piece which advocates for peace in Northern Ireland, Eileen Ivers and Immigrant Soul presented their history-rich, melodically beautiful repertoire to the audience of approximately 1,000 people.