Eileen Ivers Performs ‘Beyond the Bog Road’ at Center for the Arts

Posted: March 8, 2010 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: March 5, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Eileen Ivers. Photo by John Kuczala

Paying homage to the rich and tireless passage of the native Irish people from their homeland to the United States, nine-time All-Ireland Fiddle Champion Eileen Ivers returns to Mason’s Center for the Arts on Sunday, March 14 at 4 p.m.

Ivers will bring “Beyond the Bog Road,” a stellar collaboration of Irish and Old Time musicians, singers, step dancers and cloggers, including members of Northern Virginia’s O’Neill-James School of Irish Dancing.

The name “Beyond the Bog Road” refers to the paths into ancient peat fields where sods of turf were laboriously farmed and dried by Irish farmers to use as a source of fuel and warmth. When the Great Famine struck in the 1840s, some chose to stay in Ireland and try to survive, while many decided to go “beyond the bog road” and emigrate to find a better life.

“Irish music integrated with other North American music to form the root of everything from bluegrass to country,” Ivers says. “This was one of the richest cross-fertilizations of folk music styles anywhere. And it’s still bearing fruit.”

In this performance, Ivers brings together an array of artistic traditions from her family and heritage: cherished airs, jigs, reels and songs that have been passed down from generation to generation, as well as original Celtic compositions.

The performance also features a multimedia component, which includes video footage of Irish immigrants culled from the Library of Congress and Ivers’ family.

The daughter of Irish immigrants, Ivers grew up in the Bronx, N.Y., and was raised on the music of her parents’ homeland. At a young age, she discovered she had a talent for mathematics – a field in which she pursued postgraduate studies – that gave her the opportunity to combine her passion for fiddle with amazing technical precision.

In addition to winning nine All-Ireland Fiddle Championships and more than 30 medals, Ivers has won the respect and admiration from musical collaborators as diverse as Sting, The Chieftains, Patti Smith, the Boston Pops and the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra.

She is also a founding member of the all-female Irish-American group Cherish the Ladies, and one of the original stars of “Riverdance.”

Her band Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul has performed on countless stages, guest starred with major symphonies and appeared on national and international television.

Located in Arlington, the O’Neill-James School of Irish Dancing is the largest Irish dancing school in the greater Washington, D.C. area. Its dancers participate in the yearly St. Patrick’s Day parades of Alexandria and Washington, D.C.

A discussion, free to ticket holders, will begin 45 minutes prior to the performance on the Center’s Grand Tier III. Pre-performance discussions are sponsored by the Friends of the Center for the Arts.

Tickets are $44, $36 and $22; tickets for youth through grade 12 are half price when the child is accompanied by an adult. Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit cfa.gmu.edu.

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