Band to infuse Celtic tradition into festival weekend

By Josette Keelor

Next weekend the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival in Orkney Springs will close its 50th anniversary season with performances by Celtic fiddle player Eileen Ivers and her band Immigrant Soul on Saturday night, and The Beatles tribute band “1964” on Sunday.

Ivers performs traditional Irish and Celtic music that she recently described as vibrant, “not this archaic thing from centuries ago.”

In a phone interview she said she’s excited to return to the festival she’s been a part of before but also considers it an honor being part of the 50th anniversary season.

“I think that’s tremendous,” she said. “I think that says so much about the spirit of the people and the support of the arts.”

Immigrant Soul will be joined by The O’Neil-James School of Dance championship step dancers, who also have performed on the Orkney Springs stage.

Ivers said a multi-generational music series such as this is important, and “the music we play certainly plays to that sensibility.”

She blames her Bronx, N.Y., upbringing and her Irish-American family for influencing her interest in Celtic music. Her parents were Irish immigrants, and Ivers returned with them to their native land frequently during her childhood.

Her music, she said, is “one that’s really respectful of the traditions,” but she also weaves in a love for her home in America.

“The love of two countries is still very much there,” she said.

Considered a pioneer and innovator of the Celtic and world music genres, Ivers expects to release a new album this fall, “Beyond the Bog Road,” which will include more roots-oriented music with Canadian, Cajun, Appalachian and traditional Irish influences dating back to famine and pre-famine times in Ireland.

“At the end of the day it’s folk music, I often say music of the people,” she said.

“And that’s why it’s just so wonderful to see so many numbers in the crowd,” she said. “Music and art and life constantly intertwine.”

Eileen Ivers and Immigrant Soul will perform at the The Shenandoah Valley Music Festival at 81 Shrine Mont Circle, Orkney Springs, at 7 p.m. Aug. 31. The Beatles tribute band “1984” will perform at 7 p.m. Sept. 1. Both nights reserved pavilion seats are $35 and general admission to the lawn is $30. Gates open at 5 p.m. For more information, call 540-459-3396 or visit www.musicfest.org.

Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com>