Anita Lock, WOBC community member and host of All Things Irish, shares interviews with recorded with Eileen Ivers and Joanie Madden from Cherish the Ladies.
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It has been said that Eileen Ivers will change the way you think about the violin. Indeed, the Grammy-awarded, Emmy-nominated guest has starred with over 40 orchestras, was the original Musical Star of Riverdance, and has played alongside notables, such as Sting, Hall and Oates, and The Chieftains—just to name a few. The founding member of Cherish the Ladies, Ivers musical talent can be found in movie soundtracks such as Gangs of New York and Titanic. She has performed for Presidents and Royalty worldwide. As Ivers’ list of accomplishments can go on and on, one thing is sure that she has established herself as the pre-eminent exponent of the Irish fiddle in the world today. As The Washington Post states, “She suggests the future of the Celtic fiddle.”
The daughter of Irish immigrants, Eileen Ivers grew up in the culturally diverse neighborhood of the Bronx, New York. Rooted in Irish traditional music since the age of eight, Eileen proceeded to win nine All-Ireland fiddle championships, a tenth on tenor banjo and over 30 championship medals, making her one of the most awarded persons ever to compete in these prestigious competitions.
Eileen’s most recent work is the creation of Beyond the Bog Road, which will be the focus of tonight’s interview. Beyond the Bog Road is a multimedia concert of music, story, dance and film, which celebrates the journey of the Irish immigrant…the story of their impact on America and America’s impact on them. It showcases how Irish music and dance have integrated with various roots music of North America to create one of the richest cross-fertilizations of folk music styles in the world. Bringing to light the influences of the Celtic tradition on roots music, the selections in Beyond the Bog Road covers musical genres that include bluegrass, French Canadian, Cajun, and Appalachian, and how these styles journeyed on to become fundamental ingredients of the American country music tradition.
Taking their name from a traditional Irish jig, Cherish the Ladies initially began in 1985 with a series of concerts celebrating the rise of female musicians in once a male dominated scene. The concerts were held in New York City and organized by Dr. Mick Moloney and the Ethnic Folk Arts Center. The troupe initially won recognition as the first all-women traditional music and dance ensemble, but they soon established themselves as musicians and performers without peer and have since won many thousands of fans of their music. Under the leadership of the dynamic and irrepressible Joanie Madden on flutes and whistles, recently named one of the top 25 most influential Irish Americans of the past quarter century, they have grown from a one-time concert concept to an Irish traditional music sensation and are the most successful and sought after Irish-American group in Celtic music. With their unique spectacular blend of virtuosi instrumental talents, beautiful vocals, captivating arrangements and stunning step dancing, this powerhouse group combines all the facets of Irish traditional culture and puts it forth in an immensely humorous and entertaining package. The past years have seen the group touring all over North and South America, the United Kingdom and Europe, China, Australia and New Zealand performing in the finest concert halls and international festivals. They are equally at home in front of a symphony orchestra, a performing arts center, a folk festival or even the White House. During their travels, they have attained numerous awards and achievements including; named Best Musical Group of the Year by the BBC, Top North American Celtic Group at the Irish Music Awards, Entertainment Group of the Year by the Irish Voice Newspaper, as it chosen the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall’s International Group of the Year at the Celtic Connections Festival in Scotland and voted Top North American Celtic act by NPR Radio “Thistle and Shamrock” program. In 2010, the ladies were immortalized as they were bestowed a street named “Joanie Madden and Cherish the Ladies” as it became a permanent street sign on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, New York. Cherish the Ladies have appeared on CBS This Morning, Good Morning America, Evening at Pops, C-Span, PBS and National Public Radio in the United States and on BBC and RTE radio and television overseas. At the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, they were chosen to represent Irish music and culture at the Official Cultural Olympiad. The girls continue to blaze forward and continue to enchant audiences worldwide.