Eileen Ivers has transformed the Irish fiddling tradition from a folk music staple into an internationally acclaimed art. A former member of Cherish the Ladies, the Green Fields of America, Chanting House, and the Hall & Oates band and a session player on albums by Paula Cole, Hothouse Flowers, and Patti Smith, Ivers has continued to expand the traditions on her own. In addition to maintaining a highly successful solo career, Ivers has performed as a cast member of Bill Whelan's production Riverdance. While The Washington Post called Ivers "the future of the Celtic fiddle," The Los Angeles Times said that Ivers' "originality and rhythmic swing may well provide the bridge Irish music needs to break through to a mainstream audience."
An eight-time All-Ireland fiddle champion, Ivers hails from the Woodland Heights section of the Bronx. The roots of her music, however, were inherited from her parents, John and Annie, who emigrated from County Mayo, Ireland. Although she and her sister Maureen were sent for lessons in Irish dancing, she soon convinced her parents to send her to fiddle lessons instead. While she later claimed that her fascination for the fiddle was inspired by the country music television show Hee Haw, she remained tied to her Irish roots and studied with County Limerick-born fiddler Martin Mulvihill. Although she limited her involvement with music while studying math at Iona University, Ivers turned her full-time attention to the fiddle after her graduation.
Performances with Mick Moloney and Seamus Egan led to an invitation to join the Irish-American supergroup Green Fields of America. After working briefly with Luka Bloom, Ivers was recruited to join a yearlong tour with the Hall & Oates band. The tour introduced her virtuosic playing to stadium-sized audiences around the United States. Returning to New York, Ivers began playing with Irish emigrees John Doyle and Seamus Egan and African-American percussionist Kimitri Dinizulu. She performed in a duo with Dinizulu during weekly Monday night concerts at Paddy Reilly's Bar in Manhattan. Ivers later joined Paddy A Go Go, a band formed by Chris Byrne of Black 47. When Máire Bhreatnach announced she was leaving the cast of Riverdance, Ivers agreed to replace her. Ivers has continued to work with top-notch musicians.
On her 1999 album Crossing the Bridge, she was joined by Seamus Egan, Steve Gadd, Randy Brecker, and Al di Meola. That same year she played on James Horner's companion piece to the Titanic soundtrack, Back to Titanic. In 2002, she offered another foray into film music with a piece on the soundtrack to Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York. The eclectic world music fusion of Eileen Ivers and Immigrant Soul arrived in 2003, further cementing her reputation as an innovator. Throughout the 2000s, Ivers kept a busy schedule touring and collaborating with various artists and ensembles and released a Christmas album in 2007. She worked with composer Brian Keane on the soundtracks to the PBS documentary Into the Deep: America, Whaling & the World and the BBC America drama Copper. In early 2016, she released the soundtrack to her multimedia program Beyond the Bog Road, which tells of the cross-pollination of Irish music and dance with North American traditions. ~ Timothy Monger