Crossing The Bridge

Eileen Ivers

Sony Classical Music, 1999

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


Eileen Ivers has some rather serious credentials. She is a nine-time All-Ireland Fiddle Champion, has played with the Boston Pops, London Symphony, and the National Orchestra, and has played on over one hundred Celtic, Celtic fusion, and other recordings. She may be the greatest Irish fiddler alive today; certainly she's the most prominent.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

She's also one of the most adventurous. Since 1999, her work with Immigrant Soul has blazed a trail for cross-genre music, incorporating African, Latin, and roots American music in an Irish fiddle framework. It is appropriate, then, that Crossing The Bridge is called what it is; this was the album where she went from traditional fiddler to the hazy and breathtaking world of Celtic fusion, and nothing would be the same again.

First off, the details. As is usual with Sony Classical releases, Crossing is impeccably produced and engineered; clear, crisp, and uncluttered, the musicians take center stage. That way, when you hear something that makes you go 'What the hell was THAT again?', you're sure you heard it right.

Because, in the end, Crossing is filled with brilliant moments that sneak up on you like the musical equivalent of a Navy SEAL. The slashing, sudden guitar solo on "Gravelwalk," the exuberant Senegal vocals on "Jama," Al Di Meola's Flamenco guitar breaks on "Whiskey And Sangria" -- and just when you think you've gotten a hold of things and can handle whatever comes next, Ivers nails you with a solo fiddle performance of "Nearer My God To Thee" that's one of the sweetest things I've ever heard. Fittingly, perhaps, she closes with two traditional tunes, "Crowley's/Jackson's" and "Dear Irish Boy," that are just fiddle, guitar, uilleann pipes, and a thrumming, thumping bodhran. Effortlessly, Ivers takes us around the world -- through the Bronx where she grew up, to Senegal, Spain, Poland -- and then back to where it all began, the green hills of Eire. We're richer for the journey.

We live in a rare time -- a time where groundbreaking fiddlers like Natalie MacMaster and Mark O'Connor are pushing the envelope of what the instrument means. Count Eileen Ivers among their number, and get a listen to Crossing The Bridge.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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