The Elders bring traditional Irish music to the Soiled Dove
In the last few months it seems that “getting your Irish on” here in Denver has never been easier or more fun. Denver, it seems, has a pretty hefty Irish population and they all show up for anything Irish. Back in February my wife and I went to see The Lord of the Dance. WOW! I never expected that something like that would be so exciting. It’s one thing to be able to tell a story with a song with lyrics, but something entirely different to just use music and dance. Then in March there was the St. Patrick's Day parade. Denver's parade is one of the biggest in the country and it lasts all morning and into the afternoon and is one of the best attended.
I happen to enjoy Irish folk music so my son Jay told me that I have to check this show out as they are one of his favorite bands. They are in no way the radio and record company Irish music like U2 but the real Irish music. This is the kind of music that came to Appalachia and mixed with the local music to become bluegrass, then country, then rock. Get it? This is the MOTHER music. Without it, much of what you and
I listen to would be impossible. It’s the kind of music that speaks of famine, of turmoil and oppression, and finally of hope and freedom. For much longer than the United States had been a country the Irish have been trying to break free from England, and while the Elders music may not be over the top politically, you can feel every bit of the struggle to survive and the relief that coming to the states must have felt like.
In reality I don't know a lot of the Elders music. I can't name the individual songs, yet. But the fans sure do. One of my favorite things at a live show is when there is a sing along. Not because I can sing but I like the expressions on the bands faces when hundreds of fans are singing one of the songs that they are so much into. Thanks to my son I do know the name of one song. It’s called ‘Send a Prayer’ and you can tell by the title it is a powerful song. It started Seven Bridges style with everyone up front singing a cappella. One by one the band dropped out leaving only the crowd singing. In a way it was almost as if you were in a church. I would love to hear a live version of that song on the radio.
You would think that a folk music show, especially one at the Soiled Dove would be fairly sedate. Think again. While the Dove only holds a few hundred people it was packed and standing room only. It was like the pit at a punk show, but instead of just bouncing people were doing an Irish jig. You can tell that the fans were pumped for this show and so was the band. The Elders play a kind of music that most people can relate to. Some might call them folk music, or Americana, bluegrass or even roots rock. They would all be right. So grab a pint and sing a song. Forget your worries for a few hours. If you hear that the Elders are going to be in your town check them out. Bet you’ll like them.
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The Elders on stage at the Soiled Dove. Photo by Mike Martin.
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