Thursday, September 17, 2009

Neotraditionalists Nora Ben and Eli to Perform

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 16, 2009) − The "neotraditional" sound of musical trio Nora Ben and Eli, 16 year-old multi-instrumentalists from Louisville, is next up for "Appalachia in the Bluegrass," a series of concerts performed by artists known for their knowledge of Appalachian music and tradition. The Nora Ben and Eli concert, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled for noon Friday, Sept. 18, in the Niles Gallery of the University of Kentucky's Lucille Caudill Little Fine Arts Library and Learning Center.

Musicians Nora Grossman, Ben Scruton, and Eli Kleinsmith play an eclectic mix that includes jazz, Irish and Appalachian folk, old-time music and original tunes. The group's own unique arrangements incorporate a variety of instruments including fiddle, guitars, banjo, accordion, percussion, ukulele and tinwhistle, as well as vocals.

Nora Ben and Eli began playing music together as members of the Louisville Leopard Percussionists (LLP), where they were exposed to an array of musical styles and were introduced to improvisation and composing. After graduation from LLP, the three came together to form their own group, constantly evolving as an ensemble, adding new styles of music, new instruments and even some traditional dance elements into their performances. The group recently released a CD of original music titled "Neotradition."

Nora has been involved with folk music and dance for most of her life. She plays guitar, mandolin, percussion, ukulele and piano. Nora also performs with the Angleterre Morris Dancers, experimental belly dance group the Samovar Dance Theatre, and her school's Salsa Club. Nora is a sophomore at duPont Manual High School.

Ben plays a range of folk instruments that includes banjo, guitar, ukulele, mandolin, accordion, tin whistle and recorder. He also plays piano and is a trombonist with the Youth Performing Arts School bands and Louisville Youth Orchestra. Outside of the world of music, Ben also participates in cross country, ultimate Frisbee, math competition, and folk dancing. A junior, he also attends duPont Manual.

Eli began Suzuki violin lessons at the age of 8. In addition to being an outstanding fiddler, he is an accomplished classical violinist previously performing with the Louisville Youth Orchestra for three years. Eli also plays guitar, piano, banjo, mandolin and percussion. His other interests include film and visual arts. Eli is a junior at St. Francis High School.

Watch video of the trio Nora Ben and Eli performing Jean Ritchie's "Wintergrace" with musician Meaghan Spencer.

The "Appalachia in the Bluegrass" concert series, presented by UK's John Jacob Niles Center for American Music, showcases a diverse selection of traditional musical expression. This series focuses on the many faces of indigenous American folk music, celebrating its roots in old-time music. All "Appalachia in the Bluegrass" concerts take place in the gallery of the Niles Center in the Little Fine Arts Library on UK's central campus. Niles Gallery concerts are scheduled on Fridays at noon and are free and open to the public.

The John Jacob Niles Center for American Music, a collaborative research and performance center of the UK College of Fine Arts, UK School of Music, and UK Libraries, is the host of "Appalachia in the Bluegrass."

For more information on the Nora Ben and Eli concert or the "Appalachia in the Bluegrass" series, contact Ron Pen, director of the Niles Center, by phone at (859) 257-8183 or by e-mail.

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