Elizabeth Nicholson & Stringed Migration is a Portland, OR, based quartet that performs a lush synthesis of Celtic and international roots music with a twist of jazz. Comprised of four multi-instrumentalists whose individual careers have garnered regional, national and international recognition, the band is enjoying a rapidly growing reputation in the Northwest folk world.
The band features a cast of musicians whose diverse backgrounds touch upon Latin music, Balkan music, Americana, rock, Mediaval music, classical Indian music, Western classical music, and jazz, yet all have deep roots in traditional Irish and Scottish fare. "The idea," says founder Elizabeth Nicholson, "is to allow everyone in the band to draw from the full spectrum of their experience, rather than conforming to a rigidly defined idiom." The resulting sound pays true homage to the American melting pot, revealing technical mastery, nuance, spontaneity and heart.
On Fly Not Yet, the band crafts arrangements that seamlessly blend cultural influences to stunning effect:"Unquiet Grave" -- the album’s opening track – merges a traditional Scottish ballad with a Lebanese dance tune, highlighting the complementary harmonic structure of each melody and giving the song’s dark story an added layer of depth. In the second track, a reel from Cape Breton is uplifted by a merengue backbeat and treated with a dazzling jazz improvisation, courtesy of violinist Eddie Parente. The third, title track, reveals an elegantly straightforward treatment of an Irish song, centered around Elizabeth Nicholson’s lithe vocals. Subsequent tracks showcase the band’s range, from the driving medieval dance "La Rotta," to Bob Soper’s plaintive singing on the Appalachian ballad "Lord Thomas," to a whimsical treatment of the Irish hornpipe "Galway Bay," which sets a harp solo to a rock rhythm. The final track on the album is also the darkest: "And Am I Born to Die?" places an American shape-note song within a mournful, chamber-inflected string arrangement.
01. Lebanese Melody / The Unquiet Grave
02. Paddy Fahey's / Cape Breton Reel
03. Fly Not Yet
04. La Rotta / Waltz from Orsa
05. Paddy's Rambles / Funky Reel
06. Lord Thomas
07. St. John's Jig /. The Barn Swallow / Mt. Tabor Reel
08. The Dewey Dens of Yarrow
09. Romanian Hora / Galway Bay
10. And Am I Born to Die
Stringed Migration is: Elizabeth Nicholson on vocals, harps, and guitar; Eddie Parente on violin and viola; Bob Soper on bouzouki, fiddle, vocals and guitar; and Rob Barrick on double bass and Scottish smallpipes. Jim Chapman, a Stringed Migration alumni, still performs with the band on bouzouki from time to time.