Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

February 22, 2013


Springfield Symphony Hall, Springfield, MA
February 28, 2013
By R.E. Smith

BOWFIRE presents a lineup of fiddle and violin virtuosos who combine various musical styles with step dancing and voice to create a unique theatrical experience.

While Lenny Soloman may be the creator, artistic director, and a performer in BOWFIRE, the show is no vanity project simply designed to display his own talents. According to Soloman, the attitude among the cast is really “ . . .one big mutual admiration society. All the performers are first class soloists and headliners in their own right (and genres).”

It might seem difficult to integrate the disparate styles of a jazz violinist and a Klezmer virtuoso, but the Canadian native says the show eases that transition by, “ . . .using ensemble pieces as a bridge between the solos”. The result is a “new direction in string performances because we are combining styles (but) all with a core of the same instrument. It makes for an exhilarating experience.”

The act of “blending styles” produces such numbers as “Fiddler on the Hood” that fuses a Celtic melody with a hip hop rhythm. “We’re very open minded about material and inspiration can come from very curious places.” He recounts how Sean Connery was such a fan that the actor’s son asked the group to perform for the actor’s 80th birthday. “Our guitarist created an all violin arrangement of the 007 theme song for us . . .and Connery got up and started to dance.” Such arrangements (heard on the group’s newest CD, NEW FLAME), Soloman says, demonstrates that they “ . . .are always moving forward. ”

The jazz violinist hopes this “musical journey” inspires the audience as much as it does the performers, who educate and influence each other during the creative process. “The show is always expanding and changing.” he explains,” "Everyone is always thinking of new material.” While the cast changes a little from time to time, the core group remains, making for performances that are “ . . .are real showstoppers. Rest assured, the show is action packed.”

Aside from the satisfaction of working with the best players in their field, or the thrill of meeting movie legends, Soloman is just as elated by the “letters parents write to us, saying how after seeing our show, their children were inspired to return to their practice rooms (with renewed purpose). “

Rest assured that under BOWFIRE’s stewardship, future string players will continue to entertain while “pushing the violin envelope.”

BOWFIRE comes to the Springfield Symphony Hall, for one performance only on Thursday, February 28, 2013