Couple to bring uplifting tunes to coffee house
— Need a lift? Harmonydriven acoustic music that will put a pep in your step is on the menu at the North Elk Coffee House this Saturday.
The Levins – that’s married couple Ira Levin and Julia Bordenaro Levin – will perform the seventh in a series of eight concerts for the 2015-16 season at the coffee house, which has the intimate style of the coffee houses of the 1950s and ‘60s. It’s their first time coming to the coffee house.
With the tagline “Dedicated to making the world a happier place,” the couple has earned recognition by being named the 2016 winner of the Empower Music Award, which honors those creating positive global change through music.
“We’ve been dubbed ‘happy folk,’ ‘smile pop,’ ‘soulfolk,’ ‘ contemporary folk pop,’” Julia said of the couple’s music genres.
However, they didn’t initially become a music team.
In 2000, the two met as singersongwriters in competition at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley, Ca., a nonprofit musical performance venue that primarily hosts folk music and world music acts. They married two years later and now live in New York.
“We pursued our own individual musical adventures, supporting each other when possible, eventually deciding it was more fun and important to work together. We left our comfort zone in California five years ago and have been on the road since,” Julia said.
When they perform together, Ira is on guitar and Julia is on keys. Both sing.
“We are especially known for our harmonies, blend and the interac-
The Levins, a musical duo of married couple Julia and Ira, will visit the North Elk Coffee House this April.
tion. There is an energy that we achieve together while we are playing that naturally picks us up and spills over,” Julia said.
Their unique musical backgrounds ensures each brings something different to the stage.
Julia is rooted in a jazz and classical background, and grew up listening to Rosemary Clooney, Marian McPartland, Doris Day, Neil Young, even Journey.
Ira grew up surrounded by Broadway and classical, but thrived on Jethro Tull and The Beatles, Moody Blues and Talking Heads.
However, they both enjoy groups like Creedence Clearwater Revival, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Simon & Garfunkel, Cat Stevens, Carole King, and James Taylor. While traveling, they tune in to NPR and independent radio stations, listening for such artists as Sufjan Stevens, Iron
and Wine, and Fleet Foxes.
“We are currently in love with hearing and playing James Durst’s song ‘We Wish You Good Evening,’ which we will perform this weekend in his honor,” Julia said.
Attendees to The Levins’ upcoming concert can also expect “a fresh sound that will leave them feeling good.” Julia also teased “a range of music inspired by 14th century mystic poetry, Shakespeare, Her- man Hesse, Dickens, forgiveness, hope and breakfast cereal.” Indeed, they have a song called “Cereal Days,” which pays homage to some favorite sweet and wheaty breakfast choices, as well as one called “Raise Your Glass to Charles Dickens” sure to please bookworms.
After the coffee house, The Levins move on to the Borderline Folk Concert in Nanuet, N.Y., on Sunday. Then it is back to California, where they will be performing “Barely Contained,” a live in collaboration with the Sweet Can Circus in Arcata, Calif., the last week in May. This run of shows features music from all their CDs, as well as performances from acrobatics, dancers and aerialists.
For more on The Levins, find the group on Facebook or visit www. thelevinsmusic.com.