Cou­ple to bring up­lift­ing tunes to cof­fee house

Cecil Whig - - JUMPSTART - By DARA MCBRIDE

dm­cbride@ce­cil­whig.com

— 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-

NORTH EAST

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.

SPE­CIAL TO THE WHIG

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