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Visiting string ensemble entertains with pop music

By Charles Blades
On March 4, 2013

Lenny Soloman has been on the music scene since the late 1960s. He has had a top 20 hit in his native country of Canada and won a Juno award in 1976 for his work with his folk-pop group Myles and Lenny. Now, in 2013, Soloman is still going strong in the scene, but on a different path.

After years of playing a wide array of genres and with many talented players, in 2000, Soloman brought together a group of his colleagues to make the genre-blending group that is Bowfire. The group will perform this week as part of the Miami University Performing Arts Series.

"I thought it would be a great idea to take all of my favorite musicians after years of playing, put them in a room, lock the door, and see what came out," Soloman said.

Soloman compares the group to river dance in some ways with its added production value and great display of entertainment. However, he said that at its core Bowfire maintains a high level of musicianship.

"Where else are you going to see Led Zeppelin performed live today?" Soloman said in reference to the group's signature performance of the band's 1975 hit Kashmir.

The blending of genres is one of the group's qualities that students on campus are looking forward to.

"It's great to see revived enthusiasm of timeless music approached in an unprecedented way," first-year and classic rock enthusiast Elias Demeropolis said.

Other staples renditions of the group include the Pirates of the Caribbean and James Bond theme songs as well as a mash-up of Stevie Wonder hits.

"Violins have always been in pop music since the early days of Buddy Holly," Soloman said. "What we're trying to do is take those strings out of the background and bring them into the foreground. We put a spin on the traditionalism usually associated with them."

Student musicians especially appreciate this effort to bring modern string music to the public.

"What they do with a violins isn't being done by anyone else," first-year and multi-instrumentalist Matthew Hibbard said. "They are not only talented but incredibly entertaining."

Bowfire will be performing 7:30 p.m. tonight in Hall Auditorium. Tickets are $13 for students $28 for adults and are available at the Shriver Box Office.

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