Local Music
5:34 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Electric cello and dancing pears: Listen to The Moxie Strings

The Moxie Strings at the Kalamazoo Irish Festival
Credit The Moxie Strings

About a year ago, the regional band called String Cheese changed their name to avoid confusion with another ensemble called The String Cheese Incident. The name they switched to is The Moxie Strings. The Moxie Strings play at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 24 at the Riviera Theatre in Three Rivers. 

They are Fritz McGirr on percussion, Alison Lynn on cello and Diana Ladio on fiddle. Ladio says the word moxie seems to fit the band and how they perform.

“Energy, enthusiasm, fervor, drive,” she says, “It’s something we pride ourselves in.”

Ladio says the band’s sound is continually a work-in-progress.

“My playing is Celtic in origin. Most of the fiddle tunes I learned when I was first getting started were Celtic tunes. So, most people, when they hear our music and describe it, that’s the first thing that comes to mind is Irish or Scottish and it definitely has those influences. Lately, our writing has been more American sounding, Americana, bluegrass, slides, double stops. My playing is definitely morphing. Alison is the rock side of things, her playing is very rhythmic and she plays an electric cello which allows her to fill out the bottom end of the sound really well. So Celtic Fusion is how a lot of people like to describe it and we’re comfortable with that. And, it’s always changing.”

Did she say Alison Lynn plays an electric cello?

“Orchestral instruments being electrified is something that’s come about and gained popularity in just the last couple of years,” she says. “She plays a Ned Steinberger cello, which is very cool and sets itself apart from other electric cellos, in that it can be worn. She wears it around her shoulder and waist, so she’s able to move around and do all the rock star poses, which add to our show a lot.”

Ladio says she and her bandmates all have classical music training. They enjoy taking their music into schools and showing students that once you know the rules of music-making, you can start to break them.

“We have all made the jump into something non-classical and loved it and ended up making our lives about that," says Ladio. "It’s kind of become our mission to make sure that students at least understand how much cool music-making is available to them once they learn how to play an instrument.”

The Moxie Strings have a self-titled CD available. It includes traditional tunes and original compositions. Ladio admits to having a favorite on the recording.

"It’s called Two Pears Dancing. It inspired the artwork on the CD, actually, there are two pears on the front. And, it’s just a happy tune. I think I was introduced, it may have even been at Food Dance Restaurant in Kalamazoo, to a drink called The Pear Dance. And, I just thought that was the coolest mental image of two pears dancing, so it kind of took shape and we created a whole story about the couple, they’re maybe 65 years-old, happy, approaching retirement age and they are out on a Saturday night just enjoying themselves, two pears dancing.”