Their music is beautiful.
You might expect that when you combine the sounds of a classically trained cellist with an acoustic guitarist in a mellifluously titled duo — Acoustic Eidolon — subtitled “World Music for the Soul.”
What you might be surprised by is not only the range of genres Hannah Alkire and Joe Scott, the husband-and-wife team who comprise Eidolon, cover in their playing (from Celtic sounds, to Latin, folk and more). Their geographic range is impressive as well: the duo has not only toured all over the world, they’ve performed in venues ranging from traditional (the Royal National Theatre, London, and the Kennedy Center, Washington D.C.) to unconventional (Volcanic Theater, Volcanic National Park, Hawaii) to downright quirky: On a tour of the Faroe Islands, Acoustic Eidolon played in a sea cave, which required both audience and musicians to share a boat for the performance. The cave’s reverberative acoustics, reportedly “reminiscent of the great European cathedrals,” were something Hannah and Joe would know about (they’ve also performed in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London).
When the pandemic arrived, Acoustic Eidolon didn’t stop offering concerts. They just flexed a little more — something they were used to doing, already — to accommodate ever-newer venues, while still keeping audiences, and themselves, safe.
“They streamed a concert out of their minivan,” said Heather Greisz, executive director of the Ouray County Performing Arts Guild, which hosts a performance by Eidolon on Saturday. On June 20, 2020, “after having all of their concerts cancelled for the foreseeable future,” according to a clip about the concert on YouTube, Eidolon decided to perform atop a 1923 Ford flatbed truck in the parking lot of the Dougherty Museum (outside Longmont). The pair’s longtime sound engineer employed an FM transmitter to broadcast the sound to each car’s radio. The concert brought back live music, as well as “a sense of hope and normalcy,” while honoring local health protocols.
“They’ve stayed relevant and engaged,” Greisz said. “They streamed a concert for our members during Valentine’s Day, and played some of our favorite songs.”
She paused. “Hannah’s a cancer survivor, and the story of the way she and Joe met, and combined their instruments,” and then their lives… “I was trying to hold it together.”
“People love them,” Greisz added. “This is their second performance for us.”
On Saturday, Acoustic Eidolon will perform at the Wright Opera House in support of their 13th CD (Hannah has also released a solo CD, “Remembering the Sun,” inspired by concerts in cloudy climes, including Europe, the Faroes and Alaska).
“I love the intermingling of genres, which makes their music appealing to a really diverse audience,” Greisz said. “They offer great, soothing vocals,” surprising renditions of rock standards such as Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ — Hannah performs a solo rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Halleluia” high in a gold-tinged aspen grove on YouTube — “and they really get in there and kick, with the staccato and the flamenco.”
Later this month comes another surprise from OCPAG: classically trained concert pianist Kara Huber, whose “crisp, highly disciplined performances” may just include a musical work “involving a baseball and a piano,” Greisz said. “Kara’s impressive not only to listen to, but to watch: she uses her whole body to perform.”
In advance of Huber’s most recent visit, OCPAG’s then-director, Sue Hillhouse, had reached out to the pianist, asking her to compose a tribute to Dave and Mary Wood, “who have been very big benefactors of the arts in this region,” Greisz said. “The Wood’s children were here to see Kara play. It was a tough, challenging piece of music, and she performed it flawlessly and beautifully.”
Speaking of well-loved performers, next month, the San Juan Chamber MusicFest returns to Ouray County for a weekend. The fall brings concerts by Jarabe Mexicano, a modern dance exhibition, and a classical violinist for a holiday program in November.
“How lucky we are that we have so much musical variety” available to audiences in the San Juans, Greisz summed up. “So many genres for so many musical tastes.”
To learn more about Acoustic Eidolon and purchase tickets for Saturday’s performance, visit ocpag.org.