"Braveheart Meets Last of the Mohicans . . . at Woodstock" is a colorful description of this award-winning Celtic Indian Arvel Bird’s live performances. With his violin, fiddle, Native flutes and Irish whistles, Bird weaves a powerful tapestry of music and stories. He performs nearly 160 shows a year at a variety of venues from music festivals to concert halls where the audience gets a glimpse into his Native American heart and Scottish soul.
Classically trained as a violinist, Arvel Bird's compositions and performances encompass an extraordinary love of diversity—from traditional Celtic tunes and bluegrass standards to his original Native American and Celtic rock orchestrations.
In his youth, Bird’s first private violin teacher in Salt Lake City, UT encouraged him to play from his soul. Prophetically, she said, “Arvel, no one will remember if you’re the best or the fastest, but they will remember your passion.”
Bird attended Arizona State University on music scholarship later transferring to Champagne/ Urbana, IL where he studied classical violin with renowned Hungarian violinist and teacher, Paul Rolland at the University of Illinois. Bird credits Mr. Rolland with perfecting his performance technique.
As a young adult, when Bird struggled with feelings of uncertainty as a violinist, he recalled the most important lessons he learned from these two brilliant educators. And now during his performances, you will be able to feel that energy as he is transported to the place where he’s no longer playing the violin, the violin is playing him.
As he worked to develop his own music style and a large and loyal following, Bird went wherever the music called him, which led him away from classical and towards Bluegrass, Appalachian, Folk and Celtic. During his years in the Midwest, Bird won the Indiana State Fiddle Contest four times while still perfecting a variety of musical styles. Bird returned to Arizona in 1986 and hired by Glen Campbell to tour worldwide for the next six years.
In 1991, he continued to tour with Campbell and moved to Nashville, TN, later adding tours with Loretta Lynn, Tom T. Hall, Ray Price, Louise Mandrell, Clay Walker, and others.
Once he began composing and recording his own music, the result was a fusion of both his Scottish (Clan Kennedy) and Native American (Southern Paiute) roots that are uniquely his own and intricately woven throughout his songs.
One of Bird's favorite aspects of touring is that it has taken him to Scotland, England, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and in prestigious locations including the SkyDome in Toronto, Ontario, Royal Albert Hall in London, England, Smithsonian Museums in DC and NY, Hochstein Performance Hall in Rochester, NY and the Kennedy Space Center in Cocoa, FL just to name a few -- with symphonies, chamber orchestras, large festivals and more, logging over 500,000 road miles. As he winds up his 11th year of full-time touring, Bird gives no indication he’s ready to slow down any time soon.
As he prepares for his 2015 tour, Bird is looking forward to working with local Fisher Houses which is best known for a network of comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment. A new facility is being built in Arizona, where Bird is planning a new concert to benefit the Fisher House in honor of his brother-in-law, Mike Dyer, a Viet Nam veteran, Purple Heart recipient and local Chaplain of the Purple Heart Society; and his own wife, Kimberly Kelley-Bird, a Viet Nam era veteran.
Bird has released 23 CDs, two EPs and two DVDs, earning him numerous music awards. One of his most cherished is for his classical recording, Tribal Music Suite: Journey of a Paiute, a Celtic and Native American concerto, that earned him Best Instrumental Album and Best Producer/Engineer (with Grammy-winning producer Tom Wasinger and Nashville engineer Chas Williams) at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards. Other awards include Artist of the Year as voted by peers and fans as well as numerous Best Instrumentals.
His continuously evolving music is delighting audiences worldwide. One of his recent albums of note is Titanic Centennial: Commemorative Special Edition, is an orchestral Celtic tribute to the passengers, crew and musicians aboard the Titanic, released in 2012 and distributed in several countries including Ireland, Australia, Canada and the United States.
During his 13 years in Nashville, Bird built a master recording studio, to help him launch his own independent record label, Singing Wolf Records, to support most of his future recordings. Initially this gave him his own haven to write and record his own music and later to record hundreds of songs and album projects for songwriters and independent artists all over the world.
While enjoying the life of concerts and festivals, Bird is also active in community outreach projects for local school assemblies, community centers, and social clubs where he facilitates a variety of music and spiritual workshops and performances at retirement centers, nursing homes and more.
Although based in Nashville, TN, Bird is permanently on the road, connecting with audiences the old-fashioned way. . . live. This is where Arvel’s emotionally driven performances thrive, igniting concert venues, symphony halls, festivals and more, leaving his audiences inspired, transfixed and transformed.