Patrick Ball, Goran Ivanovic hit local spots

This time of year is always exciting in Rockford when the music fans come out of hibernation and show local support. This particular week will give them no other option than to shake the winter off their backs and roll on down to the Royal Oak Pub for Patrick Ball on Thursday night, spend Friday and Saturday at Paragon’s new sushi bar with Havana Honey and Pistol Pete (March 12 and 13, respectively), and round off the weekend with Croatian-native (although half Serbian) Goran Ivanovic at the Irish Rose.

Patrick Ball comes via Rock River Friends of Folk Music (RRFFM), and is one of the premier players of the steel-strung Celtic harp. Not only is he a well-trained musician, having studied the music of Ireland extensively, but he is also a story teller, practiced in the art of Irish oral tradition.

Ball will perform at the Royal Oak Pub, 6280 Vicksburg Rd., Thursday, March 11 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $7 for RRFFM members and $10 to the public. All are welcome, but reservations are required to 399-7334.

Goran Ivanovic’s name, when typed into a search engine, brings in a multitude of enthusiastic reviews from the Los Angeles Times, The Reader, The Chicago Tribune and Acoustic Guitar Magazine. Born in Osijek, Croatia, Ivanovic was raised by a Bosnian Croat mother and a Serbian father.

Historically (especially since the savage civil war in the 1990s), that region hasn’t exactly been peaceful. However, Osijek did produce an award-winning guitarist, regardless of the ethnic cleansing and turbulence.

Although he is permanently “exiled” from his native land, Ivanovic still conserves the music of the region, which I’m guessing many Rockfordians are not too familiar with. Although his repertoire is not restricted to the music of the Balkans, as he includes aspects of jazz, blues, and Latin-American and Spanish rhythms, hopefully he will enlighten area listeners to a different style of music.

In case you didn’t have enough of him last weekend at the Irish Rose, Matt Ulery returns with Ivanovic’s Balkan Jam Band on bass, joined by Doug Rosenberg on sax and Kalyan Pathak on Tabla and drums. Band starts at 8:30 p.m., Sunday, March 14. Cover is $3. Info: 399-2375.

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