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Wednesday, 21 May 2014 15:08

Rosie and the Riveters musically revisit and celebrate 1940’s strength

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Alexis Normand, Farideh Ceaser, Melissa Nygren and Allyson Reigh make up Rosie and the Riveters. Alexis Normand, Farideh Ceaser, Melissa Nygren and Allyson Reigh make up Rosie and the Riveters. Photo contributed

Let's get one thing straight. Anyone wanting to meet or identify the Saskatoon-based all-women quartet “Rosie” from Rosie and the Riveters is out of luck. Rosie and the Riveters are playing at the Lyric Theatre May 31 and it promises to be an entertaining show.

There’s no “Rosie” within the band per sé. Unlike the nineties pop band where there was no Hootie in Hootie and the Blowfish, one could at least make the argument that all four members of Rosie and the Riveters could be “Rosie.”
Rosie the Riveter was a fictional caricature which was meant to represent the female American factory worker during the Second World War. A depiction of strength and conviction, women took over the factory jobs of men who went off to fight in war. “Rosie” was strong. Each member of the band, including Farideh Ceaser, Alexis Normand, Melissa Nygren and Allyson Reigh, are all pillars of strength.
Nygren is probably familiar to the knowledgeable music fan in Swift Current as she teamed up with the city’s Eliza Doyle on numerous projects including The Heartstrings and The Cracker Cats. Doyle is now of course part of the critically-acclaimed and popular Midnight Roses.
Nygren, a gifted singer and guitar player, is loving the Riveters project. While Rosie and the Riveters are about the music, it’s more of a show as there is a lot of dancing, banter and some comedy added which has a definite 1940’s theme. They do their hair and dress up in 1940’s fashion, adding a unique flair. While the songs are spiritual, the show is not religiously-preachy.
“It’s very diverse,” explains Nygren who says they are currently writing some new material in an undisclosed Sask. town “in the middle of nowhere.” “We do some 1940’s songs, spiritual song and the acapella stuff. It’s got a real organic feel and it’s kinda jazzy ... We also do some body percussion too.”
Each woman brings a unique skill. Having formed in 2011, Rosie and the Riveters originally featured Norman, Ceaser and Nygren with  Kiera Dall’Osto. However, Dall’Osto left a short time and the band toured as a trio.
“It’s great to be back to a four-piece, as it’s much better for harmonizing,” explains Nygren. “Three-part harmonies are expected, having four brings it to a whole new level.
“Our show is one for the sense. It’s a real show; it’s a complete show ... it’s a great group of people for the stage. It’s so appealing. It’s so visually amazing with the fabulous hair and shoes. (Musically) you can hear each one of us and our influences. I don’t know why it works so well, it just does."
Reigh worked with Nygren as part of Prairie Songstress Music which taught guitar and music lessons to young women. The company added Reigh as a singing teacher.  Nygren says Reigh has added a lot to the group. While obviously a good singer to be able to teach, Reigh is also a gifted dancer and has added a lot that way. She has taken dance classes and studied guitar, piano, and flute.
Ceaser is the founding member and is influenced by African American spirituals songs. These are the songs which are the base of the show.
Normand is talented with musical arrangement and adds a lot to the harmonies of the show. She has been nominated in Francophone categories for her own albums and for songwriting. She was short listed for a Lieutenant Governor General of Saskatchewan award in the emerging artist category.
Doors open at 7 p.m. for the Lyric’s May 31 show with music getting underway at at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at Pharmasave ($12 advance) or $15 at the door.

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Ryan Dahlman

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