By: Kaia Femenías
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Bridget Law of the folk band, Elephant Revival. Renowned for their melodic songs giving off a natural wholesome feel, this Colorado band has come a long way since first coming together ten years ago. Since their compilation, Elephant Revival has been on national tours, played at monumental Colorado venues such as Red Rocks Amphitheater, as well as made an appearance at Arise Music Festival.
Q: How long have you been singing/ playing the violin?
A: About 20 years..well more than that, I’m 33. Singing came later for me, I’ve been singing since I was young because that’s what children do, but actual songs came later.
Q: How has your personal experience influenced the direction of the band?
A: I think everybody’s personal experience influences the group. How we eat is a big one, and how we exercise. It can become kind of a need that everyone needs to accommodate. I have a desire and a commitment to live in an optimal state of health, I choose not to partake in certain things. You also need to keep to yourself at times. When we’re all traveling together it’s important to take time for yourself.
Q: I’ve noticed your music has a very spiritual vibe, especially after seeing you perform at Arise. Can you talk about this?
A: Yeah, I mean I think it’s the reason why we do it. We’re not trying to define spirituality necessarily, but I think what people pick up on the spirituality aspect of it is that we are working towards (we as humans), and music makers and public speakers if you will, is that we’re saying things with a message that we want people to feel the magic that’s present in life and a connection to nature and the concept that we are all one, that we are all connected. These are all spiritual concepts that are highly present in our music, as well as in the way we think and feel. I think that in this world, in this world of concrete and tall buildings and motorized vehicles it’s easy to forget that, and in our music, we hope to remind people of that.
Q: How long has the band been together?
Ten years now, ten years next month.
Q: What sparked that?
We were all friends, we had all met in various music situations, we kind of picked up on a vibe that we were all chasing this notion that we could change the world through our music. I think that made us want to do it together, we wanted to come together and create something greater than ourselves, greater than any one of us could do on our own.
Q: How did the name “Elephant Revival” come about?
There were a few elephants that were living together in the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago,and the zookeepers decided to separate them and send an elephant to a different zoo. In transport, the elephant died, and within a few days the other elephants also passed away, and probably from a broken heart because elephants are very family oriented connected creatures. So the concept that started the band was really derived from the idea that we’re tribal creatures and we’re meant to travel together and be a part of things together, and it works, it brought us all to Colorado to play music together.
Q: Do you find that after singing a song so many times, it loses some of its personal resonance to you or some of its luster?
A: I think it’s always fluctuating. There are definitely times when it doesn’t have as much luster but the truth is that the act of being a musician is being able to go back to those moments and to really feel the moment or relive it again and again, and be the carrier of that moment to the people. I think the moments it may lose its luster, if you will, are things like someone’s banjo is out of tune or it was the wrong tempo, those kinds of things, but beyond that, you want to be able to share the song in any given situation from your heart, and get your mind out of the way in order to do that.
Q: How has music helped you personally?
A: Oh man, so much. What I mentioned before, about being in a world of concrete and tall buildings and stuff, it helps me get reconnected, it helps me feel like people care. Coming to situations so that people can hear what we have to say and experience just for a moment this sensory experience of the music itself, it just helps me feel connected to people, it helps me believe, helps me have hope for the planet and it’s really given me a sense of joy and purpose in life. I love music, and I think it’s one of the most fascinating things there are to experience, it’s pretty special.
Q: Who writes the lyrics?
A: Most of the lyrics are written by Bonnie and Dan of Elephant Revival. Dango’s written a few and I have songs but they’re older. Over the last ten years the music of Elephant Revival has pretty much centered itself around Bonnie and Daniel’s music.
Q: When did Bonnie start playing the saw?
A: A few years ago, she likes the more interesting instruments, she’s probably been playing it for about ten years or something.
Q: What inspires and motivates you as an artist?
A: Things that make us feel more alive. Things that make us feel… I eat well, and I do yoga, I try to tap into things that make me feel more vibrant and more alive. When I feel inspired is when I feel that way. I mean that in a purely natural way, walking through the Redwoods or jumping into the ocean or eating a really fresh and wild apple, or just having a really genuine connection with someone.
After thanking Bridget for her time, she brought to my attention that Elephant Revival will be playing with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra on November 26th in the Boettcher Concert Hall, a dream come true for the band.