Riding in on a Bear | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Riding in on a Bear

Portlander Laura Ivancie says music runs in her family

Photo by Adam Tischner

Laura Ivancie had a vision. A vision of a woman riding on a bear, weapon in hand.

Strangely enough, this obscure image coincided exactly with one that her friend, Mike Friolo, a graphic designer for Adidas and Nike, had. So, naturally, he put it on a T-shirt for Ivancie's fans. (Check it out at store.lauraivancie.com.)

While one could write it off as a gimmick to show up Katy Perry and her Super Bowl lion, acoustic singer-songwriter turned folktronic/triphop artist, Ivancie says that the image has an autobiographical meaning for her.

"It is a symbol of fearlessness," she says. "The girl is facing her fear on the bear. You could look at a girl riding a bear and think she is stupid/foolish, but also brave and fearless, a hunter."

And yes, that's more than just symbolism. That's the way Ivancie was born: fearless and bold.

Laura is the granddaughter of former Portland mayor Frank Ivancie, who held office from 1981 to 1985. As mayor, her grandfather left indelible marks on Portland, overseeing the construction of the Portland Building, and most of the MAX Blue Line. In his bid for re-election, though, he was bumped from office in a surprise upset by populist Bud Clark, a local tavern owner and slight eccentric who gained national fame for, among other things, posing with his trench coat open and flashing a statue, with the tagline, "Expose yourself to art."

Her grandfather's legacy and tenacity is something that Laura clearly has inherited. She points to a family tradition of standing behind a cause, and recent appearances in April for benefit concerts for Oregon Music News, Portland Radio Project, and the Oregon Food Bank.

"I think there is some fight in this dog," she says about herself. "I want to put stuff out there that gets people to think about things. There is a streak of people in my family that is into politics and ways you can get people together. I have more freedom as a singer."

Ivancie will play at McMenamin's in Bend, along with violinist/guitarist Tim Snider on May 13.

"There is a sort of an element of surprise when you come see me play," teases Ivancie. "You don't know what you are going to get, but it's going to be interesting." She doesn't even indicate whether her show in Bend will be acoustic or electronic. "I will probably be doing both," she assures.

Ivancie describes her evolution from acoustic to electronic as fluid—there is always room for both, she says. But she admits that her more recent fascination with electronic music is fun.

"I'm enjoying myself because it is a total change in my audience and venue—more sexy, down tempo, viby," she says. "I still play acoustic, raw versions of songs I have been writing. I want to blend the two down the road—build on both sounds. I don't want to put myself in a box. I don't know what it is going to sound like, but what is important is that I am working on it."

Her most recent EP, Little Girl, blends instrumentation and electronic accents that give it a haunting yet thoughtful vibe.

"The music I tend to be drawn to deals with facing your shadows in life and relationships—bringing up things that are hard to talk about, that dark side," she says.

Ivancie has also recently launched a Patreon campaign (patreon.com/lauraivancie) to connect more intimately with her fans and to raise funds to put out more EPs.

Laura Ivancie, with Tim Snider

7-10 pm, Wednesday, May 13

McMenamins Old St. Francis School, 700 NW Bond Street, Bend


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