Innovative Giving Enhancement (IGE)‘s fourth-annual Music and Art Immersion Community in Barcelona, Spain, is currently underway. The yearly event brings a crew of talented musical ambassadors to foreign destinations where they cross paths with a broad range of multi-genre European artists for ten days filled with immersive international improvisation and collaboration. Lauded music photographer Jay Blakesberg and New York Times best-selling Allman Brothers biographer Alan Paul will be bringing you daily updates on the happenings of the 2018 IGE Music and Art Immersion Community via Live For Live Music. You can check out today’s entry from Barcelona below: 

Yesterday’s activities for the IGE 2018 Barcelona Music and Art Immersion Community began with all 85 participants and most of the musicians and staff divided into three groups for tours of the remarkable, still-under-construction Sagrada Familia cathedral.

In the evening, everyone made their way over to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts—a spectacular 19th-century museum—for a formal gala, with guests and artists alike turning in their T-shirts for embroidered Western wear, sequined gowns, and a few tuxedoes. In a parlor room, with oversized oil paintings of Catalan nobility looking down, Holly Bowling kicked off the evening with a haunting solo rendition of the Grateful Dead’s “Weather Report Suite.” Over the next three hours, with a cava-fueled intermission break, most of the participating artists took to the front in various combinations, with nary a microphone or electric cord in sight.

It was a remarkable setting for a night of acoustic collaborations. Highlights included Nicki Bluhm singing Patsy Cline’s “She’s Got You” backed by Bowling, Ross James on guitar and Keith Moseley on bass, with Midnight North’s Elliott Peck and Grahame Lesh on background vocals. Peck, Lesh, and Eric Krasno also sang an aching version of Crosby, Still and Nash’s “Hopelessly Helping.” Greensky Bluegrass’ Paul Hoffman and Anders Beck closed their strong set by bringing out Bluhm, mandolinist Scott Law, and others for a rip through Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City.”

The night closed with an all-hands-on-deck run through “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?” with Bill Nershi leading the charge.  After the song ended, the musicians picked it back up in small groups as the audience drifted forward, blending together under the statues and paintings.

—Alan Paul

You can check out Jay Blakesberg’s photos from day five of IGE’s 2018 Barcelona Music and Art Immersion Community below. Check back tomorrow for another entry in Alan Paul and Jay Blakesberg’s IGE 2018 Barcelona Music and Art Immersion Community diary, exclusively on Live For Live Music.