ALBANY — Internet sensations Mia Asano (an electric violinist) and Ally Crowley-Duncan (known as Ally the Piper) are kicking off their “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” tour at The Egg on Oct. 25. The duo referred to their new tour as “hatching” at The Egg’s already sold-out venue, a place that holds special significance for them.
“This particular show feels really nostalgic and personal for me,” said Crowley-Duncan, who lives in the Albany area. “I’m excited to be bringing this duo project into my home. Having it sell out first and quickly makes me feel so positive. I’m really grateful for the local support.”
From crowd favorites to original music, everything from their first “Shipping Up to Boston” tour is magnified on “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” tour. The show’s atmosphere is designed to be upbeat, fun and energetic, with lights and even humor, during a section where both Asano and Duncan try to play each other’s instruments.
“It’s a rock show. People don’t expect that. There’s a lot of connotation that comes from these two traditional instruments,” said Asano. “Both of us have a lot of respect for these instruments.”
Both classically trained musicians, their aspiration is to pay homage to Irish and Scottish music, rock, and more while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of what is possible, individually and together.
“We have such a deep respect for our roots,” said Crowley-Duncan.
As a multi-instrumentalist, Crowley-Duncan began an interest in bagpiping after connecting to her adopted family’s Scottish heritage. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, she started performing Scottish and Irish music on Facebook livestreams for her friends. After noticing how people enjoyed it, she branched out to the wider audience of Tik Tok and found viral success.
Colorado-born Asano began playing violin when she was 5, continuing to play classical music for the next 17 years. At 13, she discovered electric violins and “became obsessed” with contemporary styles of violin music, from bluegrass to pop. In 2020, she started posting on Tik Tok and went viral, right after Ally’s first viral moment in November.
It was through Tik Tok that they first discovered each other’s work.
“We were fans of each other,” said Asano.
Asano’s cover of the Wellerman Sea Shanty initially connected them together.
“I had such admiration for the kind of content she was making,” said Crowley-Duncan. “I felt like we had a lot of similarities with where we were going with taking our niche instruments on the app. We just started duetting each other’s videos, and it spiraled.”
After meeting in person, they made seven videos together, which saw immediate success. While they had collaborated with other talented artists before, “something about the energy and creativity we have together struck a chord with people,” said Asano.
“Those videos became so popular,” she added. “Together on stage, there is just this really magical energy. There’s this undeniable chemistry that people picked up on. We realized that we have something special here, so we felt the need to pursue it and share it with the world.“
In addition to their own separate careers and tours, the duo Mia x Ally has enabled them and their music to flourish in a supportive environment. Asano and Crowley-Duncan referred to each other as “sisters” and “best friends.”
“We’ve been able to grow, separately and together,” said Crowley-Duncan. “It’s this beautiful thing.”
“It’s this very unique situation where we’re both established as individual artists, and that’s how we started out,” said Asano. “But together, we have this really special thing. Mia x Ally happens when we’re in the same room making music together!”
For their new album “Mia x Ally: The Viral Hits,” Crowley-Duncan and Asano curated a mix of fan and personal favorites. Two songs on the album that were written specifically for electric violin and bagpipes allow them to marry traditional music with their unique sound.
“There’s so much meaning within the selections for the album,” said Crowley-Duncan. “We really wanted it to still feel like us.’
For this tour, Crowley-Duncan and Asano chose the title “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” based on the enthusiastic reactions to their “Shipping Up to Boston” tour.
“We like naming our tours after the places we’re visiting. We’re carrying on the theme for this one,” said Asano.
A theme that is also essential to them in all of their work is suicide prevention, awareness, and support. Asano dedicated six months of streaming proceeds from her cover of the Power Rangers theme song to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in honor of actor Jason David Frank. The song will be performed at the show and ties into their personal mission of raising awareness.
“Mental health struggles are so widespread,” said Crowley-Duncan. “Suicide is so widespread that, unfortunately, most people have a connection to or have lost someone. We want to make sure that as we grow as artists, that personal connection to the things that have shaped us as artists and people is still part of what we’re standing for.”
Asano highlighted the intention and love behind all their work, citing her appreciation for their fans’ open-mindedness and support.
“It’s something that’s really special for both of us,” she said.
“I want to thank Albany for being the first city to sell out on the tour. That means so much to me,” said Crowley-Duncan. “I hope that whoever isn’t able to make it to the show can still experience the album and follow the journey.”
To follow Mia Asano and Ally the Piper, visit their Tik Tok, Instagram, and website: @miaasanomusic, @piper.ally, and https://miaxally.com.