Scarlet Rivera

Scarlet Rivera, born Donna Shea, is an American violinist. She is best known for her work with Bob Dylan, in particular on his 1976 album Desire and as part of the Rolling Thunder Revue.


Bob Dylan is said to have discovered Rivera before the rehearsal for his 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue tour. After a session with her, Dylan invited Rivera to play on the Rolling Thunder Revue tour. She played an important role in Dylan's studio album Desire.

In 1977, Rivera released her self-titled debut LP for Warner Bros. Records. According to Village Voice critic Robert Christgau, the album was regarded by some as "the worst record of the year". Lindsay Planer from AllMusic later praised the album, however, saying that Rivera "has consistently found specific and viable places for the violin in rock".

Rivera has multiple CDs as a composer in numerous styles, instrumental, new-age, Celtic and world music. Rivera has performed in the US, Europe and Japan with her Celtic group. She also recorded and performed with Tracy Chapman, Indigo Girls, Kori Linae Carothers, Keb Mo and others. Rivera was a soloist with the Duke Ellington Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and the Carnival of Venice, Italy. She continues to be an active recording artist, performer and composer.

She has also appeared on albums by Tracy Chapman (Crossroads), Keb Mo' (The Door), Dee Dee Bridgewater (Just Family), David Johansen (David Johansen), Ian McNabb (Head Like a Rock) Kori Carothers, Trilium and others.

In recent years Rivera has recorded New Age, instrumental, World, and Celtic music. She has also toured in Japan with the USA based South American group 'Ritual' and recorded the album Celtic Mist which was released in Japan. She also played violin on the 2014 album After the Fall, by UK-based Dodson and Fogg.

Scarlet was a special guest artist in the band in "Joni 75: A Birthday Celebration", the birthday concert held in honor of Joni Mitchell on November 7 2018 in Los Angeles, USA, and also in the concert with Brandi Carlile for Joni Mitchell's Blue album in October 2019. Rivera featured in Martin Scorsese's 2019 documentary film: "Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story" and attended the Premiere in New York in June 2019. She has also been touring Europe during October and November 2019 with Eric Andersen doing sold out performances.

Rivera has a debut album "Right Now" due February 2020 singing her own songs, and is currently working on an album "Celtic Magic" to be released later in 2020.

Personal life

Rivera is of Irish-Sicilian ancestry. She was married in 1991 to the British session keyboardist Tommy Eyre. The marriage lasted until his death in 2001.


  • Scarlet Rivera (Warner Bros., 1977)
  • Scarlet Fever (Warner Bros., 1978)
  • Celtic Dreams (Bci/Eclipse Music, 1998)
  • Celtic Myst (Bci/Eclipse Music, 1998)
  • Behind the Crimson Veil – Scarlet Rivera and Tommy Eyre '' (Bci/Eclipse Music, 1999)
  • Celtic Spirit (Bci/Eclipse Music, 1998)
  • Classic Christmas
  • Voice of the Animals (Scarlet Rivera, 2000)
  • Journey with an Angel (Echo Sonic, 2003)
  • Magical Christmas (Bci/Eclipse Music, 2004)
  • A New Map of the World (DISCONFORME SPAIN, 2004) by Ritual (Uruguay)
  • Hope: Intermezzo Sinfonico (Clara Luz Music BMI, 2015) by Eduardo Del Signore

    With Bob Dylan

  • Bootleg Series, Vol. 1–3 (ca. 1975–1976) (Columbia, 1991)
  • The Bootleg Series Vol. 5: Bob Dylan Live 1975, The Rolling Thunder Revue (1975) (Columbia, 2002)
  • Bob Dylan - The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings (1975) (Columbia, 2019)
  • Desire (1976) (Columbia)
  • Hard Rain (1976)

    With Peter Maffay

  • ''Sonne in der Nacht - 1. Diese Sucht die Leben heißt, (LP,CD,Video,DVD)`` (1984) (WEA Musik)

    With Dee Dee Bridgewater

  • Just Family (Elektra, 1977)