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2009

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2009:
December 10, 2009:
Though we have been back on American soil for quite some time now, we are still glowing from the warm reception we received from our dear neighbors to the north.  We catch ourselves humming the stirring national anthem, O Canada!  Okay, we don’t actually know the melody. . . or the words.  So, really we are simply saying “O Canada” repeatedly.  The point being that our October 2009 Home Routes Tour through western Canada was an amazing adventure and grand success!  The curious among you can read more about it further down in this newsletter or, since they say a picture is worth a thousand words, you can simply visit our photo album on Facebook.  

In spite of the fact that we missed both Black Friday and Cyber Monday (did you even know there was such a thing?), we still want to offer a special holiday sale to our faithful fans.  Between now and the end of the year, our 2008 release, Where the Waters Run, and our Leela and Ellie Grace  t-shirt will be on sale for $14!  Our previous self-titled release will stay the same price since it is flirting with collector’s item status as supplies run low.  Our CDs and T-Shirts can be ordered through our website store. Our latest release is also available through indie distributor CDbaby and can be digitally downloaded through iTunes and digstation.com We would be honored if you gave our music as a gift this holiday season!   

And now the story of Leela and Ellie’s Excellent Adventure 2009. . . We kicked off the tour in style, performing for a full house at Artichoke Music in Portland, OR.  Leela’s fine banjo and singing students and many other friends and fans came out en force to cheer us on and send us off to Canada!  From our vantage point at the far end of the tour, we know that it was a roaring success and a brilliant adventure, but our initial foray onto Canadian soil got off to a bit of a shaky start.  With all of our instruments, CDs, proper documentation, and grand enthusiasm in tow, we were dismayed to be held at the border for five hours.  Perhaps they had heard one too many banjo jokes and were made highly suspicious by that banjo in the backseat.  After shuffling us around to several different border crossings, they finally realized they had made a mistake (though they did not say as much) and announced that there was no problem with us coming into Canada after all, but there must be a caveat.  And that caveat was that all of our CDs had to be stored in the back room of an IGA grocery store in a tiny town in Washington State in order for them to allow our entry into their country!  With no other option and daylight fading fast, we signed the paperwork (usually for gun storage) and left hundreds of our CDs in a rickety shopping cart.  Five hours behind schedule and with a bit less faith in humanity, we finally crossed onto Canadian soil.  Ah, but the amazing, welcoming, generous people we proceeded to meet along the way more than restored that lost faith!

We got up early the next morning, with only a few hours of sleep under our belts, to try to make up lost time and make it to our first venue, still over a thousand kilometers away.  As we continued to drive north in the early morning hours, there was no doubt in our minds that we were arriving in winter.   In a lifetime of performing, we have never missed a performance.  But as we battled treacherously icy roads and blizzard conditions in high mountain passes, we were heartbroken to have to cancel our concert in Fort St. John, BC.  We were taken in on that cold, winter night by a Home Routes host with a round house in the bush. . . with a llama wondering about, no indoor plumbing, a woodstove for heat, and solar panels for electricity.  Rested up and relieved to be safe, we finally arrived on day three of our adventure at our first show in Grand Prairie, AB!  The crazy things we do to bring a little more music into this world.  The warm, cozy bookstore where we played that night and the wonderful folks who welcomed us to our first of many successful shows made it all worthwhile!

And that was just the beginning. We cannot explain in words the beautiful country that we saw and the amazing communities we were welcomed into each night. The full house in the majestic Canadian Rockies in Hinton. . .the sparkling fireside concert at a church in Spruce Grove. . .the raucous, laughing crowd in Evansburg. . .the sweet evening of music on the sheep farm in St. Paul. . .the enthusiastic, packed room in St. Albert. . .the homey Singing Waitress Café in Lloydminster. . .the Canadian cowboys in Ponoka. . .the animated music lovers in Edmonton. . .the incredible community in Rocky Mountain House. . . the final grand show in Calgary. 

We had the realization that our tour was amusingly similar to a blind date.  For over two weeks, we were driving through the Canadian countryside, following directions provided by Home Routes to the houses of people whom we had never met.  The hosts were opening their homes to a pair of sisters whose music they had likely never heard prior to our concert.  And it worked spectacularly!   Canada, we would consider going steady with you. 

We came home with many new friends and fans, memories of amazing conversations about politics and culture and music, a true appreciation for all of our house concert hosts, a deepened love for the Canadian landscape and society, and a healthy respect for icy roads and border guards.   Though the U.S. may not have a wonderful centralized organization like Home Routes to create house concert circuits, there are still house concerts happening all across the country.   For those of you who have never had the opportunity to attend a show in one of these venues, we highly recommend it.  Perhaps you even have the perfect living room to host a concert for a touring musician. . . move some furniture, borrow some chairs, and create a night you will never forget!

After spending much of this year on the road, we are both ready to stay a little closer to home this winter. Leela is gathering a growing army of banjo and harmony singing students who may soon take over the world (in the most peaceful possible way, of course). She will continue doing solo performances around Portland and working with other musicians from the Northwest. Ellie is busily preparing her Cape Breton step dancing group for upcoming performances in Asheville. You may also find her performing regionally this winter with her fabulous old-time trio, Blue Eyed Girl. We look forward to seeing what mysterious adventures will come our way in the spring of 2010.

We wish you all warmth and peace this winter. 

Ellie and Leela  

October 5, 2009: We are feeling the beginnings of that certain chill in the air. . . loving the crisp, cool mornings. . . watching the first leaves give up the fight and float down to the ground.  And what are we doing to celebrate the arrival of fall and the coming of the cold air?  What any foolhardy folk musicians would do, of course, we are driving over a thousand miles north of Portland, Oregon and going on tour in Canada! 

After a wild summer of traveling, performing, or teaching in over thirty states and with thousands of miles and many cross-country flights under our belts, perhaps we should sit back and rest on our laurels.  Or maybe just sit back and rest.  But conquering the continental United States just isn’t enough!  And so we are about to behold nearly 3,000 miles of spectacular Canadian countryside and share our music and dance along the way!   

We are going to be on tour for two weeks in British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan through a wonderful Canadian non-profit organization called Home Routes.  Home Routes, according to their website (www.homeroutes.ca), is dedicated to “the love of music, to making music more accessible to a greater number of people and to supporting the artists that make the music.”  The organization teaches people in towns all across Canada how to host house concerts and then hires world-class roots musicians to perform on circuits through these communities.  We will be welcomed into a new community every day and will play a show every night for two weeks. 

To kick off this tour, we are meeting in Leela’s adopted hometown of Portland, OR to perform a special show at Artichoke Music.  This will be our first full evening concert in Portland since Leela moved there over two years ago!  Spread the word to your Oregonian friends!   

We hope you can get out and enjoy this beautiful fall. And with the winter holidays fast approaching, don’t forget that our 2008 CD, Where the Waters Run, along with our debut CD and our limited edition  t-shirt, can still be ordered from our website. Our latest release is also available through indie distributor CDBaby (http://cdbaby.com/cd/leelaelliegrace) and can be digitally downloaded through iTunes and digstation.com.  For tour details, click on Tour. We hope to see you down the road!

Peace,
Leela and Ellie

August 25, 2009:  This will be a brief update to let you know about some exciting upcoming performances. We hope you are having a beautiful August wherever this finds you. Leela and Ellie have had a wonderfully busy and successful summer of performing and teaching from Portland, Oregon to Asheville, North Carolina to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Currently, Leela is in Missouri visiting family on her way to meet Ellie in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Ellie is currently near Boston, MA, teaching at Pinewoods Camper’s Week. This coming weekend, we are very excited to bring our new music back to the Great River Folk Festival in La Crosse, WI. It is really a wonderful little festival with an always-stellar lineup of music. Come see us there, or tell your Wisconsin friends about the festival! We have also just added the sweet Turtle Hill Folk Festival near Rochester, NY September 12-13! Go to our online calendar to find out more about these festivals.

Back home in Portland, Leela will be continuing to teach her clawhammer banjo students and will be offering her By-Ear Harmony Singing Class and a Beginning Clawhammer Banjo Class at Artichoke Music. In Asheville, Ellie will be performing regionally with her wonderful three-woman band, Blue-Eyed Girl. In October, Leela and Ellie will meet again in the Northwest and commence a 2-week house concert tour of British Columbia and Alberta! We are so excited to venture into Canada again! Check our website for details as they emerge.

Peace,
Leela and Ellie

April 9, 2009: We can hardly believe that it is already April! We hope you are basking in a beautiful spring wherever you are. We also hope, for your sake, that you have already dutifully filed those pesky tax returns, unlike your favorite self-employed, procrastinator duo of musical sisters whose respective complex forms still lie blank next to piles of receipts. We know a band in Lawrence, Kansas who goes to the post office every April 15th and performs the William Tell Overture (a.k.a. the Lone Ranger theme) as last-minute filers rush to make the midnight postmark deadline. That tune may be serenading us in the near future, if we don’t put pencil to form 1040 very soon! 

Since you last heard from us, we have been busy in our respective locales (Leela in Portland, OR and Ellie in Asheville, NC), teaching and performing. Between a sprinkling of solo performances, Leela has a roster of students being tutored in the mysteries of clawhammer banjo at Artichoke Music, taught a clogging workshop at the Portland Old Time Gathering in January, and will be offering classes in beginning banjo and by-ear harmony singing starting in June. Ellie has kept several groups of percussive dancers jumping (literally) with her Cape Breton Step Dancing and Appalachian Clogging classes, while also performing regionally with her wonderful three-woman band, Blue-Eyed Girl.  

In the last week, Leela has enjoyed a lovely beginning to April in Oregon with a string of sunny, warm days. For Ellie in North Carolina, April was ushered in by week of dreary, rainy weather, usually the norm for the Pacific Northwest this time of year. Leela tried not to gloat too much, especially since she will be joining Ellie in the southeastern states in less than a week! 

That’s right, folks. In whirlwind bit of last minute plotting, we have planned a little sister reunion that is coming right up! We’ll be offering several performances, including our first ever house concert in Atlanta, Georgia on Thursday, April 23, organized by dance caller extraordinaire, Seth Tepfer. Find out more on our online calendar and tell anyone you know in the Atlanta area! 

We are continuing to add dates to our summer performance calendar, including the wonderful Family Week at Ogontz (near Lyman, NH) and the amazing Great River Folk Festival in La Crosse, Wisconsin, both in August. Keep an eye on our website for potential duo dates in the Midwest in June, in the Northwest in July, and more! 

Don’t forget that our CD, Where the Waters Run, along with our debut CD and our limited edition  t-shirt, (which says “We will join together one by one until a drop becomes a flood” – yes we DID!) can still be ordered from our web store. Our latest release is also available through indie distributor CDBaby and can be digitally downloaded through iTunes and digstation.com.  

We hope to see you (and/or someone you know – in Atlanta, GA, for example) at one of our upcoming concerts. For more tour details, click on Tour.

Peace,
Leela and Ellie

2008:
December 3, 2008:
What a year it has been!  We began 2008 with the release of our second duo CD, a moment we surely thought would never come. What started as a fleeting and unassuming morning in the studio in celebration of Leela’s birthday ended in a powerful musical collaboration and a now-celebrated recording project.  And we are ending 2008 by rejoicing the momentous occasion that we have worked for and dreamed of for so long: the election of Barack Obama as President.  We spent 2008 touring the country in support of our new CD and encouraging people to join together, to speak out, to reclaim hope. . . “We will join together one by one until a drop becomes a flood!”   This is the story of 2008--a drop has truly become a flood, in our own lives and for our country.

Now we know just what you are thinking as you read this. . . “Boy, I wish I could have that quote from Leela and Ellie’s song plastered across my chest on a stylish and attractive black and white t-shirt.”  Did we read your mind or what?  Now, we may not be Santa Claus or even his little elves, but we can grant you this one wish.  As we have hinted in newsletters past, we do, in fact, have a limited edition Leela and Ellie Grace t-shirt that, hitherto, has only been available at our live performances.  To honor this year of change and, nearly as importantly, to help you with your holiday shopping, our t-shirt is now available for purchase on our website!  We encourage you to go check out the shirts soon--there are a limited number and once they are gone, they are gone.  While you are visiting our online store, take note of the special sale we are offering on our CDs for this holiday season (The Leela and Ellie Grace Economic Stimulus Package). To help make your gift giving more affordable this year, we have reduced the price of our CDs to only $14 apiece (the lowest price ever) from now until December 31st!  We would be honored if you shared our music with your friends and family.

Now that you have your holiday shopping all taken care of, you have a little extra time on your hands to do some light reading.  We were thrilled to be featured in an article in the October/November issue of Dirty Linen, a national folk and world music magazine.  This article and the accompanying review of Where the Waters Run are now available for you to read on our Articles page.

After a wonderful year of touring (our busiest to date), we are excited to stay closer to our respective homes for the winter and spread music and dance in our local communities.  Leela will have some solo appearances in Portland and will be teaching banjo through Artichoke Music.   Also keep an eye on the “Teaching” page on our website as she will also be offering dance and harmony singing classes. All the way across the country in Western North Carolina, Ellie is teaching a Cape Breton dance troupe (Twistycuffs) and preparing them for an upcoming major performance.  She will also be appearing regionally with her all-female, old-time trio (Blue Eyed Girl), singing with a small world music choir, and offering percussive dance classes.   We hope you will stay in touch with us as we nestle in for the winter. Keep an eye on our online calendar to find out where and when we are each performing and teaching. You can find us all over the world wide web. . . on our website, MySpace, Facebook, CDBaby, iTunes, YouTube, and anywhere else that Google finds our names and faces. 

We wish you a peaceful and joyful winter season.  After a year like 2008, we are excited to find out what 2009 has in store. . .

 Peace,
Leela and Ellie

August 27, 2008: As the summer is drawing nearly to a close, we are nearing the end of our busiest touring season. We have had amazing travels on the east coast, on the west coast, and in many places in between. We are coming back to the Midwest this weekend and hope to see you there!

In June, we had our first-ever Northwest tour. It went splendidly! We did a house concert in Seattle at the stunning house (built of standing dead fir) of the Olsons, and were soundly welcomed by an enthusiastic audience of new fans. We drove to Lake Coeur D’Alene in Idaho to spend a week teaching at Lady of the Lake camp, where, in addition to teaching clogging and harmony singing, banjo, and mandolin, and leading the daily gatherings, we got to spend time with members of the hot dance bands The Horseflies and Notorious. We also had successful concerts in Spokane, WA, Portland, OR, and Hood River, OR. More recently, we spent a week in early August near Plymouth, MA at the beautiful Pinewoods camp, teaching clogging, harmony singing, and Cape Breton Step Dancing to a wonderful group of folks ranging in age from 18-80. We slept in a rustic cabin with a screen porch overlooking the crystal clear Round Pond, had delicious, from-scratch meals in the dining pavilion, and spent each evening singing, dancing, and laughing into the wee hours and then finding our way to our beds by flashlight. We would recommend the experience to anyone!

This coming weekend, we are extremely excited to be returning to our beloved Fox Valley Folk Festival near Chicago. This year, we are offering a special master class in By-Ear Harmony Singing on the Saturday evening before the festival. This is a rare opportunity and it never fails to be an inspiring and FUN class! And, if you have never had a chance to attend the Fox Valley Festival, now is the time. It is an outdoor, family-oriented event filled with great music, a lovely atmosphere, and beautiful arts and crafts. Check out the website to see who else is performing – it is a great line-up (as always) this year. In addition to the main stage concerts, there are smaller “workshops” offered on Sunday and Monday during the day. These are always entertaining – a time to see the musicians up close as they trade songs with each other. If you don’t live in the Chicago area, be sure and tell friends or relatives there about the festival!  We will have our new CD available at the festival, as well as our limited edition T-shirts (which we WILL be putting up for sale on the website very soon).

Speaking of our new CD, “Where the Waters Run,” we are one of the featured artists in the current issue of national folk magazine, Dirty Linen. Keep your eyes out for it! The CD can still be ordered from the website, but you can also order it through indie distributor CDbaby. And you can still find us all over the web, including on iTunes, MySpace, and Facebook!

We hope to see you (and/or someone you know) at one of our upcoming shows. For details, check out our Tour Schedule.

 Peace,
Leela and Ellie

June 17, 2008: It is a chilly, early summer day in the Pacific Northwest, a welcome change for Ellie who arrived late last night from her sunny, southern town. With a two and half week tour of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho in store, she will no doubt be basking in the beauty of the Northwest and wondering why she didn’t pack more sweaters.

We are touring far and wide this year in support of our new CD, getting a refresher course in US Geography 101. We spent April being welcomed back home at wonderful venues throughout the Midwest. We were thrilled to play for enthusiastic audiences across Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois. Whoever planned our whirlwind tour had us tracing a wild path back and forth across these states, but it was well worth it for the warm response we received and the connections we made with faithful fans and new friends. Now on the heels of a May tour in the Southeast (Ellie’s new home), we are at last bringing our music to Leela’s newly adopted region.

We are excited to be making our first appearances as a duo in Portland, OR, Hood River, OR, and Seattle, WA (too bad we don’t drink coffee!). We are making a return visit to eastern WA (including our first full-length concert in Spokane) and spending a week teaching and performing on the beautiful shores of Lake Coeur D’Alene in Idaho. We would love to see you at one of these venues! If you are not in the Northwest, maybe you have family or friends or colleagues or acquaintances in the area! Please help us spread the word as we bring our music to a new part of the country.

Our CD, Where the Waters Run, is continuing to receive airplay and acclaim around the country. We are receiving media attention, including an upcoming feature on syndicated NPR show, “River City Folk,” and an article in national folk music magazine, Dirty Linen. The CD can still be ordered from the website, but you can also order it through indie distributor CDBaby (http://cdbaby.com/cd/leelaelliegrace). You can even find us on iTunes and Facebook! We’re trying to stay up (or is it “down”?) with all you young people… J

We couldn’t do what we do without you! We would love to see you (and/or someone you know) at one of our upcoming concerts. For details, check out our Tour Schedule.

Peace,

Leela and Ellie

March 29, 2008: As spring is showing her lovely (if moody) face here in the northwest, Ellie and I are making preparations, once again, to meet in the middle of the country! We had quite a time at our last reunion. Our CD release concert on February 16 was a fabulous party – two of the wonderful musicians who played on our CD were able to join us for the packed concert and we folk-rocked out! We debuted our new “Leela and Ellie Grace” T-shirts and the Columbia (MO) Daily Tribune’s Go! Magazine featured a cover article about us, which you can see here. After the concert, we drove down to Memphis, TN for the International Folk Alliance Conference – a gathering of folk musicians, radio DJs, venue operators, booking agents, dancers, and other rabble rousers from all over the world. As you can imagine, there wasn’t much sleeping to be had! This year, we had the honor of being selected as official showcase artists. We forged many new musical and professional connections and had a great time in the process!

After that little whirlwind, we went home to our respective sides of the country to get some sleep! The cats spent several days taking turns on my lap to make up for lost time. Now we are ready to return to the road (although the cats and dogs are staring daggers at my suitcase) and are making final plans for our little midwestern tour through Kansas, Missouri and Illinois starting on April 2! We are happy to be returning to the wonderful Big Muddy Folk Festival in Boonville, MO next weekend after a little jaunt to Lawrence, Kansas. Then we head up to Illinois and swing back around to St. Louis. Ellie’s little car should get quite a workout! For details, check out our Tour Schedule.  

We are also still working on booking our summer tours in North Carolina (in May), the Northwestern states (in June), and New England (in August). Please get in contact with us if you can recommend us to any venues in those areas, or if you would like to host a house concert!

 In other news, now, not only can you order the CD at our website, but you can also order it through indie distributor CDbaby! Also, you can now find us on iTunes (!) and you can still download individual songs or the whole album through Digstation.com. It would be wonderful if you have the chance to visit CDBaby or iTunes and write a review of our CD. Also, if your local folk radio show is not playing our new CD, please let us know so we can get “Where the Waters Run” out to your local community or public radio stations!

Thank you for your continued support! We hope to see you soon at a concert near you.

Peace,
Leela and Ellie

February 6, 2008: Can you believe it is February already? It has been raining in Portland (snowing in the higher elevations), but the grass is strangely green all winter here! In Asheville, I hear from Ellie that the weather changes daily. Now, we are excitedly preparing to meet in Columbia, Missouri (where it may be 70 degrees and sunny or it may be icy and snowing – who knows!) to finally properly celebrate the release of the new CD, Where the Waters Run! Since the CD came out at the very end of 2007, we have been getting rave responses from everyone who has heard it! Now, not only can you order the CD at our website, but you can download individual songs or the whole album through Digstation: http://www.digstation.com/LeelaandEllieGrace 

In a few days, I will be braving the airline system with my guitar, banjo, and overstuffed suitcase. It will be the first time that Ellie and I have seen each other since the CD came out and will be the beginning of a very busy year for us. On Saturday, February 16, our Hometown CD Release Concert will take place at Windsor Auditorium in Columbia, MO! It will be quite a grand event – we will be joined by several of the musicians who played on the CD, and we will have our NEW T-Shirts for sale! If you are anywhere near Missouri (or know anyone who is), we hope you can make plans to attend. It should be a perfect Valentine’s/President’s Day weekend excursion! Scroll down or go to our Tour Schedule for more information about the concert! 

After the big Hometown CD Release Concert, we’ll be driving down to Memphis, TN in Ellie’s little car for the International Folk Alliance Conference. We were selected to be Official Showcase Artists this year! The Folk Alliance conference is always an exercise in sleep deprivation, but also a chance to connect with so many amazing musicians and other folks in the business of folk music!

In April, we’ll be returning to the Midwest for the wonderful Big Muddy Folk Festival in Boonville, MO and a tour through Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois. In May, we’ll be in North Carolina. In June, we’ll be in the Northwest. Check out Tour Schedule and keep an eye on the website – we are adding dates all the time! We hope to see you out there on the road this year…. This year of change!

Peace,
Leela and Ellie

January 22, 2008: The long-awaited second CD from Leela and Ellie Grace has finally arrived.  On February 16th, a concert will be held to celebrate the release of their stunning new CD, Where The Waters Run.  These Columbia, MO natives will collectively travel over 2600 miles (from Portland, OR and Asheville, NC) to present this concert—it promises to be a very special night for the Graces and their beloved hometown crowd.  Join Leela and Ellie and several special guests at Windsor Auditorium in beautiful downtown Columbia, MO for an evening of music and celebration. 

 

When: Saturday, February 16th at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Windsor Auditorium, 1405 E. Broadway map

What: Leela and Ellie Grace's CD Release Concert!

Cost:  $10 for adults, $5 for kids!

More Info: ellie @ gracefamilymusic.com, www.leelaandelliegrace.com, (573) 823-5650
Help us Spread the Word: Print and post concert FLYERS (pdf)!

December 27, 2007: The new CD is HERE!

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…. A Leela and Ellie Grace CD!

That’s right, folks! On December 20, 2007, our SECOND CD, Where the Waters Run, arrived on our doorsteps. On that day, in Portland, OR and Columbia, MO many of these CDs were immediately thrust into already-addressed envelopes and carried in laundry baskets to the post office, where (much to the chagrin of impatient holiday mailers in line behind Leela or Ellie) they were lovingly stamped and mailed to those of you who had pre-ordered!

We can’t believe it is actually here. We really are rather surprised. We didn’t begin 2007 with the intent to produce a second CD. When people would ask us when the next one would come out, we would laugh nervously and change the subject. You see, in 2006 (as most of you know), Ellie had moved to Asheville, North Carolina and in 2007, Leela was planning a move to Portland, Oregon! This presented a bit of a challenge when it came to considering recording another CD – 2007 was already looking to be a banner year with much change afoot for the Grace sisters! A new CD was not on our minds. However, January had other plans. January deviously made the stars align unexpectedly and set the wheels inexorably in motion towards something that would eventually be known to the world as Where the Waters Run

It was Leela’s 30th birthday in January, 2007 (yes, that’s right – she can’t believe it either!). Ellie and Leela’s partner plotted with friends and family and presented Leela with a beautiful, brand new Taylor guitar! And then, not knowing the consequences of this seemingly insignificant action, they bought her a day of studio time at Pete Szkolka’s studio in Columbia, Missouri so she could record a little demo for fun. Leela, being the generous big sister that she is, invited Ellie (who happened to be in Columbia for Leela’s birthday) to join her! And the rest, as they say, is history. On those two cold days in January, Leela and Ellie recorded 6 of the 11 songs that would eventually make up the new CD!

Ellie would return to Missouri in May, June, and July to record the five remaining songs and then to produce them all by adding bass (played by the amazing Kevin Hennessy), drums (kicked out by the killer Jake Hanselman), and even electric guitar on one song and Hammond organ on another (added by our incredible engineer, Pete Szkolka, who is also one of the most talented musicians we’ve ever known). Then, after Leela moved to Portland in August, the work continued long-distance via instant messenger, e-mail, and free mobile to mobile cell phone minutes. Ellie even came all the way to Portland from Asheville in September to work on photos and graphics!

2007 did turn out to be quite a year! Looking back, it seems that these songs were just demanding to be sung to the world and this CD was more than a little determined to have a birthday of its own before 2008. We are still in awe of how the whole project came out.

So, all of that to tell you that your wait is over. Our wait is over. This is the real deal. . . we are talking CD in our hands, happy dance completed, played it for our loved ones, real deal. No more bated breath, no more coming soon, no more pre-orders. The brand new CD is here, really here! And it could be there, really there in 2-3 business days.  

To order your copy of Where The Waters Run, click HERE. Also, keep an eye out for exclusive offers on limited edition Leela and Ellie Grace t-shirts! And mark your calendars to come celebrate the release of our CD with us in Columbia, MO on February 16th! We hope to see you somewhere in the big wide world in 2008, when we will be touring in support of Where The Waters Run. Watch our tour calendar for details! We cannot thank you enough for your support of our music. . . without you, none of this would be possible.

Peace and Happy New Year,
Leela and Ellie Grace
www.leelaandelliegrace.com  

2007:
December 7, 2007: NEW CD CAN NOW BE PRE-ORDERED!
We hope you are sitting down (we are not sure who checks their e-mail standing up, but better safe than sorry), because w e have big news: You can be the very first people in the world to hear our new CD, “Where The Waters Run”!  You can dance about with glee and taunt other Leela and Ellie Grace fans with your very own pre-ordered copy.  You can pass other cars on the road, roll down your window, turn up the stereo, and mouth “Leela and Ellie Grace’s new CD” while pointing proudly at your CD player.   Not that we would encourage such reckless behavior while driving. . . we are just saying it could happen, because you can now officially pre-order “Where The Waters Run”!  However, we happen to believe that friends and fans of our music are above average on the kind and generous scale.  So scratch the above image and picture instead. . . you ordering dozens and dozens of the new CD and dancing about with glee of a more magnanimous kind, as you distribute them to all of your beloved friends and family as holiday gifts.  Yes, you can bring that kind of joy to all the good boys and girls in your life because. . . our CD will be released on December 20th, 2007 and you can pre-order it online starting today!!

If you are simply unable to contain your excitement for even a moment more, with no further ado, here is a link to our website (check out the new address!) where you can read about and pre-order our long-awaited second release:
www.leelaandelliegrace.com  For the rest of you, here is some further ado. . .

“Where The Waters Run” has emerged as a true labor of love. Although we now live exactly 2,637 miles apart, we met many times over the last year in our hometown of Columbia, MO to record this CD.  We produced this very special project ourselves and it features nine of our own original songs and two of our favorite traditional songs. We can’t wait for you to hear our new music. . . complete with all the sweet harmonies, mandolin, guitar, and banjo you could ask for and supported beautifully by three amazing back-up musicians.  A special thank you to Leela's 30th birthday, Ellie's '91 Corolla, the house of our first dreams, free mobile to mobile minutes, a popular IM service, and the undying support of fans, family, and friends without which this project might never have materialized and this bi-coastal collaboration would not have been possible.  You can go to our website (
www.leelaandelliegrace.com) to check out the beautiful cover art and song list and, for a very limited time, you can go to our MySpace page (www.myspace.com/leelaelliegrace) to hear a sneak preview of four of the songs!

“Where The Waters Run” is projected to be released on December 20th, 2007!  Between now and then, you can visit our website and pre-order the new recording.  Pre-orders will be given top priority and, if possible, will be shipped the day the CD arrives on our respective doorsteps!  We are offering special discounts for a limited time if you order more than one copy of the CD. If you want to give this CD as a holiday gift, but are afraid that the post office will not understand the utter importance of delivering the package with all due speed, fear no more. . . we are prepared (yes, we were girl scouts!).  On our website, we have provided a special certificate that you can download, print, and give to the recipients of the Leela and Ellie Grace CDs in the event that the CDs are not delivered in time.  But what are you doing still reading this e-mail?  Go check out the new CD:
http://www.gracefamilymusic.com/leela-ellie/wherethewatersrunCD.html

While you are visiting our website to find out more about the new recording, look around a little.  We have made some big changes and are adding new dates all the time to our 2008 touring schedule.  Make a special note of the CD Release Concert in Columbia, MO in February! We know it has been a long time since the release of our first duo CD, but we hope you will find that “Where The Waters Run” was worth the wait! We are simply thrilled to share this new recording with you and are truly grateful for your ongoing support.  Happy holidays!

Peace,
Ellie and Leela Grace

June 12, 2007:  All has been seemingly rather quiet on the Leela and Ellie Grace front, but some very exciting work has been happening behind the scenes!  We have big news and have decided that you, our faithful friends and fans, should be the first to hear:  

We are thrilled to announce that we have been in the studio recording a new duo CD!  And according to our family and friends who have heard some of the initial recording, it is going to be something pretty special that reaches the true heart of our music.  We are producing this CD ourselves, and it will feature nine of our own originals, along with two traditional songs.  Several amazing back-up musicians have joined us on this project, and we simply cannot wait for you to hear our new music!  But alas, we are going to have to wait.  There is still a lot of work to be done!  We promise to keep you apprised on the process and let you know once we can anticipate a release date.  Keep your eyes and ears open as we may briefly release a new song from the CD on our MySpace page in the upcoming months: http://www.myspace.com/leelaelliegrace

 

We are still working on finding ways to fund the remainder of the recording process.  If you are excited about this new CD, there are several simple ways you can help:

1.       Order our current CD at our online music store! We have been told that it is a wonderful gift for friends, family, co-workers, and even perfect strangers!  The money from any CD sales will go directly to funding our new recording.  

2.       Stay tuned for the opportunity to be part of the community that makes this CD possible!  Watch this website or sign up for our e-mail list to receive details on how you can play a special role in this project by pre-ordering the new CD. 

 

In the midst of working on this recording project, we are finding a few opportunities to come out and do what we love best—share our music with you live and in person!  See our web calendar for up-to-date information on our 2007 tour schedule.  We hope to cross paths with you somewhere this summer!

 

Peace,

Ellie and Leela

2006:
April 25, 2006:
We know it has been ages since you last heard of our whereabouts and musical adventures!  For the thronging masses (all one or two of you) who have been waiting with bated breath for the breaking of our e-newsletter silence. . . you can at last breathe again!  Read on to find out what surprising adventures we have had since our last newsletter and to hear where we will be bringing our music and dance in the upcoming months!

Here’s a brief look at where we’ve been: Ellie had the immense honor of being invited to go on several tours as the "super-cool mandolin player" with the nationally renowned Dirk Powell Band! Then, Embracing her earthy side, she spent last fall working as a ranger (that’s "Ranger Ellie" to you!) at Great Smokey Mountains National Park, bringing old-time sounds and songs back to the mountains where they were born. And, the most recent news, Ellie has just moved to a veritable hotbed of music and dance: Asheville, NC. You can read more about Ellie's recent journey, including reviews of her performances with the Dirk Powell Band here! While Ellie was away, Leela kept Central Missouri alive with music!  She inspired many people through her work teaching music (banjo and harmony singing).  She has also been busy doing solo performances and writing songs that will have their duo debut this spring.  In October, she was selected to score a professional children’s theater production of Huck Finn.  In addition to creating the score, she was hired to perform all of the music for the entire run of the very successful production.

And here’s where we are going:  This spring and summer will see the dynamic duo back in action!  We are kicking off a cross-country tour with a hometown concert in Columbia, MO on May 6th.  The following weeks will see us dancing and singing our way through Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C., returning to good ol' MO at the end of May.  We are excited about the music we have to share with you. . . including our first serious co-write (our previous co-written songs ended up being rather goofy and, fortunately, never reached the masses!).  Please go to our web calendar for details of our upcoming shows!  If we are coming to your area, and you are on our e-mail list (you can join here), watch for an e-mail with more information about the local appearances. We truly hope you will come out and see us somewhere along the way!

Thank you for your support. . . for coming to our shows, for writing us, for buying our CDs, and for continuing to care about our music in spite of our sorry communication skills!  Watch for more information in the upcoming months about the rest of our year—we will be performing and teaching at several festivals and camps and hope to see you out in the big, wide world.

Peace,
Ellie and Leela

2005:
July 26, 2005:
Just announced!  Ellie will join the Dirk Powell Band on a four- to five-day tour of California and Nevada in September!  From the press release: "Dirk's playing has been featured in the film scores for Anthony Minghella's "Cold Mountain," Edward Burns' "The Brothers McMullen" and Spike Lee's "Bamboozled," and on the acclaimed recent albums of Tim O'Brien. Dirk and his band -- which features fellow O'Brien cohort, multi-instrumentalist Riley Baugus -- showcase tunes from far and wide, including his recent album, Time Again (Rounder), a hard-driving, exciting testament to the power of the living old-time music tradition. Rounding out the line-up are Martha Scanlan, guitarist and singer with the supercharged ensemble, the Reeltime Travelers, Ellie Grace, super cool mandolin player from the incredibly gifted Grace Family of Missouri, and bassist extraordinaire Travis Stuart."  More info about the tour: http://www.dirkpowell.com/road.html

April 28, 2005: 
The warm days, the green grass, the flowers, and the sunshine have finally roused us from our long winter hibernation of sorts. For those of you who wrote to ask, yes you are still on the list, and yes we are still here! We haven’t actually been hibernating at all, but have been enjoying some time at home, trying to recover from the November election, doing taxes (the most fun we’ve had in ages – NOT!), writing a song or three, teaching many classes and lessons, and planning our summer (not necessarily in that order!). We also took an international trip at the end of February to Montreal, Quebec! The Folk Alliance Conference was held in that beautiful, snowy city this year. We made many connections, caught up with old friends, surrounded ourselves with amazing music from all over the world (and even played some), and attempted, rather fruitlessly, to recall the bit of French we once knew (“uh, bonjour . . . parlez-vous Anglais?”).

Now, we are looking forward to a home-sung spring and far-flung summer. In May, we will be performing close to home – taking part in two exciting concert events here in Columbia, MO! Coming up on Saturday, May 7th, in a rare event indeed, we will be presenting a Grace Family Reunion Concert to celebrate the release of a new/old CD compilation! This CD contains the best of the first three cassettes/LP’s that our parents produced (in 1984, 1987, and 1990).  Our young voices and percussion instruments “graced” the 1990 recording, “Carved Out of Time,” and the four Graces will be performing selections from those early recordings and from our repertoire through the years! For more information about the concert and the CD (which is available for purchase HERE), see below and visit our website! Then on May 21, internationally known spoken word performer (and wonderful new addition to our Columbia arts community), Milbre Burch, will perform her one-woman show, Mom’s the Word: A Journey in Meter and Centimeters. In another uncommon occurrence, we will be opening the show with a special, one-time mother-daughter concert with our mom, Win Grace! See our CALENDAR for more information about both of these shows!

In June and July, we will first go east (North Carolina coast), then west (Los Angeles area) and finally north (Michigan)! If you wish we would travel in your direction, send us your ideas for venues and festivals near you.  See our CALENDAR for more details about all of our upcoming performances far and near! We hope to see you there!

Peace,
Leela and Ellie

February 2, 2005: 
Announcement for Mid-Missouri Locals: 

Ellie and Leela Offer Two Separate Yet Complimentary Classes Starting in Late February: 
Beginning Guitar
and By-Ear Harmony Singing!  

Scroll down for details and register for one or both today!  Go HERE for more information about Leela and Ellie’s lessons and classes!

Ellie's School of Music and Dance announces a new class--Beginning Guitar!
Do you have a guitar tucked under that bed or stored in the closet just waiting to be played?  Did your son or daughter get a guitar as a gift and is dying to learn some songs?  Have you always dreamed of strumming that six-string, but never took the time to learn?  Well now is your chance!  The class will be very fun, teach you the basics, be less expensive than private lessons, and give you a repertoire of fun songs to play!  Here are the details. . .

Beginning Guitar Group Class

  • Class will be held on Thursday evenings from 5:45-6:30 p.m.  

  • Starting date will be in late February (exact day yet to be determined!) 

  • For ages 10-100, no experience necessary!

  • Cost will be $65 for a six-week session

Please contact Ellie if you are interested and she will answer any questions you have! 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Leela announces a new By-Ear Harmony Singing Class!

**More info HERE  

It is finally time to warm up a bit by joining voices for a new session of Leela’s Famous By-Ear Harmony Singing Classes! See below for details. We will be doing a lot of singing, laughing and learning. You are welcome no matter your experience, expertise, or virtual lack thereof! Leela will do her best, as always, to facilitate a fun, supportive environment where you will feel free to sing out with great gusto and enthusiasm! Take this opportunity to find/rediscover your voice and, with it, the great joy of SINGING (and singing well with others!). Don’t miss this chance – register early, as space is limited. Call or e-mail with any questions.

The DETAILS:
What
: Leela's Famous By-Ear Harmony Singing Class!
When
: Mondays 7:00-8:30 p.m., starting Monday, February 28 
(Note: If enough people sign up, I may add a second class on Tuesday nights. Please indicate which night(s) you are available when you register.)
  

Where
: Home in Columbia (directions will be sent when you register)
How Long
: 6 weeks
Price
: $75.00 for whole session, due in full at the first class.
Age:
13 and up (ask about younger kids)
What is this By-Ear Harmony Singing Class All About Anyway:
 

Mostly it is all about singing…singing together, finding your voice, finding the power of voices raised in song together, listening, laughing, and generally having lots of fun.  We will learn to understand harmonies and how they work by SINGING lots of different kinds of songs (mostly in the folk vein, although I have been known to delve into other genres a bit)!  All abilities and experience levels are welcome (from the self-proclaimed non-singers to the closet car-singers to the classically trained choral singers -- everyone seems to find a great deal to learn and be very open and understanding).

Register:
E-mail Leela and provide me with:

your name, phone numbers and e-mail address.
(NOTE: My e-mail server has installed a spam filter—call if your message is returned or you don’t hear back from me in a somewhat timely manner)
How
can you resist?

2004:
December 2, 2004:
LATE-BREAKING NEWS:  Leela and Ellie Grace Concert POSTPONED until Sunday, December 12th due to illness!!

 We made a heroic effort to fight it, but as bad luck would have it, we both have succumbed to quite a nasty bug and lost our voices.  Leela’s voice is beginning to make a comeback, but Ellie’s is still on the injured/missing list.  We have so much music and dance that we want to share with you, and we thought you might prefer actual singing and harmonizing to our current hacking and croaking.  Please, please help us spread the word about the new date.  It will break our hearts if people drive in for the concert only to find out it has been postponed.   Forward this e-mail, call your friends, write the new date on any of our flyers that you see, send psychic messages, call in to radio shows. . .  We want to see all of your smiling faces on December 12th.  Please come--we will be all well by then and promise to sing our little hearts out for you.

With great gratitude,

Ellie and Leela

The New Info:

What: Leela and Ellie Grace Concert
When: Sunday, December 12th at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30)
Where: Windsor Auditorium, 1405 E. Broadway (on the Stephens College Campus in Columbia, MO)
How Much
: $8.00, $5.00 for kids 12 and under (tickets available at the door only)
More Info: egrace@coin.org OR (573) 256-6292 OR www.gracefamilymusic.com

Help us get the word out: Forward this e-mail to any interested friends

It has been over a year since our joyous and long-awaited CD release concert!  After spending 2004 touring and performing in amazing communities all across the country, we are ready to bring it home to our beloved Mid-Missouri. Mark your calendars for Leela and Ellie Grace’s Annual Hometown Concert on Sunday, December 12th!!  For one night only, we will fill Windsor Auditorium with song and laughter. . . a full evening of homegrown music and percussive dance with some special surprises planned! 

November 16, 2004:
A special concert update . . . 

It has been over a year since Leela and Ellie Grace’s joyous and long-awaited CD release concert! After spending 2004 touring and performing in amazing communities all across the country, they are ready to bring it home to their beloved Mid-Missouri. Mark your calendars for Leela and Ellie Grace’s Annual Hometown Concert on Saturday, December 4th!! For one night only, they will fill Windsor Auditorium with song and laughter as only Leela and Ellie can . . . a full evening of homegrown music and percussive dance with some special surprises planned! Join them for what promises to be an extraordinary night:

 What: Leela and Ellie Grace Concert
When: Saturday, December 4th at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30)
Where: Windsor Auditorium, 1405 E. Broadway (on the Stephens College Campus in Columbia, MO)
How Much: $8.00, $5.00 for kids 12 and under (tickets available at the door only)
More Info: egrace@coin.org
OR (573) 256-6292

 For many of you who are not lucky enough to reside in Mid-Missouri ;-), don't give up just yet on the idea of seeing this concert!  This is the opportunity that we are sure you have been waiting for with breathless anticipation, even if you didn't realize it!!  Perhaps you need a vacation or maybe you have been looking for an excuse to visit Columbia.  If so, we would like to inform you of a special weekend of activities surrounding our December 4th concert. . . the (say it with us now) Leela and Ellie Grace Weekend Getaway Package. You begin by seeing Columbia’s beautiful, historic downtown in the annual Living Windows Holiday Festival from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, December 3rd. It is completely free (unless you want to tour in style and take a carriage ride). Most of the wonderful downtown stores have a live display in their windows and offer cocoa, cookies, carolers, etc. From there you take a very short walk to the contra dance where none other than Leela and Ellie Grace are providing the evening’s dance music!  If you are not familiar with contra dancing, it is a form of social dance somewhat similar to square dancing. However, you don’t have to know anything about dancing to join in!  All of the dances are taught, you do not have to arrive with a partner, and no special costume is required. :-) Check our schedule below for more details. Saturday is a free day to explore the town, visit some of our beautiful parks, and maybe get a little Christmas shopping done. Saturday night, of course, brings the big event. . . the concert! And come Sunday, if you are wanting to stay one day longer, we happen to have it on good authority that a great musician (Alison Krauss) will be performing in Columbia on December 5th. 

Okay, so we confess that this is not exactly a package deal, but chance beautifully brought it all together and we think it would be great fun. However, if you are not able to make the trip, you can just put on our CD, make some hot cocoa, and imagine you are here. . . but we will miss you!  :-)

October 19, 2004:

We are enjoying a beautiful fall here in Missouri, still inspired by a summer of music and friendship.  And what a summer it was!  We could recount it all in glowing detail, but we will save our typing fingers and your inbox space by giving you just a few highlights:  

Singing Garden Rose on stage with one of our musical idols, Kris Delmhorst (www.krisdelmhorst.com).  Hearing the life stories and timeless songs of Jean Ritchie (www.jeanritchie.com), one of the grandmothers of folk music.  Having an extraordinary, kick-butt jam session with the wildly talented young VanNorstrand brothers (http://www.vfiddle.com). Laughing uproariously at Christine Lavin’s (www.christinelavin.com) version of Wimoweh. Watching many copies of our new CD go home with friends and fans new and old.  Listening to the rich singing of LJ Booth (http://www.ljbooth.com) and slowly realizing that, not only is he writing the song on the spot, but it is about us!  Driving a yellow, 1974 VW Bug (Thank goodness for Ellie’s few stick shift lessons from her sweetie!).  Making connections with so many amazing people across the country . . . those of you who shared your home with us or said a few kind words in passing or smiled when we were singing (yes, we can see you!). 

Ah, but don’t let all of this sentimental reminiscing give you the wrong idea.  We may be staying a bit closer to the Midwest for the winter months, but we are not just resting on our laurels, eating chocolates, and daydreaming about the music and friends we made.   We have big plans--concerts and classes and fundraisers and all sorts of excitement coming your way!

 Ellie’s School of Music and Dance is starting a busy fall session in the coming week and a half!  Leela has many banjo students frailing away (we can just barely restrain ourselves from inserting a banjo joke here) and will soon be starting a new series of her famous by-ear harmony classes.  We are also very excited to be planning our annual hometown concert in Columbia on December 4th.  Please check our schedule below for details! If you have been looking for an excuse to visit our wonderful community, maybe this is just the opportunity.  We have some special surprises planned for the concert and we would love to have you be a part of the evening.

 Speaking of hometown events, we have also been working tirelessly to organize an all-star fundraising concert (www.gracefamilymusic.com/fundraiser) here in our hometown to support our candidates of choice in the upcoming election.  We know it is supposed to be a faux pas to talk about politics, so we are going to sing instead. ;-)  We feel very passionately about working to bring positive change and hope to our country and our world, and we believe in everyone’s right to follow their heart and voice their opinion.   We don’t have a lot of money to support causes we believe in (we are professional folk musicians for goodness’ sake), so we always feel blessed to be able to give something back through music.

Thank you all for your continuing support and encouragement!  Please check our schedule below to find out if we are coming to your hometown.  Don’t forget that Leela and Ellie Grace CD’s have been known to make popular holiday gifts.  Or you could hand them out to your neighborhood ghosts, princesses, and Disney-characters-of-the-month on Halloween -- better than candy!   But whatever you do, don’t forget to vote!!  All of our best to you and yours!

Peace,
Ellie and Leela

October 14, 2004: 
All-Star Fundraising Concert for Kerry/Edwards to be held on October 19 in Columbia, MO!  Performers are Leela and Ellie, Paul and Win Grace, Cathy Barton and Dave Para, and Beth Horner, Storyteller!  Find out more HERE.

July 21, 2004:

“On the road again, we are on the road again. . .“ We remember many long-ago summer days spent bouncing down our gravel road in the family motorhome, singing that old song with great gusto as we headed out on tour with our parents! This summer, that song is in the air again -- no motorhome, no gravel road, and no parents singing along -- but still we sing as we bounce from one side of the country to the other. “. . .goin’ places where we’ve never been. We are on the road again!”

 
And that we are! We have just recently returned from our first time performing and teaching at the Summer Solstice Folk Music, Dance & Storytelling Festival in the beautiful Santa Monica mountains just outside of Los Angeles. In spite of the airline’s best efforts, we arrived in the heart of Los Angeles with our instruments and ourselves (with a few extra gray hairs) happily intact. And we were welcomed by a wonderful community of music lovers! Surprisingly enough, after a weekend spent around Hollywood, we don’t seem to have become movie stars. ;-) Outshining even the bright lights of potential stardom was the weekend we got to spend sharing our love of music and dance with Californians of all ages!
 
Next week we are heading west again. This time, we are bound for Colorado to perform for the volunteers of the incomparable Rocky Mountain National Park. . . if we can make it through Kansas. No offense to all the wonderful Kansans out there or to your fine state, but it just keeps going and going and going.
 
And we too just keep going! The remainder of this summer will see us continuing to take this show on the road--to a new place nearly every weekend through the fall. We are thrilled to be appearing at three outstanding folk festivals on three consecutive weekends (check our schedule below!) and playing with the likes of Peggy Seeger, Iris Dement, Christine Lavin, Kris Delmhorst, Jean Ritchie, Tret Fure, Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer and many more!
 
As we tour the country, we continue to grow in our appreciation for the amazing community we are a part of. . . no matter where we find ourselves, there are always kind people who make us feel as if we have found a second home. We hope to see you at one of our many second homes this year. Thank you for your continued support.
 
Happy summer,
Ellie and Leela
 
Special note to our fellow Missourians: Don’t forget to vote on August 3rd! We hope you will join us in voting NO on Constitutional Amendment Number 2. We support and honor committed, loving families of all types. It would be a sad day if we chose to write discrimination into our state constitution.
For more info or to help: http://www.constitutiondefenseleague.org

 

June 10, 2004:

It is officially summer here in Missouri!  How do we know??  Because the heat and the rain are making Ellie's garden grow and making our hair much curlier (nice way of saying "frizzier") than we ever thought it was. :-)  Come out and see it (the hair, not the garden) and us! 
 
Okay, so really we have more exciting news than our hair:  Our new duo CD has been honored with its first major review in a national folk music magazine (Sing Out!) and we are thrilled to tell you that it was glowing!!  We have posted the review on this website and would love for you to check it out!  Having this national recognition means *almost* as much as seeing your smiling faces in our audience and hearing your kind words. Now please devote an hour to reading our performance schedule and then memorize it, mark it in your calendar, and buy your plane tickets to come see us. ;-)  Okay, we are just kidding--we should only be that lucky.  We're just saying we would love to see you somewhere down the road, so please check if we are coming to your area and say hello!  
 
Happy summer!   Ellie and Leela

April 8, 2004:

It is the time of year we love here in Missouri. . . spring at last!  There is a hint on the warm breeze of the music and travels that are beginning to fill our days.  The peepers are peeping, the blooms are blooming, the gobblers are gobbling, and the birds are, uh. . . birding? It is indescribably beautiful and seems to inspire bad prose!  Don't worry, I will kindly spare you the schlocky--yes, that is a word--poem.

But then again it is the time of year we don't so much love here in the Heartland. . . tax season.  Particularly unbeloved is this time by those of us who are self-employed, do our own taxes, and who are perhaps not exactly ahead of schedule.  Okay, we admit it--we have procrastinated terribly. We folkies definitely love this music because we aren't in the business for the money or for the fun of taxes. ;-) 

But we truly have everything to be grateful for!  We are enjoying a beautiful spring, teaching music and dance to wonderful students, spending precious time with our friends and sweethearts, and preparing for a busy year on the road with a crazy sister (which one would that be??) and our songs and laughter!

New dates are always being added so check our Calendar to see if we are coming to your neck of the woods!

Peace, Ellie and Leela

March 12, 2004:

Hello dear friends!  Spring is beginning to hint of an appearance here in Missouri, and not a moment too soon!  We are still recovering our trip to the International Folk Alliance Conference in San Diego.  It was quite an experience, and as usual, an exercise in sleep deprivation!  There were many memorable experiences in our five days spent in not-so-sunny Southern California (it rained and was a bit on the chilly side most of the time!).  We were part of the Next Generation Old Time Music parade that was organized spontaneously by the huge number of 20-something old time players at the conference.  We met at 4:20 each afternoon and then set out (picture 20 or 30 happy, sleep-deprived young musicians raucously cheering and playing fiddles, banjos, guitars, mandolins, and drums, and dancing along the sidewalk in tap shoes!) to disrupt the goings on of the conference with a groovin’ parade of “Old Joe Clark” or “Julianne Johnson.”  We also, more officially, performed several times as part of the “There’s Something About the Women” showcase, and were able to share the floor with numerous amazing performers in that venue.  We heard an overwhelming array of incredible music, and made and re-made connections with some remarkable people from all over the country (and the world!).  I’m sure you’ll hear more about the conference and connections we made there in the months to come!

Currently, we are both getting back into full teaching schedules in our hometown, and busily booking our upcoming touring season.  In our latest news, and we are not exactly sure how this happened, but somehow Ellie and I have ended up being featured on this week's edition of the "Open Mic" section of All Songs Considered on NPR's website!  They chose to feature "In My Name (You Shall Love)" from our CD. 

We are still so humbled by the constant inspiration, support, and love that have been offered to us by all of you.  We never could have made this CD without you!  We have been awed by the overwhelmingly positive response to the CD so far . . . We hope our travels bring us near you sometime soon!

Peace,
Leela and Ellie

New!  March 11, 2004: Leela and Ellie featured on NPR's All Songs Considered!  

February 4, 2004:

Happy February!  Here in the heartland, we are spending a disproportionate amount of time scraping ice, shivering, and sliding!  All the sparkling frozen stuff is beautiful to look at out the window, but the cold is causing some hibernation urges on our part!  We hope you are staying warm wherever you are. 

 

Nothing like some singing out loud with two full, beautiful harmony-singing classes, teaching banjo, mandolin and guitar, and dancing out loud with students of all ages to keep us warm and well-fed in the winter!  We have been busy for the last month or so immersing ourselves in our wonderful local community -- sharing our joy and love of music with students who inspire US much more than they probably realize!   Ellie is starting up new sessions of percussive dance classes next week -- it is not too late to sign up!!  It is more fun than anyone should be allowed to have!

 

I have also gotten involved with a group of women volunteers organizing an event in honor of Women's History Month called LunaFair.  It will be a benefit for our one-of-a-kind local community radio station, KOPN and will be a celebration of art, music, and all forms of creative expression by local women!  Some women you might know with the last name of Grace are tentatively slated to appear (Win, Leela, and Ellie), and might even do a mother-daughter number!

 

In the meantime, we are busily singing to ourselves, writing new songs, booking our upcoming season, and selling CD's all over the country via our website.  We are just continually humbled by how our music seems to touch people's hearts.  We are so grateful to be able to bring joy to people while doing something we love so much!  We recently found out that our CD made the "charts" in December and again in January -- the Folk DJ charts, that is!  Ours was among the most-played CD's for each of those months on folk radio!!  If your local folk DJ doesn't have our CD, feel free to put them in touch with us and we'll be happy to provide them with a copy for airplay!

 

We are getting geared up for the huge, exciting world-wide gathering of everyone in the business of folk music that will be held in sunny San Diego at the end of this month -- the International Folk Alliance Conference!!  We have been invited to share the stage with an array of amazing performers as part of the "There's Something About the Women" showcase and look we forward to making many connections, playing lots of music, and getting very little sleep!

 

Stay warm and sing loud and we hope to make trails to your locale this year!

 

Leela and Ellie Grace

January 7, 2004:  

As the weather in our beloved Missouri gets colder and colder, we are dreaming of California! 2004 will take us to the Pacific coast at least two times. We are thrilled to be heading, with our instruments and new CD in tow, to the International Folk Alliance Conference in San Diego this coming February. We can already imagine how toasty warm we will be due to the combination of the sunny weather of southern California and the inherent warmth of a gathering of thousands of amazing folkies! Come March, you will likely hear more about this as we coast for months on the afterglow of the amazing music, panels, networking, learning, showcasing, and true community that we always experience at this conference. And June will take us back to California to join many of the country’s finest in performing and teaching at the 22nd Annual Summer Solstice Folk Music, Dance and Storytelling Festival.

For the time being, however, we are awfully happy to be settled in our little homes in Missouri. Our lives are full of love and as crazy as ever. Having had a warm and busy holiday season, new sessions of teaching at our two centers for music and dance are now in the works. Leela’s plans to create world peace through harmony singing and, of course, frailing banjo are well under way with a growing number of banjo students and full harmony classes starting next week. Ellie’s School of Music and Dance will be back in full swing at the beginning of February. We will save the world through folk music and dancing yet! ;-)

As we reflect on the coming of a new year, we are still in amazement at all that 2003 brought to our lives and our music. Okay, okay. . . so we admit it. We have not yet gotten over being in complete awe that our CD is a reality. It has a life of its own and keeps us on our toes and busy as ever. Along with working always to get the word out about our recording, the next month will also see us putting together a touring season of music across the continent! Please let us know if you think of a festival, event, or concert series that would be a good fit for a couple of musical sisters. We are filled with anticipation at the endless possibilities of what this year may bring!

We wish you a 2004 filled with music, laughter, peace, and fulfillment of dreams!

Ellie and Leela Grace

2003
:
December 2, 2003: "I expected it would be good, but it really exceeded any expectation I might have had. The arrangements are perfect, the production elegant, and the harmonies so rich they moved me deeply." -- Steve Jerrett, Host of "The Sunday Morning Coffeehouse" on KOPN, Columbia, MO

We are just overwhelmed!  The response to our new CD has been just phenomenal so far.  We are still slightly shocked and amazed whenever we hear one of our songs come over the radio, or when someone tells us that they have been listening constantly to our CD (“Our CD?  We have a CD????”)!  I must add that we are quite proud of everything about the finished product.  I feel that it truly represents the best of our music, and the best of the innumerable people who have nudged, supported, loved, and inspired us from the very beginning!  Click here to find out more about the new CD.  You can see what songs are included, hear sound clips, and order one or more!

The Grace sisters recorded the album — which contains five originals, four traditional tracks and four covers — in Vermont’s Champlain Valley with revered old-time, folk producer/composer/multi-instrumentalist Pete Sutherland (Metamora, The Clayfoot Strutters, Mac Benford & The Woodshed All-Stars) and musicians Colin McCaffrey, Harry Aceto, Phil Carr, Jeremiah McLane and Stefan Amidon." -- Columbia [Missouri] Daily Tribune, November 13, 2003

Here’s a quick update:  It has been quite a whirlwind couple of months for us!  The boxes and boxes of our CDs arrived to much fanfare, jumping up and down, and shrieking on October 30th, earlier than anticipated by two full weeks (thanks to our wonderful duplicating company, Oasis CD!).  We leapt into action, planning and rehearsing for our November 15th CD Release Concert, redesigning our website (isn’t it beautiful?), marketing the CD, etc.  We did all of this while still maintaining a busy teaching schedule (Ellie’s School of Music and Dance had one of its busiest fall sessions yet) and performing on the eastern (St. Louis) and western (Lawrence, KS) edges of Missouri on concurrent weekends.

The CD Release concert here in Columbia, MO was an absolute success, and we were simply floored by the enthusiasm and joy of the capacity crowd!  We were alternately awed, overflowing with joy, and teary at what felt, in many ways, like the culmination of our life’s work.  We were extraordinarily happy to be able to share it with so many in our local community.  We hope to spread that joy further afield in the coming year.  If you know of any venues in your area – concerts, schools, festivals, etc. – where we should be performing and/or teaching, please let Leela know!  We are currently booking for next season.  Visit our Calendar to see if we are performing near you! 

And if we can’t make it to your area in person as soon as you (or we) would like, well, we hope our CD can!!  We look forward to a hectic holiday season marketing and distributing our CD.  Spread the word . . .

We are so thankful for all of you!  We couldn’t make the music we love without your support.  

Peace, joy, love, and beautiful music to you and your loved ones in this holiday season!
Leela and Ellie Grace 

October 21, 2003:  As the leaves are turning here in Missouri, we have much to celebrate!  In less than a month, our NEW CD will be delivered into our hands, and will be finally available for purchase!!  We will be having a CD RELEASE concert event on Saturday, November 15 here in Columbia.  See our calendar for more details!!

August 4, 2003:  What a beautiful summer we have had in Missouri so far, although any rain would be appreciated!  Usually, about this time, we are pronouncing the name of our state more like “Misery,” and thanking goodness for the person who invented air conditioning . . . I’m sure we will be in a few days, knowing how changeable our weather can be!

 We spent the first part of July preparing for our “CD Raising” Concert, which was held Friday, July 11.  It was a huge success!  Over 200 wonderful people of all ages from our local community crowded into the hall, and laughed and cried and sang along – we felt just lifted and embraced by all of your energy, generosity and support!  Everyone got to see silly pictures of us in the recording studio, make suggestions for our CD title, and sample desserts and refreshments from the bake sale organized by several of our wonderful friends/fans/students.  We have to thank everyone far and near who has been so generous thus far in helping us realize our dream CD!  We must especially thank our “original producers” (and parents), Paul and Win!

 While continuing to teach our lessons and classes, we have been working away on the other details of the CD . . . We’ve done one informal photo session, but most of the resulting images reflect our very silly sides more than anything else.  We’d like to try to at least appear slightly serious, profound, and professional, but that is a challenge!  We’ve also been mining the lyrics of every song on the CD for a title, because waiting for inspiration to wake us out of a dead sleep in the night hasn’t worked so far!  After a jaunt to the other coast (Lady of the Lake Family Week in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho!), we head back out to Vermont at the beginning of September to mix and master.  We are still aiming for a November release date.

 We hope to see you all soon . . .

 Peace to you all!
Leela and Ellie

July 1, 2003:  When we last left our heroines, spring was just beginning to appear in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains and a duo recording project was mirroring that season -- a growing thought. . . an idea in formation. . . a thrilling prospect on the horizon! As we rejoin them (isn't it annoying when people talk about themselves in the third person to make their newsletter sound dramatic?) in the midst of a hot Missouri summer, a Grace sister CD is well on its way to fruition! All that silly drama to say that since our last news update to you dear people, we have spent two weeks in the beautiful mountains of Vermont, recording what we hope you will find to be a beautiful CD (when it is released in November)!

So, ‘Why Vermont?’, you may be asking yourself. When Leela and I finally made the decision after all these years of performing together that we were ready to record a CD, we realized that it was most important to truly capture the emotion and passion that we feel for and from this music. And so we made the call to Pete Sutherland, producer extraordinaire, out in Vermont. We hoped that he would be the one to help us realize our vision. After speaking with him and searching our souls and piggy banks, we made the admittedly scary, but indescribably exciting decision to make the CD we truly wanted, not the CD we could necessarily afford. :-)

And so in mid May, we found ourselves in Western Mass, welcomed into the family of Ann, David, and Gus (two dear musician friends and their five year-old son) for over two weeks as we threw ourselves completely into this recording. We had arrived out east on a Saturday after driving 1200 miles in two days! On Sunday, we met our producer for the first time (we had met once when Leela and I were small children, but our memories have failed us on this one) and spent an entire day rehearsing, arranging, and creating! And Monday morning saw us driving the 40 minutes north to Brattleboro, VT to begin our first of many 8-hour days spent in the studio.

What can I say to describe what happened in those subsequent two weeks?? It was exhausting, no doubt. It challenged us, for certain. But most of all, it was inspiring beyond belief. Working with a producer added an entirely new element to our music--an outside ear to help us fill out our sound and deepen our expression. Someone who could fill in musicians around us and bring out pieces of our songs that we could imagine, but didn’t know how to create. And the musicians that were brought in to work with us felt like musical soul mates. Each and every one of them was incredibly gifted. Beyond that, however, they were dear people who seemed to understand our music and put their hearts into the recording.

And so here we are nearly a month later, with the recording portion of the project now a memory!

You may be asking, ‘If it is all recorded, why haven’t you released the darn thing yet?’ The project is actually a long way from done! Leela and I will return to Vermont in mid September to complete the mixing (setting the levels, etc.) and mastering of the CD. And then there is the matter of liner notes, photos, design, duplication, and working to make the money we need to pay for the rest!

For now, we are back home in Columbia, Missouri. I am thrilled to have a bit of time here in my hometown, as we have been on the road non-stop these last few months. . . We had a wonderful tour to the east coast in April--thank you to all of you who came out to support us and make that trip possible! In May we shared the stage in Arkansas with another up and coming folk duo that goes by the name of Paul & Win Grace (have you heard of them?). Check them out--we know they are going places. ;-) Then we spent the rest of May in MA and VT, as mentioned above.

I spent a large part of mid June working on Camp Quality. This is an amazing camp for children with cancer that is completely volunteer-run and allows these kids to simply be kids again, all at no cost to the families! I have been involved with this camp for eight years now (I was hooked nine years ago when they hired the Grace Family to perform!) and this is my sixth year volunteering year-round as the Program Coordinator. This year saw many gifted and big-hearted musicians, storytellers, dancers, and artists come through camp. In fact, our own Leela Grace donated her time for several days to work with the kids on music and help them prepare for our final night’s wonderful talent show. If you ever need a hilarious performance, just ask Leela to coordinate the “Banana Skit”. She had them rolling the aisles!

So, back at home, we continue performing and teaching. Ellie’s School of Music and Dance opens for summer classes next week! And Leela’s harmony classes and banjo students are getting back in the groove. We send you all heartfelt thanks for your continued support! We hope to see you back out in the big wide world this summer or fall. Watch for an announcement coming soon about our “CD Raising” concert. If you are wondering what in the heck that is, just watch the website calendar or sign up to receive the monthly e-Newsletter from us! :-)

Happy summer!

Ellie and Leela Grace

April 23, 2003:  The song In My Name (You Shall Love) was featured on NPR's All Songs Considered in a special edition featuring songs related to the war in Iraq.  You can see (and listen to) this program at: http://www.npr.org/programs/asc/features/inspired03/ and check out the current All Songs Considered program at http://www.npr.org/programs/asc/.

April 1, 2003:  I write to all of you dear people as the leaves are bursting out on the trees and the daffodils are in full bloom.  I must say, I have so missed the warmth, the sunlight, the blue sky, the green grass, the flowers and the birds singing – I love spring!  It makes me feel like singing (not surprisingly – it doesn’t take much to make me want to sing!) . . . This has been a long, but exciting winter, from the wonderful week we spent teaching at the Christmas Country Dance School in Berea, Kentucky to the incredible and overwhelming four days showcasing, networking, jamming and such at the International Folk Alliance Conference in Nashville to the decision, finally, to record a CD together!

 But first of all, I want to say that Ellie and I have been overwhelmed by the response to my song, “In My Name (You Shall Love).”  We have been singing it at every opportunity, and we have been nearly brought to tears several times by the deeply heartfelt, powerful, and passionate reactions of everyone who has heard it (both live and over the internet or the radio).  Just last week, we were bowled over by a room full of people singing out, with tears of joy, hope, and love in their eyes, “You shall love . . .” 

 To back up a bit, this is a song that I wrote almost a year ago, but never has it seemed more important and timely (and only continues to become more so).  Ellie and I were planning on recording it on our upcoming duo CD (more about that below), but the process was moving very slowly.  At the beginning of March, as the world was becoming increasingly divided and fraught with anger, hate, and fear, we felt we had to do something – something to remind everyone (everyone we could reach, anyway) of our shared humanity, of our love, of hope, of joy, and of peace.  We decided to make a quick recording of this song and we put it out that night (with the help of our wonderful webmaster, Kate Akers) on our website as an mp3 for free download.

 Since we have put it out there, it has received radio play on numerous radio stations, and has reached people all over the country (and world).  Thank you to everyone for your support, kind words, work, and spirit.  Keep sending the song out there, keep singing it, keep SINGING any song, keep hoping, keep loving!  There can never be too much love in the world!  As of this week, the song is now also available as a limited edition CD single (although you can still download it for free if you prefer – we just want the song out there and sung and heard by as many people as possible)!!  Go to http://www.chivalry.com/shopping/ to order it. 

 Speaking of CDs, all of the proceeds from the sale of the CD single will go towards funding our NEW DUO CD!!  Can you tell we are a little excited?  We are trying to narrow down our list of songs that we have been performing for the last six years – they are ALL our favorites – and we both keep learning and writing MORE!!  We are planning on going to Vermont in mid-May to do the recording.  We will be working with producer (and musician) extraordinaire Pete Sutherland.  We hope that the CD will be released sometime in September.  In the midst of all of this madness, we will be continuing to tour, perform, and teach steadily.  We are looking forward to a jaunt east (Philadelphia/D.C. area) at the end of this month, and a foray west into new territory (Idaho) in August!  Go to our Calendar to find out more!  If you are wondering when we might return/come to your area, feel free to contact me (Leela) with venue/festival recommendations!  We would love to see you.  We are booking both solo and duo gigs.

 Thank you all again for your support and we hope to see you somewhere down the road!
Peace,
 
Leela and Ellie

March 31, 2003:  "In My Name (You Shall Love)" is now available for purchase as a limited edition CD single (thank you Kate)!!  All proceeds will go to funding Leela and Ellie's full-length CD.  You can still download it for free if you prefer.
March 13, 2003:  Leela and Ellie will be recording their much-requested and long-awaited duo CD this Spring!  Pete Sutherland will produce and the CD will include a mix of traditional songs, originals from both sisters, and favorites written by current songwriters.  Watch our website for further updates.  Also new today:  Listen to Leela and Ellie sing "In My Name (You Shall Love)" by Leela Grace

January, 2003: Leela and Ellie's concert makes top Columbia-area performance list!

August, 2002: Colorado photos in Scrapbook!

June, 2002: "Review" of June 15th (2002) Performance at West Plains Old Time Music Festival.

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Last update: 11/30/12 Site maintained by
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Win "at" GraceFamilyMusic "dot" com, and
Chivalry Music www.chivalry.com