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December 10, 2009:
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.
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,
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
and can be digitally downloaded through iTunes and
would be honored if you gave our music as a gift this
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!
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!
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
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.
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
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.
you all warmth and peace this winter.
Ellie and Leela
October 5, 2009:
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!
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!
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.
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,
along with our debut
CD and our limited edition
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
Leela and Ellie
August 25, 2009:
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
online calendar to find out
more about these festivals.
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
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.
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
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
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
online calendar and tell
anyone you know in the Atlanta area!
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,
the Waters Run,
along with our debut CD and our limited edition
(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
and can be digitally downloaded through iTunes and
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
Leela and Ellie
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
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
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
CDBaby, iTunes, YouTube, and anywhere else that Google
finds our names and faces.
you a peaceful and joyful winter season. After a year like
2008, we are excited to find out what 2009 has in store. . .
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
This coming weekend, we are extremely excited to be
returning to our beloved
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
Keep your eyes out for it!
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
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
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
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.
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…
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
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
After the concert, we drove down to Memphis, TN for the
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
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
Also, you can now find us on iTunes (!) and you can still
download individual songs or the whole album through
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
Thank you for your continued support! We hope to see you
soon at a concert near you.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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!
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,
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
When: Saturday, February 16th at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Windsor Auditorium, 1405 E. Broadway
What: Leela and Ellie Grace's CD Release Concert!
Cost: $10 for adults, $5 for kids!
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
for details! We cannot thank you enough for your support of our
music. . . without you, none of this would be possible.
Peace and Happy
Leela and Ellie Grace
NEW CD CAN NOW BE
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:
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:
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.
Ellie and Leela Grace
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:
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
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
Order our current CD at our online
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
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.
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!
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
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.
Ellie and Leela
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
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
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.
CALENDAR for more details about all of our upcoming performances far
and near! We hope to see you there!
Announcement for Mid-Missouri Locals:
and Leela Offer Two Separate Yet Complimentary Classes Starting in
down for details and register for one or both today! Go
HERE for more
information about Leela and Ellie’s lessons and classes!
School of Music and Dance
announces a new class--Beginning
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
will be held on Thursday evenings from 5:45-6:30 p.m.
date will be in late February (exact day yet to
ages 10-100, no experience necessary!
will be $65 for a six-week session
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
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
What: Leela's Famous
By-Ear Harmony Singing Class!
7:00-8:30 p.m., starting Monday,
(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.)
Home in Columbia (directions will be sent when you register)
How Long: 6
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
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
How can you resist?
December 2, 2004:
and Ellie Grace Concert POSTPONED until Sunday, December
12th due to illness!!
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.
What: Leela and Ellie Grace Concert
When: Sunday, December 12th at 7 p.m. (doors open at
Where: Windsor Auditorium, 1405 E. Broadway
(on the Stephens College Campus in Columbia, MO)
$8.00, $5.00 for kids 12 and under (tickets available at the
More Info: email@example.com OR (573) 256-6292 OR www.gracefamilymusic.com
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:
Leela and Ellie Grace Concert
Saturday, December 4th at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30)
Windsor Auditorium, 1405 E. Broadway (on the Stephens College Campus in
$8.00, $5.00 for kids 12 and under (tickets available at the
More Info: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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
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!
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
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
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
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
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!
Ellie and Leela
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
to see if we are coming to your neck of the woods!
Ellie and Leela
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
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!
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.
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!
Leela and Ellie
March 11, 2004: Leela and Ellie
featured on NPR's All
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.
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!
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!
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
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
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!
warm and sing loud and we hope to make trails to your locale this
and Ellie Grace
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
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,
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!
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
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.
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.
if we are performing near you!
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 . . .
are so thankful for all of you! We
couldn’t make the music we love without your support.
joy, love, and beautiful music to you and your loved ones in this
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
for more details!!
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!
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
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!
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.
hope to see you all soon . . .
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
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
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! :-)
Ellie and Leela Grace
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!
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 . . .”
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
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 order it.
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
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.
you all again for your support and we hope to see you somewhere down
Leela and Ellie
31, 2003: "In
My Name (You Shall Love)" is now available for purchase
as a limited edition CD
(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.
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
concert makes top Columbia-area performance list!
2002: Colorado photos in Scrapbook!
"Review" of June
15th (2002) Performance
at West Plains Old Time Music Festival.