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The next Charlotte Folk Society Gathering takes place on Friday, April 11th, in the Great Aunt Stella Center, 926 Elizabeth Avenue, in the edge of Uptown Charlotte. We are pleased to present acclaimed Irish singer/songwriter/author/teacher Danny Ellis in partnership with the Irish Society of Charlotte. The music gets underway at 7:30 PM. Doors open at 7 PM.
The songs Danny Ellis writes are startlingly personal. They are gauged to "crack your heart wide open." A rare emotional depth and an acute understanding of human nature - garnered on an orphanage playground with 800 wild kids, mark his writing. "In that tough orphanage, every kind of personality, even the most guarded, revealed its secrets over time. Hopefully, my writing holds some of the insights and healing that has blessed my own life. I write a lot about relationships because they are a metaphor for an indefinable inner journey, expressed in everyday terms. You might say I'm obsessed with trying to express the inexpressible, to touch the invisible."
You can expect Danny's concert to be eclectic - to include original songs in genres that range from folk to blues, from country to Celtic, as well as songs from his widely acclaimed CD 800 Voices. Settle in as Danny weaves a tapestry of stories and deeply personal songs that take you on a journey through his life.
Music has been the main driving force in the life of Danny Ellis, almost since he was born in the destitute but colorful slums of Dublin City. In a time and place where everyone sang, his mother would sing for the family every night by the fire before bedtime - "her voice so filled with emotion, that sometimes she'd almost scare us." The Ellis family fell apart when Danny was eight, after his father left to find work in America. His sisters and infant twin brothers were placed in separate orphanages and Danny was interred in Artane Industrial School, the most notoriously brutal of Irish orphanages. There he learned trombone in the school band, which launched him on a life-long career in music. The story of these early years make up the material for his award winning CD, 800 Voices, and his subsequent memoir, The Boy at the Gate, which reached #2 in the non-fiction book charts in Ireland.
Upon leaving the orphanage in 1963, Danny, trombonist, arranger, and singer, became one of the most successful musicians in Ireland. He played with some of the biggest bands on the show band circuit. Many of his songs were recorded by top Irish acts and he was commissioned by RTE, Irish National Television, to compose for some of the many European Song Festivals. In 1973, he moved to London, where his talent soon found him in the spotlight again and he toured Europe with Graham Parker and the Rumor and The Foundations. He became a session singer for London's Abbey Road Studio, working for four years with Paul McCartney's engineer, Alan O'Duffy. Then Danny returned to Ireland in 1983 to work on two albums for Red Hurley, one of Ireland's most prominent singers, with Riverdance composer, Bill Whelan.
He met his American wife, Liz, while touring in Spain and soon they moved to America, where they settled in Asheville, North Carolina. All the while he continued to write and perform. One night, after a hard gig, while playing his guitar, out came a song, that would change his life. It was the beginning of the material, that would turn into his acclaimed autobiographical CD, 800 Voices, hailed by the Irish press as a masterpiece. Hotpress; Ireland's leading musical magazine, reviewed the CD: ". . . utterly, spell-bindingly beautiful, and deeply moving . . . 800 Voices is full of marvelously crafted songs, packed with superb lyrical twists and turns and moments of wonderful insight . . .The astonishing accuracy of the picture it painted had me in tears of both laughter and devastation . . .Danny Ellis has turned the base metal of that raw experience into a very fine piece of art. An essential Irish album."
Praise for 800 Voices from Danny's American peers:
"It may just be the most powerful storytelling through music and stories I have ever experienced." - Storyteller Connie Regan Blake
"Danny's music slays me. He has one of the best 'live' voices I've ever heard." - Blues Singer/Songwriter Bonnie Raitt
"Danny Ellis is a man of spirit who gives us much more in his music than just beautiful songs. Danny's CD 800 Voices is a masterpiece. The songs are beautiful, moving, and healing to the soul. Danny's voice is heartfelt and honest, and all the other instruments on the CD join in a perfectly balanced production. Each song stands on its own, but together they create a current that sweeps us up in the story." - Singer/Songwriter David Wilcox
Visit Danny's website at www.dannyellismusic.com/home.
Don't miss out on this rare chance to listen to the song and voices of Ireland!
Monthly second-Friday Charlotte Folk Society Gatherings are family-friendly and free; donations are appreciated and essential to holding Gatherings in the Great Aunt Stella Center. Refreshments, a song circle, jam sessions, and an Appalachian dulcimer group follow the hour-long concert; visitors are welcome to join in or simply listen.
Free parking is available in a deck adjacent to the Stella Center, which is accessible off of 4th Street. You'll need to take a ticket to get the gate to raise to enter the garage decks, but after 8 PM, the gates are raised and you can exit without paying. Accessible entry and an elevator are available through the ground floor door on the parking lot side of the building. Note: Elizabeth Avenue is still closed from Kings Drive to the intersection with McDowell Street remains closed. Free parking is available in the Great Aunt Stella Center surface parking lot and in the adjacent county parking deck. Enter via the South entrance from 4th street.
CFS Gatherings are made possible, in part, with funding from the Arts & Science Council and the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Cultural Resources, and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.