The highly acclaimed husband-wife duo, Aubrey Atwater and Elwood Donnelly, present delightful programs of traditional American and Celtic folk songs, a capella pieces, old-time gospel songs, dance tunes, and original works. Elwood and Aubrey blend gorgeous and unusual harmonies and play guitar, Appalachian mountain dulcimer, mandolin, tin whistle, harmonica, banjo, bones, spoons, limberjacks, and other surprises including Appalachian clog dancing, French Canadian footwork, and Tap.
Their performance is appealing to all ages, and with humor, audience participation, and a relaxed stage presence, Aubrey and Elwood explain song origins to create a deeper understanding of the music and its cultural history. And, because they have such an extensive repertoire, special programs and workshops can be tailored for festivals, schools, colleges, libraries, women's history, and holidays.
Aubrey and Elwood are often joined by a third member, Cathy Clasper-Torch.
Cathy adds a deeply rich third dimension with fiddle, cello and vocals and, since 2003, the Atwater-Donnelly Trio has become extremely popular in Southern New England.
In the award-winning Atwater-Donnelly Band, joining Aubrey, Elwood and Cathy is Kevin Doyle, a U.S. Champion Irish step and master American tap dancer. Kevin has been entertaining audiences for over 35 years with his traditional style of "close to the ground" rhythms and intricate foot work. He often blends American tap with traditional Irish steps, which makes his style of dance that much more unique. He and Aubrey have created thrilling dance routines, blending Irish, clogging, and tap steps, receiving standing ovations for their intricate and highly percussive performances. Watch also for Kevin and Elwood to perform tap routines, as well as for all three to dance together.
Occasionally, the musicians who helped with Jerimoth Hill's The Halfway Ground CD join Aubrey and Elwood for a full old-time string band sound.
John & Heidi Cerrigione are an acoustic duo from Ellington, CT who bring bass, autoharp, hammered dulcimer and vocals to the Atwater~Donnelly Band.
Uriah Donnelly, Elwood and Aubrey's younger son, provides piano and vocals.
Atwater-Donnelly THEIR HISTORY ...
Stone Soup CoffeehouseAubrey and Elwood met as volunteers at the Stone Soup Coffeehouse in Providence in early 1987. Within just a few months these self-taught musicians from Rhode Island formed a duo. Married since 1989, Aubrey and Elwood perform throughout the United States and, on occasion, abroad. Their ten recordings receive international airplay. Highlights include airplay on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered," Fiona Ritchie's "Thistle and Shamrock," and the nationally syndicated "Midnight Special" out of Chicago.
Atwater and Donnelly have performed and researched traditional folk music and dance in Appalachia, the Ozarks, New England, and other key places in the United States, as well as Ireland, England and Prince Edward Island. They have performed with or shared festival billing with folk legends Jean Ritchie, Pete Seeger, and Doc Watson.
Aubrey and Elwood lead workshops, study with traditional musicians and folklorists, play for and call contra-dances, appear on television, and regularly receive standing ovations for their concerts during trips to festivals and camps such as the Hindman Settlement School in Eastern Kentucky, the Augusta Heritage Center in West Virginia, the Old Songs Festival in New York, the Ozark Folk Center in Arkansas, and the Swannanoa Gathering and the John C. Campbell Folk School in western North Carolina.
In 2005, Aubrey and Elwood appeared in six performances of a play called "Folktown: The Story of the Fifth Mary," which was written and produced by playwright Bob Hollis and based on twenty-two songs in the Atwater-Donnelly repertoire. This exciting community project involved approximately one hundred people and took place right in their hometown of Foster.
The Atwater-Donnelly Duo won Motif Magazine's "Best Local Folk Act" award in 2006 and well as three awards in 2007: "Best Folk Act" for the Atwater-Donnelly Band, "Album of the Year" for "The Halfway Ground", and "Best Female Vocalist" for Aubrey Atwater.
In addition to eleven recordings, Aubrey has written three books of poetry and a songbook and Elwood has created a songbook for "The Halfway Ground." The duo is part of more than fifteen compilation CDs and has appeared on numerous recordings of other musicians.
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