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.  Go to http://www.gracefamilymusic.com/inmyname to find out more!

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!  If you are wondering when we might return/come to your area, feel free to contact me (Leela) at lgrace@coin.org 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

Mailing address:
11990 Barnes Chapel Rd.
Columbia, MO  65201-8857

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