November 5, 2005

Traditional and Original Folk Music

Atwater-Donnelly hree years ago, Aubrey Atwater and Elwood Donnelly presented us with an enthralling concert of traditional American and Celtic-American folk songs, hymns, a cappella pieces, dance tunes, and original works. They enchanted the audience and warmed our hearts. We were delighted to schedule this return engagement, and they repeated the magic.

twater-Donnelly is a Rhode Island-based folk duo performing traditional American and Celtic folk music and dance, along with original music and poetry. The much acclaimed husband-wife duo blend unusual harmonies and play guitar, Appalachian mountain dulcimer, Irish tin whistle, harmonica, banjo, bones, spoons, limberjack, Australian monkey pods, toy xylophone, steam shovels, feet, and other surprises.

lwood and Aubrey explain song origins to give more relevance to the material, and they incorporate humor, audience participation, and a highly relaxed stage presence which makes their performances appealing to all ages.

Aubrey Donnelly ubrey has been performing original songs of social commentary, as well as contemporary American folk songs and traditional ballads, since 1981. After Aubrey met her husband, Elwood Donnelly, at the Stone Soup Coffeehouse in Providence, their career developed dramatically. They formed their duo in the fall of 1987, which quickly gained regional and national recognition and popularity.

lwood has been performing professionally since the age of fifteen: first in a rock band, then as a solo performer, and later in a Cambodian band. He writes songs for voice, guitar, and harmonica.

heir most recent CD album, When Winter Calls features a winter holiday theme. Recorded live on-stage in December 2004 at the Blackstone River Theatre in Cumberland, RI, this beautifully recorded concert is filled with deeply rooted songs of winter, travel, longing, worship, rest, light, and celebration.

his was indeed a sparkling evening of American and Celtic traditional music.

Praises by others for their performances:

  • "Atwater-Donnelly are marvelous musicians. Their voices blend beautifully, their instrumental work is sparkling, and they are captivating performers. I could listen to them for hours."
      Frank Dudgeon, WUMB, Boston

  • "An absolutely beautiful handful of songs — this new album [When Winter Calls] is a real treat. For me, it's always a thrill to hear others sing my songs — your duet of 'Wintergrace' pleased me so much. Thanks for including it on this fine recording."
      Jean Ritchie, Port Washington, NY

  • Atwater-Donnelly"A dazzling duo ... the epitome of local folk music, the duo Atwater-Donnelly will wow audiences ... from sea shanties to Celtic tunes, this pair can play it all."
      Good Times, West Warwick, RI

  • "...What a pleasure it is to hear Rhode Island songwriter-guitarist Aubrey Atwater's solo debut...Atwater shines in her original songs...they are carefully crafted, stunning presentations that seethe with emotion and beauty, aided by Atwater's delicious soprano voice... "
      Stephen A. Ide, Dirty Linen

  • "So many positive comments about your performance! Every one wished you had played another hour or two. You are so talented and your stories are great. The instruments are fabulous.... You are special!"
      Martha Zink, Glastonbury Federated Women's Club, Glastonbury, CT

Link to their music clips:             or their web site:

Opening for Atwater-Donnelly tonight were our featured open mike performers:

  • Bill Lauter
  • Claude Margouleff
  • Bob Koenig
  • Ken Bongort
  • Alan Short
  • Barry Be
  • Garyoke
  • John Bechhoff
  • Sam Wigutow
  • Christie Baker
  • Paul Helou
  • Our host this evening was Jack Finkenberg. If you weren't here tonight, you missed yet another of the very best programs of the year ...