The Kennedy Center

Eleanor Ellis


Eleanor Ellis, a native of Louisiana, has performed at clubs, festivals, and concerts in the United States, Canada, and Europe. She has also traveled and played with the late gospel street singer Flora Molton and bluesman Archie Edwards, and sometimes accompanied Delta Blues great Eugene Powell. She is a founding member of the DC Blues Society and the Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation, has written about the blues for several publications, and is producer and editor of the video documentary Blues Houseparty, which features well-known Piedmont blues musicians such as John Jackson, John Cephas, and Archie Edwards. She also worked at the Archive of New Orleans Jazz at Tulane University in New Orleans, and at the New Orleans Jazz Museum. 

Eleanor Ellis has developed a distinctive and personal approach to music. She distills the elements of original style and transmits her own uniquely expressive sound. She credits her musical reach to such greats as Memphis Minnie, Skip James, and other early recording artists, as well as to the influence of the blues players she has known personally.

Eleanor’s recordings include Comin' a Time on the Patuxent label; Backyard Blues, a CD of solo blues guitar and vocals; Preaching in That Wilderness on the Riverlark label with Bill Ellis and Andy Cohen; appearances on several anthologies, including the 25th Anniversary Kent State Folk Festival collection, Sisterfire: Music by Women, and Archie's Barbershop Blues, released by the Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation; and two recordings with Flora Molton, I Want to Be Ready to Hear God When He Calls, on Mrs. Molton's own Lively Stone label, and Flora Molton, recorded for Radio France.

Watch Past Performances

Video 9/11/2011: Eleanor Ellis

The blues guitarist, vocalist, and founding member of the D.C. Blues Society has performed all over the world.

Eleanor Ellis