Ellen Harper has been around the folk music scene her whole life. Her mother, Dorothy Chase performed and taught banjo and guitar at Hecht House in the 1950s in Boston with Bess Lomax Hawes and her father, Charles Chase repaired any and all instruments that came his way. Ellen learned to play, perform and teach guitar and other folk instruments at her mother’s knee.
In 2000 Ellen participated in her son Ben’s documentary Pleasure and Pain filmed by Danny Clinch. From this project came the idea to collaborate on an album. Childhood Home, a collection of original songs written and performed by Ben and Ellen Harper was released in 2014. As Ben says, “This album had a lifetime of preproduction.”
Ellen’s latest project, Light has a Life of its Own is a collection of her original songs reflecting the unusual musical heritage that has defined and shaped several generations of Chase/Harpers. Ellen currently runs the Folk Music Center, the Claremont Folk Festival and teaches music classes.
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