Humanities Project: Blues Musician Elly Wininger Performs at CCC Sept. 18th

Elly Wininger Shown Playing a Guitar

Blues musician Elly Wininger will be the guest performer the week of September 18th for the Coffeyville Community College humanities project. Wininger will perform on the Coffeyville Community College campus on Tuesday, September 18. The public is invited to the 10:30 a.m. Tuesday humanities performances at CCC.  The performances are free and held in the Spencer/Rounds Performing Arts Theatre.

A 2014 inductee into the New York Blues Hall of Fame, Elly has just released her third and most definitive solo CD. With nine originals and four creative interpretations of traditional and blues songs, "Little Red Wagon," showcases Elly's talents as a guitar player, songwriter, and producer It debuted at #8 on the Folk Music DJ Chart in January 2018.

Harkening back to her start in Greenwich Village, festival promoter Kurt Henry called Elly a "folk-blues legend." And indeed- she played the very first set on opening night at CBGB, and was offered a recording contract with Red Robin Records at age 16. "I saw an ad in the Village Voice that said 'Wanted: Blues Singers,' and since I was studying with David Bromberg and playing the basket houses, I grabbed my guitar and took the subway to the Bronx. After wandering around the projects, I finally found the right door. I went in and played for a while - I think it was "Rock Me Baby" and "Key to the Highway" until the woman auditioning me yelled for her partner to come in the room.  'Listen to this' she said, nodding at me, in my braces and pointy glasses. I was as surprised as they were when she handed me a contract."

Having played historic New York City venues such as Kenny’s Castaways, Dr. Generosity’s, Folk City and the Bitter End, Elly now tours and performs nationally, and is an annual feature at the Woodstock Invitational Luthier's Showcase. Elly is also a producer. Her series of music documentaries for Public Radio, "Rockin' the Boat," won several awards, including one from the United Nations. As a composer, her guitar, vocal work and original songs, have been featured in theater productions, video games, and on the Clio award-winning public service campaign against drunk driving "Friends." Elly also produces albums for other artists and hosts the live variety radio show: "Catskill Cabaradio" on WIOX in Roxbury, New York. In addition to giving workshops and clinics, Elly has created a program called "Our Song" which has been used by many organizations including the Arc for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to assist people in writing their own songs.  

Said Elly: “Before I could read or write, I was transported by my parents' 78s: Vera Hall's "Black Woman;" Blind Willie Johnson's "Dark Was the Night" and Leadbelly, who I used to try to sing like, much to my kindergarten teacher's dismay. I had no idea what or who I was listening to, but it stirred something in my soul that has been swirling ever since. In the Village, I listened and played in the coffeehouses. There was Lightnin' Hopkins, Muddy Waters, Mississippi John Hurt, Dave Van Ronk, and the newcomers like my teacher, John Hammond, Jr., Artie Traum, Geoff Muldaur, Danny Kalb and so many others picking up from the source. 1973 found me on stage at the Philadelphia Folk Festival singing back up with Maria Muldaur and immersing myself in all the styles that made up the 'folk revival,' which of course is a continuum, a river of astonishing richness and deep beauty."

Elly now plays at festivals, coffee houses, and house concerts. "As I tour from my home base in Woodstock, New York," said Elly, "I am always inspired by the beauty of the people and places around me. I have come to understand that the power of music comes from sharing, not just performing. The connection among people that can be created with music is what keeps me going.” 

Elly's program will explore the structure and substance of this unique American genre. From the African based acoustic guitar-driven blues of the rural south of the 20s and 30s known as "country blues," to the journey north to Chicago where it formed the basis for later styles such as Chicago Blues and Rock and Roll. The audience will hear how the blues influenced and often melded with country music and eventually inspired many of the jazz greats as well as current popular music forms such as hip-hop and rap.

For more information about the humanities project at CCC, please call 620-251-7700, ext. 2166.