Betse Ellis is known in the folk world as an engaging, personal and fireball performer. She was a founding member of internationally touring band the Wilders, performing at prestigious festivals including Celtic Connections, the Shetland Folk Festival, and International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Fan Fest.
Betse performed solo as an official showcase artist at Folk Alliance International Conference several times, and with her current project, the duo Betse & Clarke. The duo recently released their debut album, River Still Rise, and completed a tour of Ireland.
Betse’s background includes 15 years of classical study, with a Bachelor of Arts in Music from UMKC’s Conservatory of Music. Her folk music study includes a long-running relationship with 100-year-old mentor Violet Hensley, the “Whittling Fiddler of Arkansas.” PBS News Hour aired a segment highlighting their friendship. Along with a busy performance schedule, Betse is a dedicated instructor of Ozark fiddle styles and technique, teaching privately and at resident music camps.
New York Music Daily described Betse’s fiddling on her second solo album (High Moon Order) as “Flat-out gorgeous…. Solid tunesmithing, purposeful playing, impactful vocals, smart lyrics and imaginatively curated traditional tunes combine to make this album one of the best of 2013.”
Performing in Folkways: Music of the British Isles and its Migration to Missouri
at the Annual Lerner Hauskonzert, October 23, 2016