Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Rachel Bissex: Music

For Florence--Click for more info about performers

(Ellen Bukstel, Kate McDonnell, and Sioban Quinn)
August 3, 2005

Ellen, a veteran to the stage since childhood, studied and performed classical piano for many years only to find that her real love of music came about later when she taught herself to play the guitar and discovered her voice. Ellen, first song was inspired by the death of her late husband, Douglas Segal, who died in 1988 from Hemophilia related AIDS. An AIDS activist ever since, she raised her three children, while speaking out publicly about her family’s loss and performing her music to raise awareness about AIDS. She and her younger brother Gary have been performing together since they were teenagers.
She has been a finalist in numerous songwriting competitions such as 2002 Kerrville New Folk, 2004 Woody Guthrie Song Comp, 2002 USA Comp, three times South Florida Folk Festival (SFFF), SFFF Audience Choice, 2003 “One Plus One” Oklahoma Songwriters & Composers Association, Two CD Compilations: 2004 Dr. Demento #12 CD Sampler; CD Comp: “Protest Songs for a Better World”.

Kate McDonnell plays guitar upside down and backwards, and is perhaps the love child of Joni Mitchell and Leo Kottke. With four cd’s to her credit, including “Where the Mangoes Are,” she wows audiences in the U.S. and Europe with her heart-stopping voice and jaw-dropping guitar work. As a Kerrville New Folk and Mid-Atlantic Songwriting Competition Finalist, winner of Plowshares, Susquehanna, and Mountain Stage New Song Festival competitions, she is highly regarded as a writer and a performer.

Siobhán Quinn is a nationally recognized songwriter and vocalist. Whether traditional Irish music, blues, cowboy waltzes or contemporary folk, her voice demonstrates both a power and gentleness that makes songs soar. She has coached or taught vocals at SummerSongs, Swannanoa, and the Kerrville Folk Festival, and was a finalist in the Boston Folk Festival Songwriting Contest. Having released two albums with Ben Murray, she is completing a solo album. She tours the U.S. and internationally.

Erik Balkey is a performing songwriter based out of Philadelphia, PA. He began songwriting as part of the Red Bank, NJ music scene in 1994 before a four-year stint in New York City. He is a 2005 Kerrville New Folk Winner with 2 CD’s to his credit. He is currently working on 2 new CD’s to be released in the near future.

1-1 For Florence

There’s a whispering wind and it sings your name
The leaves of the autumn turning firmly, yet kind
When the evening comes with its gentle rain

We will remember

Oh the harbor boats sail along with you
And the sun shines down with the light from you
When the sea birds cry and the tide comes in

We will remember

With a grandchild’s smile and an upturned palm
With a Russian rhyme and all that caring
When the children sing with your dauntless love

We will remember