Head shot of musician Teso Ellis.


May 28 2024


6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Performance & Community Conversation with Teso Ellis

On Tuesday, May 28, 6 p.m., join us for a performance and community conversation with Teso Ellis, LEAF’s Spark the Arts Artist in Residence for May. Free event — open to the public!

Teso Ellis is a songwriter who has been performing in Asheville for the past eight years. Teso captivates audiences from dive bars to large venues — often with a band called Chilltonic — performing a type of music that can only be described as a genre fluid. Teso has left an indelible mark on the music scene of Asheville. If you see the Afro and the guitar approaching a microphone, prepare yourself for a spellbinding musical experience.

The North Carolina Arts Council created Spark the Arts as an awareness campaign. It was designed to inspire public participation in the arts across the state by highlighting the unique way the arts lift spirits, bring people together, and heal. “Recognizing that the people of North Carolina are the spark that keeps the arts alive, well, and thriving, our goal is to ignite the resurgence of our state’s arts sector from the pandemic by connecting residents and visitors to arts experiences and arts stories across our state,” says the North Carolina Arts Council.


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Mayani is a Maasai boy from longido Arusha. He went to boarding school at 6 years old and lost his Maasai language and tradition. Since joining the LEAF program, he has learned to sing Maasai songs, practiced the ‘jump’ tradition and wear Maasai shukas (traditional clothing). Mayani is extremely happy and is currently teaching other youth the culture.