Bill & Eli Perras are a Singing, Songwriting and Storytelling Duo from DeLand, Florida.
Eli grew up as a foster child that was never adopted for reasons that were revealed to her in her adult life. As a young girl, she would sit at the beach shore of Long Island writing poetry. It was her catharsis for the internal desires and pains she felt while growing up. With a darker colored skin than most of my friends, and looking very Hispanic, she didn't actually know her ethnicity. She was very much a loner, but first and foremost, she had a deep concern for her surroundings and the well-being of others. Her life wasn't easy compared to most of her schoolmates and her immediate family was lower middle class, but her foster-parents did the best that they could. They knew unconditional love even though her foster parents were ostracized for even taking Eli and her siblings in as foster children. Following high school, then quitting college, Eli protested the Vietnam war even though her then fiance had enlisted and was serving in the USAF. After a decade in a tumultuous marriage, they divorced and she moved to Florida with my mom and 3 children. Working many minimum wage jobs to survive, life moved forward. Eventually, when Eli's my children grew up, she took on other challenges and was never one to shy away from confrontation.
Eventually, Eli would meet and marry her new husband Bill Perras, and over time he would rediscover his passion for music, especially the folk music genre that was appreciated by his mother while growing up. Quite often, albums from liberal minded folk music from artists like Peter, Paul & Mary, Joan Baez, John Denver, and the likes, were spinning on their home stereo record player while growing up in a small Central Massachusetts town.
Before long, Bill & Eli combined their talents as I she began writing poems again. Bill would pick up his Gibson Hummingbird guitar and together they would transform the poems into songs, mostly with socially-conscious ideals woven into the lyrics. Many topics of interest were suggested by one of their mentors, the late Ann Thomas. She was a master Librarian who encouraged Bill & Eli to read about historical injustices. Soon this would become the essence of their music and with their songs we would try to educate others about things that society would rather forget or not mention at all.
Due to chronic health issues, Bill left his corporate career as an electrical-mechanical designer. Fortunately, Eli's experience of raising her own multi-handicapped son was more than enough to qualify her to work with handicapped children. After Eli's son, Adam, entered a group home, she took on a job as a para-professional in the Exceptional Education Department with the Volusia County, FL school system. A book that Eli authored, “Raising Adam - In the Face of Adversity” explains much of that time caring for him from birth to the age of 15.
Now, since Eli's days of raising Adam were somewhat over and Bill & Eli were in an empty nest situation, they both decided to combine their expertise and talents on an amateur level just to keep themselves busy. Since Bill was only 13 years old when he took it upon himself to learn and play acoustic guitar and a variety of other stringed musical instruments, he became rather good at it, especially his highly skilled capacity to play finger-style guitar.
On the other hand, Eli had the gift of writing poems that could be combined with Bill's guitar expertise. So, as time passed, they would write and compose many songs along with finding out that that they could share these songs at open-mics and song-circles where we lived in central Florida.
As time passed, Bill & Eli shared their new songs at more and more of these amateur showcases and started being invited to play real shows at venues around the state including the Florida Folk Festival, Will McLean Music Festival, Gamble Rogers Music Festival, and more. They began to gain notoriety in the Florida folk music scene within a short few years and recorded an album of our original songs in their antiquated home studio. The venues where they performed began to increase in number, and they would perform their original songs just about anywhere that we were accepted.
Even though Bill & Eli had not recorded a professional album, in 2004, Bill decided that, when Eli was on summer break from her school job, they would take our music up to New England and back with many stops along the way. He got on the telephone and contacted people that we had met and searched the internet for venues that looked like the kind of place where their music would fit. He booked about 15 shows that would take place in a one-month period. It was a learning experience and as the years passed, they would take their music as far and wide as time allowed, along with releasing 3 professionally produced CD's.
Recently, Bill & Eli completed a Book & CD project titled “The Song's & Stories of Bill & Eli Perras- A Legacy Project” that will be formally released on January 1st of 2020. This project includes a CD containing 40 of our most exemplary original songs in a high quality MP3 format, along with a 168 page paperback book authored by Eli which has the written lyrics and stories behind each of the of songs that are on the CD, along with some detailed writings on the musical careers of Eli & I.
Now that you know a bit about Eli & Bill, this website is meant to share some of our original songs, photos, videos, performance dates, and an electronic press kit with hopes that you will host this singing, songwriting, storytelling duo at you library, listening room, festival, church, and any other venue that you believe would be an asset to their career.
Click HERE for Bill & Eli's Short List of Past Performances