Susana Abell is a highly respected, veteran performing and teaching artist whose career in puppetry arts has spanned two decades and three continents. Her work as a bi-lingual puppeteer and circus performer both in South America and throughout Europe prepared her for a successful seven year tenure as one of the most sought after teaching artists in New Jersey where her programs and residencies were directly sponsored by Carnegie Hall, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the New Jersey Department of Education and the New Jersey Council on the Arts.
Susana holds a Master of Arts in teaching degree and also has extensive experience as an arts administrator. She served eight years as Executive Director of the Chowan Arts Council, an active oranization in rural North Carolina where her grant funded Arts-in-Education programming consistently won accolades and recognition from the state Arts Council.
After graduating from Bennington College in Vermont, Susana made her way to Colombia, South America, where she lived for two years working with an internationally recognized puppet theater company, Paciencia de Guayaba. Later she was awarded a full scholarship to study at the Institut Internacional de la Marionette in Charleville-Mezieres, France, where she wrote and produced "The Gardener", a puppet fable which was later performed as street theater in many major European cities.
From there Susana settled into circus life for two years performing as a stilt-walker and fire-eater for Traumtheater Salome, touring most of the major cities in Germany before returning to the states where she began her career as a professional teaching artist. A consistent thread throughout Susana's adventurous life has been her writing. In addition to her original puppet plays, she is also a published poet and author of a number of stories for children.
Susana's marriage to Timmy Abell in May of 2005 transformed her life once again; "The formation of Silver Trout Arts is the very happy culmination of a multifaceted career. I have the exceedingly rare opportunity to do all of the things that I love and believe in with the one who loves and believes in me. The joy of that spills into every class I teach and every performance I offer."
For over thirty years, Timmy Abell has celebrated both the historical and living qualities of American, Appalachian, International, and original folk music. USA Today has called Timmy's music "well-crafted rich and rambunctious", and Silo Music compares Timmy to Pete Seeger in "...such qualities as down to earth yet imagination-stretching lyrics, strong values, skilled acoustic musicianship, directness and respect for his audience."
Timmy's concerts are an interplay of music and storytelling and have been described as "spellbinding". He features a collection of rare musical instruments including hammered dulcimer, English concertina, bowed psaltery, lap dulcimer, and penny whistle along with guitar and banjo.
Timmy's storytelling includes a rich variety of adventure stories, tall tales, fairy tales, and mountain Jack Tales often punctuated with music.
Timmy's recordings have received the highest national awards from the American Library Association, 'Parents' Choice' and NAPPA. Titles include "Little Red Wagon","The Farmer's Market", "Play All Day", "I Know An Old Lady", and "Stories To Grow On", all produced by Steven Heller at Upstream Productions in Asheville, NC.
North Carolina Public Television has featured Timmy's original songs on their Celebration Series and in a one hour television special, "Timmy and Friends", also available on home video.
Timmy Abell has presented fun-filled concerts at festivals, schools, and concert halls throughout the Eastern United States including the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and The National Theater in Washington, D.C.; Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston; the JFK Library in Boston; The Peace Center in Greenville, SC and both the children's and adult stages at Merlefest in North Carolina.
Timmy has always been devoted to Arts in Education. He is a North Carolina Arts Council certified Teaching Artist listed in all major Arts-in-Ed directories throughout the Southeast. Educators in 21 states have praised Timmy's illustrated Teacher Curriculum Guide, highlighting the many subject areas included in his performances. Timmy has completed the Kennedy Center's Artists As Educators training seminar and offers Teacher Workshops on transforming the classroom atmosphere through the use of music, as well as songwriting workshops and residencies for students.
Timmy grew up in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where he heard plenty of traditional and old time music from a very early age. " Pan Handle Pete" was a one man band playing for audiences around the region in the 1950's, and one of Timmy's earliest memories is watching "Pan-Handle" play the banjo with his toes. Timmy picked up the guitar in 5th grade, fondly remembers his 8th grade Rock'n'Roll band, "The Mystics", and started playing professionally for kids in 1978. Timmy has three boys, Justin, Colin and Rowan. He and Susana happily live in the Beaverdam Valley in north Asheville and tour throughout the Southeast wherever young folks and families are gathered.