We’re an evolving project of discovery.

Our ideas, our music, our web pages, all in motion.

We’re history lovers, mostly storytellers.

Song Stories

Album Liner Notes

Pictures and lyrics that live inside the songs.

13.8 Billion Years Ago

The Big Bang.

600 Million Years Ago

The first amoeba appeared. After it spilt, the first half lived with a potentially infinite life span, and it may still be alive.

4.4 Million Years Ago

The skeletal remains of a female Hominen, Ardi, were discovered in Ethiopia in 1994.

300,000 Years Ago

Early evidence of Homosapiens, the first modern humans having evolved from their hominin predecessors, was found in 2017 in a cave in Morocco, Northern Africa.

200,000 Years Ago

Although previously the earliest known remains of the Denisovan human relatives were found in China, dating to 160,000 years ago, older bones were found in Denisovan cave in Siberia,Russia in 2022. 

116,000 Years Ago

A Neanderthal molar was extracted from a cave although it is believed that Neanderthals first appeared much earlier in history. 

70,000 to 100,000 Years Ago

Humans began moving out of Africa, traveling to Europe and Asia.

64,000 Years Ago

A Neanderthal cave painting was discovered in 2021 in Spain.

30,000 to 20,000 Years Ago

Having crossed the Bering Strait land bridge and across the Strait by boat, going back and forth between Asia and North America, the peoples who became Native Americans arrived in the Western Hemisphere.

12,000 Years Ago

Beginning of the continuous Homo sapiens in England.

6,000 Years Ago

The Lenape Tribal Nation had been well established in eastern North America. 

3500 BCE

Slave trading in Sumer in Mesopotamia. 

2000 BCE - 1500 BCE

The Bantu Migration spreads through Bantu culture, language, and technology, such as agriculture and metallurgy from West Africa throughout the south and southeastern portions of the African continent. 

1750 BCE

Slavery as an institution was written into the Hammurabi Code of Mesopotamia. 

1500 BCE-c 200 CE

The Nok Culture, known for their iron smelting skills and terracotta sculptures, flourishes in West Africa. 

1314 BCE

Moses receives the Ten Commandments after delivering the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. 

March 30
Sub Label
1213 - 1203 BCE

Early mention of Israel was inscribed on the Merneptah Stele, but religious literature tells the story of the Israelites going back as far as c. 1500 BCE.

600 - 500 BCE

The Mapuche people inhabited Chile. 

586 BCE

The first Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians. 

69 BCE

Cleopatra VII Philopator becomes Queen, and therefore Pharaoah, of Egypt, where women had equal rights with men, including the right to own property. 

29 CE

Creation of Christianity upon the death of Jesus.

862 CE

Russian culture begins with the establishment of Kievan Rus by the Viking Oleg of Novgorod.

1162 - 1227 CE

Genghis Khan creates the first Mongol Empire, which included much of China.

1471 CE

The Mapuche people in Chile halted the expansion of the Inca Empire allowing most of Chile to be independent. 

1516 CE

The first ghetto was created in Venice, Italy, when Jews were forced to live in a confined area at night but allowed to go about their daily business within the city provided they wore either a yellow hat or yellow badge. 

1541 CE

The Spanish invaded Chile as part of the conquest of Peru.

1562 CE

Ellen's ancestor, Andrew Willet, a Calvinist minister, is born.

1609 CE

Ellen's ancestor, William Tuttle, was born in Northampton England. 

1619 CE

American slave trading and slave holding began when the first enslaved African people from Angola land in Jamestown, VA.

1635 CE

Ellen's ancestors, William Tuttle and the Tuttle family arrive in New Haven on the ship The Planter.

1654 CE

Thomas Pell bought a large tract of land from the Swanky Indians, including what is now Hart Island.

1662 CE

Virginia passed the "One Drop of Blood Rule", the first law in America to codify that any percentage of Black ancestry meant that someone was Black. 

1663 CE

The Carolina Province was officially founded by eight Lord Proprietors. 

1680's CE

Ellen's 8th great grandmother, whom we only know as Mrs.Swain, a member of the Lenape Tribal Nation, married Richard Swain but dies in 1683 after giving birth to Abigail Swain in Nantucket, MA.

1718 CE

New Orleans was founded by the French.

1729 CE

Carolina Province officially split into North and South Carolina by the English Crown. 

1775 CE

Zachariah Burwell signs Articles of Association in Philadelphia, PA.

1776 - 1783 CE

A number of Ellen's ancestors (two Tuttles,two Burwells, and Bell and one Sellers) fought in the American Revolution. 

1791 - 1794 CE

Ellen's ancestor, Zachariah Burwell Sr., served with Washington's troops during the Whiskey Rebellion. 

1803 CE

The United States purchased Louisiana and a large swath of the North American continent for $15M from Napoleon, Emperor of France. 

1811 CE

The German Coast Uprising was a slave revolt in parts of Louisiana where two people were killed and 95 enslaved Black people were executed. 

1815 CE

The first major Chinese immigration to America 

1817 - 1818 CE

Bernardo O'Higgin and Jose de San Martin defeated the Spanish and created an independent Chilean state. 

1861 - 1865 CE

The American Civil War, which saw seven of Ellen's ancestors from the Burwell and Courtney lines fight for the confederacy and, at least, one ancestor, John Andrew Hood, fight for the Union Army. 

1865 CE

First Confederate POW's arrived on Hart Island. 235 soldiers would die there. 

1865 CE

The Ku Klux Klan was created in Pulaski, TN.

1865 - 1867 CE

Federal laws were enacted during the Reconstruction Era to provide civil rights protections to the freed Black slaves in the US South. 

1870 CE

Virginia becomes the first state in America to segregate its school system, enacting a law barring Whites and Blacks  from attending the same school. 

1877 CE

Compromise of 1877 resulted in the acceptance of Rutherford B. Hayes as the 19th American president and the withdrawal of federal troops from the former Confederate states, allowing the southern states to oppress freed Black slaves without interference of the northern states or the federal government.

1881 - 1917 CE

Tsarist Russia, a period of tragic history, involving violent antisemitic pogroms, resulting in many Jews, including Ellen's father's family, to flee Russia to America. 

1893 CE

Ida B. Wells, on a speaking tour of Britain, called out the White Women's Christian Temperance Union, a suffragette movement, for failing to acknowledge the lynching of Blacks in America. 

1909 CE

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a civil rights organization in the United States, was formed as an interracial endeavor to advance justice for Black Americans. 

1912 CE

Sun Yat-Sen led the Xinhai Revolution of 1911 at the beginning of a turbulent century of wars and slaughter in China. 

1916 - 1970 CE

The Great Migration during which six million Black Southerners relocated to urban areas in the North and West. 

1920 CE

The 19th Amendment to the US Constitution was passed, giving women the right to vote. 

1929 - 1936 CE

The Wall Street Crash started the Great Depression.

1941 - 1945 CE

Many of Ellen's ancestors served in the US Army during World War II, including Ellen's father, Sidney Kalmanowitz (Kaye), five Courtneys, one Tuttle and six Burwells. 

1944 CE

Ellen's uncle, Jan Peerce (Arturo Toscanini's favorite tenor), sang with Toscanini in Madison Square Garden to protest fascism. 

1947 CE

Ellen's father, Sidney Kaye, bought the Russian Tea Room.

1956 CE

Ellen's uncle Jan Peerce, was the first Jew to sing in a synagogue behind the Iron Curtain, and is credited with launching the Soviet Jewry Movement.

1967 CE

Ellen's father, Sidney Kaye, dies and her mother, Faith Stewart-Gordon, takes over running the restaurant until 1996. Faith was a trailblazer in an industry still dominated by men. 

2014 CE

Ellen C Kaye and Ethan Fein wrote the song "No Women Died Today" about the dearth of obituaries of women in newspapers around the world. 

2019 CE

The New York Times began a series of obituaries called "Overlooked No More" which wrote about women who had died since 1851, but whose obituaries were never published. 

2022 CE

On January 6, in an attempt to disrupt the US Congress, the peaceful transition of power from one administration to another, and overturn the 2022 election, a large mob of protesters rioted, breaching the US Capitol grounds and building causing extensive damage, injury, and death, before law enforcement was able to disperse the mob and secure the building, allowing the election certification process to continue and be completed. 

2023 CE

The Vatican repudiated the "Doctrine of Discovery" which was used to justify colonialism through the issue of a series of papal bulls authorizing the colonial powers to seize land and enslave or destroy indigenous populations through forced assimilation. 

We all come from somewhere. Our own past swirls around us, fog like, mysterious, unknowable. The deeper we get into the telling of our own tales the more the past tugs, nips and bites.

All my life I looked forward, but in my late fifties I found myself looking back to the stories that made my world and the worlds of my ancestors.
This is our project, Old Bones Odyssey. Like my Puritan ancestors who arrived in the colonies in 1635 on a ship called The Planter, we’re embarking on an odyssey. Like my Russian Jewish grandparents who came through Ellis Island in the late nineteenth century, we’re setting sail for parts unknown. We’re exploring American history through a small portal that takes us into my genetic and philosophical family tree. Each of us comes from a fascinating jumble of people. Each life traces a map that leads us to today.

Our aim is discovery. To gain a deeper understanding of our world and our country right now.

Volume One

Ghost Lineage

Album Liner Notes

We’re creating a different kind of family tree: a philosophical one, made of ideas, thoughts, beliefs; accepted, rejected, swallowed whole, discarded, maintained, nourished and destroyed.

Of love found, simmering hatreds, adoration, ancient feuds, hidden desires, religious wars, long buried resentments, deep seated enmities, loyalty, transcendence, harsh disappointment, disillusionment and hope.

We’re all made up of philosophical family trees with ideas dangling off the branches. Call it a Thought Tree, an Idea Tree, a Dreams Lost And Found Tree. The beliefs of my ancestors are intriguing to me. The good ideas. The bad ideas. How they lived and what traces are left in the family I knew growing up. What vestiges of these ideas are still running through the laws and minds of our country creating the context of our current version of America.

Song Chapter One

Old Bones Odyssey – EP

Liner Notes

Song Chapter Two

The Brand New Universe – EP

Liner Notes

Where does a story begin? Like an endless matryoshka doll. Wherever we start we want to know what came before.

Song Chapter Three

Seekers Songs Trilogy- EP

Liner Notes

It’s the toss of a coin. How your life plays out. Adventure, ruin, comfort, hunger. Wild seas, deep deserts, cruel cities, new worlds.

These seekers’ songs are stories of leaving home, being on the run, longing for a new home, a safe place where you can rest your weary soul. And keep your children safe.

Song Chapter Four

Family in the Carolinas - EP

Liner Notes

Volume Two

A Manhattan Fairy Tale

Album Liner Notes

Song Chapter Five

The Russian Tea Room - EP

Liner Notes

Song Chapter Six

A Manhattan Fairy Tale - EP

Liner Notes

Song Chapter Seven

The Road - EP

Liner Notes

Song Chapter Eight

Hart Island - EP

Liner Notes

Song Chapter Nine

PENTIMENTO - EP

Liner Notes

Album Bonus Track

Our Story Continues

No Woman Died Today