Dennis Warner Logo

Dennis Warner Photo

Order DW CD's
Facebook Page YouTube Logo
 Email Dennis Send Dennis an Email

View Archives by Year
2022 - 2021 - 2020 - 2019 - 2018 - 2017 - 2016 - 2015 -
2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 -
- 2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003

Notes from the Road  
by Dennis Warner 2023

L-R Tammy, Alcenia, Dennis



Gene Cotton-Marnie Cotton-Tammy-Dennis Warner-2023L-R Tammy, DW, Marnie and Gene Cotton

December 15, 2023
Clearwater, MN

Ahhhh... another year of concerts in the books. I'm busier than ever and grateful for the opportunities to sing.

Right now, my plan is to take some time this winter and record another album. This would be #12! I love arranging and recording new songs, whether I've written them or friends/colleagues from "the business" penned them, it's all fun and good. I've written about a half dozen songs for this project and have 20 or so written by others that are on my 'someday to record' list. So plenty to choose from when needed.

Last month we visited one of my old haunts in Memphis, Alcenia's. If you love soul food, it doesn't get much better! Alcenia cooks with love. A real giving soul recognizing her gift and doing her part to make our world a better place to live. Look her up if you get to Memphis.

In Nashville we spent quality time with my songwriting partner Julie Rust, her husband Rusty (aka, the Biscuit Man-the subject of my song!) and their daughter Katie. It's probably 30 years that I've been staying with them when I'm in Music City. They are a gift.

We also stayed with Gene and Marnie Cotton in Franklin, TN. I've known Gene for close to 40 years now! First meeting him when I was in college, then as a performer when I graduated and took to the road, sometimes staying with them on their Leiper's Fork farm. Gene has been and continues to be an important mentor throughout my career. An incredible singer/songwriter/humanitarian. Marnie is a fellow Minnesotan, a musician and now a retired teacher. She's a hero to so many of us who recognize the importance of teachers.

Here's a link to one of the Gene Cotton songs I've recorded called, "Michael". Watch on YouTube.

Beads on One String Around the World YouTube

"Beads on One String Around the World" video produced by
Dennis Warner, Tammy Anhalt-Warner and Mike Camoin.



Mike Camoin with Dennis Warner and Tammy 2023 in ChicagoProducer Mike Camoin of Videos for Change (NY) with DW and Tammy



Lorraine Motelx415. Photo by Dennis Warner
Photo by Dennis Warner. The Lorraine Motel in Memphis. The wreath marks the spot where MLK stood when he was assassinated in 1968.

November 12, 2023
Franklin, TN

Have you seen the new "Beads on One String Around the World" Video? We have received loads of positive notes/comments about this one. Tammy and I, along with Mike Camoin from Videos for Change in New York starting putting this together last summer. When I see the footage from around the world with people enjoying Beads on One String, it really makes me shake my head with awe. This little song that I wrote in 2002 driving home after a concert in Champagne, Illinois has taken on legs of it's own. Thank you everyone for embracing and supporting this belief that we are all in this together. We are all Beads on One String.

We are now in the Ninth Printing of the book that was released in 2004. Yes, 20 years ago! I can't believe it. We'll be celebrating this milestone throughout 2024.

Last week in Memphis, we stopped at the Lorraine Motel. Sadly, it's famous for being the place Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. It's an emotional place to be when you realize what was lost that day outside room 306 on that balcony just a few steps away from you. I'm grateful I got to meet and have a conversation with Jesse Jackson a few months ago in Chicago. Jesse was also on that balcony and played a big role in the civil rights movement. I will always honor the peace makers and those who stand up and speak out for those who are unable to do so.

Nelson and Winnie Mandela also comes to mind. Our concert tour to South Africa earlier this year enlightened me to the courageous and generous spirit they both possessed.

Jesse Jackson-MLK-Lorraine Motel photox425
Jesse Jackson and Martin Luther King, Jr. On the balcony ...


Stearns History Center -2023-DENNIS-WARNER-photo


In concert at the Stearns History Museum in Minnesota.
This is my second time playing here and I love it, though at my age,
it's kind of awkward being featured at a "history museum"!


Wednesday October 18, 2023
Madison, WI

I'm on my way to FARM.

I know you probably think of me as this tough, rough and tumble guy out on his combine in the dust and dirt, bringing in the soy beans and corn. And I hate to spoil that image, but it's just not me.

Musicians have a lot in common with farmers, though. We're entrepreneurs. We put in long hours until the work is done. There's no such thing as paid vacation or health care benefits. We go through a lot of vehicles. We both have our "seasons", when the money comes in and when the money goes out. Some years are better than others. Rain will keep us inside. And I could go on and on about that.

But musicians are more tender. We baby our hands and fingers for obvious reasons. Our bodies ache not from the hard, strenuous work, but from spending most of our days either driving or sitting at a computer doing the "music business". We lift heavy equipment, but nothing like I've seen on a real farm. Look at a farmers hands sometime. Often there's at least one fingernail that's black from being hammered on or pinched by something ugly. Guitar players use manicure sets and nail files to keep our "finger picks" in top shape. I've never seen a farmer use a nail file or fuss about a torn nail, have you?

So I'm on my way to FARM. An acronym for Folk Alliance Region Midwest. It's our annual music conference featuring songwriter-acoustic music venues from the midwest and musicians from all over the country and beyond wanting to play at those venues. It's like a family reunion without the pot luck. It's the way musicians catch up on each others lives. We also play a lot of music!


Denny Smith from the Optimist Club presents the
2023 Friend of Youth Award
to Dennis Warner

September 16, 2023
Evansville, MN

Tonight we had a wonderful, full house at the Evansville Arts Center. It's a sweet venue run by Karen Howell. Evansville is a small town but they support the arts. We are already talking about a return date.

In August I was notified that I was the recipient of the "Friend of Youth Award" by the St. Cloud Morning Optimist Club in Minnesota. While the recognition is appreciated, they also donated $100 in my name to a charity of my choice, Feeding Area Children Together (FACT).

Thank you Denny Smith and Don Berger and the great people at the Optimist Club for thinking of me. I am grateful.

The schedule this fall looks full, keeping me traveling up until Thanksgiving. Hope to see many of my friends on the journey. Come say "hello"!

Dennis Warner at the Parliament of the World's Religions

Dan Neale sings with Dennis Warner in Chicago Daryl Boudreaux performs with Dennis Warner in Chicago -2023
Joined by the D's, Dan Neale and Daryl Boudreaux

Dennis Warner & the D's at McCormick Place-Chicago-2023

Dennis Warner & the D's at McCormick Place-Chicago-2023

Dennis Warner & the D's at McCormick Place-Chicago-2023
When I walked backstage after the performance, there was this guy!
Very excited to meet the Rev. Jesse Jackson, a real civil rights hero.
We had a nice conversation. He said he thought my music was great and
I gave him a copy of Beads on One String. When I went to autograph it,
thinking he would name a grandkid or even a great grandkid, he said,
"No, autograph it to me!" So I wrote, "To Jesse...."


August 18, 2023
Chicago, IL

The Parliament of the World's Religions has these "every three-year convenings" somewhere around the world. I was fortunate to be invited to their gathering in Toronto (2018) and again here in Chicago this week.

This is an incredible event. 7,000 plus people from 95 different countries representing 200+ different faiths and spiritual practices, all gathered under one roof. And It's a really big roof here at McCormick Place.

I must say, playing here will certainly be a highlight when I look back on my career. Thank you to Edwina Cowell for creating this opportunity for me.

The theme for this gathering: Defending Freedom and Human Rights. I am honored to be included under this banner. It was really great to debut our new video here, "Beads on One String Around the World". Together with Videos for and their CEO Mike Camoin, Tammy and I spent five months pouring over videos from all around the world that celebrated Beads on One String. If you haven't seen it yet, here's the YouTube link. What a memorable way to kick off the 20th Anniversary of the song and book!

Dennis Warner & the D's at McCormick Place-Chicago-2023
We were joined by the Ukrainian Kids Choir... so much fun and dedication
from these amazing kids. The crowd erupted with applause when
they were introduced!

Dennis Warner & the D's at McCormick Place-Chicago-2023
On the left is Titan. He's quite a percussionist and maybe 12 years old?
We underutilized his talents but he kept the perfect beat hitting the
cowbell on 2 & 4! I'm sorry I don't know the gal on the right. She was
great helping to get everyone on stage at the right time for us.

Dennis Warner & the D's at McCormick Place-Chicago-2023
Celebrating our connectedness and the 20th Anniversary of my song and book,
Beads on One String, a random group from around the world holds up the
string of beads that was created during the week long event.

Dennis Warner & the D's at McCormick Place-Chicago-2023
Joined by the Ukrainian Kids Choir, my new friends Ceinwen King-Smith and
Sanchita Harlalka

Daryl Boudreaux-DanNeale-DennisWarner

August 10, 2023

We are excited to be performing for the Parliament of the World's Religions next week at their every three year convening. This year it's in our backyard of Chicago at the McCormick Place-Lakeside Center!

(Ok, backyard is a relative term. The convening is in the U.S. instead of somewhere else in the world as they move around....)

Here's a great listen on NPR about the Parliament. I played for them in 2018 in Toronto and it was amazing. This year they are expecting over 7,000 people from more than 200 different faiths and 80 different countries, all in a conversation of how to peacefully co-exist in this diverse world.

Dennis Warner(vocals/guitar)
Dan Neale (guitar/vocals)
Daryl Boudreaux (percussion/vocals)


Dennis Warner in concert-Orange City IA-2023

Dennis & the D's in Orange City, Iowa
(L-R) Dan Neale, DW, DK Kennedy


Dennis Warner @ Brookings Arts Festival-2023

Dennis & the D's on the Main Stage at the
Brookings Arts Festival
Brookings, SD

(L-R) Dan Neale, Pat Curto, Dennis Warner, Daryl Boudreaux




Dennis Warner @Summertime By George-St. Cloud

Dennis & the D's @ Summertime by George
(L-R) Dan Neale, Dennis Warner and DK Kennedy

On tour in
Boulder, Colorado
June 2023

Dennis Warner on tour in Boulder, Colorado-2023


July 19, 2023
Orange City, IA

I've been on tour since early June with a great mix of solo, duo and band concerts throughout the midwest. Last night the D's joined me in Orange City, Iowa for a wonderful night. I played here last year and loved it, too. The Orange City Arts Council is a well-run organization and has developed a strong concert series for their community. I have a couple of fans here that really love my song Noses and Nickels. So much so that they've been known to drive around town with the windows down, blaring the song for all to hear! And when we checked into the hotel after the show tonight, on the counter was a zip-lock bag of nickels waiting for me!

I love this town!

Nickels in the Bag

July 12, 2023
St. Cloud, MN

I grew up in central Minnesota, and like a lot of teenagers, I couldn't wait to escape my hometown. Which I did, but then settled back into the area when my Dad received the cancer diagnosis. Over the years, I've played about every conceivable listening environment around St. Cloud.

It was a pleasure to play Summertime By George tonight with "the D's". My alma mater, Tech High School, sits across the street from the stage, adjacent to Lake George, and close to downtown. A beautiful setting that attracts thousands to the concerts. Such joy to be so well received in my hometown.


Dennis Warner @Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College-2023

Dennis Warner with Dan Neale at the
Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College amphitheater


Dennis Warner-Paul Sutherland

Dennis Warner with
(L-R) Dan Neale, Paul Sutherland, Tammy Anhalt-Warner


Dennis Warner & Team Return from South Africa tour

After 20 hours in the plane
Our last photo at the Minneapolis Airport. 
All bags arrived with us!

(L-R) Dan Neale, Tammy Anhalt-Warner, Pat Curto,
Pam Krueger and Dennis Warner


Dennis Warner South Africa Tour Poster

Tour Posters - What a great trip!

March 18, 2023
38,000 feet above where the North Atlantic and the South Atlantic Oceans meet, between South America and Africa!

When all the planning started for this concert tour, we wanted to experience the real South Africa, engaging with communities and getting a better understanding of the diverse cultures in the vast country. Our South African team included the STEPi Foundation, Mandelwa Creatives and Dreamcatcher South Africa. They took care of scheduling all of our needs like transportation, lodging, concert bookings and fun things to do on our days off. They were all terrific to work with.

The reason we are here is Beads on One String, the song and children's book I wrote years ago. Paul Sutherland, the CEO of the STEPi Foundation saw me perform in Toronto in 2018. During COVID, he called me up with this crazy idea of distributing 20,000 copies of Beads on One String, at his expense, to schools and community's, mostly in South Africa. STEPi accomplished that goal and to no ones surprise, Beads on One String was very well received by the locals, just as it is in the U.S. schools. In 2022, we began trying to figure out how to arrange a concert tour in this beautiful country.

I organized a team at home to make this journey with me, which included my bandmates Danny Neale (guitar/vocals), Pat Curto (percussion/vocals), my wife Tammy and Pat's wife Pam. Tammy and Pam would be the videographers, documenting this concert tour as best they could while still experiencing the culture for themselves.

Tammy was our team leader in regular zoom meeting communications with STEPi, Mandelwa Creatives and Dreamcatcher in the months leading up to our departure from Minnesota in February.

This trip has been like no other I have been on. The diversity of cultures, languages and even the wildlife makes South Africa stand apart from other places I've been. For example, there are eleven official languages in South Africa! This is one reason Beads on One String is having an impact here. Schools are trying to teach everyone English, so they can all communicate with each other. Educators feel that music is a great way to learn a new language, especially a song that's uptempo, fun and carries the right message.

Another reason, and equally if not more important than helping the kids with their English skills, is to address bullying issues. With all the diversity in South Africa, just like in the U.S., there are things going on that need to be dealt with and corrected. We saw that first hand in the South African schools where I involved myself in a positive way a few different times. And that's the way to change the narrative, to just jump in and become involved. It's not okay to bully or to be mean to someone just because they look or talk differently than we do. Don't repeat jokes or stories that belittle or make fun of an individual or their culture. Do pay attention and do act (react?) appropriately if we want to change a behavior.

Beads is a unifying song about our connectedness with each other like beautiful beads on a necklace. This whole adventure would not have happened had I not listened to the "muse" the day I wrote the song driving home from a concert in Champaign, Illinois so many years ago.

And so many intersections have been crossed in this life-long career, where taking a different road would've led to a different conclusion.

I am grateful. I am truly blessed. And I can't wait to go back and continue what we started the last few weeks, bringing love, a message of acceptance and all the positive energy we could muster up to the great people of South Africa.

Dennis Warner + Pat Curto + Dan Neale on the beach NW of Cape Town
L-R Dan Neale - Dennis Warner - Pat Curto on the beach.


Dennis Warner & penguins in South Africa 2023
The penguins didn't pay much attention to us. We were grateful to
see them! Hundreds of them! They are called "Jackass Penguins" because of the noise they apparently make while mating (think donkey sounds...)
South of Cape Town.


Dennis Warner with Penguins-Cape Town 2023

Penguins on the beach


Dennis Warner at Robbyn Island-Nelson Mandela jail cell for 18 years
Anti-apartheid protester and human rights advocate Nelson Mandela
spent 18 years in this cell on Robbyn Island, Cape Town, South Africa.


1976 in front of Regina Mundi Catholic Church in Johannesburg. The police would chase the apartheid protesters into the church and shoot them. The bullet holes still remain.

Dennis Warner with Danny Dube outside Regina Mundi Catholic Church 2023
With Danny Dube outside Regina Mundi Catholic Church.

March 17, 2023
Cape Town, South Africa

We are at the airport, waiting on our 9:30pm flight home.

Yesterday, we took a boat ride out to Robbyn Island, about 7 kilometers (4+ miles) from Cape Town. This is where Nelson Mandela and many other human rights activists were sentenced for their opposition to apartheid. Apartheid, an Afrikaans word for "apartness", was the law from 1948-1994 created by the Nationalist Party that allowed for legally enforcing racial separation of blacks, mixed race and whites.

Mandela spent 18 years at Robbyn Island before being transferred to other prisons, eventually being released in 1990. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, then became the first President of new democratic South Africa in 1994. He worked hard at racial reconciliation after apartheid came to an end with his election. Mr. Mandela is a hero wherever we traveled in South Africa.

In Johannesburg earlier this month, I stood in the exact place where Mandela stood delivering a speech after being released. Danny Dube was there that day and he gave us an in depth tour and a first hand narrative of the apartheid protests. The historic church still has visible bullet holes inside from police chasing and shooting at apartheid protesters who sought shelter inside the church. Regina Mundi is the largest Catholic Church in South Africa and is indeed sacred ground here.

Visiting Robbyn Island prison brought us a good amount of dark energy yesterday, it was wonderful to counter that today with beach time and penguins! And it was baby season, so we were close up with the family. Lots of penguins who really didn't even acknowledge our existence. They just go about their lives while we walk next to them. It would've been fun to take out the guitar and see if music would get a reaction, but that wasn't possible.

This was about 60 minutes from Cape Town. Our driver knew right where to go to see penguins. Afterward, it was a gorgeous drive back along the coast. Being it was rush hour, the main route into Cape Town was clogged up so our driver apologized and took us on a quicker drive through Khayelitsha Township. At 77 square miles, our driver said it's the largest and poorest township in South Africa. Previously we were told Soweto (where we visited on our first day) had that "honor", but it doesn't really matter, right? You can't help feeling sadness looking at their living conditions. Most have no running water.

We made it to the airport with no issues. No one in our group was looking forward to the 16 hour flight to Atlanta, followed by another 3+ hours to Minneapolis. We had a leisurely supper and made our way to the gate to wait..

Dennis Warner at Regina Mundi Catholic Church-Soweto-SouthAfrica-2023
Regina Mundi Catholic Church on our visit. It's seen the best and
the worst of people in it's lifetime.

Standing inside Regina Mundi, in the very spot where Nelson Mandela spoke
before being elected President of South Africa in 1994. Bishop
Desmond Tutu
also spoke from this platform several times during the anti-apartheid protests.
And in 2011, Michelle Obama filled the church for what Danny Dube descibed
as a powerful, inspirational message.


Dennis Warner in Darling-SouthAfrica-2023


Dennis Warner and Team northwest of Capetown-SouthAfrica-2023
L-R Pam Krueger, Pat Curto, Dennis Warner,
Tammy Anhalt-Warner and Dan Neale

March 15, 2023
Cape Town, South Africa

Today was our last show on the tour. I'm feeling sad about that. Usually after a concert tour of this length, I'm ready to head home and sleep for a couple of days. I don't feel that here. These shows have been energizing. The response to my music fills me with gratitude. It doesn't matter if I'm singing for adults or the kids, I feel their love and want to stay here, at least for a while, but that's not possible.

We took a photo with the pre-school class in Darling, South Africa. It was over 100 degrees F outside. Maybe 115 inside? Whew! I'm not bragging when I say I was really hot that day!   :)

Tonight we said goodbye to Elmordine (Board of Directors of DreamCatchers), Anthea (CEO and founder of Dreamcatchers) and our driver the last couple of weeks, Ineka. Really incredible, sweet and dedicated human beings. We will miss them.

For the next couple of days we will have a new driver keeping track of us. Please pray for him!

dennis warner performs in Nuy, South Africa 2023

The kids have their Beads on One String books ready!

Dennis Warner sings in Nuy, South Africa-2023

They love to dance in Nuy!


Dennis Warner in Robertson South AfricaAlmost ready to start in Robertson, South Africa

Mama Esme invited us to her home in Stellenbosch
for a traditional South African homemade meal. One of my favorite
foods in South Africa is Chakalaka, a spicy vegetable dish. I was happily surprised that Mama Esme made this for us. Hers was outstanding!

March 14, 2023
Nuy, South Africa

It's Tuesday today, I think? The days are blending together as we've been on the road a while now. Only a few of us are awake in the van as we are heading to Cape Town for the night. It's me, our driver Ineka and one of the board members from DreamCatcher, Elmordine. The others are all snoozing away! We are approaching the Huguenot Tunnel on highway N1. Try google maps to see where we are!

This past weekend we performed for a group of at risk teenage girls in a smaller community. They were a wonderful, joyful bunch. Then we had a day and a half of R&R in the picturesque town of Montegu. Our hosts provided a tour of the countryside in a 1956 Cadillac. We learned a lot of the history of the region.

Yesterday we had fun in Robertson where we set up for our concert on their soccer field! The weather is definitely warming up with temps into the 80's F. Once again, it was all smiles with these great kids. They love to sing!

Today we visited the Nuystasie Primary School. These kids didn't speak a lot of English, but they are learning, and it didn't stop them from singing along. According to the leaders, this is a very poor school without much opportunity for the kids beyond the basics. The teachers are dedicated, as teachers are! There are about 85 kids here and the amazing thing is that even the youngest ones have amazing rhythm in clapping along. We've found this to be true at every show in South Africa.

We are now about 99 kilometers (62 miles) from our destination.

Dennis Warner with Mama Esme-Stellenbosch-SouthAfrica

Dennis Warner concert Herbersdal, South AfricaHerbertsdale, South Africa

Dennis Warner with new friend Kelly
Dennis with new friend Kelly


Dennis Warner at Melkhoutfontein,  Stilbaii, South Africa
The kids read along to Beads on One String as I tell the story of how the song and book came together. In many cases, this is the first book they've owned.


Dennis Warner in Melkhoutfontein, Stilbaii, South Africa
In the background, the houses where almost all of these kids live.

Dennis Warner in Stilbaii South Africa after concertClass photo after the concert in Stilbaii, South Africa


March 11, 2023
Montegu, South Africa

It's been a rough few days for me. There's been a cold passing through the band and with my turn on the receiving end comes a loss of singing voice. We can't just cancel or reschedule these shows. Planning for this tour has been in the works for a long time.

So I've powered through as best I can. We reworked the songs so on the verses it's more of a spoken word from me, then the guys take over singing and leading the kids through the choruses. Fortunately, while Pat was the first to get the cold, his voice is almost back to normal now. Danny's a strong singer and will hopefully avoid this nasty bug. Nice to have backup!

So we performed a couple of shows in Stilbaii, staying at a B&B for two nights along the coast. We feel the division of wealth as these kids we are singing to come from poverty. We are receiving wonderful, expansive daily meals that would feed their families for the week. This is something that weighs heavily on our minds. We performed on the beach sand dunes for a special group of kids selected by their school administrator, just a few miles from their homes. Some of these kids had never been to the beach. Generally, they have no bicycles or cars in their families. If they do have a car, then expensive gas isn't wasted. It's a different mindset. Needless to say, after the concert it was fun to watch some of them splashing in the ocean!

It was indeed nice to walk the beach along the Indian Ocean. Exercise and fresh air. Also, I've never been in the southern hemisphere, where the night sky is a bit different. And yes, Stephen Stills, I did enjoy seeing "the southern cross for the first time"!

I made a new friend today. "Kelly" (not her real name) told me her story of strength and resilience and it tugged at my heart. Her parents were always fighting and decided to divorce. Kelly is now living with her Grandma and starting in a new school in a different town. Kelly is an English speaker. Her school in a larger town used English as its primary language. Now she's in a more rural community where the kids at school speak Afrikaans, one of the eleven national languages of South Africa. While the other kids are trying to learn English, Kelly is having a hard time making friends and connecting because she doesn't speak Afrikaans. Our conversation changed when she told me she used to play the piano a little bit at her old school and really misses that. Apparently, her new school doesn't have one. Ahhh, music. The UNIVERSAL language!

Dan Neale, the lead guitar player in my group and one of the most generous people I've ever met, tells me he would like to buy Kelly a keyboard. Wow! So Dennis, being the meddler, talks to the principal about this. It turns out, there is a piano at the school in a building Kelly wouldn't have visited in the few months she's been there. He brought me over to check out the old upright and I was pleasantly shocked to find it pretty much in tune. I asked him when he last tuned it and as far as he knows, it's never been tuned. That's amazing. There is no climate control (a/c) in any of these school buildings.

So, starting next semester, the principal will introduce Kelly to this piano and help her get into a music class. Yay!

Us musicians have to hang together! :)

Dennis Warner with Reggie Baker-Melkhoutfontein, Stilbaii, South Africa

With Melkhoutfonein Principal Reggie Baker. I had great conversations with all the school principals about their joys and challenges. Wonderful human beings.

Dennis Warner and the Cheetah in South Africa


Dennis Warner in Oudtshoorn, South Africa

March 7, 2023
Oudtshoorn, South Africa

The morning after the Johannesburg concert we hopped on a flight to Gqeberha (formerly known as Port Elizabeth). We had a couple of days off to explore the beach and the ADDO Elephant National Park. Wow! We saw lots of Elephants! I also have a nice photo of a family of Warthogs, but I can't find it at the moment. Too many photos!

Danny and I enjoyed a visit to a wildlife rehab facility where we were allowed to pet the cheetahs. Oh my! You cat lovers would love the purrring.... sounds like a car. She was enjoying it and very comfortable with me, so the handlers let me scratch behind it's ears and do a little hip rub. What animals don't love those two things!

Then today we sang in Oudtshoorn, west of Gqeberha. With no facility to hold all the kids, they cleared out the parking lot and we made our own concert venue. We all had a great time!

Dennis Warner and the Elephant

Honor Guard greets Dennis Warner in Soweto


Soweto South Africa-2

^Note the guitar player by the teacher in pink. He has one string on
his guitar, the teacher is holding the microphone and he is wearing
a Dennis Warner mask!

Constitution Hill Concert-Dennis Warner

Constitution Hill Concert with Dennis Warner -2023

^ Our concert at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, March 3, 2023.

Dan Neale - guitar/vocals
Pat Curto - percussion/vocals

March 3, 2023
Johannesburg, South Africa

We are stunned at the incredible reception we received today. This morning we arrived at Freedom Park Primary School in Johannesburg. I'm not clear if this school is considered part of Soweto Township.

As our van pulled in, it was obvious this wouldn't be a normal concert. We were met by an honor guard of students, all dressed up and standing at attention. After we greeted the kids and adults, they proceeded to put on a program for us right there in the parking lot. Drum Corp? I guess that's what it would be called. Wonderfully talented kids with a whole routine rehearsed for us. It was an emotional moment for many of us, and a greeting we will never forget. Watch the 3 minute video.

That lasted maybe 15 minutes? Then they invited us to walk a red carpet strewn with rose petals through a covered walkway between buildings. When we arrived at the other side, 1800 kids were standing, applauding and cheering for us. The energy was indescribable. I've never experienced anything like this. Goosebumps and gratitude.

After a period of acknowledgment, for the next couple of hours we sat in the guest of honor chairs while the kids presented to us, by grade level, their interpretations of Beads on One String. One group even sang a rap version of Beads on One String, complete with one kid doing the beatbox vocal. I loved this! We did get a video of this and will make sure to post that as we get organized.

And another group (see photo) had a kid playing a guitar with ONE STRING, singing the song while the teacher held the microphone, all the while wearing a mask with my photo on it!

All of the programs were truly wonderful.

When all the grades were finished presenting to us, I took the stage and talked about Beads on One String and how grateful I was to be with them in Johannesburg. This is also where entertainer Trevor Noah grew up and is also one of the poorest areas in all of South Africa.

When it finally came time for me to sing, we realized they didn't have mic stands to hold the microphones, so we improvised with kids holding the microphones! Their arms grew tired but their spirit remained strong. We concluded with an extended version of "Beads on One String". They insisted on an encore, so we shared "Have a Little Faith in the World". A fitting song to conclude this beautiful experience.

I am forever grateful to the students and staff at Freedom Park, along with Pumeza Macingwane and Adele Kincaid-Smith from the STEPi Foundation for making this happen.

The day wasn't over, though. That evening, after a tour of Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, we performed an inspired concert for adults and families on the site of the former prison that held Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and so many other freedom fighting political prisoners during apartheid. I can't wait to share video from this concert, as well. I appreciated my friend and Grammy Award winner Wouter Kellerman and his wife Thoelsi being in the crowd. We shared a few meals and a lot of laughs with them while we were in South Africa and appreciate their love and support.

At the end of the day, I'm exhausted and exhilarated at the same time.

Dennis Warner- Soweto Concert 2023 South Africa


February 7, 2023
Clearwater, MN

We are just a few weeks away from our flight to Johannesburg. The schedule is coming together nicely thanks to our team in South Africa. First concerts will be at Freedom Park and then Constitution Hill, both in Jo-Burg. Historically significant locations.

Here's a new video from a concert a couple of months ago with the Granite City Folk Society. It was a fun night! Lately, this has been the opening song at my performances.


Beads in Africa

These photos came in from schools in South Africa and Uganda
where they are using Beads on One String in their classrooms.
My heart is full of gratitude! Can't wait to sing for them.

January 14, 2023
Grand Marais, MN

We had a wonderful show at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts tonight. Amazing venue way up here along the north shore of Lake Superior, almost to Canada. It's called the "North Shore" but I've not figured out why as it's on the western side of Lake Superior. The true north shore should be along the Canadian side, right, eh?

We've video recorded quite a few concerts this year and I'm looking forward to putting some of these performances on YouTube this winter. If you haven't already, please subscribe to my YouTube channel so you'll automatically receive an email notification when I post something new there. Here's the link:

I'm excited receive notifications this month that I've been awarded two grants! One is from the Minnesota State Arts Board for bringing my concerts to rural Minnesota. I received a similar grant last year and part of that is what brought us to Grand Marais, where I am tonight with the D's!

The second grant is from the Central Minnesota Arts Board and the McKnight Foundation for equipment that we'll bring on tour to South Africa this spring. Yay!

So a huge THANK YOU to both of these outstanding organizations for supporting my music. It truly takes a village to sustain a folk singer...



Copyright Dennis Warner/Main Trail Productions.  All Rights Reserved.