Busy as Bees

Formed just a year ago, New London, Connecticut’s The BeeKeepers are creating a buzz in the bluesy folk music world.

Sometimes, it takes time for a band to break through—to build an audience or secure the support of a record label, be it an independent or corporate one. These dedicated acts often spend years on the road, sacrificing nearly everything for their art, usually with very little to show for it.

In that context, New London, Connecticut’s The BeeKeepers, a band that formed just a year ago, are on an unusually felicitous run. The bluesy folk band’s songs have been streamed more than 40,000 times online while dominating the playlists of more than 60 internet radio channels. This spring, Rotary Records issued The BeeKeepers’ debut EP, Songs from the Hive, Vol. 1, to critical acclaim. They have songs written for the second volume and plans to record them this winter.

In May, The BeeKeepers received an Akademia Music Award, as their inaugural offering earned a Best Folk EP nod. Plus, the classically-trained trio—singer, guitarist, and merlin and mandolin player Amanda Sullivan along with singer, percussionist, pianist, and accordion and ukulele player Phred Mileski and Sylvie Abate, who plays guitars, bass, and banjo—have also been chosen as representatives for the GINA Foundation, which will use The BeeKeepers’ music as the soundtrack to videos asking for information about missing persons.


“We have experienced a lot of success in short period of time,” Abate says, adding she’s thankful people are responding to The BeeKeepers—especially in New England, where all three women studied their respective crafts. “This whole area just thrives with so much culture and art … musicians to connect with,” Abate explains; The BeeKeepers were all in other bands before finding each other through the Connecticut music scene. “There are towns that are filled with culture and music. People are also progressive here and open, which makes you, as a musician, more open to exploring ideas in your songs. Living here has enhanced my creativity.”

The BeeKeepers’ music boasts beautiful harmonies and engaging melodies. Their songs would resonate with fans of artists like Joan Baez, Ani DiFranco, and Nick Drake. New Englanders will have ample opportunity to catch The BeeKeepers live. On August 18, they’ll play the Victoria Station Café in Putnam, Connecticut, and on September 24, they will take the stage at the Monroe MusicFest in Monroe, Connecticut.


The BeeKeepers’ lyrics often reflect their New England roots. “Sometimes you’ll hear metaphors about the seasons, and I am not sure I would be putting that in a song if I grew up in Los Angeles,” Abate says. “Nature, in general, is something I use a lot in my songs and that’s because of New England and the seasons.”

“The only place I could imagine myself living is in a cabin in the woods of Vermont,” she adds. “I would appreciate the solitude and when I am creating, I tend to like to be alone. I love the dichotomy of this area. You can go kayaking in Vermont in the morning and hear the symphony in Boston that same night. We have the best of both worlds here.”

Want to hear what’s on Abate’s playlist when she’s not listening to BeeKeepers’ music? Check out our Take a Listen Spotify channel. While you’re there, listen to what other musicians we’ve covered have on their playlist.

Sylvie Abate–musician, The BeeKeepers
New London, Connecticut
Top image, The BeeKeepers, courtesy of the BeeKeepers
Janet ReynoldsBusy as Bees

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