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Harper Ben Bio

Benjamin Chase "Ben" Harper (born October 28, 1969) is an American singer-songwriter musician and two-time Grammy Award winner, known for his guitar-playing skills, vocals, live performances and activism.

Harper was born in Claremont, in California's Inland Empire. His father, Leonard, was of African-American and Cherokee ancestry, and his mother, Ellen Chase-Verdries, is Jewish. His maternal great-grandmother immigrated from Lithuania. His parents divorced when he was five, and he grew up with his mother's family. Harper has two brothers, Joel and Peter.

Harper began playing guitar as a child. His maternal grandparents' music store The Folk Music Center and Museum laid a foundation of folk and blues for the artist, complemented by regular patrons Leonard Cohen, Taj Mahal and David Lindley and quotes of William Shakespeare and Robert Frost made often by his grandfather. During the '80s, in his teen years, Harper began to play the slide guitar, mimicking the style of Robert Johnson. Next, Harper refined his style, taking up the Weissenborn. Harper broke out of the Inland Empire after being offered an invitation by Taj Mahal to tour with the artist. The 20 year-old Harper and the blues legend then recorded Follow the Drinking Ghour(d) and toured Hawaii.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Harper