Questlove arrives at the Oscars on Feb. 9 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

Questlove is searching for his musical roots in Maine.

Ahmir Thompson – better known as Questlove, the founder of the hip-hop group The Roots and the drummer for the “Tonight Show” band – posted a story to social media over the weekend saying he recently discovered that a woman in Portland had bought him his first turntable and records in May 1976 while he was accompanying his parents, who made their living playing in bands and traveling around the country. While they were gigging at the Portlander Hotel on Congress Street, Ahmir, then just 5, befriended a woman named Ellie.

“Being the irresistible cat that I was, I talked an older woman named Ellie into buying me a stereo and a record collection,” Questlove posted on Facebook. “I truly didn’t think she was coming back the next day with my request. She asked me what did I like and I said ‘records’ she asked ‘what type of records?’ ”

He named “Bad Blood” by Neil Sedaka – “(hey, you adapted to what was on the radio)” – “Dance With Me” by Rufus, and the Jackson 5.

She wrote his requests on a napkin. Much to his surprise, she returned the next night with a record player and records in hand. His parents were upset that Ahmir had befriended a stranger, but he says his new friend Ellie “pleaded on my behalf ‘please don’t have him get in trouble on my behalf!! He’s so cute, of course I wanted to start his record collection!!!’ “

He posted a photo of the note from that night, dated May 25, 1976, to Facebook and asked for help finding Ellie. The post had been shared nearly 700 times by Monday night.

“But on the off chance someone in Portland Maine knows of a kind woman who in 1976 randomly purchased a turntable & 3 records for this lil black kid w an afro the size of Texas named Ellie…. I’d like to know.”

Born in Philadelphia, Questlove has won a Grammy with The Roots and has worked with artists across pop music as a producer and drummer. He was one of the producers of the Broadway cast album for “Hamilton” and has collaborated with John Legend, Erykah Badu, Elvis Costello and others. He has also acted in TV shows and movies, taught college classes, written books, and hosted a radio show.

His publicist did not immediately respond to an interview request Monday.


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