16 July 2014

Miriam Backhouse-Erasmus


Mim’s roots go back to the UK Folk Scene of the ’70s when “Our Mim” was likened to Joan Baez, and ranked alongside Maddy Prior and other revivalists of the time.

Then, she played a significant role in the folk revival, appearing at most of the Folk Clubs and Festivals of the time, including Edinburgh and Cambridge, with acclaim from all the leading critics of the day. Miriam’s interpretation of traditional and modern folk songs are unique, and her ability to lead a Folk audience into chorus singing, particularly, ‘Keys of Canterbury’ at Cambridge Folk Festival 1976, is the stuff of legends.

Over the years in South Africa, she has entertained for many concerts and festivals, including Grahamstown, Port Elizabeth and Splashy Fen  ‘Over Africa’ features on the 10 years CD – and established herself as a shining light in the entertainment business.

She is unique in South Africa, her songs, like ‘The beautiful pass at Van Reenen’ and ‘Over Africa’ have become part of their music heritage.

Her ‘protest’ songs about the border war ‘I don’t want my child to die’ (Richard Haslop featured this on his ‘Roots to Fruits’ radio show) and ‘Mother’s lament’ have been recognised as some of the best, ranking alongside those from other troubled lands like Ireland, USA etc.

These songs, and the music of South Africa, are becoming world renowned now, and Mim is part of this surge.

She originally retired from the UK Folk Scene in 1977, to have a family, and now they have flown the nest, the family encouraged her to get back ‘out there’, and she is now re-established as Miriam Backhouse-Erasmus, Professional Folk Singer, in the UK.  Folk Club, Arts Centre and Festival appearances there have been a great success and Miriam’s UK 2007 tour was a sell out.

Since marrying John Erasmus, relocating to South Africa, in 1977, and raising a family, she has diversified into the full range of music, playing ‘Anna’ in ‘The King and I’ under the direction of EOH’s Steven Stead, amongst countless other musicals, concerts, Radio and TV appearances.

“A lady of exceptional talent, Her voice is immaculate, impeccable and scintillating.. What a joy to hear every word she sings with perfect diction. ‘Mim has a delightful personality that immediately envelopes her audiences, her enchanting voice and easy-going banter captivates every audience whatever age… from toddlers to serene-agers.

We have often used her various talents for product launches… fashion shows… celebration entertainment and social events. One of the few entertainers that make one’s heart smile.” Sandy Day Promotions sandyday@telkomsa.net

“Together with a professional approach to audiences, Miriam’s haunting voice and tasteful instrumental work never fail to impress”. John Leonard. Smooth Operations. Producer of Radio 2 Mike Harding Show


We are more than pleased to announce that Miriam will be supported on the night by

brian-marieBrian and Marie Phillips

Marie and Brian Phillips are a husband and wife duo who have been favourites at Midlands folk clubs and festivals for many years; featuring Marie on guitar and vocals and Brian on guitar and mandolin.

They perform a wide mix of material including traditional, blues, and contemporary music guaranteed to entertain all tastes and making full use of Marie’s great voice and Brian’s stunning guitar style.

Malc and Gill

malc_gill_900Malc and Gill have more than 80 years experience between them of singing on the folkscene and, although they have only been performing as a duo for about seven years, have been an integral part of the Midlands’ folkscene singing solo and in various other line-ups since the sixties!

Malc Gurnham is an excellent singer, plays quite a variety of instuments (most of them with strings!) and is a highly regarded solo performer. He also can be found running singarounds and acting as an MC at many festivals throughout the country.

He has played in numerous bands as well as being a solist, in both the “popular” and folk music scene.  Currently, in addition to singing with Gill, he is also is part of Glorishears Ceildh Band, and The Men In Black (the only Folk/60s band specially put together for a Folk Festival!).  Latterly, he has also played in The Katherine Fear Band and appeared on recordings by a number of well-know performers, including the late Johnny Collins.

As well as performing, Malc promotes many folk events; he is Festival Director of Bedworth Folk Festival; the Organiser of Bedworth Folk Club, one of the longest running clubs in the country; runs his own small recording studio fat Sam Music; and has presented his own Folk Music show on BBC Local Radio.

Gill Gilsenan started singing at The Corner House Folk Club in the 70s (run at the time by Malc) with her partner, and later to be husband, Bryan Sunderland.  As a duo, they became quite popular around the Midlands folk scene under the collective name of “The Flying Sunderlands” performing close harmony Contemporary songs and traditional songs, particularly those from Bryan’s native North-East of England, and regularly visited Newcastle’s popular Bridge Folk Club. Sadly Bryan died in the 90s and, although frequenting the local folk venues, Gill did very little singing for some years.

She met up with Ace guitarist Dave Bennettt and formed both a musical and personal partnership and, performing as Spirit Measure, became an integral part of the the Coventry Folk Music scene, running clubs and sessions at a multitude of venues around the City.

Over the last few years, Gill has got more involved in Malc’s folk music promotions and now helps look after much of the administration of Bedworth Folk Festival.

As a duo Malc & Gill, not surprisingly with their backgrounds, have a wide diversity of material, both traditionally and contemporary based, and ranging from clever harmony work to humour and even a serious ballad or two, performed either a-capella or with Malc’s pleasantly understated guitar accompaniment.

Much of their material uses their own unique approach to arranging and adaptation of tunes to help emphasise the meaning or sentiment of the lyrics.


maria_barham_2Maria Barham

Maria often refers to herself as ‘the slowest songwriter on the planet!’

As a solo artist, after many years of playing a wide repertoire of covers up and down the country, in bars, pubs, restaurants etc (which she still does), Maria has decided to concentrate more on writing and performing her own songs again. She is just as comfortable playing in a noisy bar as she is a quiet Folk club, where she’ll happily perform her own and Tradional folk songs. She will change her material to suit the location, situation, or event with the odd surprise thrown in, depending on how the evening is going!!

In her previous life on the folk scene, she supported such artists as Martin Simpson and Dick Gaughan.

Maria isn’t a multi-instrumentalist; she just dabbles with various instruments and uses them when needed for recording purposes. That is why, if you see her live and solo, it will be just her and her guitar.

She can also, of course, be found performing with excellent singer/songwriter Carole Palmer.

Maria has 2 Albums available: ‘Like Home’ and ‘Take the Tide’.

Visit http://www.mariabarham.com/ for details.

The evening will start early (7:00pm), as a local school music group is also making arrangements to attend and perform before the club starts.

We will be holding the meeting in the marquee on the lawn, to accommodate our young guests that evening.

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