70th Birthday tour of Europe.
One of our most enduring stars.
In 1973, Miriam took a leap of faith into the unknown world of the Professional Female Folk Singer, touring the UK and Europe. Within 4 years, she had become established as
THE FIRST LADY OF FOLK – ( a name originally given to her by Pete Twitchett, and The Mayor of Cambridge ) - working every night in a folk club or festival, she bravely paved the way for others to follow in her footsteps. The show “Fortuna” at the 1975 Edinburgh Festival Fringe introduced her to Scottish audiences, and we have loved her ever since.
Miriam’s 40 year career as a singer spans the time from the revivalists of the ‘60s to the present day. She learned folk songs from her Grandmother, and her repertoire now reflects her lifes' journey since then.
“Singing Together” a radio programme of the‘50s to teach UK children their traditional songs had a great effect on her life. Later, she researched songs in the Cecil Sharp library in London and learnt from other traditional singers. Miriam joined Bradford University Folk Club in the late '60s, then moved to Halifax, and helped start Brighouse FC. Her early days as a young professional folk singer in Yorkshire earned her the proud title “Our Mim”. Named “Most promising young singer of 1974” by Fred Woods, she has fulfilled that promise.
Her live appearances are a joy. Audiences learn and sing her folk songs, with harmonies, quite unaware of themselves, and love it. This is the aural / oral tradition of singing and passing on the songs, at it’s best.
Miriam has lived and performed in South Africa since 1977, as well as enjoying an annual tour of the UK, hence she is affectionately known as the “African Rose”. Always eager to promote local talent, she also helped found Durban FC in 1986. Her songs “The Beautiful Pass at Van Reenen”, “Over Africa” and “Sittin’ Here Sittin’”, have become the most requested favourites, and her latest “I Will Never Think Like You” is gaining ground as a social comment folk song. “Over Africa” (1994) and “So Africa” (2017) are her albums about the pastoral beauty and political landscape of South Africa.
Throughout her long, successful career, Miriam has worked in most genres of music, from musicals to children’s theatre. However, it is in the singing and performing of traditional songs with her rich, pure voice and finger style guitar playing that she finds a musical ”home”.
In 1977, Mother Earth Music released Miriam Backhouse’s album “Gypsy Without A Road”. This has become a classic and is much prized in the original vinyl. Now available on CD, it is mentioned in Rob Young’s Electric Eden as one of the visionary albums of the folk revival.
“Now and Then”, the 2009 album by Mim and David Etheridge (who did most of the instrumental arrangements on ‘Gypsy’) is a progressive and original homage to the pioneers of folk song, like Vaughan Williams and Percy Grainger.
2018 marks Miriam's 70th birthday and she is looking forward to celebrating in style with beautiful folk songs and amazing audiences.
This site began on Monday 15 June 2015 and continues to develop. Bookmark it now.
No longer a nominee for Club of the Year 2017!
Edinburgh Folk Club is ... CLUB OF THE YEAR 2017 by popular vote (Sat 2 Dec 2017).
SEASON #44 2017-2018
ADVANCE TICKET ORDERS
Wed 5 AGM Royal Oak, Infirmary Street
... then at Pleasance Cabaret Bar for
Wed 12 Ninebarrow - boxo in preparation
Wed 19 The Daddy Naggins - boxo in preparation
Wed 26 Colum Sands - boxo in preparation
Wed 3 Ransvik - boxo in preparation
Wed 10 Blueflint - boxo in preparation
Wed 17 Mike Wilson and Damien Barber - boxo in preparation
Wed 24 Quicksilver - boxo in preparation
Wed 31 Jenny Sturgeon Trio - boxo in preparation
EFC has asked the performers who you will often see doing the opening spots on club nights, to join the list of resident performers which we're just beginning to compile. So far we have - with many thanks - and in alphabetical order ...
Alan and Carole Prior
Allan and Rosemary McMillan