Miriam’s roots go back to the UK Folk Scene of the ’70s when she 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. We need to support our artists so that they can show that South Africa has the best unique stories to tell through the art of the Minstrel.
She originally retired from the UK Folk Scene in 1977, to have a family, and now they have flown the nest, the family is encouraging her to get back ‘out there’.
‘Gypsy without a road’ (incidentally, now worth over 320 pounds on the original vinyl !!) with a couple of bonus ‘live’ tracks was re-released on Saffron Summerfield’s ‘Mother Earth’ label, has sold out and another release is due soon.
The CD reissue of the brilliant album ‘Gypsy Without a Road’ is still available with two added live recordings. (MUM1203 -£11).
Now re-established as Miriam Backhouse, Professional Folk Singer, in the UK. Folk Club, Arts Centre and Festival appearances there have been a great success and Miriam’s UK 2014 tour was a sell out. She embarks on the 2015 tour this September.
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 T.V. appearances.
For many years, Miriam worked with the late, great Eve Boswell, training young voices and devising concerts for both these students and fellow professionals, notably Durban’s first, memorable ‘ Night of a Hundred Stars ‘.
Gypsy Without a Road (MUM 1203)
Preview songs from this album