A bit about us

 

Biography

Liverpool-born Eileen and London-born Graham have been playing on the folk circuit since the early 70s. They met at Swansea University and helped to run the college folk club there. They moved to London then Gloucestershire where they sang in 4 and 5 part harmony groups as well as touring the professional club and festival scene as a duo. Sheffield became their home in 1981.
In addition to harmony work, their act focuses on Eileen's voice accompanied by Graham's guitar, harmonium, keyboard and English concertina. The act also features Graham’s songwriting - songs like ‘The Minstrel’, ‘The Black Fox’, ‘The Bundling Song’, ‘Kerry is No More’ and ‘We Live We Love’ which have been taken up by other singers and absorbed into the tradition.
They've made several recordings.  Early ones include ‘The Magic Pear Tree’ (Peter Kennedy’s Folktrax), ‘Clear Air of the Day’ (Cottage), ‘To Friend and Foe’ (Dingles) and ‘Hieroglyphics’ (Plant Life) - and have been broadcast frequently on local and national radio. Their first CD ‘Borders of the Ocean’ was released in 1997. A compilation album (Early Birds - from early vinyl recordings) and a re-issue album Bandstand (with the 4-part harmony group Regal Slip) came out in 1999.
In the last few years they have been concentrating on harmony work and teaching at various events at clubs, festivals and universities.  In 2001 they formed the Sheffield Folk Chorale, an 80-strong choir, which performs Graham’s 4-part arrangements of traditional songs and less familiar carols.
Graham & Eileen have two grown-up children (James & Judith).  As well as performing, Graham works at Sheffield Hallam University and Eileen teaches at a local Nursery Infants School.

Repertoire

They have an abiding love of British traditional song, but the act also features Graham’s songs alongside the work of other contemporary songwriters, plus occasional one-offs - a Hoagy Carmichael song or a 14th century French love song - just to spice the pudding.
They can organise workshops on a variety of topics including:
* Two Part Harmony
* Festival Choir: arranging songs for 4 part harmony
* Notation for Novices: an introduction to reading music specifically aimed at singers
* Songwriting
* ‘Flaw spots’ - improving singing and presentation for folk song spots
* From Research To Performance: finding and arranging songs.

 
 
Our Musical Past...
Regal Slip

When Regal Slip first came together in 1976 it was the formation of a group comprising four respected solo performers, each with a strong background of harmony singing - their name derived from a backward glance at the lager they were drinking at the time!
Together with Sue Burgess and Ron Taylor (both ex-Songwainers) they performed regularly together until the 1980s, and attracted an enthusiastic following wherever they appeared.  Two decades later, although still split between Yorkshire and Gloucestershire, the group was relaunched for a short time.  The original, highly prized ‘Bandstand’ recording was re-released on CD, and new material created for live performance.  Some of these new songs will be featured on Graham & Eileen's forthcoming CD.

Bandstand 2000 (CD) - Reviews

“One of the Crown Jewels of the folk revival.  What distinguishes both group and record, apart from the small matter of sounding wonderful, is the genuine quality of the thought and musicianship.  The arrangements are models of imagination balanced with good taste.  They are often modern in every sense, but never smartarse: they wear their learning lightly.  These are four people sure of their material and themselves, and clearly having fun with the perfect way their different voices interweave.”  (Barry Garside Fogden, Folk London, April 2000)
“Put quite simply, it is still one of the best conceived folk harmony records you will hear.  There is a marvellous heady mixture of the serious (Agincourt Carol), the lyrical (The Moon Shines Bright), the Big Ballad (Death of Robin Hood) and the light-hearted (Swim Sam Swim).”  (Trevor Sommers, Stirrings, May 2000)