Don Brian has been exploring his linked passions for history and folklore for over 40 years. He sings traditional folksongs, sea songs and shanties which tell the maritime history of the Pacific. In Sydney he sings traditional, collected songs with Margaret Walters as The Southern Cross Trawlers a group which presents both maritime and traditional Australian collected material.
Don also sings with the traditional shanty group, The Roaring Forties which has a monthly gig aboard the square-rigged bark, the James Craig. Don is well known as a strong performer in the unaccompanied style of traditional Australian singers and also plays tin whistle.
Since living on Norfolk Island from 2009 – 2013, Don has developed a particular interest in collecting the folklore, stories, songs and poems of the Islanders from the convict settlers, Bounty descendants and visiting whalers to the present day. Don has been researching the influence of the whaling industry and the American ship-based whalers on Norfolk’s heritage and has collected some of the less well known stories they have found during their research. During trips to England and library research, he has recently located four previously unknown songs written by convicts during their incarceration on Norfolk Island. He also has a long-standing interest in the political origin of Banjo Patterson’s Waltzing Matilda.
Whilst in England in January 2016, Don performed at a number of Folk Clubs including Portsmouth, Southsea, Devizes, Bradford on Avon and Birmingham. He has been invited to lead a tour entitled Norfolk Island’s Folk History to Norfolk Island in August 2016 where he will be presenting the recently discovered convict songs for the first time.
A consummate singer of good songs of all pedigrees and persuasions, Margaret Walters has been involved in the Australian folk scene for nearly forty years, as a soloist or with the Roaring Forties, Southern Cross Trawlers and others. She sails solo with a selection of strong interesting songs with lots of choruses, harmony and humour – many from a woman’s perspective; there is always generous Australian content in Margaret’s presentations and she prefers an unaccompanied, traditional singing style which is exemplified on her latest CD, “Steadfast”, produced in 2014.
Rock solid, Margaret’s voice is right where it needs to be, whether delivering a clarion call for social justice, a tender lullaby, a lively or poignant folk tale, an uplifting hymn to Mother Earth, a rousing work song from the yardarm, or an up-yours from a feisty lass. Margaret’s strong and inventive harmonies give an edgy quality in formal performances and sessions. Her choice of material favours the folk tradition and the work of some select contemporary writers.
For several years (1993-2003) Margaret worked in a duo Walters and Warner with songwriter, John Warner, and that collaboration produced many fine albums: “Pithead in the Fern”, “Who Was Here?”, “Yarri of Wiradjuri”. John’s presence is also evident on Margaret’s 2003 solo album “Power in a Song”. Margaret appears on all the albums of the Roaring Forties: “Hazard, Hardship and Damned Little Pay”, “Shore Leave”, “Life of Brine” and “We Made the Steel”.