national Arts Festival Banner

Saturday, October 8, 2016


(Miriam Erasmus)

Miriam (Backhouse-Erasmus), or Mim as she is affectionately known, is South Africa's "Queen of Folk", and the UK's "First Lady of Folk". From being part of the '60s Folk Revival to the present day, her crystal clear voice and imaginative guitar accompaniments have kept her at the top of the folk world.

Rhumbelow Theatre will host her show MIRIAM - My Life, My Song at the Durban venue and again in Pietermaritzburg.

MIRIAM - My Life, My Song is a musical memoir taking audiences through the folk revival, songs from the British Isles and her own beautiful songs about South Africa. Along the way Erasmus has enriched the lives of everyone she sings to - from toddlers to recycled teenagers.

During a lifetime of entertaining everyone from toddlers to 'tenderyears', she has honed her talents to a fine art. Her beautifully trained bel canto singing, finely-tuned guitar playing and easy-going 'banter' make her performances a joy to listen to.

Her repertoire covers lullabies to light opera, but her forte is singing folk songs, when her ability to fit her voice, and guitar playing, to the mood of the song shines through. She has put together a collection of some of her favourite live recordings over the years on Best Loved Folk Songs.

As a teenager in the '60s she was influenced by the British Folk Tradition and the new songwriters emerging worldwide. Bob Dylan, Ralph McTell, John Martyn and Leonard Cohen to mention a few. These composers are reflected on her album African Rose.

The American folk singer Joan Baez was breaking new ground in the USA, while those like Miriam Backhouse (winning the award for Best Newcomer ) and Maddy Prior from Steeleye Span were doing the same in the UK. Both Erasmus and Prior were in the Melody Maker top female folk singers poll, and recently did a show stopping duet together at Cleckheaton Folk Festival.

Erasmus has always been at the forefront of new musical trends – sometimes years ahead of her time with musical arrangements by David Etheridge as shown on Mother Earth Music's Gypsy without a Road in 1977 and Miriam and David's own production Now and Then of 2009. Her songs, on the album Over Africa, about the pastoral beauty, history and troubles of her adopted land, South Africa have become classics, listened to worldwide.

Miriam was named “The First Lady of Folk” by the folk club organisers of the '70s (and the Mayor of Cambridge ) when she became one of the pioneer touring female professional folk singers. She has lived up to that – and more. In SA, the press gave her the name, and she is booked as “Queen of Folk”.

There will be two performances of MIRIAM - My Life, My Song tomorrow (October 9) at 14h00 and 18h30 at Rhumbelow Theatre in Umbilo, Durban.

There will be a further two performances in Pietermaritzburg at the Allan Wilson Shellhole on October 23 at 14h00 and 18h30. (Venue opens 90 minutes before show for picnic dinner)

Tickets R140 (R120 pensioners & block bookings of 8 or more. Bring picnic baskets. Limited secure parking available and a bar is available (no alcohol may be brought on to the premises). Booking is essential at Computicket or contact Roland on 082 499 8636 or email or