Aussie poet Henry inspires folk singers at new season launch

Doug Jenner and Martyn Wyndham Read

Doug Jenner and Martyn Wyndham Read - Credit: Archant

The story of the Australian poet Henry Lawson will be told when Folk at the Maltings starts its new season next Friday, October 2.

Leading folk singer Martyn Wyndham Read will be returning to the Maltings Arts Theatre in St Albans to join Kimpton-based Australian singer Doug Jenner, duet concertina and accordion player Iris Bishop, actor Roland Taylor and musician Jon Wigg to tell the story of Henry and perform settings of his poems.

Henry Lawson was born in 1867 in the New South Wales gold fields to poet, publisher and feminist Louisa Lawson. He became one of the best-known Australian writers of his era and lived a colourful life.

He spent two years in England to make his work known in this country and from June to October 1900, he lived in a house in Cowper Road, Harpenden.

Martyn Wyndham Read emigrated to Australia in his late teens. Working on a sheep station, he heard the old songs sung by station hands.

He then moved to Melbourne and became part of the Australian folk scene of the 1960s. After returning to England, Martyn became well known on the English scene for his performance of Australian songs, including his settings of Henry Lawson’s poems, and was a popular guest at the St Albans Folk Club in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Singer and fiddle player Doug Jenner performed in Australia with the late Chris Kempster, an authority on the works of Henry Lawson. Now settled locally in Kimpton, he plays in the Australian Bush Band Buckley’s Chance and runs a fortnightly music session in Kimpton.

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Iris Bishop is a highly regarded player of the duet concertina who also plays the piano accordion. She performs regularly as a duo with Martyn Wyndham Read and is known internationally as a textile designer.

Jon Wigg is a fiddler whose six piece band Taylor Maid and the smaller Super Strings Trio specialise in ‘vintage’ music from the 1920s onwards and include a mix of styles from swing, gypsy jazz and latin to bluegrass and lively fiddle tunes.

Actor and musician Roland Taylor is half of the comedy duo Classical Mayhem.

The concert begins at 8pm and tickets are £10 with students £8, Under-16s £6, available on the door or in advance at, by phone on 0333 666 3366 or in person at St Albans Tourist & Information Centre in Market Place on 01727 864511.