Welcome

The Roaring Forties

The present line-up of the Roaring Forties includes (L-R): Chris Maltby, Tom Hanson, Margaret Walters, Don Brian, Robin Connaughton and John Warner (not pictured).

Formed in 1988, the Roaring Forties have almost 30 years of robust singing under their belts.

Powerful individual singers and 4-6 strong – the group has a formidable repertoire of traditional and trad-style contemporary songs. They have an lengthy list of themes: sea shanties, whaling songs, forebitters, work songs, mining songs, union songs, bush songs, songs of Australian history, protest songs, humorous songs, god-bothering songs, drinking songs – you name it!

Their most recent CD We Made the Steel tells of the working life in the Australian steel industry in the last third of the 20th century.

The Forties are always reinventing themselves, but some things remain constant – the enjoyment they get from singing harmonies and encouraging audience participation.

[They] sing songs of maritime and mayhem, maidens fair and sporty
Old hymns and worksongs and the like, [they] are the Roaring Forties!

More information about Roaring Forties recordings and presentations here.

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USA tour – June 2017 – New England

The Roaring Forties are touring the North East of the USA during June 2017. The details of our activities are on our gigs page.

2017 National Folk Festival highlights

2017 National Folk Festival

Although the Forties weren’t booked at the 2107 National, the Southern Cross Trawlers (Margaret, Don and Chris) were on the programme – opening the festival with a song session in the Bohemia Bar on the Thursday night and the Saturday night session too, presenting the Cabbage Tree Hat story, and a concert on the final day.

It was a privilege to sing in the big tribute to Danny Spooner in the main venue. Margaret sang “Tolpuddle Man” with Ruth Hazelton and Kerrie Maguire, and with Chris in the finale of John Tams’ “Rolling Home”.

Ruth, Margaret and Kerrie

Ruth Hazelton, Margaret Walters and Kerrie Maguire – “Tolpuddle Man”

Danny Spooner tribute finale

Danny Spooner tribute finale – photo Rosemary Saul

Vale Danny Spooner – 1936-2017

Sad news is the passing of Danny Spooner on 3rd March. Danny was an inspiration to us all and brought a number of John‘s songs to the audiences around the world.

The video below is from a special performance organised for Danny in early February held in the Daylesford Town Hall – John is leading “Bring Out The Banners” supported by many of the other musicians who contributed to the event.

Danny’s last performance was at Cobargo Folk Festival on 26th February, singing songs of the Watersons with his wife Gael and Margaret. It was a triumph.

We will miss him – he has left a vast body of work and huge space in the folk music world.

Danny’s obituary in The Age/Sydney Morning Herald.

Danny Spooner - 1936-2017

Danny Spooner – photo Rob Gunstone

Farewell to the Wheeze and Suck Band

Singing Mick Ryan’s “The Song Goes On” at Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Folk Club at the farewell concert for the Wheeze & Suck Band.

Sydney Heritage Fleet Christmas Party

Sydney Heritage Fleet Christmas Party

On board the James Craig at Pyrmont

The Sydney Forties were joined by Christina Mimmocchi to sing sea songs and Christmas songs at the Sydney Heritage Fleet Christmas Party on board the James Craig on Tuesday 13 December 2016.

There’s also a video courtesy of Sue Brian.