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Biography of the Watersons

Part of the entry in the Guinness Who's Who in Folk

This British unaccompanied band is regarded as one of the most important and influential of the UK folk revival groups. They were originally called the Mariners, then the Folksons, before using their family name. The essential group, with occasional later variations, comprises of Mike Waterson (b. 16 January 1941, England), Norma Christine Waterson (b. 15 August 1939, England) and Lal Waterson (b. Elaine Waterson, 15 February 1943, England). The other original member, their cousin John Harrison, left in 1966, with the group splitting up two years later. In 1972, with the reformation of the quartet, Harrison's place was taken by Bernie Vickers, who was then replaced by Martin Carthy, who married Norma the same year. The group have been cited by numerous artists, such as Anne Briggs, as being responsible for the development of unaccompanied harmony singing. Frost and Fire was named Melody Maker folk album of the year on release. Sound, Sound Your Instruments of Joy was an album of traditional Victorian hymnals.

The Watersons have the ability to perform traditional songs, while retaining the freshness in the arrangement of the individual vocal lines. In addition, the various members of the group have recorded works in their own right, but the Watersons still appear occasionally at festivals.