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 of the yardarm or an up-yours from a feisty lass. Margaret usually sings unaccompanied, favouring the folk tradition and some select contemporary writers. She has been involved in the Australian folk scene for over thirty years, as a soloist, a collaborator with songwriter John Warner, and a member of various duos and the Roaring Forties. She has recorded several albums.



Margaret Walters first realized her passion for folk songs in Brisbane in the early sixties when the music from the "folk boom" coincided with her hearing a field recording of Child ballads, and experiencing live folk music at the Brisbane Folk Centre.  But it was many years before she sang in public and then the catalyst was a period of living in England where, for the first time, she heard live unaccompanied folk singing.

Her distinctive tones are heralded from Redfern to Redditch, from Maleny to Maidenhead and Maine, and her latest album, Power in a Song, has received high praise.

Visits to England (including tours in '92, '94, and '98) keep reinforcing Margaret's taste for finger in the ear, but she enjoys many styles of folk singing including the blues.  She has an extensive repertoire and sings songs from Australia, the British Isles and a few American songs as well.  Major influences are Frankie Armstrong, Peter Bellamy, Jez Lowe, and John Warner.

For the Future and the Past is the title of Margaret's first CD (1990).  She has contributed songs and/or harmonies to many albums over the years, most importantly her work with John Warner (see below).  Her new solo album, Power in a Song, has special guests Nancy Kerr, James Fagan, Kim Poole, John Warner, and others.  It came out April 2003 and includes many traditional songs and also songs by John Warner, Jez Lowe, and other writers imbued with the tradition. 

Solo workshop themes concern:  convicts, colonial women in Australia, feisty damsels wherever, songs about working lives, peace, animals, the supernatural, unrequited love, shanties, and empowering chorus songs.  These all invite audience participation through call and response, choruses and harmony.

In the ten years 1993-2003, Margaret worked with songwriter John Warner in a duo known as Walters & Warner.  They collaborated on many successful projects, some of which culminated in the CDs Pithead in the Fern and Who Was Here?  They also produced the remarkable song and verse cycle, "Yarri of Wiradjuri", and several other memorable thematic presentations such as "Bread Broom and Bucket", and "Here's to the People of All Trades".   It was a very creative and formidable partnership, but both are now seeking new directions and Walters & Warner are no longer performing as duo, although both remain members of the Roaring Forties.   (John may be contacted at 02 9559 3658.)

A folk activist, Margaret has been a constant source of energy on the Sydney folk scene, facilitating, organising, hosting, guiding, publicising, sharing, supporting in a hundred ways both local and international artists.  Her current major involvement is the monthly Almost Acoustic folk venue in Rozelle, Sydney.

Margaret Walters, PO Box 615, GLEBE  NSW 2037  AUSTRALIA

Phone 61 2  9698 2206         Fax  61 2  9698 2115                

 A selection from some reviews of Margaret Walters and her album Power in a Song:

Simon Heywood in Stirrings, December 2003-February 2004

Margaret herself has got quite a presence as a singer.  Her voice is strong with a refreshing edge.  Her singing tends consistently towards the gentle side
—possibly leaving room for a bit more attack, to this listener's ears at least - but her voice carries a weight of experience and powerful emotions with unforced dignity.  And there's quite a few powerful emotions to get round, as the album deals with the primal themes beloved of folkies and the songs they sing:  death, hardship, struggle, the small achievements of childhood, the hardness of the lives which the majority of human beings have led, and the power of nature.

My personal favourites are Joe Hill, the driving When McGuiness Gets a Job and John Warner's hymn-like Murrumbidgee Water.  Overall, this is heartfelt, proficient, and certainly worth a listen.

David Kidman in Folk Roundabout

Her repertoire majors both on John's original songs and on her strong reinterpretations of traditional and contemporary material, these elements being well reflected in this magnificent new CD.

Her voice is richly expressive yet unpretentious in its direct and unassuming way of telling the stories in the songs
—notwithstanding the undeniable intellectual (as well as musical) effort needed to do them true justice, which Margaret evidently appreciates and brings to her readings.

Margaret has produced a lovely CD of really lasting value.

Pat Nightingale in Folk London, September 2003

One venture into the traditional, Trees they do grow high, with Nancy Kerr on viola, is a particularly compelling and hypnotic version of this magnificent song. …

As if Walters' strong, pure voice and a way of putting over a song with truth and immediacy weren't enough to make this an outstanding album, there is excellent instrumental (and occasionally vocal) support from Nancy Kerr and James Fagan...

Derek Gifford in Folk North West

These different versions of Trees They Do Grow High, Maria's Gone, Van Dieman's Land and Death of Ben Hall make a refreshing change.

Bob Bolton in Mulga Wire, December 2003

This is Margaret's second solo album and it celebrates what Margaret does best
—singing songs full of interest, meaning and beauty … and singing them well….

All these have strong tunes and meaningful words that come to life with Margaret's strong, characterful voice and clear statement.

This isn't a CD to play as "musical wallpaper"
—listen to the words, admire the care and thought put into just the right amount of backing and harmony, think hard about what the songs have to tell us … and revel in the "Power in a Song!"

Gordon Bok

[Power in a Song] is not only a delight of a wander amongst trad. and "new" songs, but a lovely "tour de voice" also. I enjoy hearing the different textures you use and how well you handle the different styles you sing in—and it sounds like you're enjoying them all.

 Maree Robertson in Folk Rag, September 2003

Over the years, [Margaret's] work has been a constant yardstick of the continuity of the folk tradition— delving into the depths of traditional material, but also open to the creations of the best of our contemporary folk songwriters—notably John Warner.

This CD is a classic Australian folk recording—and ought to be in the collection of any folkie that values our living culture, but also anyone who loves their music warm, rich, and filled with love.  The production is gentle and the list of guest musicians an indication of the respect accorded to Margaret by those who know her worth—James Fagan & Nancy Kerr among many.

I have decided that, if the earth itself had a voice, this is what I think it would sound like.  Not so very young, not so very innocent—but full of strength and wisdom and heart.  Power in a Song indeed.

Roy Bailey, 2002

Margaret ... has a very personal way of telling her stories ... [her] knowledge of traditional and contemporary song is extensive and that becomes apparent listening to her talking about the songs as well as singing them. Go and hear her.

Dieter Bajcek in  Trad & Now, reprinted from Folk Alliance Australia Newsletter,  June 2003

Margaret is not hiding behind rich or lush instrumental backing, and … she is not afraid to stand up-front and let her voice and her interpretations of the songs speak for themselves.  The instrumental accompaniments are mostly very sparse, but they suit the voice, the songs and the purpose of the album, as they make you pay attention to the meaning and depths of the songs—"the eternal struggle with ourselves and the environment". There are several songs by John Waters [sic], some by other writers, and traditional ones— mostly from English and Australian backgrounds …

Mary-Jane Field in Cornstalk Gazette, October 2003

This album, appropriately named "Power in a Song" showcases a number of the many unusual and compelling folk songs Margaret has been collecting over the years.  It is also a testament to some of her greatest song points as a singer.  Her ability to nose out wonderful songs, putting her own special stamp on them, the emotion she puts into the songs, using her amazing voice to bring out the story or the mood;  the instincts she has for the right arrangements and the right musicians and singers to accompany her.