Martyn Wyndham-Read was born in August 1942 in Sussex. He is an English folk singer, notable as a collector and singer of Australian folk songs. He lived and worked in Australia from 1960 to 1967 and has been a regular visitor to the country since then.
Martyn has been involved with folk music since he heard singers on an Australian sheep station in the 1960s. In 1960 he moved from Sussex to Australia where he worked on Emu Springs sheep station in South Australia. It was while he was there that he heard, first hand, the old songs sung by some of the station hands at Emu Springs and he became captivated by these songs and decided he needed to know more of them and where they came from grew. He moved to Melbourne and became part of the folk song revival there and throughout Australia during the early 1960s.
He returned England in 1967 and met up with the renowned singer and song collector Bert Lloyd, who himself had spent time in Australia. Martin was asked by Lloyd to contribute to the album ‘Leviathan’ on the Topic label. Soon afterwards he started recording for Bill Leader.
In the early 1970s he started the ‘Maypoles to Mistletoe’ concerts which portray the seasons of the year through song, music, dance and verse. This show has been performed for the last 40 years and has in itself become a tradition at Christmas time in and around the Sussex area. 10 years ago, he brought in one of his granddaughters to perform with him and is still performing in it today.
Martyn is also the instigator of the Song Links Project, these are 2 book- and- two CD sets which celebrate English traditional songs and their Australian variants, and Song Links 2 compares and contrasts English traditional songs with versions that have travelled over the Atlantic and been sung (and further developed) in North America with a cast of folk performers representing the cream of singers specialising in traditional songs from their own country.
He is currently working with Shirley Collins and Pip Barnes on a production called ‘Down the Lawson Track’ featuring stories, poems/songs of the Australian poet Henry Lawson.
He has produced over 40 albums and appeared at folk festivals in Australia, and around the world.