… biographical


Louis Killen (later Louisa Jo)
Born: January 10, 1934, Gateshead-on-Tyne, County Durham, England
Died: August 9, 2013
Group Member: 1971-1974

Louis Killen: Born and raised in Tyneside in a musical family of Irish/Scottish extraction, Louis was a founder member of the Newcastle Folk Club in 1958 and an original member of the High Level Ranters. He recorded several seminal albums with Topic in the 1960s and then emigrated to the USA where he continued a career in folk music, joining the Clancy Brothers between 1971 and 1976 [sic]. Now back on home ground, Louis is recognised as one of the most knowledgeable singers and influential voices of the folk revival, noted in particular for his knowledge of shanties and maritime songs.

Source: The Fife Traditional Singing Weekend

A mainstay of British folk music since the '50s best-known for his collections of sea shanties and whaling songs, Louis Killen is a singer, archivist, lecturer, and historian on the level of Ewan MacColl, Pete Seeger, and A.L. Lloyd, all of whom Killen worked with at one time or another.

Born in the northern village of Gateshead-on-Tyne, County Durham, England, in 1934, Killen first became interested in folk music as a young man attending Oxford University, where he fell in with the local folk music crowd and developed his vocal technique as well as learning the pennywhistle and concertina. Leaving school to return north in 1958, Killen settled in Newcastle and opened one of Britain's first folk clubs while also working in the city's shipyards. Unemployed in 1961, Killen decided to turn professional and signed with the legendary British folk label Topic Records. His first releases were a pair of EPs, The Colliers Rant (recorded with Johnny Handle) and A Northumbrian Garland, both in 1962. A series of collaborations and appearances on compilations followed, with his first full-length solo recording, Ballads and Broadsides, not appearing until 1964.

Source: AOL Music

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