Formed in 1988, Forty Degrees South have 30 years of robust singing under their belts. First known as The Roaring Forties, in 2018 they became Forty Degrees South (40°S or “forties” for short).
Powerful individual singers the group has a formidable repertoire of traditional and trad-style contemporary songs. They have a 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!
They are regulars on the Australian folk festival circuit and have toured in the United Kingdom, Europe, the United States, New Zealand and Norfolk Island.
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 Forties recordings and presentations here.
Seasonal songs were the order of the day when the Forties sang at the Folk Federation of NSW’s annual variety End of Year Folk Bash held at the Gaelic Club in Surry Hills. Black Joak Morris presented a Mummer’s Play – always the highlight of the Bash. The evening was complemented by some exuberant renditions of English Village Carols at the Shakespeare.
The theme of History Week in NSW was “Life and Death” and, together with The Museum’s own ‘pirate band’ The Mutineers, 40 Degrees South relished singing some of the more macabre songs in their repertoire.
There were stories about Australian convict pirates and whaling ship disasters followed by rum (courtesy of Peg Leg Tavern) and sea biscuit (made by our own Sue Brian)!
The concert took place in the Conservation Building of the Australian National Maritime Museum.
What was “The Roaring Forties” is now “Forty Degrees South”.
For various reasons we’re changing our name – but we’re not changing anything else. Keep an eye out for us at festivals over the coming season…
PS. We’ve got a new domain name too – 40degrees-south.com, but the old one will keep on working too.
It was especially significant to join in the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Hornsby-Kuringgai Folk Club because members of 40 Degrees South (in any number of guises) have performed there frequently during those 40 years. Margaret was one of the founding organisers back in 1978 and from about 1981, she and Tom ran the club until the end of 1993.