Mike Absalom

Michael Absalom was born in Torquay, Devon of Irish and Welsh parentage. After being raised in England and Canada, Absalom was educated at Oxford University and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. He worked as a busker for several years, before Patrick Campbell-Lyons (of Nirvana) signed him to Vertigo Records.  By this time he had already had two albums released, the bawdy Mighty Absalom Sings Bathroom Ballads (1965) and Save the Last Gherkin for Me (1969), which featured guitar work by Diz Disley.

His skewed sense of humour and observation led to the issue of Mike Absalom in 1971 before Hector and Other Peccadillos (1972) garnered a larger audience. The former album featured a Roger Dean drawn record sleeve designed as a guide to Notting Hill Gate. The latter included session work by Ray Fenwick. His live work encompassed both the United Kingdom and Continental Europe. On 23 January 1973, Absalom appeared on BBC Television‘s The Old Grey Whistle Test, in a line-up that included Roberta Flack and Buck Ram.

Finding minimal lasting commercial success, Absalom relocated to Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada in 1980, and continued to work as a solo performer as well as performing on CBC Television. In 1986, after expanding his largely folk music repertoire to incorporate Celtic elements, he formed Mike Absalom & the Squid Jiggers, who became popular in Western Canada.] Absalom’s musical instrument expertise gradually included the clàrsachfiddle and button accordion. Two years later he joined Harps International, a trio in which he played the Paraguayan harp, touring Canada, the United States and South America. A Canada Council scholarship enabled him to further study the Paraguayan harp in Asunción, Paraguay.

In 1996, Absalom performed at the Sixth World Harp Congress. Three years later he published both a book and album of his children’s songs and poetry, Professor Absalom’s Pomes For Gnomes, and performed at the Festival of Fools in Cambridge, England, on 1 April 2000. Latterly, he has made his own wooden puppets to perform his children’s show; ‘Professor Absalom and his Amazing Acrobatic Street Dolls’. A multi-linguist, Absalom returned to Europe in 2002, and currently lives in County Mayo, Ireland, where he both paints and draws.

John Kavanagh
Gerry Conneely
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