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Jim Payne and Fergus O'Byrne

Guitar, accordion, mandolin, tin whistle,violin, singer, storyteller, actor, writer, stepdancer, and teacher of traditional Newfoundland set and square dances

Jim Payne is from Notre Dame Bay, Newfoundland and has been a professional performing artist and writer for 19 years. Long known as a leading performer and collector of Newfoundland traditional music, he is also one of the province's most prolific songwriters, working in several genres.

Jim has directed, composed and performed music for some of the most popular theatre productions of the past two decades,as well as creating soundtracks for plays, documentaries and videos. He has performed extensively on radio and television in Canada and abroad, and has toured throughout Canada, the US, Europe, Japan and Australia.

Jim has a string of recording credits to his name, including solo recordings, contributions to anthologies of Newfoundland music, and support and production work on recordings by other Newfoundland artists. Jim also owns and operates his own recording label, SingSong Inc., which has released seven titles since 1990. He is also a producer of concerts and special events featuring traditional and contemporary music, song, story and dance that reflect the Newfoundland experience.

Jim plays guitar, accordion, mandolin, tin whistle and violin, and is a singer, storyteller, actor, writer, stepdancer, and teacher of traditional Newfoundland set and square dances.

Vocals, Banjo, Guitar, Mandolin, Concertina, Tin Whistle & Bodhran

Born in Dublin, Ireland, Fergus emigrated to Canada in 1967. While living in Toronto he became a founding member of the Irish folk band Ryan's Fancy. In 1971 the group moved to St. John's, Newfoundland. During the next fourteen years, Fergus toured extensively throughout North America and Ireland as part of the trio. As a member of Ryan's Fancy, Fergus has been featured on many television shows throughout his career including the very popular C.B.C. series Ryan's Fancy, which ran as a national series for five years. Since pursuing a solo career he has continued to appear on both television and radio. He is featured in the CBC TV production of The Last Run, which is part of the Newfoundland curriculum for Music (Exploring Music) at the intermediate level.

While still with Ryan's Fancy he was involved in the recording and producing of fourteen albums. Many of the songs from these albums can still be heard on local and national radio. As a solo performer, Fergus has performed on various recordings such as Another Time, Empty Nets by Jim Payne, Fiddle Me This by Christina Smith, At It Again by The Sons of Erin, and Minnie White's latest release Hills of Home. He recently released a CD, along with Jim Payne, entitled WaveOver Wave, Old and New Songs of Atlantic Canada early in 1996. He has also recorded several commercials for television and radio. Recently he was involved with the presentation of "A Traditional Mummers Play" for CBC radio, St. John's.

In 1987 Fergus graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland with a degree in Education. Since then he has had a concentrated interest in promoting folk music to children both as a classroom teacher and a performer. More recently, he developed and produced a show featuring songs, stories and slides related to his native country, Ireland, for schools. He has presented this performance in schools throughout the island of Newfoundland and will continue to tour the province in the coming school year.

For the past few years Fergus was on the board of directors for the St. John's Folk Arts Council and has played an active role in presenting the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival in St. John's.

To celebrate Canada Day in July 1992, he was invited to perform in Hong Kong for the Canadian Consulate. In November 1994 Fergus, along with Jim Payne, Christina Smith and Jean Hewson, performed in Morelia, Mexico by invitation of the Cultural Institute of Michoacan. In April 1995 he performed for The Stan Rogers Tribute in the Rebecca Cohn Centre, Halifax. This performance was featured on a National CBC Television broadcast and is part of a compilation CD which was released in the summer of 1996. He continues to perform with Jim Payne and is also a member of the legendary traditional band, Tickle Harbour.

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