Julie Felix - 1938-2020

Sat, 05/30/2020 - 18:12
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Julie Felix - 1938-2020

Julie Felix, one of the leading lights of the folk scene in the 1960s with an international career that spanned over 50 years, died on the 22 March at the age of 81 after a short illness.

Julie was from Santa Barbara in California.  Her love of music was inspired by her parents: her mother, an American with Welsh roots who often sang the ballads of Burl Ives, and her father, a Mexican musician who played guitar and accordion.  She began playing the ukulele, before moving on to guitar and beginning to sing and play at beach parties and coffee houses.  Before long she was singing in her local clubs.

By her mid-twenties, Julie decided to spread her wings, and she came to Europe, singing in cafes and clubs as she travelled.  Arriving in England in 1964, she began performing in the folk clubs of London, including the now-legendary Troubadour.  She became one of the first solo folk performers to gain a recording contact when she subsequently signed to Decca Records, and later she was one of the first to fill the Royal Albert Hall.  She became a household name due to her appearances on David Frost’s TV show and, for a spell, hosted her own show, Once More With Felix, on the BBC.  Named as “Britain's First Lady of Folk” by The Times, her reputation in her adopted country was cemented.

Over the years Julie spent some time living in Norway, and she also returned to California for periods of time.  But she was back in the UK by the early 90s and continued to perform in folk clubs and concert venues.  Known as a protest singer, but much more than that, she had a deep concern for issues such as the environment and was a committed human rights activist. 

Julie was still performing as recently as January and February of this year, and had a schedule of concerts planned for the rest of 2020.  Having recorded several albums in the eighties, nineties and noughties, her latest, Rock Me Goddess, was released on Talking Elephant last year and features Steeleye’s Peter Knight amongst others.

Julie is survived by her daughter, Tanit, and her sister, Elena.