Biography


Mae Karthauser is a British songwriter with a rich, acrobatic voice and a distinctive circusesque piano style. Raised in a musical family and one of seven children, she began learning piano, violin and singing as a child, before going on to study at Dartington College of Arts and California Institute of the Arts in LA. Her training began classically, but quickly spread to music spanning Eastern Europe, Bulgaria, Africa, North India and Java as well as in jazz, folk and more popular modern styles. 

Under the self pinned folk-pop-circus genre, her songs are populated by wayward characters both human and animal and leap playfully between story and fantasy and hard social questions, asking for what is faithful in a world of mirrors. Inspired by the likes of Lhasa de Sela, The Do, Zulya, Kate Bush, Regina Spektor, Whiskey Moon Face, Joni Mitchell and Joanna Newsom.

Song and music are coupled with a distinctive twist of humour and meandering, eccentrically-woven anecdotes (on topics as wide as resident ladybirds, the violent homeless, and literature for 8-10-year-olds). Some shows come wildly embellished, dressed with theatrics and audience participation to create another world in which the boundaries of performer and spectator begin to blur.

Whether alone, or surrounded by a troupe of musicians, dancers, acrobats or clowns, Mae has audiences nestled playfully in the palm of her hand, as she strokes each one of them gently on the head, grinning like a badly behaved child in the chocolate aisle.

She has performed in France, Austria, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Sweden, Norway and California and experiments often with contemporary circus - she has played whilst harnessed off the edge of BBC Television studios, dangling from the side of an old English fire engine and whilst flying over the French alps in a paraglider. Mae has worked with circus companies such as Svalbard Company Sweden and The Flying Frenchies (her music appears on the film "Petit Bus Rouge"). She has recorded three albums and performs alone and, on special occasions, with "The Midnight Fairground" band.




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photos by Beccy Strong