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So where did it all begin ?

Martyn was born in his grandparents' house in Plymouth, Devon, and lived in Mombasa, Kenya for two years before settling in Bath, Somerset.

He bought an electric guitar when he was ten and started to learn the violin at eleven. After Hendrix died, the electric guitar was soon swapped for an acoustic and Donovan became a major influence, along with the Incredible String Band, Roy Harper, Leonard Cohen, and Tom Paxton. Learning fiddle tunes from Fairport Convention and other LP’s, (which soon destroyed these albums!), he formed “GULL MAC MORNA” with three school friends and they began playing around the local folk scene.


In 1974, he went to Warwick University and was roomed with Keith Donnelly  from South Shields, who played acoustic guitar and shared the same musical tastes. Together they formed WATERFALL”, and became residents of the University Folk Club, mixing songs by Jonathon Kelly, Gerry Rafferty, Al Stewart etc with traditional ballads and tunes, and gradually including their own original compositions.

(photo by Peter Groves)

After graduating in 1977, they took the plunge and decided to commit themselves full time to music. Joining an alternative country/rock band for 6 months, called “VAN DE HOOG’S ELDERFLOWER REMEDY”, (with Martin Bell, later of the Wonderstuff and Steve Walwyn who later joined Dr Feelgood), they quickly learnt all about PA systems, sleeping in vans and life on the road.

WATERFALL were still playing whenever possible in folk clubs up and down the country, and in September 1977 they recorded their first LP “THE FLIGHT OF THE DAY” at Woodbine Studios, Leamington Spa. (Now available on CD – see discography).

In February 1978, Martyn and Keith were playing at Lanchester Poly Folk Club in Coventry when they were stunned by the voice of one of the local floor singers, Gilly Darbey, and so WATERFALL became a trio, and were soon gigging full time.



On 1st November 1978 they had their first national radio broadcast on BBC Radio 1’s “Kid Jensen Show”.

They recorded the LP “THREE BIRDS” in spring 1979, at Millsteam Studios in Cheltenham, produced by Johnny Coppin.    

(“Oram’s fiddle playing is appealing” Melody Maker Album Review 6/10/79.)

Constantly travelling the length and breadth of England, playing in folk clubs and colleges, they also regularly toured in Germany, Belgium and Holland, where a live recording of a gig at the Matrix Folkclub, Rotterdam was broadcast on Holland's Radio Hilversum 3.

In 1980, WATERFALL played major support tours to The Hollies, Richard Digance and Gilbert O’Sullivan. Overseas tours now included Cyprus, Gibraltar, and ten days in Belize, an amazing experience, with one gig on the flight deck of HMS Glasgow, and another deep in the jungle, only accessable by helicopter.

In Spring ’81 they recorded a new LP “BENEATH THE STARS”, at Gateway Studios, London, produced by Phillip Goodhand-Tait, from which Martyn’s composition “MON COUER EST LA” was selected for a 6 month play on British Airways world flights.

WATERFALL made their first TV appearance in 1981 on BBC Midland’s “Dennis McCarthy’s Weekly Echo”, and then on 24th July, BBC 1 broadcast a half hour “Waterfall In Concert”.
They opened the 1981 Cambridge Folk Festival on Main Stage 1, with Martyn compering the Saturday evening on Main Stage 2.
In October, they performed 2 songs 'live' on BBC 1’s “Pebble Mill At One”. Also that year, Martyn wrote and performed the theme song to Pam Ayres’ video film “PAM’S PARTY

Although critically acclaimed, and very popular on the folk scene, WATERFALL were unfortunately never able to break out to a wider audience, and the pressures of touring and sharing lives saw the group split in February 1982.




Martyn made his debut as a solo artist, singing two of his own songs ‘live’ on London’s Capital Radio in March 1982.

In April, he recorded his first solo LP “FLYING SOUTH” in Germany featuring twelve of his own songs. Southern Rag compared the LP to early Donovan and Art Garfunkel (Autumn ’82).

An acting debut swiftly followed in the BBC Play “Another Flip For Dominick”, which also featured some of his original music. Other small roles continued through the ‘80’s in “Moonfleet” (BBC), “Lytton’s Diary” (Thames), “Gems” (Thames) and “The Benny Hill Show” (Thames) for example.
He appeared in the cover photo of Spandau Ballet’s LP “Parade” (along with Sam Fox and Patsy Kensit).

In the spring of 1988, Martyn produced and recorded another nine of his own songs for his second solo LP “THE MEN WHO DREAM”, (mastered in Abbey Road Studios, London). (“Without doubt a thoughtful and talented songwriter who deserves interest” Rock ‘n’ Reel Issue 11).



Collaborations :

In addition to solo gigs throughout England, in 1984, Martyn began playing regular tours in Europe as a duo with Walter F Diet, a German singer/songwriter and this was to be the beginning of a 17 year collaboration as ORAM & DIET. They recorded their first album “TOGETHER” in 1986.

In ‘85/86, Martyn toured as half of “THICKO & ROWNTREE” (“Pillocks ! Comedy singing duo had university audience in stitches ” The Sun, 28/9/85), with Ian Durrant , who 15 years later would join him in the LONDON PHILHARMONIC SKIFFLE ORCHESTRA.

A partnership began in 1988 with guitarist Mike Martin, firstly in London-based cajun band “PEACE ON THE PANHANDLE” (“Stylish and musically stunning” City Limits, March ’88), and then as “LUKE ‘N’ FLOYD”, a multi-instrumental roots country duo (“First class fiddle” The Stage and Television Today, 16/3/89). Mike and Martyn would later form the LPSO.

Martyn also occasionally still played with Martin Bell, Maart Allcock (later to join Fairport Convention, Jethro Tull, Mark Knopfler and Cat Stevens), Brillo, Fraser Nimmo, and Chris Haigh, amongst others.




Seeking a new adventure, Martyn and his family moved to Sydney, Australia for the whole of 1990, playing folk clubs throughout New South Wales. (“A great fiddle player” Sydney Morning Herald 4/5/90), ( “Fine musician and songwriter … writes songs that are listenable and pertinent “ Cornstalk, N.S.W. April ’90). During this time he added some violin to Margaret Walter’s CD “For The Future And The Past”.

Returning to Europe in 1991, he recorded a new CD in Germany called “PAWNS IN THE GAME” with Walter F. Diet, featuring in addition to his own songs, some jointly written with Walter, including the title track, half in German about two friends who find their countries at war with each other. 1993 saw Martyn and Walter add bass and drums to form the ORAM & DIET BAND, and they recorded the CD “OUR ROADIE’S IN TURKEY”.

In 1999, Martyn and Walter added electric guitar to their sound, changed the band’s name to MAYBUG, and recorded a new CD "GOLFSTREAM" in Germany.
Comparing the band to Lindisfarne, Rock ‘n’ Reel (Spring 2000) said : “there’s an exuberance and real sense of fun that seems to run throughout the album - punchy, confident and unpretentious folk-flavoured rock”.

Martyn and Walter peformed in Massachusetts, USA for one week in May 2000, but after a partnership spanning nearly 20 years, ORAM & DIET / MAYBUG finally came to an end in October 2001, with Walter deciding to concentrate on his own music - check out www.maybug.de

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, LUKE ‘N’ FLOYD had appeared on “SKY TV” (Lyndsey De Paul: “nice looking fellas !”); at the 1991 Worthing Country Music Festival (“a truly remarkable performance of pure talent” British Country Music Roots Oct. 1991) and recorded their first album, “WOODLOUSE” in London in '93 (“multi-talented duo who don’t so much specialise as excel in a variety of country styles…an impressive collection of stylish and memorable self compositions and ace picking and fiddle playing and other acoustic delivery. Definitely worth the price of admission.” Rock ‘n’ Reel Autumn ’93).

Continued solo gigging throughout Britain, included Edward Heath's 80th Birthday Party, and on a train carrying the cast of Brookside to their 500th episode party!




2 solo CD's of Martyn's original songs :

2002: "A Drop In The Ocean"

- a 'best of' his 3 CD's recorded with Walter in the '90's

2006: "The Bridge Of Broken Dreams"

- 16 new songs


An unusual one - playing solo in May 2007 at ex-BBC Controller, Greg Dyke's 60th Birthday Party in a marquee at his lovely home, along with Julie Felix. Woodstock and Anti-War were the themes of the day.

As Martyn played, dancing together in the front were Claire Short and David Frost!

Melvyn Bragg later said to Martyn "Well Done! You were very good!". High praise indeed.


In 2000, Martyn formed THE LONDON PHILHARMONIC SKIFFLE ORCHESTRA - presenting a show of musical madness ! Multi-instrumentality, funny songs, costume changes and comic props. They regularly perform throught Britain and Europe in Theatres, Festivals, Events and Television.

When Martyn told Brian May that people often comment that he looks like him, Brian said "Well, it's not that bad, is it !!"









Collaborations :

With Keith Donnelly

With German guitarist/singer/songwriter Michael Strobel touring mostly in Denmark, Holland and Germany.

2002 - 2010

With Finnish singer/songwriter/actress

Katriina Honkanen


With actress/singer/songwriter Irina Bjorklund

(see her in George Clooney's film "The American").


From 2003, for 15 consecutive summers, Martyn taught at a music camp in Finland, leading up to performances at the Kihveli Soikoon Festival. Always a terrific 'no-sleep' week of making new friends, meeting old friends, excessive alcohol, swimming in the lake, playing with mosquitoes and ...........(oh yeah, the music was good as well) !!