"Epic... gorgeous... ethereal"
"Her voice soars like a nightingale"
a hint of 1930s German torch song...
Striking... unusual... intense...”
“Honest, authentic and relatable...
a captivating atmosphere that beckons you to stop and take it all in”
Folk Radio UK
impossible to categorise as a genre”
Country Music People
“Makes Florence and The Machine look second rate”
Dr Greg Parston, Dartington Trust
“Rich sound, distinctive, artful music... not far off a Hans Zimmer”
"Dancing on the highwire,
without a safety net"
“From her bright red keyboard she deftly sculpts compelling narratives into disarmingly catchy songs that only she could have conjured”
The Canteen, Bristol
Mae Karthauser is a Devon-based songwriter with a rich, acrobatic voice and a style that is distinctive yet impossible to place. Raised in a musical family and one of seven children, she began learning piano, violin and singing as a child. Her debut performance came in 1990 – aged 5 - when dressed as a policeman she sang her solo on the Abbotts Ann village hall stage.
Twenty years later, after a deep dive into strange and wondrous music from all pockets the globe (via a degree at Dartington College of Arts and California Institute of the Arts in LA), Mae and The Midnight Fairground was born.
Accompanied by a cohort of musicians, dancers and circus artists in Europe, she tested the boundaries of the traditional stage. You could find her playing her songs whilst harnessed off the edge of BBC Television studios in the company of acrobats and aerial dancers, whilst dangling from the side of an old English fire engine as it paraded tiny French streets, or whilst flying over the French alps in a paraglider - clinging tightly to the distinctive, red painted organ on her lap.
Alongside multiple tours in France and across Europe, she has been featured on BBC Radio 3 and Radio 6, and has performed live on BBC2's The One Show. Mae has recorded four albums, one of which was featured in the Flying Frenchies' daredevil circus film "Petit Bus Rouge”.
The year 2020 brought a powerful shift to reality, and as the world plunged into lockdowns, new songs with a new feel were emerging. This time and space allowed Mae to re-invent her sound: a move back to her roots, focusing once again on melody, simplicity and fragile honesty.
With a desire to delve deeper into other melody instruments, she recruited flautist Ronja Schlumberger and cellist Ben Roberts to complement these latest songs. Together this trio have explored the edges of their instruments and expanded their sound palettes in order to bring life to the new material. A broad range of soundscapes and atmospheres conjure an explosive spectrum of qualities made purely with voice and acoustic instrumentation.
Inspired by the likes of Joni Mitchell, Joanna Newsom, and Albin De La Simone (and somehow rather unlike any of them) these new songs dance childlike through tender, magical and dark terrain. The latest album “August” was released on 17th March 2023 to a sell out audience at The Great Hall, Dartington.
Behold, the official music video for Mae Karthauser “10 Minutes”, filmed by Sophie Gould at St Mary’s Church, Totnes on a cosy October evening.
“10 minutes was literally the time I had to write this song” Mae says, it’s on the subject of time running out and the urgency to produce something meaningful within that given moment.
2020 saw a move back to her roots, focusing once again on melody, simplicity and raw honesty. This was also the time she met cellist Ben Roberts and flautist Ronja Schlumberger. As the world plunged into lockdowns, entirely new songs were emerging, which are brought to life on the upcoming album “August”.
“Tame Me, I'm Wild”
”Tame Me, I'm Wild” is one of thirty songs, each written in one day, all within one month: August 2021.
“When you are writing a song each day, you are at the mercy of the moment. There's no preparation - you turn up, get quiet and just listen; without knowing what you're listening for. Its like unearthing a story that it already there waiting to be heard, or answering a knock at the door to see who is waiting for you on the doorstep.”
And so appeared “Tame Me, I'm Wild”. The song speaks to addiction, to our battle between our unconscious compulsions and our deep yearning for clarity and freedom. It exposes our vulnerability, the urge to hide our rawness behind masks, and the very real courage required to accept our human frailties. Filmed under a towering canopy of Redwood pines in Dartington's ancient North Woods, this song is both beautifully and aptly set, as it was on this estate where Mae studied and where the album was recorded. It is also where the album “August” will be released in Dartington's Great Hall on Friday 17th March 2023.