Sharon, Lois & Bram
Sharon, Lois & Bram
Children’s singing group
Children’s entertainers Sharon, Lois, & Bram never dreamed they’d become the hottest act in their field when they teamed up in 1978. They simply wanted to make a record that would bring children and adults together in music. Today the trio has songbooks, videos, and records to their credit, as well as a popular cable television show and a succession of tours.
Sharon Hampson began her career as a folksinger in Toronto when she was just 17 years old. She toured Canada and the United States for four years before returning to her hometown to raise her two children. Family life certainly didn’t put a stop to her involvement in music, however. She recorded two children’s albums on her own, made radio and television appearances, and arranged, taught, and sang in children’s music programs. She was also instrumental in founding Canada’s innovative folk-artist program, Mariposa in the Schools.
Hampson was slightly acquainted with Bram Morrison from her Toronto coffeehouse days, but she came to know him better when he got involved with Mariposa in
Group comprised of Sharon Hampson , born in 1943, in Canada; married Joe Hampson (singer-composer); two children. Lois Lilienstein , born 1937, in Chicago; married; children: David. Bram Morrison , born 1941, in Canada; wife’s name, Ruth; two children.
Began performing and recording as a group in 1978; first album, One Elephant Deux Elephant, became fastest-selling children’s record in Canadian history; published songbook, Elephant Jam, in 1980; have appeared on television’s Sesame Street and other shows, including their own program, The Elephant Show.
Awards: Juno Award from the Canadian Recording Industry for best children’s album of the year, 1979, for Smorgasboard, and 1980, for Singing and Swinging.
Addresses: Record company— A&M, 1416 North La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90028.
the Schools. He had impeccable folksinging credentials, having left college to go on the road with Canada’s respected folklorist/singer Alan Mills. For four years Morrison served as Mills’s apprentice and guitar accompanist, building up an impressive repertoire of English, American, and French-Canadian songs on their many North American tours. Eventually he appeared as a solo artist on television and at the Mariposa folk festival. Later, he spent five years as an itinerant teacher in the Toronto school system. Through his involvement with Mariposa in the Schools and similar programs, he participated in workshops all over Ontario.
The third member of the trio, Lois Lilienstein, had studied music at the University of Michigan and worked as a classical and pop pianist in the United States before her husband’s career led to a move to Toronto in 1966. Once there, Lilienstein gave up professional music to raise her son, but continued to sing as a volunteer leader of “music hour” at his nursery school. Eventually she became a professional preschool music teacher, utilizing a range of traditional and popular American songs. She was highly regarded in this field and also as a collector of children’s playground games and songs. She gave many seminars and workshops on these subjects, which led to her meeting with Hampson and Morrison.
Upon discovering that they shared many of the same feelings about children, music, and education, Hampson urged the formation of a partnership to make a record that would be fun for children and the adults in their lives. In 1978 they borrowed $22,000 from friends and relatives and formed Elephant Records with producer Bill Usher. Their first album, One Elephant, Deux Elephants was an instant success, becoming the fastest selling children’s record in Canadian history. Since then, Sharon, Lois, & Bram have released many more records, published a songbook, appeared as guests on Sesame Street and other programs, appeared with symphony orchestras, and developed their own television program, The Elephant Show. All of this has put them in the ranks of the most successful of children’s entertainers. The key to their appeal is simple, according to Morrison, who told People: “There are no three people with as much experience as us—on the floor, nose to nose with children…. we’ve really done our homework. We know kids and we respect them.”
One Elephant, Deux Elephants, Elephant Records, 1978.
Smorgasboard, Elephant Records, 1979.
Singing and Swinging, Elephant Records, 1980.
Sing A to Z, A&M, 1991.
In the Schoolyard, Elephant Records.
One, Two Three, Four, Live!, Elephant Records.
Canadian Composer, November 1989.
Cinema Canada, September 1987.
Maclean’s, December 1988.
People, May 1, 1989.
School Library Journal, March 1987.
Video Magazine, August 1989.
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