The Kennedy Center

Judy Small


Judy Small is an Australian singer who writes songs. She has been described at different times as a living treasure, the grand dame of Australian folk music and a living legend. For many years she traveled the world singing and gathering material for her songs. Judy has written many of the classic songs of contemporary folk music, like Mothers, Daughters, Wives; Silo; From the Lambing to the Wool; and You Don't Speak For Me.

Judy's songs have been recorded by artists such as Ronnie Gilbert, Eric Bogle, The McCalmans, The Corries, Charlie King and Priscilla Herdman and they have also been translated into a number of other languages and can be heard all over the English speaking world at festivals, concerts and even from time to time at demonstrations and on street corners.

In recent years Judy has left life as a full time traveling musician in favor of practicing law in her Melbourne, Australia. But this does not mean that she has retired from singing and writing songs. She is still singing on weekends and at special events and is delighted to be able to combine two of the loves of her life, music and the law. In both she sees herself as working for peace and justice.

Although she has a clear, powerful voice, and her delivery is second to none; Judy's real talent lies in her ability to capture those universal experiences in her songs and deliver them in ways that break down barriers and allow us to view life from another perspective.

As a young girl growing up in the small northern New South Wales town of Coffs Harbour, Judy Small loved the popular folk music of the 50s & 60s, so when she started singing, it was in the folk clubs of Sydney that she made her debut in the early 1970s. It wasn't long before Judy started writing her own songs about issues close to her heart, using the styles of the traditional Celtic and contemporary folk music genres. She has remained true to these styles, even though she has increasingly experimented with other genres and many of her songs show some rock'n'roll, jazz or country music influence.

With ten solo albums (two compilations), one collaboration, hundreds of songs and a songbook to her credit, Judy continues to delight audiences with her soaring voice, her powerful delivery, and her songs of peace, justice, love, hope and fun. Her performances have been acclaimed by critics on three continents, and a Judy Small concert is occasion for laughing, crying, thinking, and going away with a warm feeling that lasts long after the concert is over.

In a singing career filled with accolades and honors, Judy has received more than her share. She has been present at a tribute concert (you usually have to wait until someone dies for that), won a 'Mo' Award for best Folk Performer of the year in 1990, and has been presented by Queensland Aboriginal women with a song stone, which is a sacred tradition rarely given to non-Aboriginal people. In 1995, Judy performed for thousands of women from all over the world at the UN Forum for women in Beijing, China, and in 1998 she was Artist of the Year at the prestigious Port Fairy Folk Music Festival.
Judy Small