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A SHORT BIOGRAPHY

His story-telling ranges from satiric humour to heartrending pathos, and he plays guitar like a combination of Roy Harper and Mark Knopfler.The Real Groove. (New Zealand)

An intelligent, literate songwriter, his songs often have several layers of meaning and bear repeated listening to draw out the subtleties.Folk on Tap. (GB)

Musician, comedian, poet, songwriter, story-teller and philosopher - all in one person.Neue Westfälische (Germany)

Bluesman, clown, poet, satirist and romantic.Corriere del Ticino (Switzerland)

An outstanding musician, an amusing entertainer, a witty comedian, a committed critic of the times and a thoughtful romantic.1882 Action Club (Germany)

If you’d happened to pull into the German motorway services at Fernthal, on the A3 south of Cologne, on the snowy morning of January 10th 1981 you might have seen a small, green Morris Minor van with an English number plate, the driver of which looked as if he had possibly just spent the night curled up among speakers and guitars in the back of his vehicle. In this case appearances would not have been misleading.

After five years as a professional musician in England Paul had just returned from a three month ramble round south-east Asia, which had fired his susceptible soul but reduced his rickety finances to the bald sum of £100. On the strength of a couple of German addresses and a more than a passing love interest, he promptly invested £50 in a return ticket from Sheerness to Vlissingen, loaded all his amps and guitars into the van and headed for Frankfurt am Main.

Twenty-two years, and seven albums, later he’s still in Frankfurt, still on the road, no less of a troubadour at heart, and still likely to spend the odd night with his sound equipment. His music has taken him from the far north of Norway down to the Croatian Adriatic, and everywhere in between; to New Zealand, the U.S.A. and the Caribbean.

The Kiwi reviewer who compared Paul’s guitar-playing to a combo of Roy Harper and Mark Knopflerwas generously exaggerating, but there’s no doubt that the powerful chording and unusual progressions make for impressive listening. He’s shared the stage with such names as Woody Mann, Alex de Grassi, Beppe Gambetta, Franco Morone, Ljubo Majstorovic and Hans Theesink; and when it comes to lyrics the man is second to none. An intelligent, literate songwriter, his songs often have several layers of meaning and bear repeated listening to draw out the subtleties.

There are performers who make you pause for thought, performers who leave you crying with laughter, and performers who draw you into a unique world where everyday experiences are suddenly back-lit by a startling insight or poignant observation. Paul offers something of each, causing reviewers to speak of musician, comedian, poet, songwriter, story-teller and philosopher - all in one person. And he tops it off with a spell-binding mastery of eccentric narrative. Armed with harmonica, guitar, humour, feeling, talent, and a beautiful, clear voice Cowlan walks on stage and compels the audience to listen.

You can’t categorize this kind of performance. Not that you really need to. Call it ‘Acoustic Rock’ if you must have a label. But it doesn’t stop there.

Paul has won several important English poetry prizes, appeared in numerous literary magazines, and is active on the Performance Poetry scene, both in the U.K. and in Europe. He’s won ‘slams’ at home and abroad, and you can never be sure quite what he’ll conjure up next. An accomplished performance of poetry and song, combining humour and wisdom. A maker who lifts image after image from the most ordinary experience.

He currently has two poetry CDs and a ‘Slam Special’ in addition to his musical albums, and as if that weren’t enough, you can also buy his cards and calendars elsewhere on this website.

In a world of star-searching, instant, irrelevant celebrity, trendy uniformity and background music Paul is, as Harvey Andrews rightly observed, a foreground person; stubbornly individual and impossible to pin down.

Genuinely creative performers are always notoriously difficult to classify, and it's probably missing the point to attempt it, but with Paul Cowlan, as the foregoing reviews suggest, it's almost impossible. To date he has released seven albums of self-penned songs and, as a poet, over thirty of his compositions have appeared in, and won prizes from, magazines such as Stand, Orbis, Outposts, Poetry Life, Tabla, still and Envoi. He has tutored 'Creative Words and Music' courses for arts-centres, colleges and schools throughout the country, and in addition to his regular 'concert' touring programme is in demand in Austrian, Swiss, German, Dutch and Norwegian schools where some of his lyrics have even found their way into the English curriculum. If you're interested to hear samples of Paul's music, read some of his poetry, learn more about his courses or order albums please click the appropriate icon, or contact him directly.


For bookings, or any other information, then contact Paul by email : cowlan@t-online.de