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Shirley Abicair

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Category: Music - Popular
Reference No: 9997
Status: Available
Price: £30.00
  Shirley Abicair

click on the small image to see a larger version


Australian singer, zither player and children’s TV presenter.

While studying at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Abicair began singing at parties and private functions to support her studies, accompanying herself on the zither. Self-taught, she is said to have found the zither whilst rummaging in a cupboard as a small child. She then entered and won a Sydney radio talent quest. This led to offers of engagements on radio and in theatre and cabaret.

In 1953, she left Sydney for London. She was photographed by a newspaper photographer looking for pretty faces whilst disembarking at London airport. Her photo was spotted by a radio producer  and within weeks this led to her appearing on BBC television. Not much later that year she had her own programme in which she sang and played the zither. In December, she also appeared in the title role of the pantomime Cinderella at the Brixton Empress Theatre. The zither was, along with her Australian-ness, to become her trademark. She released her first record "Careless Love" that year. During 1954 she co-starred with comedian Norman Wisdom in the film One Good Turn.

In 1956, she recorded (with the Beatles’ George Martin producing) the title song for the soundtrack of the classic Australian film Smiley.

Through the middle/late 1950s Abicair hosted a series called Children's Hour on BBC Television, becoming an unofficial ambassador and promoter of Australia to a generation of British children. This Australian image was reinforced by her release of records with titles such as "(I Love You) Fair Dinkum" & "Botany Bay".

She toured extensively in the 1960s, released albums of folk songs, put out an EP, "On the Nursery Beat" (nursery rhymes put to a Mersey beat) in 1965 and released recordings of more adult songs by Paul Simon and Goffin and King.

In 1971, Abicair moved to the United States, where she appeared in a series of college concerts with writer Ken Kesey, author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Little has been heard of the lovely Shirley Abicair since then.

This is an exceptionally pretty vintage 1950s Rank Organisation publicity photograph (9" x 7.25"), boldly signed and inscribed ("To Tim, from Shirley Abicair") in blue fountain pen ink across a clear area of the image. The dimensions suggest that the margins have been trimmed, but, if so, the job has been very neatly done and overall condition is very good.