Mike Johnson is a prolific songwriter and performer and has collaborated with many well-known names in the folk world. Most notably Cardiff-based, Irish, master musician Gerry Nash; the late lamented Rory Furlong, renowned balladeer (nephew of Dominic and Brendan Behan), and folk legend Liam Clancy (The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem).
During a 40-year career as a venue manager including a decade as leaseholder of Cardiff’s historic Coal Exchange Hall, Mike has had the privilege of working with many of his musical heroes, including Ronnie Drew, Shane McGowan, Christy Moore, Van Morrison, Paul Brady, Davy Spillane and many more.
Writing ever since he can remember, Mike’s diverse output includes a string of popular comedy songs, a series of biting, socio-political street songs and a catalogue of Ballads and Belters.
Again, in partnership with Gerry Nash, Mike produced Both the Days a concept album about Irish poet, author and celebrity, Brendan Behan, from a project originally developed with Rory Furlong.
Then, in the late eighties, Mike founded Bayfolk as a platform for songs that captured and reflected the anecdotal social history of South Cardiff (Tiger Bay and far beyond), especially
through the days “when coal was king.” In further partnership with Gerry Nash, Mike wrote and recorded the Bay Windows album, The Heritage Tapes CD, and the CARDIFF SONGS songbook. Several of the songs featured in those recordings became staples of the South Wales folk scene, which are still sung in folk clubs, and concerts across the country.
The collected songs and stories are brought together for the first time in Mike’s Cwlwm Celtaidd performance.