“Taro” is Mike Knee, Marie-Claire Greening and Richard Barnes. The band came into being late in 2011 as three musicians and friends who wanted a new challenge and to have some fun, and has been overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response received so far. The name Taro is special to Petersfield, shared with the October fair and the sports centre, but originates from further afield, from “Tarw”, the shout of the Welsh drovers as they drove their cattle to the fair. The band’s style is broadly “folk” but with a wide sweep across the eclectic musical passions and abilities of the trio.
Mike was born in the decade of Elvis Presley but owes more inspiration to Elvis Costello. Better at words than at wiggling about! He’s a musical mongrel, starting on brass instruments but then teaching himself guitar and bass, and singing in choirs and sometimes even conducting them. Mike writes songs rooted in the Hampshire countryside and the quirks of 21st century life in the provinces. He has performed solo and in bands locally in small venues and at open mic nights and was the featured guest at Write Angle in March 2009. Favourite music: the album “Sigh no More” by Mumford and Sons.
Taro is Marie-Claire's first real venture as a "band" member. Marie has a more classical background and still sings in chamber and a cappella choirs in Petersfield. In the past she has sung in choirs and choruses in London and beyond, and played flute / piccolo in orchestras and (much earlier in life) in a military band. Her day job is working with the world's space agencies to look at the earth's environmental issues, but she is finding that this is nowhere near as challenging as working with Mike and Rich on music!
Richard’s earliest influences were Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton and Joan Baez. He played solo and with others in folk clubs in and around Windsor during the 1960s and spent a while in the early 70s as one half of a duo called Country Fayre playing clubs, pubs and cabaret. He stopped playing in public whilst bringing up his children, until the 1990s when he became a regular contributor within an acoustic session in Windsor called Mellow Monday. At about the same time he began playing in a church band. Upon moving to Petersfield in 2010, Rich quickly found the church band at St. Mary Magdalen, Sheet where he met Marie and Mike and became one third of Taro late last year.