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Tom Jans
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Tom Jans & Mimi Farina

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A&M Biography
Introducing the album "Take Heart", 1971

The warm-up act for the individual: Mimi Farina and Tom Jans. Their music is good and strong with traditions of folk music and emotional activism behind it.

Mimi Farina is the singer-songwriter-guitarist whose past is now the legend of Richard and Mimi Farina, recording artists for Vanguard Records. Their records were "Celebrations for a Grey Day", "Reflections" and "Memories".

Tom Jans is a singer-songwriter-guitarist from California whose background is of Sixties college turbulence. His coming of age was a quiet, personal confrontation with some of the institutions that rule all our lives. He is young and his time is corning.

Mimi's sister, Joan Baez introduced Tom to Mimi in 1970. Mimi was at that time beginning to write songs and looking for a partner to perform them with. Tom at this time was writing his own songs, performing them at clubs, coffee houses and benefits.

Says Mimi, "I'd been singing with strangers for several months looking for a partner. Tom's music was the first that blended easily. I called every club in San Francisco and a week later the Matrix called back and said we had a job. We knew eight songs and we had to do three sets a night. It was tough, but little by little we understood what we were capable of doing.

The pair immersed themselves in the task of making music for people for over half a year beginning at the Big Sur Folk Festival. "We spent 6 or 7 months singing in clubs on both the East and West Coasts," says Tom, "It built a good foundation for us before we recorded with A & M." Both Mimi and Tom are individual songwriters. Mimi has been developing the talent recently, while Tom is a little more seasoned.

"I must have written about 300 songs between the ages of 16 and 20" he says, "None of them made it. They were mostly protest-flower child crap that never said much. I was writing about situations I knew nothing of and it showed. Now, both Mimi and I write songs on a personal level, which really should be the only level. We write about feelings we have experienced. I try to make my songs a personal message to people. I don't yet think too well outside of my own individual knowledge but I feel that my experiences can be reflected in a meaningful way through songwriting.

Farina and Jans are searching for ways to reach a significant level of communication. Mimi is a former member of The Committee and is interested in exploring the possibilities of music and political street theatre.

"I want to be a part of something that means more than just going to the gig and getting paid," she says. "Our first album is a stepping stone, a symbolic reward for a lot of hard work."

The music of Tom and Mimi is not traditional, but it has its share of roots. Both are fine guitarists whose influences include folk, rock and country styles. Mimi's clear and lovely voice blends well with Tom's for harmonies while the guitars create deft melodic interplays. The debut A & M album finds them augmented as far as piano, bass and drums can take them but it otherwise represents them truthfully. It is also an album of original material.

"Musicians have the ability to reach people differently than politicians or scientists do," says Tom. "We can try to provide a state of mind which will hopefully prepare people for greater understanding. It takes cooperation. We are just a warm-up act; all entertainers or performers are a warm-up act. The headliner is the individual in the audience."

This biography was previously available on the web at:
Dirty Water - The Boston Rock and Roll Museum


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photo credit:
tom sheehan London 20th May 1977

This page updated October 2001 by Geoff
GMGough@clara.net