Des and Juliet Rainey Profile

Steven Shaw
23 Jul 2017

Husband and wife folk-singing duo Des and Juliet Rainey moved between New Zealand and the US during the late 1950s and 1960s, collecting and performing folk songs, and in 1965 they founded the Titirangi Folk Club. The Raineys sang harmonies and took turns at lead vocals, with Des on guitar and Juliet playing mountain dulcimer, autoharp and mandolin.

Des and Juliet Rainey’s calling to folk music began in the late 1950s. The couple met in a church choir and married in 1956, and Juliet, a proficient pianist with a teaching diploma, gave Des a guitar in 1957. Their musical direction found its focus when USA-born Swedish balladeer William Clauson played the Auckland Town Hall, an event that Des describes as an inspiration not just to him, but to many others in the audience.

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Juliet Rainey at home in Titirangi, 1960s
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Des and Juliet Rainey, 1950s.
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Des Rainey in Palmerston North during the mid-1950s.
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Juliet Rainey at the piano.
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Des Rainey with anti-apartheid protesters outside Rugby Park, Hamilton, 25 July 1981, during the Springbok rugby tour of New Zealand - just before the fence came down.
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Newsletter from Folklore Society of Greater Washington, January 1967, detailing a forthcoming performance by Des and Juliet Rainey.
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Back cover to Des and Juliet Rainey's EP for the Kiwi label, Folk Songs 6: For School, Home, Camp, Anywhere,1969
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Springbok rugby tour, 25 July 1981, Rugby Park Hamilton - Des Rainey can be seen from 3 min 25, wearing a purple jumper and brandishing a folk guitar, just before protesters broke through the fence and stormed onto the field. From the Merata Mita film, Patu (NZ On Screen)
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Front cover of Des and Juliet Rainey's performance bio, 1960s.
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Des Rainey sings at Cafe 121, Ponsonby, 2015.
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Manuscript for an original folk song by Des and Juliet Rainey, 'Names Of My Land'.
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Quote from Appalachian banjo and dulcimer maker Frank Proffitt, of North Carolina, to build Juliette Rainey's dulcimer, 1962. Proffitt is known for preserving the song 'Tom Dooley'; an album of folk songs by Proffitt, released in 1961 via Folkways Recordings, inspired musicians to learn traditional five-string banjo.
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Taranaki Sports previews Des and Juliet Rainey's February 1969 appearance ahead of John Rowles at Bowl of Brooklands, New Plymouth (1 February 1969).
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Poster for a fundraiser for Caffe Lena, now regarded as the longest running folk coffee house in the USA. 
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1965 newspaper interview with Juliet Rainey, announcing Des and Juliet's University Extension folk singing course in Titirangi, which would soon grow into the Titirangi Folk Music Club.
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Programme from a folk song evening presented by Des and Juliet Rainey, East Cleveland Public Library, 10 February 1959.
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Des and Juliet Rainey profile from a Staten Island local newspaper, late 1967.
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'Names Of My Land', written by Des and Juliet Rainey, from their 1962 folk song booklet New Zealand Sings.
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Publicity photo of Des and Juliet Rainey, taken by Marti Friedlander.
Photo credit: Marti Friedlander
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Des and Juliet Rainey were part of the entertainment aboard the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship's penultimate voyage, October 1968.
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Des and Juliet Rainey at Expo 67, Montreal, Canada.
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Des Rainey faces off with the NZ police at Rugby Park, Hamilton, 25 July 1981 during the Springbok rugby tour of New Zealand, after anti-apartheid protesters broke through the fence and stormed the field. The game was called off, making headlines around the world.
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Folk singing at the Wynyard Tavern, Auckland, 1970s. Eph-C-MUSIC-Garland-1970s-01
Photo credit: Poster design by Gray Dixon, photo by Marti Friedlander
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Des Rainey performing at Cafe 121, Ponsonby, 2015
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Front cover to the booklet New Zealand Sings, a 1962 collection of folk songs from around the world compiled by Des and Juliet Rainey. With illustrations by Juliet, the booklet was printed in Ohio and used at folk music evenings back in New Zealand.
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Des and Juliet Rainey in Pennsylvania, 1960s.
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Collection of reviews from Des and Juliet's performances in the USA, 1960s
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Des Rainey at Cafe One2One, Ponsonby, Auckland
Photo credit: Patrick Byrne
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Folk music revellers at Fox Hollow Folk Festival, Beers family estate, upstate New York, 1966.
Photo credit: Des Rainey
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Poster for the Fox Hollow folk festival run by the Beers family in New York state, a regular stop for Des and Juliet Rainey during the late 1960s.
Photo credit: Des Rainey collection
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Montreal Star profiles Des and Juliet Rainey at Expo 67 in Montreal, Canada. They were one of the opening acts before Odetta.
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Performance stage at Fox Hollow Folk Festival, upstate New York, 1966. 
Photo credit: Des Rainey
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Des and Juliet Rainey opening for John Rowles at Bowl of Brooklands, New Plymouth, February 1969.
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Newspaper ad for the John Rowles concert at Bowl of Brooklands, New Plymouth, February 1969, which also featured Allison Durbin and folk-singing couple Des and Juliet Rainey.
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A gathering at Fox Hollow Folk Festival, Beers family estate, upstate New York, 1966. Juliet Rainey is at right with her autoharp.
Photo credit: Des Rainey
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Des and Juliet Rainey, 1950s
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Juliet Rainey in the Auckland Star, 12 December 1968.
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The cover of Des and Juliet Rainey's 1969 EP for the Kiwi label, Folk Songs 6: For School, Home, Camp, Anywhere. Cover photo by Marti Friedlander.
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A-side of Des and Juliet Rainey's 1969 EP for the Kiwi label, Folk Songs 6: For School, Home, Camp, Anywhere.
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Juliet Rainey in Canada on their first trip to America, c 1958.
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