Skinnamarink: The Next Generation
The iconic Canadian folk trio Sharon, Lois & Bram lives on in its children
(and grandchildren), four decades later.
When it comes to the venerable Canadian family trio Sharon, Lois & Bram, Randi Hampson has done it all: merch seller, production assistant, office employee, and even band manager. On August 27, she’ll transition from the desk to the spotlight, joining her mother Sharon—and special guest Bram Morrison—for Skinnamarink on Side Door.
“I joke that I’ve been training for this job my whole life,” says Hampson from Toronto. “When I was a teenager I sold records, worked in the office and answered fan mail, and if something important was happening, I would be there because I didn’t want to miss it.”
Randi and Sharon started performing together following Sharon and Bram’s 40th anniversary/farewell tour in 2018. Originally known as Sharon, Lois & Bram, the trio rose to international fame in the 1970s and 80s thanks to a series of acclaimed children’s albums and Sharon, Lois & Bram’s Elephant Show, which originally aired for five seasons on CBC and Nickelodeon. Lois Lilienstein retired from touring in 2000, followed by Morrison in 2018, leaving Sharon and Randi to build on the group’s legacy. (Lilienstein passed away in 2015.)
“When they were winding down, Bram was ready to move on to the next phase of his life, and my mom was not,” says Hampson. “People had been telling me for years that it was a natural fit for us to start performing together. We started booking touring dates, and all of our dates were either postponed or cancelled” due to the pandemic.
“We were doing Facebook Live concerts and really missing the audience interaction piece, and our publisher”—Jennifer Mitchell from Casablanca Media Publishing—“suggested that Side Door would be a really good place to host a virtual concert where we could actually interact with an audience. For us, it’s a grand experiment.”
Skinnamarink is a true family affair for the Hampsons. In addition to Sharon, Randi, and Bram taking the stage, the group will be joined by Randi’s sons Ethan and Elijah Ullmann, as well as long-time SLB collaborator Grant Slater. In total, a dozen musicians in all will take part in the concert, which will stream live from Randi’s back deck, weather permitting.
“Most of us are in the same bubble,” says Hampson. “I did get the tape measure out, though, to make sure that everyone could socially distance while still being seen. I spent a lot of time on that, and I’m very happy how it turned out.”
Hampson is also happy with her transition from manager to performer. For over 40 years she watched her mother and bandmates perform around the world for millions of fans—it’s a career few artists can rival. Singing Sharon, Lois & Bram’s classic songs comes naturally and keeps the band alive for years to come, which, as a daughter and lifelong member of the team, is important to her.
“You derive pleasure from the success of the people you love, and I also got to see that they were spreading pleasure everywhere they went,” she says. “Singing this music and keeping it alive for four generations is amazing. It’s easy to step into that role, and it feels really good to me.”
Written by Chuck Teed
Chuck Teed is a freelance writer based out of Saint John, New Brunswick. Primarily focusing on music and entertainment, Chuck's stories have appeared in The Coast, The Maritime Edit, and Huddle Today. When he's not pitching stories, Chuck is the executive director of InterAction School of Performing Arts, one of the largest performing arts schools on the east coast.