Sheila Darling & Bill Johnston, acoustic music for body & mind.

Our microcosm

Bards of the Heath is a band in which Bill  plays music with John Goodluck, Jo Arcand, Peter Gosling and Des Hart. Predominantly folk, pagan and new age material and a niche live market at Mind Body Spirit fairs!


I have  a blog on which are posted a number of reviews which I have written for Mardles Magazine, and my general and specific musings therein on life the universe and forty two, a number lower than my actual years but twice my age in aspirational terms!


Here are some links to friendly music and dance oriented sites which will help you navigate a pleasurable time in Suffolk if you share our taste in traditional and roots music: In no particular order

Our friends at Peppery are champions for world music and promote events in Ipswich.

Bill is a musician and dances with East Suffolk Morris. On a good day, the premier East Anglian morris side,  every day a vibrant and diverse club side with over thirty members.

East Anglian Traditional Music Trust is a member of the folk arts network. See above for contact details. The trust organises Suffolk Melodeon Day and other events connected with its objects which are well organised and keenly attended .

Our friends Steve and Mary Dickinson run the Everyman Folk Club in Saxmundham, which has an excellent reputation among performers and customers nationwide. Steve makes Wheatstone concertinas. The club is linked within this site.


Is the web page for Bill's daughter Holly and her own musical journey. She is deservedly building a loyal following for her songs and music and Bill knocked out by the high quality of her output.

is the website of Chris Harvey who builds instruments and jigdolls. He built my 'dancing Bill' doll.

Suffolk Folk: is now an online chimera which nominally exists. The Mardles magazing has become a website at https:http:////

 The Musicians Union.  Membership is strongly recommended for any musician with an income from music even though the discounts for part timers have been removed. (Bill used to be a local committee member before recent restructuring of MU to a National/Regional organisation). Another option and cheaper is the Incorporated Society of Musicians at

Backwater Records is a local record label run by Steve Mann for which Bill's daughter Holly has recorded and has released a number of CDs.

Is the site for the travellers hostel at which we have stayed twice in Carcassonne. Janice Archery is a folk and dance enthusiast formerly from Southend and runs the hostel with her son. Highly recommended for a great break away, and a warm and enthusiastic welcome. Visit the site for more info and booking details. Cheap flights with Ryanair.

Is a link to the 'myspace' page of John Routledge who has taken some fantastic pictures of us and lots of other musicians within his sphere of interest, aside from which he is a thoroughly great guy and banjo picker. Thanks John.

Chameleonic Morris Men is the brainchild of David Brewster, melodeon maestro and all round cultured gent who takes a motley crew of Morris Men abroad once or twice a year to broaden the men's experience and enlighten the world regarding English traditional culture, or should that be the other way around. I have been priveliged to share in these adventures since 1995. Unbeatable fun.

Colin Fulton who used to run the Guitar Shop in Ipswich, has sold me some of my favourite guitars now builds his own guitars to customers specification and still finds time to undertake repair and restoration of guitars to a very high standard. He is a diamond geezer to boot! 07913797193



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