The Mother Folkers


The MoFos

According to Denver rock critic and historian Gil Asakawa, seeing the Mother Folkers, aka the MoFos, was “like watching the musical mix-and-match of the Band’s Last Waltz movie, only live, here in Denver.” With all women! Denver Folklore Center founder Harry Tuft always chuckled when repeating the act’s oft-quoted tag line…

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The Colorado Music Hall of Fame was proud to induct The Mother Folkers on November 9, 2019

“The Most Carefully Pronounced Name in Show Business.”

Over its forty-year evolution, the Mother Folkers produced countless concerts, released three recordings, appeared on a compilation album produced by Minnesota Public Radio, and created some of the most iconic musical events that folk music has offered in Colorado.

According to legend, Eileen Niehouse coined the name the Mother Folkers, which newspapers refused to print and deejays avoided saying on the air. But while the Colorado group was the first to use the name, members are quick to point out that the tradition is now followed by other bands that adopted their own versions, including Les Motherfolkeurs of Quebec, The Motherfolkers of Brazil and more Mother Folkers in Denmark, England and Kansas.

But the story of this group is the stunning talent and interests that each of the individual artists brought to the mix, everything from Tex-Mex to Celtic, contemporary jazz, South American folk songs and so much more.

The group was formed in 1973 at the Denver Folklore Center run by Tuft, with founding members Eileen Niehouse, Mary Flower, Mary Stribling, Kathi De Francis, Lynn Morris, Leigh Morris, Barbara Davidson, Bette White, JC Caldwell and Ruthie Allen.

Their Instruments included acoustic, dobro and electric guitars, piano, bass, saxophones, mandolin, concertina, marimba, hammered dulcimer, banjo, harmonica, autoharp, pennywhistle, accordion, violin, conga, cajón and snare drum, with additional percussion. The expert vocals ranged from stirring solos all the way to a large repertoire of full-group a cappella numbers with harmonies galore.


Offering a solid representation of original music in the genres of Americana, pop, rock, world, jazz, swing, bluegrass and blues with a touch of classical and New Orleans influences, as well as a liberal seasoning of traditional and cover songs, the group’s performances have evolved over its long lifespan, which included a twelve-year break in the early part of this century.

In concert, the dynamic combinations of performers and styles can go from a solo to a duo or quartet, then build to the full-band experience and dissolve again into an intimate trio setting.

No two MoFos shows are alike, and that is the magic and beauty of this pioneering, inventive and durable group of gregarious, high-level musicians.

Inducted alongside Swallow Hill Music

The Mother Folkers were inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame at a concert honoring the fortieth anniversary of Swallow Hill Music, which was also inducted. The lineup performing that night included Ellen Audley, Liz Barnez, Bonnie Carol, Angie DeFrancis, Mary Flower, Julie Hoest, Ellen Klaver, Rebecca Leonard, Barb (Morris) Davidson, Suzy Nelson, Eileen Niehouse, Mollie O’Brien, Bonnie Phipps, Pamela Robinson, Carla Sciaky, Deb Schmit-Lobis, Sumi Seacat, Mary Stribling, Vicki Taylor and Nondi (Leonard) Wernick. Bette (White) Rutherford joined the group to accept the award, then enjoyed the concert from the audience.

There is nothing quite like a Mother Folkers concert, which showcases some of the most accomplished and talented women in Colorado folk music today; we are lucky that these musicians call this state home. The Colorado Music Hall of Fame was proud to induct the Mother Folkers as part of the Hall of Fame class of 2019.

“The group’s performances has evolved over its long lifespan… no two MoFos shows are alike.”

Mother Folkers


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