Sheffield Tramlines hope for Hollywood actor Peter Stormare to pay tribute to city psychedelic music duo Ramases

A Hollywood actor wants to come to Sheffield’s Tramlines festival to pay tribute to a 1970s city psychedelic duo who believed they were descended from ancient Egyptians.

By Julia Armstrong
Friday, 6th May 2022, 9:33 am

Peter Stormare has appeared in dozens of films such as The Big Lebowski, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Fargo and 22 Jump Street, often cast as the villain.

He is also a musician who has his own record label, StormVox.

Peter first came across the music of Sheffield band Ramases as a young man in his home country Sweden in 1973. He says their debut album Space Hymns had a big effect on him, connecting with his spiritual side.

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An image of Sheffield music duo Ramases and Selket which features on Hollywood actor Peter Stormare's box set of their music

Ramases was formed by Sheffield-born musician Barrington Frost and his wife Dorothy Laflin, who took the name Selket.

They lived in the city until Barrington, who was then known as Ramases, tragically committed suicide.

The band Ramases recorded two albums – the second was called Glass Top Coffin and the third, Sky Lark, never got past the demo stage because of Ramases’ death.

Peter says that around 20 years ago Ramases appeared to him in a dream and said: “Find Selket!”. He told him to bring the music back to life.

A 1970s newspaper cutting about Sheffield 1970s psychedelic music duo Ramases and Selket, talking about how they believed they were descended from ancient Egyptians

That led to Peter placing adverts in British newspapers, one of which was spotted by Dorothy’s brother, Derek. After Ramases’ death she had left the music business and moved back to her native Suffolk, adding to the mystique around the band among psych music fans.

‘It’s still around and very popular in psychedelic circles’

The pair met and collaborated on re-recordings of some of the music and worked on some new songs together. Peter brought out a complete six-CD discography of Ramases’ music in 2013, including remastered versions of the albums, singles and rarities.

Peter also worked with Salford-based Philip Lisberg, the son of Harvey Lisberg. Harvey was a successful talent agent, manager of music acts such as Herman’s Hermits, music impresario and even a snooker manager.

Dorothy Laflin, once known as Selket, posing in front of the famous Hollywood sign with film actor Peter Stormare, who has rerecorded the music of Sheffield music duo Ramases. Dorothy's late husband Barrington Frost renamed himself after the Egyptian pharaoh

He also worked with another South Yorkshire music star, Tony Christie.

Harvey, who had a stake in Strawberry Studios in Stockport, recalls that Ramases and Selket turned up to his flat in Park Lane, London in 1969, declared themselves to be reincarnations of Egyptian gods and asked to work with him.

He was amazed but liked their music and got them recording with Strawberry’s session musicians, who would later become a band themselves - 10cc.

It’s just another quirky twist in a fascinating story.

Dorothy Laflin wearing one of her original Selket costumes from when she was one half of Sheffield-based psychedelic duo Ramases. She appeared at a special Strawberry Studios Forever event, celebrating the Stockport recording studio where Ramases made two records in the 1970s

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Philip recently visited Peter in Hollywood and the star kindly agreed to a phone interview. He said he decided to work on Ramases’ music because he loved it and was influenced by him.

"It’s still around and very popular in psychedelic circles – it’s very American 60s, 70s style.”

He said that the box set was a labour of love that took around six years to complete.

After meeting up, he and Dorothy became firm friends and recently they decided to work alongside Philip on some new recordings.

‘It’s like a Buddha message that Earth is connected with our souls’

Dorothy Laflin (Selket) and Philip Lisberg, left, on a visit last year to see the Bears of Sheffield. City artist Tom Newell, right, named his bear Quasar One, after Ramases' song. Tom is holding a copy of the Ramases album Space Hymns which featured the track

“We thought why not try to do a couple of songs and maybe write some new material and release it digitally?" said Peter.

One of their ambitions is to perform the music live in the city where it all began and Tramlines is the obvious choice. Peter said he’d also been talking to the Leadmill.

He said: “I’ve done my share of live performances and dabbled in music. I find it more rewarding to do movies and TV.”

Peter said that Ramases was very forward thinking about issues such as damage to the environment and wants to get his ideas heard again through the music.

“It’s very inspirational for a metaphysical reason and a spiritual one. It’s like a Buddha message that Earth is connected with our souls and our souls are connected with the universe.

“If we destroy that connection, something will get broken. If we can restore some of the message ourselves by trying to do a couple of songs, it’s worth the fight. We can change the world.”

He added: “He had a very positive message: if you want to change the world, start with yourself. Get a little group of people and talk to them, get their minds set on other things than go to the pub, save up some money and buy a new car.

“It takes a little effort to be part of a bigger thing in the universe. It’s a challenge. If we can do this for a couple of years, it’s going to be so amazing.”