4th January 2015
1. JANUARY GUESTS – KIERAN, FLOSSIE, ALLAN. This month brings three long-established and popular singers to our club room. Kieran Halpin (8th January) is a particularly hard-working artist who still tours relentlessly across Britain (and well beyond) even though he now lives in Germany. Irish by birth, he is an exceptional songwriter, widely covered by other artists, and he is a particularly dynamic and captivating stage performer – powerful, passionate, intimate and intense. This will be at least his fifteenth trip up the celebrated Black Swan staircase!
French singer Flossie Malavialle (15th January) became hooked on the folk scene when she came to Britain on a teacher exchange 15 years ago. She soon settled here and rapidly made a name for herself as an exuberant and entertaining character. Flossie has a great voice and an eclectic repertoire in both English and French, from Brel and Piaf through jazz standards to the works of modern folk and rock writers like Colum Sands or Bonnie Raitt. Her other hallmark is a delightfully wicked sense of humour on stage. This will be her third visit to the Black Swan.
This month sees the start of a Fifty Years on the Road tour by Allan Taylor (29th January). He will be visiting countries such as Germany, Holland, Denmark, Italy, Switzerland and Austria, as well as numerous parts of the UK, but begins close to home with this call in York. Allan’s anniversary year follows the success of his latest CD All is One, which has been hailed as a masterpiece by critics. He certainly ranks amongst our most literate and accomplished craftsman songwriters and he is a superbly flawless performer, his smooth, dark voice instantly recognisable and his guitar playing intricate yet full-sounding.
Tickets for each of these nights are £10 full or £9 concessions, bookable in advance through www.wegottickets.com or available on the door if not all pre-sold. MCs are respectively Stan Graham, Eddie Affleck and Chris Euesden.
2. YORK’S WINTER FOLK DAY – SUNDAY 1st FEBRUARY. Once again we are hosting a showcase event for York-based singers and bands during the annual York Residents Festival. The date this year is Sunday 1st February and our Winter Folk Day will comprise afternoon (2.00-5.30) and evening (7.30-10.30) concerts in the Black Swan Inn function room. These will be entirely free to York Card holders, meaning that you can come and go as you wish, staying for half an hour or a whole session, and maybe even returning several times during the day. Non-residents will also be admitted, space permitting, for a token charge of £3 full or £2 concessions, children free.
Running order during the afternoon is Leather’o (2.00), Judith Haswell (2.30), Eddie Affleck (3.00), Solar Union (3.30), Fake Thackray (4.00), Toni Bunnell (4.30) and Union Jill (5.00), then in the evening we present Chris Euesden (7.30), The A-Rhythmics (8.00), Paula Ryan (8.30), Ian Pybus & Anne Curran (9.00), Phil Cerny (9.30) and Elaine Wallace & Friends (10.00). Do come along and check things out at some point during the day.
3. FEBRUARY GUESTS – YOUNG PERFORMERS, PATSY REID, FIL & TOM. Next month’s schedule includes our annual New Roots Young Performer Double Bill on 5th February. This year we combine a singer and guitarist from Hertfordshire called Kelly Oliver with a five piece band from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, Project Jam Sandwich. Kelly began her career particularly influenced by Irish folk music but is increasingly writing her own material and picking up a lot of admirers along the way. By contrast, the band play world music “from Bulgaria to S. Africa to Scotland” and concoct “a captivating set of exhilarating improvisations, scorching rhythms and beautiful melodies”. Each act does two sets in the course of the evening, with no floor singers other than an “ice-breaker” spot by the MC, in this case Chris Euesden. Tickets are £8 or £7 concessions.
The following week, 12th February, we are delighted to host a performance by Patsy Reid.
After first cutting her teeth with Breabach (as seen at NCEM), Patsy has become one of Britain’s most in-demand fiddle players, appearing in the Cecil Sharp Project, Northumbrian Voices and many other contexts. Recent solo release The Brightest Path displayed her vocal skills as well as her virtuoso playing and was chosen by Songlines magazine for its list of 10 Essential Scottish Albums. With a small group of accompanists, she calls at York on a short English tour. This one should be a real treat. Tickets are £12 (£11 concessions) through WeGotTickets.
Our final club guests next month are the popular Northern Irish couple Fil Campbell & Tom McFarland, on 26th February, then March onwards brings us artists of the calibre of The Green Bartley Band, Roger Davies, Miranda Sykes & Rex Preston and Ben Bedford. You can now find details of all our guests right through to the end of July on the club website, with booking now available for events to the end of May at www.wegottickets.com. Much the same period is covered by the new club brochure, which goes to the printers tomorrow.
4. RUTH KEGGIN AT BARLEY HALL – MANX MUSIC & SONG. Once again we are collaborating with the Jorvik Viking Festival during February half term week, presenting a very special musical event at Barley Hall off Stonegate on Monday 16th February. This will be an evening of music and song from the Isle of Man, performed by singer (in Manx Gaelic and English) and flautist Ruth Keggin and her accompanists David Pearce on guitar and Vanessa McWilliam on double bass.
With groups such as Barrule, there is a revival in Manx folk culture underway at present, and Ruth Keggin is part of that movement. Her 2014 debut album Sheear received widespread critical acclaim, such as from BBC Radio 3’s Mary Ann Kennedy, who said “Ruth Keggin is the pure and passionate Gaelic voice of the Manx musical renaissance. Sheear is a thing of beauty which makes the circle of British folk music tradition whole.” Ruth, Vanessa and David all studied music at the University of York and were part of student folk band Nish As Rish, who filled our club room to bursting point one memorable night in August 2013.
This will be unique acoustic concert in the very atmospheric setting of medieval Barley Hall. There are only around 45 seats available, so early booking is advised, on 01904 615505 or atwww.jorvikbookings.com. Doors open at 7pm for a 7.30 start and tickets are £14 and £12.
5. SINGERS NIGHT FUN. Just a reminder that have an “open house” Singers & Musicians Night at least once a month, with the latest coming up on 22nd January and hosted by Phil Cerny. The late November one of these particularly lived up to the latter part of the name, with melodeon, hammered dulcimer, hurdy-gurdy and Scottish small pipes all in evidence alongside the more customary selection of singer/guitarists and unaccompanied singers. In truth, ALL acoustic performers are welcome to come along and take part – the more the merrier – and humble listeners are needed too.
Next month’s Singers & Musicians Night, on 19th February, should be particularly lively as we are promised a visit by members of Folkestra, the youth folk ensemble based at Sage Gateshead, who are in York for a collaborative project with The Carnival Band at the Early Music Centre the next night. See item 17 below.
6. COMING SOON AT THE NCEM. The forthcoming Spring Season at the Early Music Centre has three concerts promoted by us, all by female acts. The Poozies come first, on 24th March, with an extra buzz created by the presence in their ranks of founder member Sally Barker, who reached the finals of BBC TV’s The Voice last year, championed by Sir Tom Jones. The trio Lady Maisery (5th May) and Emily Smith (22nd May) follow, while the NCEM themselves have also organised several other folk concerts – see item 17 below. Box Office is already open at www.ncem.co.uk or on 01904 658338 for some events and the rest will follow within a few days, as will the centre’s new glossy brochure.
7. BON VOYAGE, GOFF. Just a few days ago I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of Goff Sherburn. He was one of the nicest, most decent blokes you could ever hope to know and will be much missed. Together with his wife Eileen, Goff was a fixture of the East Yorkshire folk scene for as long as I can remember. They ran the folk club in Goole for many years (which was responsible for their son Chris taking up the concertina as a child and later becoming a professional musician) and until old age crept in they were often to be seen visiting other clubs such as the Black Swan. By trade Goff was a bargeman on the canals and waterways around Goole and in later life he was heavily involved in the Yorkshire Waterways Museum. I found a fascinating recent video in which Goff and a colleague reminisce about the “Tom Pudding” coal barges on which they used to work. See www.youtube.com/watch?v=
8. STAN’S FRAGILE CD NOW AVAILABLE. I first trailed the forthcoming CD by our resident songsmith Stan Graham way back in August (E-News 178). After various delays, mostly around artwork and packaging, Fragile was finally released in December. It contains 15 of Stan’s excellent songs, most of which have been well aired at the folk club over recent times. Guest musicians include Anna Massie, Stewart Hardy and Jamie McClennan, with some backing vocals by Emily Smith. Stan is making copies available for sale at club meetings at the bargain price of just £6.
9. FUNDS RAISED FOR HEART RESEARCH. I am happy to report that the raffle at our recent Christmas Party, augmented by the sale of some CDs kindly donated by Stan Graham, raised £66 for Heart Research UK’s “Sing for your Heart” appeal. Thanks everybody.
10. PUB AND CLUB PRAISED ON FACEBOOK. Gavin Davenport was supported at his recent club appearance by his father Paul, who subsequently posted on Facebook "the pub itself is a star in the show. Extraordinary tromp l'oeil panelling in the upstairs room, massive open fireplace with iron dogs in the bar and the fabulous Oak Room. Absolutely beautiful pub and very enthusiastic Landlord who gave us a great welcome. Thanks to Roland too for running such a great club."
11. MARTIN & ELIZA’S POLL SUCCESS. Martin Carthy’s visit to the club last month came just a day or two before the results were announced of the annual fRoots Critics Poll for Album of 2014, which was awarded to Martin & Eliza Carthy for their first ever duo CD The Moral Of The Elephant. Eliza can be seen in York in late May – see item 17 below. Other poll placings of note were Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker (club guests last June), in fourth place with new release Nothing Can Bring Back The Hour, recent NCEM concert guest Nancy Kerr in eleventh place with Sweet Visitor, and local favourites The Young ’Uns ranked eighteenth with Never Forget. Amongst the runners up were Maz O’Connor, Emily Smith and Pete Coe & Alice Jones.
12. YORK IRISH NEWS. Watch out for a St. Patrick's Weekend Irish Festival in York, 14th & 15th March, when celebrations will include music, dance, talks, food and drink. The programme will be announced shortly – check www.facebook.com/yorkirish for details. 2015 looks like being a good year in York for all things Irish, including several Irish guests coming to the folk club, beginning with Kieran Halpin this week (as mentioned above) and continuing with Fil Campbell & Tom McFarland from Co Down (26th February), flautist Jacquelyn Hynes and her trio (2nd April), the mighty Andy Irvine (23rd April) and Colum Sands (14th May).
OTHER EVENTS IN YORK
13. 10th JANUARY – FIDDLE WORKSHOP AT RED COW. Next Saturday (10th) Red Cow Music on Goodramgate hosts a free folk fiddle workshop. It starts at 11.30am and is aimed at all fiddle learners, particularly those interested in playing in a ceilidh band context. Tutors are Abi Sutton and Paul Young. And incidentally, Red Cow is now having a January sale, with 10% off many of its acoustic instruments and accessories.
14. 6th FEBRUARY – DAN WEBSTER CD LAUNCH. Stalwart of the local acoustic music scene, Dan Webster and his band head to City Screen Basement Bar on Friday 6th February for the launch of new CD The Tin Man. There are also several “special guests” on the bill and tickets are just £4 in advance from City Screen Box Office, or £5 on the door.
15. 7th FEBRUARY – STORYTELLING FESTIVAL. There is a Day of Story on Saturday 7th February, as part of National Storytelling Week, with events devoted to all aspects of storytelling, for all ages, at the Friends Meeting House on Friargate. Participants include Jim Pickles, Adrian Spendlow, Ali Morgan and organiser Helen Sant. Find full programme and booking details atwww.yorkfestivalstory.co.uk.
16. 20th FEBRUARY & OTHER DATES – KITTY BRIDGES’ POCKET BOOK OF TUNES. “Inspired by the poem and folk music found in a small pocket book from 1745”, this is a new comic drama with music, performed by Hannah Davies with music from multi-instrumentalists Paul Baldwin and Moira Clarke of North Yorkshire folk group Over The Yardarm. They promise “a lively mix of storytelling, poetry and song, with handpicked melodies for dancing and cavorting. The evening will end with an opportunity to try some (very simple) dances from the era, to the music from the play. Bring your dancing shoes!”
York performances take place in three disparate settings, namely The Gillygate Pub on Friday 20th February, Fairfax House on Saturday 7th March and Caffé Nero on Friday 27th March. Further afield there are performances at Dunnington Village Hall (21st February), Stokesley Town Hall (27th February) Thornton-le-Clay Village Hall (6th March), The Fauconberg Arms Coxwold (21st March), Great Ayton Parochial Hall (4th April) and Helmsley Arts Centre (16th May). Find out more at www.cgtheatre.co.uk.
17. NON-FOLK CLUB CONCERTS AT THE NCEM. As well as our own three concerts this season (see item 6 above), the National Centre for Early Music hosts a larger than usual number of other folk-related events in coming months. First up is Folk/Early Music crossover outfit The Carnival Band, who present a themed show of Seventeenth Century ballads called Scandal, Sensation and Sweet Musickon Friday 20th February, alongside Folkestra, the Sage Gateshead’s youth folk ensemble. “Tales of roguish soldiers, glamorous royals, feisty women, brutal husbands, ghosts and dragons are set to the most hummable tunes from a golden age of English music”, it says here.
Future highlights include Mike McGoldrick, John McCusker & John Doyle on Wednesday 4th March, Maddy Prior with Giles Lewin and Hannah James on 21st April, Eliza Carthy & Tim Eriksen on Sunday 31st May and Peggy Seeger on Saturday 20th June. The Carnival Band show is already open for booking at www.ncem.co.uk or on 01904 658338, with the rest to follow very soon.
18. VICFEST TAKES SHAPE (& LOSES WEIGHT!), 20th-22nd FEBRUARY. More details are emerging of the mini folk festival announced a while ago for the Victoria Hotel, Heslington Road, over the weekend of 20th-22nd February. There will be half hour performance spots throughout Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday, using PA in the bar, plus a few longer features. Artists taking part include Martin Heaton, John Teesdale, Sue Burgess, Phil Pipe, Fake Thackray and Graham Hodge, plus some of our own Black Swan “residents” such as David Swann, John Storey, Paula Ryan and Simon Alexander.
Friday and Saturday evenings will end with general sessions, and Sunday evening will be taken up by the regular bi-monthly New Acoustic Singaround. The whole weekend is free, but regular collections will be taken in aid of Yorkshire Air Ambulance, who will have a stall at the event. Organiser Tony Haynes is also on a sponsored slim at present, in aid of the Air Ambulance, aiming to lose at least a stone by the festival weekend – you can sponsor him by texting to 07708 970083!
19. POPPLETON LIVE – FESTIVAL UPDATE. Planning for the music festival in Poppleton in early May are now in full swing, and a dedicated website has been set up at www.poppletonlive.co.uk. As previously announced, Fairport Convention headline on Friday 8th and Ralph McTell on Saturday 9th, with Jez Lowe, The Grand Old Uke of York and others now revealed as appearing during the Saturday afternoon. Other (non-folk) events have been added on other nights as well. Tickets will available shortly through the website.
EVENTS AROUND THE REGION
20. MAMBO JAMBO & MORE IN EAST YORKS. Will Richardson’s Hunsley Acoustic in East Yorkshire begins its new season with a charity concert on Saturday 17th January at the Village Hall in Elloughton, featuring Mambo Jambo with support from ukulele band Tenfoot Ukes. The concert will include a music quiz and a raffle, with all profits being divided between three local good causes. The Red Dirt Skinners appear at the same venue on Saturday 7th February. Both concerts start at 8pm and you can find out more from Will on 01482 665656 or at www.msmm.org.uk.
21. BLUES AND FOLK ROCK IN HOWDEN. British blues legends Paul Jones & Dave Kelly appear at the Shire Hall in Howden on Saturday 31st January and Celtic folk rockers Roving Crows are at the same venue on Saturday 18th April. See www.howden-live.com for info.
22. NEW SEASON AT SELBY TOWN HALL. Prompt off the block with details of his new season at Selby Town Hall is Arts Officer Chris Jones. Recently returned to the stage after a 40 year absence, legendary Canadian folk singer Bonnie Dobson is there on Saturday 14th February, with a band which includes Ben Paley (seen at the Black Swan in 2013 with the Long Hill Ramblers) and pedal steel maestro B J Cole. Cara Dillon follows on Friday 20th February, then there is a long gap so far as folk music is concerned before Newfoundland group The Dardanelles on Saturday 30th May. Also of interest may be bluesman Mud Morgenfield, aka Muddy Waters Jr, on Monday 4th May, and a Mike Harding poetry event on Sunday 24th May. Find out more at www.selbytownhall.co.uk.
23. AND AT OTLEY COURTHOUSE. The Courthouse Arts Centre in Otley has likewise announced its new season programme, and they also have a folk concert on Saturday 14th February in the shape of Leveret, the new instrumental trio comprising Andy Cutting, Sam Sweeney and Rob Harbron. The Luke Daniels Trio follow on Saturday 7th March and “alt-folk” band Blueflint on Sunday 29th March. Scottish fiddle quartet Rant (featuring Jenna Reid) are there on Easter Monday 6th April, with more Scottish music from Chris Stout & Catriona McKay on Friday 1st May. The website iswww.otleycourthouse.org.uk.
24. UNTHANKS ON THE ROAD. After a low-profile year in 2014, The Unthanks return to the fray with a new CD and a tour featuring a 10 piece ensemble. Dates in our region include Sheffield Town Hall on Saturday 28th February and Leeds Irish Centre on Tuesday 10th March.
25. MARCH FOLK WEEKEND IN DRIFFIELD. Headlining this year’s Moonbeams Winter Gathering of Folk are Blackbeard’s Tea Party, with supporting cast including Bob Fox, Les Barker, Blair Dunlop, Dan Walsh and recent Black Swan club guests Plumhall. York singers David Ward Maclean, Carol Henderson and Andy Stones are also booked. The dates are Friday 6th and Saturday 7th March at the Bell Hotel in Driffield. The summer festival will be on 10th & 11th July at Wold Top Brewery, and also to look forward to is a concert by The Young ‘Uns on Friday 1st May. Full details atwww.moonbeamsevents.co.uk.
26. NORWEGIAN FIDDLING AT SETTLE. .I’ve been asked to pass on details of an event in Settle on Saturday 7th March. This is an all-day Norwegian fiddle workshop with “one of Norway’s foremost traditional musicians” Sturla Eide, followed by an evening concert. “The workshop is aimed at competent fiddlers”, they say “though no knowledge of Norwegian music is required. Learn from one of Norway's most accomplished players and explore not just the tunes but also the playing techniques.” It runs from 10am until 4.30pm at the Friends Meeting House, is limited to 25 participants and costs £28, while the evening concert is across the road at Victoria Hall. For further details, contact Elaine Hill on 01729 825765 or firstname.lastname@example.org, while booking is through the Victoria Hall Box Office on 01729 825718
That’s all for now! My next bulletin will probably be in early February. Meanwhile, I wish you all a happy and peaceful New Year and hope that you will resolve to continue making and supporting live music during 2015.