14th July 2013
1. SALVATION JANE - ACAPELLA SONGBIRDS FROM OZ. Our club guests this week (18th July) will be a real treat, a 5 woman vocal group on tour from Australia called Salvation Jane. With soaring vocals, exquisite harmonies and lashings of silliness and laughter, Tess Lewis, Penny Larkins, Anna Fletcher, Jenny Szery and Rose Sexton promise to bring a smile to your face and perhaps an occasional tear to the eye.
Salvation Jane burst onto the folk scene in the early 1990's, primarily focussing on a cappella bluegrass, folk and gospel. They wowed audiences across their native Australia and on several UK tours, continuing with various changes in personnel until the demands of family life took over in 1996. Happily, they decided last year to get back together, reviving old favourites and bringing in some stunning new material in a range of styles, plus the occasional bit of guitar or ukulele backing. They still sounded fabulous and each member returned to the group with a wealth of new experience.
One early reviewer wrote: "reunited after 16 years, these five women reminded the audience from the very first note that those magnificent voices were (still) there (with) their towering harmonies…they sang, some with eyes closed, others with heads thrown back, at times with glittering intensity and at others with gay abandon, but all of one voice. (It was) a display of acapella mastery.”
I’ve been lucky enough to hear and hugely enjoy Salvation Jane’s comeback CD. If you’d like a taster of their fine singing and eclectic repertoire, have a listen athttp://www.reverbnation.com/salvationjanereunited then you’ll surely want to come along on Thursday and see them in action. They are in Britain for most of July, doing a mix of festivals and concerts, and we are very lucky to have them at our small venue. They are not doing it “for the money” but inevitably five people on tour from the other side of the world have a lot of expenses. Entry will be £9 full or £7 concessions and a straight 90% of that will be passed on to the band, so the more of you the better! Doors open at 8pm as usual and Eddie Affleck acts as MC.
2. EDDIE’S FAREWELL APPEARANCE. That great guitar picker, singer and all-round entertainer Eddie Walker has long been one of our firm favourites. On about a dozen occasions he has brought us his seamless blend of old blues, rags and hillbilly numbers, traditional and modern British and American folk songs, guitar instrumentals and originals. However, Eddie is shortly to retire from active touring, as he explains on his website: “this will be my last year on the road solo, full-time touring to folk clubs and the like. The idea of retiring a wee bit is calling out to me. From 2014 I won’t have stopped playing altogether, but I will not be chasing after the regular touring work.”
He goes on “already there have been some great shows throughout Britain and I say thank you to all those people turning up and giving their good wishes for the future. I thought I really would have had a fairly quiet time in my last 12 months but that is not the case. If the second half of the year is as good as the first then please bring it on! I’m covering a lot of Wales and Scotland and getting to some of the best folk events in the calendar, as well as a few of my regular and favourite places on home territory around North East England including Saltburn, North Shields, York and Cramlington.”
The York show is on 25th July, with Phil Cerny as MC and tickets £8 full or £6.50, on the door or in advance through www.wegottickets.com. Don’t miss it.
3. FULL AUGUST PROGRAMME. Unlike most other English folk clubs, we maintain a full programme right through the summer season, even including August, and this summer is no exception. August has five Thursdays this year, so the month is topped and tailed with Singers Nights (1st & 29th), while between those we have the disparate talents of Rebekah Findlay (8th), The Young ‘Uns (15th) and Nish As Rish (22nd). Rebekah is a distinctive and atmospheric singer from North Yorkshire, playing both originals and old folk songs with guitar and fiddle accompaniment, while Nish As Rish are a quintet of former York University students specialising in Celtic music with fiddle, flute, guitar, bass and percussion. Sean, David and Michael, aka The Young ‘Uns, have a burgeoning nationwide reputation for their close harmony arrangements and irreverent sense of humour. They are regulars on the festival circuit these days, but just as good in an intimate club setting. Tickets for all guest shows should be available on the door but can be pre-booked online if you wish.
4. IAIN MATTHEWS JOINS OUR AUTUMN LINE-UP. We’ve made a late addition to our autumn club schedule, in order to present an entirely solo performance by one of my personal all-time favourite singers,Iain Matthews. That will be a Sunday Special on 20th October. With a 45 years (and more) career that takes in early Fairport Convention, Matthews Southern Comfort, Plainsong and countless other projects, both solo and collaborative, Iain has written an entire library of great songs, while he retains one of the purest and most evocative voices in the business. It will be a real pleasure to have him sing for us in the intimate “up close” setting of the Black Swan function room.
Other autumn guest lined up for you include Lucy Ward, The Long Hill Ramblers, Maz O’Connor, Clive Carroll, Tom Lewis and 4Square. Blast From The Past return with “A Brief History of Music”, Dick Gaughan will do his customary two-night stand in early December and our season finale comes from Brooks Williams. Full dates can be found on the club website and booking will open in early September.
5. THE BEST OF ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND IN CONCERT. We only have two concert promotions at the NCEM this autumn, but they should both be crackers, showcasing top acts from England and Scotland respectively. Faustus appear on Friday 27th September, and comprise Saul Rose on melodeon (Waterson:Carthy, Warhorse), Benji Kirkpatrick on guitar (Seth Lakeman Band, Bellowhead) and Paul Sartin on fiddle and oboe (Bellowhead, Belshazzar’s Feast), with all three of them singing. Following a two-year break, Faustus recently returned to the fray with an acclaimed new CD and a series of tours. Saul, Benji and Paul have vast musical ability and experience and share a deep love of traditional folk song. With new local outfit Rakish (their name now shortened from Rakish Collier) doing the support, this will be a great show. Tickets are now on sale at £14 full or £12 concessions from www.ncem.co.uk or on 01904 658338.
Voted Best Folk Band in the 2012 Scots Trad Music Awards, Breabach are now one of the most celebrated and successful groups north of the border, and they return to York on Wednesday 30th October. Fronted by the bagpipes and whistles of Calum MacCrimmon and James Duncan Mackenzie and the fiddle, step-dance and lead vocals of Megan Henderson, and underpinned by James Lindsay’s double bass and Ewan Robertson’s guitar, Breabach command the stage with flare, charisma and a sound that is as expansive as it is distinct. Their repertoire effortlessly fuses traditional and contemporary, songs and instrumentals, displaying passion for their musical heritage alongside eagerness to explore and challenge boundaries. Booking for this one will open in late August or early September.
6. 2014 – SUGGESTIONS WELCOME. Our diary for the first half of 2014 is filling steadily with both club guests and concert artists. Amongst those booked for the Black Swan are Jackie Oates, Dan McKinnon, Pilgrim’s Way, The James Brothers (James Fagan & Jamie McClennan), Alistair Anderson & Dan Walsh, The Askew Sisters, Tom McConville and that rescheduled date for Jeff Warner. Concert events include O’Hooley & Tidow, Vin Garbutt and Heidi Talbot. There are still some gaps, however, and we are always open to suggestions. Is there anyone you would particularly like to see next year at the Black Swan or at the NCEM, either as a debut visitor or as a return booking? Feel free to drop me a line.
7. FOLK MUSIC ON AIR – SHEFFIELD ADDENDUM. In the last E-News I gave a rundown of folk and roots programmes on air and/or on the internet. Dave Eyre of Sheffield gently reminds me to add his showThank Goodness It's Folk. This is broadcast live to “Britain's fourth largest city” every Friday morning (10.00am – Noon) on 93.2 FM and to the rest of the world on www.sheffieldlive.org. The show is archived and can be found online as a podcast. It also has a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/groups/264474966918805/. With Dave himself away, I note that last week’s programme was co-hosted by our own fairly recent club guest Kirsty Bromley.
OTHER YORK EVENTS
8. TIM ERIKSEN AT THE GUILDHALL. A reminder that New England's Tim Eriksen appears at York Guildhall on Friday 26th July, in an event organised by the Arts Barge Project, www.theartsbargeproject.com. Doors will open at 7:30pm for 8:00pm and tickets priced at £8 and £10 are on sale through York Theatre Royal.
9. COURGETTES VOLUNTEER FOR ACTION. That excellent local outfit King Courgette write “we’ve been playing in a lot of fields recently, this being festival season and all; but we decided it was about time we had a proper hoedown in a place with shelter from the elements, reasonably priced cold beer, reliable flushing toilets and everything”. That’ll be the Volunteer Arms on Watson Street on Saturday 27th July and is a free gig.
EVENTS FURTHER AFIELD
10. JULY 23rd IN SHEFFIELD. Sing-Folk-Speak 2013 takes place from 7.30pm at The Greystones, S11 7BS. “This year’s Sing-Folk-Speak focuses on what folk songs tell us about life in the city and the countryside” says organiser Alex Broadhead. Nancy Kerr and last week’s Black Swan guest Ray Hearne will provide the songs, and they will be joined in conversation by the general public and academics from the Universities of Sheffield and Liverpool. Admission is free. There is a website at http://singfolkspeak.wordpress.com.
11. AUGUST 2nd-4th IN BARNSLEY. Madfest 2013 promises “three days of folk music, street theatre entertainment, spoken word, craft stalls and real ale” at the Elsecar Heritage Centre near Barnsley. Amongst the headline singers and bands appearing are Carthy Hardy Farrell & Young, Capercaillie, Larkin Poe and Emily Smith, while the strong supporting cast includes the likes of Mambo Jambo and Gilmore & Roberts. Booking is through the Barnsley Civic Theatre www.barnsleycivic.co.uk.
12. AUGUST 9th IN REETH. Lucy Ward, one of the best young talents around, appears at the Memorial Hall. Tickets are £8 in advance from www.reethmemorialhall.co.uk or £10 on the door. Lucy will of course be with us at the Black Swan on 3rd October.
13. AUGUST 9th – 11th IN SALTBURN. A reminder that the annual folk festival takes place over the weekend of 9th-11th August at various venues in this lovely Victorian seaside resort, with a very full guest list. See www.saltburnfolkfestival.com for details.
14. AUGUST 17th-23rd IN WHITBY. The annual FOLK WEEK happens this year from 17th to 23rd August with the usual cast of thousands. Find out more at www.whitbyfolk.co.uk.
15. AUGUST 25th IN BIELBY. Advertised as “probably the smallest festival in the world”, Bielby Music Festival, aka The Picnic, takes place on Bank Holiday Sunday from 3pm to 10.30pm, with a line up which includes Edwina Hayes, Snake Davis, various rock bands and a community brass band. Bielby is near Pocklington, with the festival site at YO42 4JL. Contact Ian Simpson for more details,firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets are £10 adult or £5 for children. There will be a bar and other stalls but take your own picnic.
16. SEPTEMBER 15th IN HELPERBY. As part of the Ripon International Festival, The Carnival Band pays a welcome return to Helperby Village Hall at 7.30pm. Sometimes referred to as 'Henry VIII's Rock 'n' Roll Band', and known in folk circles for their work with Maddy Prior, they promise “an entertaining and illuminating portrayal in music and song of the love hate relationship between England and France down the centuries”. Tickets are £15 (students and children £10) from the Festival box office: 01765 603994 and website www.riponinternationalfestival.com.
That’s all for now! Enjoy the fine summer weather but do mix it up with some good live music. I’ll be back sometime in August with a further bulletin.