Early August 2005
It is just over a month since the last newsletter, and there seems to be lots to tell you about. Who says Summer is the slack season?
- DON WALLS IN PRINT. Virtually everyone who has visited the Folk Club in recent years will have heard and enjoyed the work of local poet Don Walls. Often devastatingly funny, often sharply perceptive (and often both at once), Don's readings have become a mainstay of our floor spot programme. He is also heard and enjoyed regularly at venues such as the First Hussar (Wednesdays) and The Crown, Hemingbrough (First Sundays). Don has released several recordings of his work in the past, but now for the first time 70 of his best poems have been published in book form. In The Shed is issued by Deadgood Publications at £6.95 (ISBN 095469371X), elegantly printed by our friend Dave Shaw at Abbey Print in Selby, with one of Don's own paintings on the front cover. Copies are on sale at Worm Holes Bookshop on Bootham and at Borders on Davygate, and of course Don will have copies with him on Thursday evenings. Worth every penny!
- AUGUST AT THE BLACK SWAN. A reminder that there is an American theme to some of August's programme at the Folk Club. This week, 4 August, our guests are Ken Keppeler and Jeanie McLerie, aka Bayou Seco , from New Mexico, USA. With their spirited mix of southern states roots music, this will be something a bit different from our usual fare: Cajun and Zydeco, Tex-Mex and Chicken Scratch, Spanish Colonial and Native American. If the reports I have heard are only half true, it should be a grand toe-tapping, spirit-raising evening.
Also close to the roots of US music are mother and son duo Sara Grey & Kieron Means , who guest on 18 August. Kieron is just about my favourite young male folk singer, with a hauntingly powerful voice and a great guitar style, while Sara is a well loved singer, storyteller and banjo player. They really get to the heart of Appalachian folk songs and country blues. I'm really looking forward to this one!
Our third guests of the month are young English duo Rosie Doonan & Ben Murray on 25 August. Rosie is the daughter of Mick Doonan (Hedgehog Pie) and grand-daughter of the late great John Doonan, while Ben (formerly with the band Tarras) is the son of Doonans bass player Phil Murray. Rosie and Ben grew up with a deep love for traditional music, but at the same time they each write songs with a strongly contemporary feel, with a mixed folk-jazz-pop ambience. If you listen to Mike Harding on Radio 2 you'll know there's a real buzz about these two at present.
- 3. AUTUMN CONCERT PROGRAMME COMPLETE. We have arranged one more concert for this Autumn at the National Centre for Early Music, bringing back to York the divine Emily Smith after her sensational Black Swan gig exactly a year ago. The full season looks like this:
- Friday 23 September: Niamh Parsons with Graham Dunne (£10/£8)
- Tuesday 1 November: Tanglefoot (£10/£8)
- Saturday 19 November: The Emily Smith Band (£12/£10)
- Wednesday 21 December: Waterson:Carthy & Friends (£15/£12.50)
- RADIO BRITFOLK ON THE WEB. There's news of an exciting initiative in folk broadcasting. www.radiobritfolk.co.uk went live on 1st July, offering ten hours plus of folk music radio on the world wide web each day. The product of careful planning by a group of internet-savvy professional folk musicians (including Tom Bliss, Kate Bramley and Jacey Bedford locally), Radio Britfolk aims to become a world-wide shop window for the folk music of the British Isles.
To quote their press release: "Imagine an on-line festival, with "main stage" shows, session-type shows and workshops, available 24 hours and offering a balance of traditional and new music, with all genres and styles represented". They continue: "This is a brand new project and as yet not all the features are complete, but we'll soon be playing 10-20 hours of music a day with the schedule changing each week. There are listings pages, an online shop, message board, reviews and more."
The site is free to listen to, but Friends (£2 per month) and Members (£5 per month) are being sought to help fund the venture in return for special privileges such as access to the programme archive and the message board. This splendid project could do wonders for the profile of folk and traditional music. Check it out, add it to your Favourites, listen in regularly and support it as much as you can.
- AND LOCAL RADIO FOLK. In all the fuss about Radio Britfolk, please don't forget North Yorkshire Folk on BBC Radio York, Wednesdays 7.05pm - 8pm (and also available through the Internet). Michael Brothwell has been picking a varied and enjoyable selection of studio guests. Indeed, I was so taken with some of the younger acts that I have booked three of them, Benjamin Wetherill, Fran Rodgers and David Broad, for a special Leeds Acoustic Showcase at the Black Swan on 8 December. Recent guests have included Susie Fox and Stan Graham, and even yours truly should be going into the studio soon to do a couple of "listener" chats.
- YORK LIBRARY SUPPORTS LOCAL MUSIC. York Library has come up with a great initiative to help local bands and musicians reach a wider audience. Simply donate a copy of your CD to the library and they will lend it out for free from a special Free Music display in the Library. Your music will be available for all library users to sample, so it could help you win new fans and bring more people along to your live gigs. There's a simple form to fill in and send with your CD (I have some copies in the club leaflet rack), or contact Helen Whitehead at the Central Library on 01904 552817, email@example.com . "Local" isn't defined, so I guess it means anyone living in the City of York and surrounding areas.
- RIPPLE WITH CAIN. Just space to draw one other tasty gig to your attention. Frequent Singers Night performer, singer/songwriter Miles Cain appears with his band at the Black Swan Inn this Saturday, 6 August. In support are acapella singers Ripple (formerly Voice Of The Water), as seen recently at the Folk Day and the Duos, Trios & Groups Special. It should be an excellent night, and all for just £3, payable on the door from 8pm. See you there!