Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 124

Early November 2010

 Another hurried mailing to remind you about our club activities for the rest of this month.



1.        THIS TUESDAY – FINNEGAN, O’ROURKE & Co AT NCEM.  There are still plenty of tickets left for this Tuesday night’s concert (9th November) at the Early Music Centre by new Celtic “supergroup” KAN.  This band is so new they have yet to release an album, but its members have certainly got pedigree.  Here is some information drawn from the web:


Brian Finnegan (flute)

Brian Finnegan, from Armagh in the north of Ireland, is widely regarded as one of the true pioneers in Irish music.  Front man with Flook for over 13 years, this maverick flute and tin whistle player toured the world and recorded three highly acclaimed albums with the band.  Collecting awards and a huge fan base wherever they toured, Flook were crowned BBC Band Of The Year 2006.  Three times during their career they filled the house at NCEM.


Brian's music is forged from both his native tradition and his love of a wider musical tapestry. His travelling and touring in India and Eastern Europe had a deep and profound effect on his talent as a composer, hinted at early on with the release of his first CD, 'When The Party's Over' in 1993.  In 2008 he was commissioned by The Sage Gateshead to compose a piece for the opening of 'The Eighth Bridge', a major art installation across the River Tyne.  He has toured and recorded with many artistes including Kate Rusby and Cara Dillon, and just this year released another acclaimed solo CD.


'He stands out, in a nation of wonderful flute players, as much more than a technical virtuoso, his playing having the freewheeling lightness of touch and inspired musical understanding that flows into improvisation in real time, at reel speed.'   Norman Chalmers, The List


Aidan O'Rourke (fiddle)

Both as a fiddler and a composer, Aidan O’Rourke ranks with the foremost Scottish musicians of his generation, deeply rooted in tradition while audaciously expanding its parameters.  A founder member of top folk acts Lau and Blazin’ Fiddles, he has also released two outstanding solo albums, Sirius (2006) and An Tobar (2008), as well as featuring on more than 80 recordings by other artists.  His original compositions, including a string of high-profile commissions, have won widespread acclaim for their innovative synthesis of diverse musical styles.  With his sublime technical and expressive command, forged both from his rich native heritage and an incorrigible appetite for fresh musical adventure, O’Rourke is truly a world-class talent.  He has appeared at NCEM in the past with both Blazin’ Fiddles and Lau


“Few contemporary musicians in any category can match either his artistic ambitions or his achievements in bringing them to fruition”  The Scotsman


Ian Stephenson (guitar)

This hugely regarded multi-instrumentalist (originally from the Selby area) is leading a new wave of modern accompanists who bring a driving contemporary feel to traditional music.  Since sharing the BBC Young Folk award in 1999 with the band 422, he has played all over the world with such folk as Kathryn Tickell, Chris Stout, Jerry Holland, Liz Carroll and his own band 'Baltic Crossing'.


James Goodwin (drums)

A majestic drummer from Manchester, James Goodwin found his way into folk and acoustic music through his playing with the band Skidoo.  He's a regular session drummer with the Halle and BBC Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestras, and has toured with Flook and The Cora Smyth Band


KAN made their debut at Celtic Connections last January and appear in York during their first full scale tour.  Expect innovative and thrilling arrangements of both traditional and modern tunes, whether furious jigs and reels or lyrical melodies.  Sample them at


KAN tickets will be available on the door at £15 each (£13 concessions), or can be booked in advance at or on 01904 658338.  The concert begins at 7.30.



2.        SHOWCASING YOUNG PERFORMERS ON THURSDAY.  Each Spring there is a national event for young folk musicians called New Roots, and for several years now we have offered a shared night at the Black Swan to two of the winning acts.  Several of the artists featured in the past are now making names for themselves on the folk scene, for example Kat Gilmore & Jamie Roberts (2007) and Jonny Kearney & Lucy Farrell (2009).


This year’s New Roots night is on Thursday (11th November) and features an instrumental trio and a youthful singer/guitarist.  Horizontal Sunday comprises three musicians currently studying in Newcastle.  Sarah Dorward, from Dundee, plays fiddle, Rebecca Nice from Skye switches between fiddle and clarsach (Scottish harp), while Dave Gray from Lincoln plays melodeon.  Their repertoire includes a wide variety of traditional music from the British Isles and beyond, to which they bring a distinctive and refreshing approach.  At the New Roots final they were described as “a pleasure to listen to [with] a unique sound, thoughtful arrangements [and] an experienced, professional and interesting stage presence”.  Sample their music at


Ethan Thomas is one of the youngest musicians we have ever featured – just 14 when he took part in New Roots, now turned 15.  He writes: “I'm a singer/songwriter from Appleby in Cumbria and have been playing acoustic guitar since I was seven years old.  I have done lots of gigs over the last two years: the main stage at Cumbria Guitar Show representing Fylde guitars, Brampton Live, Fylde Folk Festival, Solfest, MACfest, Osmotherley Gathering and loads more places.  Recently I was selected as one of the 15 winners of the 2010 New Roots competition.  This was judged by Jackie Oates, Lynne Heraud, Andy Stafford and Andy Cutting.  I have also won Fylde Folk Festival Young Performer of The Year in 2008.”  You can sample his assured playing and surprisingly mature songwriting at and find out more at


Entry on Thursday night is just £6 (or £5 concessions), with ALL takings going to the artists.  They will each do two 25 minute sets, either side of the half time break, and Phil Cerny acts as Master of Ceremonies.  Doors open at 8pm as usual, for an 8.30pm start.



3.        CHRISTINE CALLS.  Thursday week, 18th November, sees the divine Christine Collister return to the Black Swan Inn, where she last sang for us in 2005.  That night was a truly memorable one, and a completely full house, and this year’s reprise promises to follow suit.  This time, fellow Manx musician Rob Cross provides the guitar accompaniment to what Q magazine described as “one of the world’s finest female voices”.  Tickets cost £9 (£7 for concessions) and are already more than half sold at bookings site – so don’t delay!



4.        SINGERS GALORE.  Our Singers & Musicians Night for November takes place on the final Thursday (25th).  I missed October’s event as I was unwell, but I hear it was another great success: three hours of non-stop live music from around 20 different acts.  A superb atmosphere for those who want to sing or play, and great value entertainment for those who just come along to watch.



I’ll try to be back before month end with another edition.