Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 133

August 2011


1.        ENJOY AN IRISH NIGHT WITH TRI. Our guests this week (25th) are a trio of awesomely gifted teenagers, their combined ages being somewhat less than mine! Trí comprise Neal Pointon on fiddle, mandolin, banjo and bouzouki, All-Ireland fiddle champion Ciarán Algar playing not only fiddle but also bouzouki and bodhran, and BBC Young Folk Awards finalist Niamh Boadle contributing vocals, guitar, whistle and Irish dancing.
“With all three being multi-instrumentalists and all Ireland / All Britain Fleadh champions” it says here, “you can expect to be entertained with foot-stomping sets, expressive vocals and thrilling Irish dancing.” They have played at over a dozen major festivals in the last two years, such as Warwick, Bromyard, Cleckheaton and Fylde. We’ve not met the lads before, but Niamh greatly impressed us as a soloist at a Young Performers Double Bill in 2008 (when she was only 14!) and we invited her back to open for Beoga at the NCEM last year.
Stan Graham is host on Thursday and entry is just £6 full, £5 concessions.
2.        AN ANONYMA REUNION. Our guests on 1st September last appeared together at the Black Swan in 1989, long before the members of Trí were even born! Singers and songwriters Anne Lister and Mary McLaughlin worked together as Anonyma for much of the 1980s and were a popular fixture at this and many other clubs. They also toured extensively in America and Mary’s native Ireland and recorded an album for the Fellside label, “Burnt Feathers”, produced by Martin Simpson, which has since become something of a collector's item. They performed an interesting mix of material - Anne's songs (most famously “Icarus” and “Moth”), Mary's songs, traditional numbers from Britain and Ireland and some pieces by other contemporary writers. An early by-line was “refreshingly distinctive”, because the powerful combination of two strong women’s voices in harmony and the thoughtful arrangements with keyboard and guitars brought a breath of fresh air to the folk scene of those days.
After Anonyma parted company, Anne resumed her solo career as both a singer and latterly a storyteller. She has released a series of CDs and performs regularly in Britain, continental Europe and America, and last visited us at the Black Swan in 2008. Mary concentrated increasingly on Celtic vocal music and then moved to California. However, she and Anne have remained good friends and decided this year that the time was right for a brief reunion tour. In the intervening years much new material has been written and both artists have developed their voices and performance technique, as well as growing in confidence and experience, which means that a fine act has become an even better one.
David Kidman is MC for this one and entry is £8 full, £6.50 concessions, with advance booking available as always at
3.        PRESENTING PETE COE. One of my personal favourites, Pete Coe, returns to the Black Swan for the umpteenth time on Thursday 8th SeptemberWith his vast repertoire of traditional and original songs and dance tunes, and playing energetic bouzouki, banjo, melodeon, dulcimer and step percussion, Pete is both a great entertainer and a tireless champion of English folk music. He has been a professional musician since 1971, working both solo and with Chris Coe, with Nic Jones and Tony Rose in Bandoggs, with radical folkies Red Shift and in numerous other projects. He also finds time to be a song collector, teacher, organiser (running his own highly regarded folk club) and activist for all things folk, a veritable “one-man folk industry”. With the recent Bandoggs reunion shows and a well-received album of new material, Backbone, Pete shows few signs of slowing down with age, I am glad to say!
Eddie Affleck does the introductions this week and entry is again £8 full, £6.50 concessions, with advance booking available at
4.        PATRICK STREET - IRISH GIG OF THE YEAR. Next a reminder about the Irish music event of the year in York, the visit of “supergroup” Patrick Street to the NCEM on Friday 23rd September. Celebrating 25 years since they first got together, founder members Andy Irvine, Kevin Burke and Arty McGlynn are joined by John Carty for a very short UK tour. This is perhaps our most ambitious concert booking to date and needs to have a commensurate ticket price (£18 full, £16 concessions) but we are sure they will be worth every penny. I’m happy to say that tickets are getting on for one third sold already, but for our peace of mind and to secure your seats please book soon for this one. We have tickets available on Thursday nights or go to, 01904 658338.
Incidentally, I caught up with this concert’s support act, young fiddle players Grace Smith & Beth Chamberlain, at the recent Saltburn Folk Festival, where they had gone direct from the Folkworks Summer School, and I was well impressed with their playing. Later I bumped into Folkworks tutor Tom McConville who was also singing their praises.
5.        SUNDAY SPECIAL FOR GUITAR WEEKEND. In a late addition to our autumn schedule, I have organised a special club night with virtuoso acoustic guitarist Clive Carroll. This will be on Sunday 16th October at the Black Swan Inn and is our contribution to a York Guitar Weekend being organised by the good people at MOR Music, Fossgate. More details soon.
6.        FULL AUTUMN PROGRAMME BOOKING SOON AT WGT. Tickets for Clive Carroll and for all our other autumn club events should up for sale at WeGotTickets by the end of the month. Here is a quick reminder of the goodies in prospect:
September 22: Tinkerscuss, now joined by Jake Walton; September 29: Dark Horses, the combined talents of Flossie Malavialle and Keith Donnelly
October 6: Tom McConville & David Newey; October 16 (Sunday): Clive Carroll; October 20: Pilgrim’s Way; October 27: Wizz Jones
November 3: Young Performers Double Bill: Chase and Chris Ricketts; November 10: Kristina Olsen; November 24: David Ferrard
December 1: Kieran Goss; December 7 (Wednesday extra) and December 8: Dick Gaughan; December 15: The Magic Christmas Tree, with Maggie Boyle, Pete Morton and Chris Parkinson.
The other Thursdays are Singers & Musicians Nights: September 15, October 13, November 17 and December 22, the annual Christmas Party.
Booking is available NOW at not only for Patrick Street but also for our three Early Music Centre concert events later in the autumn: The Churchfitters (Monday 3rd October), The Urban Folk Quartet (Monday 28th November) and Emily Smith (Monday 12th December).
7.        DYLAN, DON & LIVING TRADITION. We are now stocking the Bob Dylan tribute CD Younger Than That Now at Thursday night club meetings. This 30 track double album compilation features a great many artists who have appeared at the Black Swan over the years, including Steve Tilston, Chris While, Clive Gregson, Ewan McLennan, Hans Theessink, Stephen Fearing, Christine Collister, Dave Burland, Julie Matthews, Martin Simpson, Cathryn Craig & Brian Willoughby, Jez Lowe, Steve Phillips and Edwina Hayes. There are also tracks by club residents Chris Euesden (with Blonde on Bob), Sarah Dean and Phil Cerny, and by some forthcoming (2012) club guests: Dan Wilde, Ian Bailey and Patsy Matheson. The CD was issued to mark Bob’s 70th birthday this year by Chris’ record label Circuit Fat Cat. It costs a mere £10, with all proceeds going to Oxfam, and so is great value for money.
Perhaps this is an appropriate point to remind you of a few other things we have for sale. For starters, we usually carry a small stock of poetry books by the wonderful Don Walls, including his most recent title Where Are We Now? These are £7.95 each. The latest issue of The Living Tradition arrived recently, with a cover feature on Vin Garbutt and plenty of other interesting reading, all for £3.25. And by early September we should have the Autumn editions of regional folk magazines Folk Roundabout (North East England, £1), Tykes’ News (West Yorkshire, £1.50) and Stirrings (South Yorkshire, £2).
8.        CLUB FINANCES UPDATE. We reached the half way point in our financial year at the end of July and I have compiled an interim summary of income and expenditure. This reveals a healthy surplus over the six months of around £900, which is very gratifying. However, we must remember that we made a sizeable loss (£650) in 2010/11 and a small loss (£70) the year before as well. Running a venture such as the Folk Club is seldom plain sailing!
9.        PA SYSTEM URGENTLY NEEDED.  Our hosts at the Black Swan Inn have organised an all day charity event for this coming Saturday (27th) in aid of St Leonard’s Hospice. The marquees are going up again in the car park and there will be live music from a variety of local singers and bands, as well as stalls, sideshows and other entertainment. Unfortunately, they have been let down by their promised PA provider. If anyone out there could possibly provide and staff a PA system for the main marquee, they’d love to hear from you. Contact Vikki or any other member of pub staff on York 679131,
10.     MELODEON FOR SALE. Subscriber Julia Atkinson writes “I recently inherited a Hohner 2-row G/D melodeon. It is virtually unused - my late relative bought it just a couple of weeks before his death - and comes complete with a soft carrying case, a tuition book and DVD. Sadly I have no musical talent whatsoever but it would be perfect for a beginner. Do you think any Folk Club people would be interested? I live in York and I'm asking £375 for the instrument.” Julia can be contacted on
11.     MORRIS RECRUITS WANTED. It's that time of year again when Morris teams start looking for recruits in anticipation of the new practice season in September. That is certainly the case for both Minster Strays and Acorn Morris. Minster Strays are a mixed side dancing Cotswold and Border styles. They are holding a free taster session on Monday 5th September for anyone who'd like to have a go, at 7.30 pm in the village hall at Thornton-le-Clay, a few miles north of York off the A64 (and afterwards for a pint at the village pub, I don’t doubt). Find out more at
Acorn Morris, York's female Cotswold Morris side would also welcome new recruits. If you are interested, drop into one of theirpractices on Wednesday nights at Clifton Scout Hut on Green Lane, York, from 8.15pm, or visit their website at Both sides would say “enthusiasm and commitment are more important than experience”.
You can see both these sides, and many others, in action in York city centre on Saturday week, 3rd September, during the Festival of Traditional Dance. See for more about this colourful annual event.
12.     FROM THE TAP TO THE SHOULDER. York’s long-running Friday night informal folk session has moved to a new home. As of late July, the many singers and session musicians have quit the Tap & Spile and can now be found at the Shoulder of Mutton on Heworth Green every Friday evening from around 9pm.
13.     WEE FOLK – THE STORY CONTINUES. Ali Morgan writes: “I wondered if you would mind mentioning a new Wee Folk venture in your next newsletter? I'm starting up a Monday morning group for families with children from newborn to 5, at the Friends Meeting House on Friargate. It'll have lots of folk songs and games, with some gratuitous use of puppets and bubble mixture thrown in. After all, you can never introduce them to folk too soon! Anyone interested can contact me at (Meanwhile) Wee Folk is continuing at The Black Swan every third Sunday afternoon, although unfortunately the August one was cancelled due to a double booking. We'll be back on September 18th (fingers crossed!).”
14.     TONY ON COURSE. Tony Morris asks me to tell you about a couple of day courses he is running this autumn on the native American flute, which he has called Amerynd Flute. These will offer “a chance to learn about the origins of the Amerynd flute” writes Tony “the basic concepts behind them, the various woods and decorations used and their spiritual connections. Explore and relax through the medium of music. Learn and take home techniques to relieve stress and promote relaxation.” The courses are at Ryedale Folk Museum on Sunday 2nd October and at Woodend Creative Workspace in Scarborough on Wednesday 12th October. In each case courses are limited to 10 participants and cost £40 per person. Find out more at
15.     DAVE BURLAND IN REETH. This Friday (26th) the marvellous Dave Burland appears at the Memorial Hall in Reeth, Swaledale, with support from Brother Crow. See
16.     CELEBRATING TOM PAXTON. A reminder that this Sunday (28th) Stan Graham and Kevin Loughran present an evening at the Black Swan dedicated to the songs of Tom Paxton. Tickets £5 or £4 concessions, on the door at 7.30 or in advance from Stan on 01904 758228,
17.     FOLKSAIL FESTIVAL IN GOOLE. The weekend of 2nd-4th September sees an event at the Yorkshire Waterways Museum on Dutch River Side in Goole. Folksail celebrates the inland waterways with a mix of folk music and other events. During the day there will be heritage boats to visit, boat trips, stalls, children’s events and refreshments, plus afternoon music sessions. In the evening are concerts, on Friday with Isambarde (making one of their very last appearances) and on Saturday with The Young Uns. Concert tickets are £10; daytime events are mostly free. Find out more at
18.     KULA BACK IN ACTION. Kula Productions have announced several forthcoming events for the Frazer Theatre in Knaresborough, beginning with legendary singer/guitarist Michael Chapman on Friday 2nd September   See
19.     DAVID’S CD LAUNCH. David Swann launches his new CD Chasing The Light at the Spa Theatre in Bridlington on Saturday 3rd September at 8pm. Tickets are £8 (or £14 with optional pre-concert supper) from the Spa Box Office on 01262 678258, David can also be heard at City Screen Basement Bar on Saturday 10th September from 8pm, when he shares the billing with Phil Pipe. See
20.     REMEMBERING KEITH. The great folk songwriter Keith Marsden is remembered twenty years after his premature death at a Memorial Concert in Morley on Saturday 10th September. The venue is the Working Men’s Club on Fountain Street at 7.45pm and the artists lending their services include John Conolly, Graham Pirt, Carol Southwell and David Kidman. Tickets are £6 with all proceeds going to the British Heart Foundation. See for further details.
21.     A BIT OF TICKELL IN RIPON. The other night I watched the BBC Folk Prom from the Royal Albert Hall via the BBC iPlayer. This was masterminded by Kathryn Tickell, with June Tabor, The Wilson Family and her own band performing alongside the Northern Sinfonia. Interesting stuff! Kathryn can be seen live with her band in Ripon on Saturday 10th September, at Holy Trinity Church, as part of the Ripon International Festival, Incidentally, the same festival has bluegrass band The Coal Porters at Helperby Millennium Hall on Sunday 18th September.
22.     TIME PLEASE AT THE GRAND OPERA HOUSE. As the first event in a relatively good season for folk-related shows, the Grand Opera House in York presents Time Gentlemen Please on Sunday 18th September. Described as “the UK’s no. 1 folk and hip hop dance extravaganza”, this is the latest project from Damien Barber and the Demon Barber Roadshow“Clog, Sword and Morris meet B-boying, Popping and Krump” says the website “in this humorous and unmissable visual feast. Think Riverdance with a false moustache and Stomp with bells on!”
As always, there seems to be lots going on. My next task is to write the club’s autumn publicity brochure. After that I should be back with another newsletter around mid September.