- STUFF THE TURKEY − ARTISAN’S CHRISTMAS SHOW. Why not start Christmas week with our Seasonal Special at the National Centre for Early Music, next Monday evening 22nd December? Well-loved vocal harmonisers Artisan have been touring their Christmas Show since 1989, yet this is the first time they have brought it to York , so far as I can recall. These days Stuff The Turkey is centred on original songs by the wonderful Brian Bedford − sometimes funny, sometimes thoughtful, sometimes romantic, always excellent. Some favourite old carols and Christmas songs are also included and with the band's use of humour, costumes and props there's a strong hint of pantomime. This is a show for all the family, 9s to 90s!
Stuff The Turkey has been selling well and as I write there are only about 50/60 tickets left. You can book or reserve by ‘phone or online at the NCEM box office ( www.ncem.co.uk / firstname.lastname@example.org / 01904 658338). Alternatively, Cassadys Records on Gillygate can sell to personal callers, or ring me and I'll set aside tickets for collection on the door. As usual at the NCEM it will be a prompt 7.30pm start, with our own Stan Graham doing the MC honours and singing a few of his own high class songs.
- CHRISTMAS RADIO WITH THE DURBERVILLES. Earlier this year we all protested, to no avail, at the axing of folk/roots coverage on our local BBC radio stations. Well, for one week only, Auntie has relented and Leeds-based band The Durbervilles have been invited to put together a three-hour (gasp!) seasonal special. The Durbervilles' Christmas Pudding goes out at 7pm on Christmas Eve, on all BBC Local Radio frequencies in Yorkshire and N.E. Lincolnshire, i.e. Radios Leeds, York, Sheffield and Hull at least.
As you would expect from an eclectic band like The Durbervilles it will be a mix of folk, acoustic, roots and alt. country, with records, live sessions and interviews. Guests confirmed include Kate Rusby, Martin Carthy, Brendan Croker, poet Ian McMillan and Waking The Witch. Listen in, enjoy, then write/phone/e-mail the Beeb and say WELL DONE − MORE OF THE SAME PLEASE! Oh, and don't forget to highlight January 29th in your new diaries, when the Durbervilles appear at the Black Swan as part of a bands Double Bill with Stoke outfit The Queensberry Rules.
- NEW YEAR AT THE FOLK CLUB AND EARLY MUSIC CENTRE. Bookings continue to be made for both our venues in 2004. The late Winter / Spring line-up for the NCEM is now complete, with one folk/roots concert each month from February until to June. That's the return of Flook (Feb 23rd), singer/songwriters Chris While & Julie Matthews (Mar 22nd), top Irish band Lunasa (April 20th, promoted by the NCEM themselves), young Scots outfit Malinky (May 28th) and Ethno England (Jun 15th) − an international ensemble of up to 50 young musicians and singers. As for the Black Swan, I'll try to circulate a list of confirmed bookings with the next E-Newsletter. As things stand there only a dozen or so Thursdays left to fill in the whole of 2004 and I have plenty of ideas for those! Nevertheless, I am still happy to receive your suggestions at any time.
Remember that the club year begins with the excellent Bob Fox , who is one of the four artists in the shortlist for Folk Singer Of The Year in the latest Radio 2 Folk Awards. That's Thursday 8th January and bear in mind that it is PAY AT THE DOOR ONLY − because of the holiday break I have opted not to offer advance booking.
- KATE RUSBY AT THE BARBICAN CENTRE! Word reaches us that Kate and her band will be performing at the York Barbican Centre on Saturday 6th March − no details yet on ticket prices / box office, but it's certainly a date to note. Kate's last shows in York filled the NCEM two nights running and such was the demand she could probably have done another three or four sell-outs there, so the step up to the Barbican seems like a wise move.
- MORE LOCAL ARTISTS ON CD. Inexcusably, my piece in the last E-Newsletter failed to mention a couple of other York-based artists who have put out CDs this year. Early in 2003 Emily Weygang & Ben Harker released their eponymous first album, which has received enthusiastic and thoroughly well-deserved reviews in a variety of regional and national folk magazines. More recently, Susie Fox has issued Afterwards , a good sample of her repertoire of traditional songs and original numbers, together with a couple of Emily Bronte settings, all utilising Susie's ability on a range of instruments − guitars, recorders, clarinet and bodhran. There was a feature recently in the Evening Press and there are two reviews in the current issue of Tykes' News . And for the New Year − well there is a rumour that Phil Cerny plans some recording and it is certainly high time Stan Graham put the best of his recent songs onto a new CD.