Welcome to the first Black Swan e-news of 2004. It’s quite a long time since the last one, so there’s plenty to tell you about.
- FLOOK AT THE NATIONAL CENTRE FOR EARLY MUSIC. Our first concert promotion of the year brings internationally-acclaimed
acoustic outfit Flook back to York. Two years ago they delighted a Full House audience at the NCEM, just as they have done
at countless other festivals and concert halls around the world. "Never have I seen so many people so completely and
utterly spellbound" said The Irish Post. The unique combination of virtuoso flutes (Sarah Allen and Brian Finnegan)
underpinned by fluid guitar (Ed Boyd) and subtle bodhran (John Joe Kelly) makes this one of the most innovative and
exciting bands in the business
Just arranged is a support spot by another all-instrumental group. Niblik is a new trio of young but experienced and thoroughly talented musicians. Matt Nelson (of The Pack) plays saxophone, guitar and whistle, Helen Bell (of Ola) is on viola, fiddle and piano and Andy Gibb handles bass guitar. Helen is well known on the York scene, while Matt and his sax will be familiar to anyone who frequents local festivals or sessions.
The date is Monday 23 February, kicking off with Niblik at 7.30, followed by Flook shortly after 8pm. Tickets are already selling well − book yours 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, and I will have tickets available at Thursday night club meetings.
- CLUB DATES FOR 2004. In the last issue I promised a list of confirmed club guests for the year ahead. The diary looks
like this at present. There are still some Thursdays to fill in the summer but the autumn is now almost fully booked.
- Feb 5 Gordon Tyrrall, Feb 12 Singers, Feb 19 Fieldwork, Feb 26 Young Performers
- Mar 4 Bruce Molsky (USA), Mar 11 Singers, Mar 18 Tom Napper Tom Bliss, Mar 25 Jenny Crook & Henry Sears
- Apr 1 Crucible, Apr 8 Singers, Apr 15 Steve & Kristi Nebel (USA), Apr 22 Roy Bailey, Apr 29 Simon Haworth & Andy May
- May 6 Singers, May 13 Hans Theessink, May 20 Michael Marra, May 27 Threlfall Ellison Edwards
- Jun 3 Singers, Jun 10 Roger Sutcliffe, Jun 17 Julie Henigan (USA)
- Jul 22 Ruth Hazleton & Kate Burke (Aus.)
- Sep 9 Steve Tilston, Sep 16 Cockersdale, Sep 23 Kieran Halpin, Sep 30 Singers
- Oct 7 Cathryn Craig & Brian Willoughby, Oct 14 Bram Taylor, Oct 21 Sara Grey, Oct 28 Singers
- Nov 4 Slide, Nov 11 Martin Carthy, Nov 18 Wizz Jones, Nov 25 Singers
- Dec 16 Dick Gaughan, Dec 23 Christmas Party
- ANNUAL REPORT & ACCOUNTS. For obscure historical reasons, the Black Swan’s financial year runs from 1st February to
31st January. Therefore, I spent some time on Sunday compiling our annual financial statement.
2003/04 was our busiest year ever, with 52 events at the Black Swan Inn (37 Guest Nights, 12 Singers Nights, the Christmas Party and two Tuesday specials) plus 10 concerts at the Early Music Centre and our participation in the City Of York Folk Day. Paying audience numbers at the Club averaged 30 (Guest Nights & Tuesdays 34, Singers Nights 17) which is broadly in line with other recent years. Our concerts did well, with only one failing at least to break even. The average paying concert audience was 133 or around 70% of capacity.
Thanks largely to a few very successful concerts, we ended the year with a small surplus of around £390. This was after investing £680 in a new club PC. Total club funds at year-end were just under £2,000. Perhaps this sounds a lot, but at any one time we are signed up to future contracts for 4 or 5 times that amount.
As usual, I will have copies of my financial summary with me on Thursdays for the next few weeks so just ask if you would like to see one.
- And now for news of some non Folk Club events which may be of interest to you:
- LOS YOBOS AT THE BLACK SWAN, SATURDAY 14 FEBRUARY. Who the heck are Los Yobos, you ask! Well, for a start there’s one-time Folk Club organiser and Maltings session stalwart Mike Tavener on guitars and vocals, together with York’s two craftsman instrument makers Dave Gregory on mandolin and Ralph Bown on double bass. Add the former Butter Mountain Boy Nick Thompson on fiddle plus a singer/guitarist and a drummer and you have the makings of a great band. And the music? Acoustic Americana − based around Western Swing. Sounds real fun. I’ll certainly be there. Why not join me? £4 on the door/doors open 8.30pm.
- FOLK EVENING AT HOWDEN. Word reaches us that there is a fairly new Folk Evening underway in Howden. It’s being held on the Second Tuesday of each month (so the next one is 10 February) at the Barnes Wallis pub, which is adjacent to Howden railway station, about a mile north of the town. Free, informal and open to all − listeners and players.
- The Crown Inn, Hemingbrough (First Sunday),
- The Ferry Boat, Thorganby (Third Sunday),
- The Blacksmiths Arms, Farlington (every Wednesday)
- The First Hussar, North Street, York (Wednesdays)
- and the Tap & Spile, Monkgate (Fridays).
- ARTISAN’S VOICE WORKSHOP WEEKEND. Ace vocal harmonisers Artisan are planning one of their famous Voice Workshops for York, over the weekend of 13th/14th November at St William’s College. Two days of intensive tuition in singing technique, harmony, arrangement and performance for just £65 (accommodation not provided) or £40 for one day only. Numbers are limited − for more information and reservations call Jacey and Brian on 01484 606230.
That’s all for now. I hope you want to keep supporting live folk and roots music.