Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 180

12th October 2014

 Here is another bulletin.  I’d like to give a particular welcome to all those new subscribers who have signed up recently.  Just 24 more of you and we’ll have reached the 1000 recipients mark!

This month’s newsletter is a week or so earlier than usual, which is because I will be away all next weekend at the English Folk Expo, a showcase event for music promoters which runs alongside the Homegrown Music Festival in Bury.  I’ll be looking for talented and entertaining new acts to invite to York during 2015.  Last year’s Expo lead me to book artists such as David Gibb & Elly Lucas, Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker, Jaywalkers and (still to come, 20th November) Gavin Davenport.  Hopefully I’ll find some more top quality performers for you this time.
1.        BELLA & CARA SOLD OUT.  I’m very happy to report that the club night this Thursday (16th) with Bella Hardy & Cara Luft is now completely Sold Out!  If you have any returns, please let us know – we now have a waiting list.
2.        NOT SO, ROSS AINSLIE & JARLATH HENDERSON.  In contrast, there are still plenty of tickets available for our next concert at the National Centre for Early Music, and if you like Irish or Scottish music, this must surely be our autumn season highlight: Ross Ainslie & Jarlath Henderson at the NCEM on Monday week, 20th October.  This event had already been long fixed when I saw Ross and Jarlath in action at this summer’s Warwick Folk Festival.  I soon felt fully vindicated in my decision to book an act relatively little known, at least in England.  The interplay between different combinations of Uilleann pipes, Scottish border pipes (not to be confused with Highland bagpipes), whistles and flutes was awesome indeed, and all underpinned by Ali Hutton’s inventive guitar and interspersed with the occasional song from Jarlath.  It was great stuff!
Ross plays those border pipes along with whistle and cittern.  A BBC Young Folk finalist in 2002, he is rated one of Scotland’s finest traditional musicians and composers.  From Tyrone in Ireland, Jarlath was the BBC Young Folk winner in 2003 and is an outstanding Uilleann piper who also plays whistle and flute and sings. They have performed with Treacherous Orchestra (Ross), Capercaillie (Jarlath) and Salsa Celtica (both) and made their duo debut in 2008 with a ground-breaking fusion of Scottish and Irish pipes which garnered major critical acclaim.  A recent second album earned them a Folk Awards 2014 Best Duo nomination.
“A benchmark for the new generation” said Scotland on Sunday of their CD, while “a thriller” was Mojo’s verdict and Irish Music Magazine said “packs more punch than a boxing-glove factory”.
Coming down from Newcastle to do the support spot are a student trio who cite Ross and Jarlath as a major influence.  Metro Champion has a line-up of pipes, guitar and bodhran and can be found online on Facebook ( and YouTube.
Tickets for this one are £14 full / £12 concessions, available through and on 01904 658338 or on the door.  Somewhat surprisingly, we still need around 60 sales just to break even, so do come along if you possibly can – you won’t regret it.
3.        MIKE SILVER – SINGER SONGWRITER SUPREME.  Next week (23rd October) we switch the emphasis top quality original songs, courtesy of Mike Silver, who has been a prominent name in English contemporary folk/acoustic music ever since the 1970s.  His eloquent songs speak of longing, love and loss, with haunting melodies and heart-stopping lyrics.  Mike is a consummate guitarist, is blessed with a full, crystal clear voice, and excels as a stage performer, making audience involvement into an art form.  He was last with us back in December 2008 (when the Black Swan Inn was temporarily closed and we were meeting at The Winning Post), so it is high time he came back.  Tickets are £9 full or £8 concessions, through WeGotTickets or (subject to availability) on the door.
4.        NOVEMBER CLUB GUESTS.  After a Singers Night to end October (30th) and before another Singers Night on 27th November, we have a diverse set of guest artists for you at the Black Swan. James Keelaghan (6th) has sung for us several times in the past and is always a joy to listen to.  One of Canada’s foremost songwriters, he is celebrating 25 years as a professional performer with a CD/DVD double disc career retrospective.  Reviewer (and former Topic Folk Club organiser) Joe Grint writes in the Fatea online magazine that James is “both one of the most captivating performers I have seen in concert and the composer of several of the finest and most moving songs I have been fortunate enough to hear”, so take his advice and come to this one.  You can read the full review at  James will be accompanied by his regular guitarist/mandolinist partner Hugh McMillan (of Canadian folk rockers Spirit Of The West) and Eddie Affleck will be MC.  Tickets are £11 and £10.
Judy Dunlop (13th November) is perhaps a less widely-known name amongst you, but as a singer she is held in very high regard by fellow musicians, not least her very successful son Blair Dunlop.  “One of my greatest inspirations” says Jackie Oates, and “a key influence” says Lucy Ward.  Judy is joined by ace Sheffield-based guitarist Jon Scaife, who will be returning to a venue he has visited several times over the last 25 years, first with singer Bob Bray and later with Anglo-American band Gypsy Reel.  Stan Graham MCs this one and tickets are a modest £8 and £7.
Gavin Davenport (20th November) has visited us twice before with the group Crucible and after a spell with the last line-up of The Albion Band (alongside the above-mentioned Blair Dunlop and Tim Yates) he is now making waves as a solo artist.  He combines bold, distinctive vocals with a unique, percussive guitar style and songwriting which melds the best of the folk tradition with modern references and relevance.  Gavin will be joined by fiddle virtuoso Tom Kitching, who was seen here earlier this year with the group Pilgrims’ Way.  Chris Euesden is the MC and tickets are priced at £9 and £8.
5.        CHRIS & JULIE AT NCEM.  The Early Music Centre folk concert season continues on Sunday 2nd November with the return to York of Chris While & Julie Matthews, during their 20th Anniversary Tour and with a new CD just released, Who We Are.
Hailed as one of the best acoustic duos on the folk roots scene, Chris and Julie are breathtaking singers, songwriters and musicians whose energy and commitment to their craft and their audience is boundless.  The songs cover life as they see it, from the industrial wastelands of the north, to injustice and freedom, matters of the heart and everything in between, while as stage performers they are unrivalled.  Their eight BBC Folk Award nominations neatly sum up their talents, including Best Duo, Best Song and Best Live Act.  Both Chris and Julie have passed through the ranks of The Albion Band and Ashley Hutchings’ famous verdict still rings true: “if these women had been born in California, they would be world famous by now”.
The special guest support act is another great singer and gifted songwriter, Edwina Hayes, and tickets are £15 full, £13 concessions through the NCEM box office or website.
6.        NANCY & HER SWEET VISITORS.  Singer and fiddle player Nancy Kerr has attracted huge critical acclaim for this year’s debut solo release, Sweet Visitor.  Well established as a leading interpreter of traditional material (with such as Eliza Carthy, The Full English and The Melrose Quartet), Nancy is revealed in this record as a new song writer of rare style, using folk mythology as a backdrop for contemporary narratives about love and conflict, migration, hardship and jubilation, and the tensions between rural and urban life.  Touring to promote the album, she comes to the Early Music Centre onWednesday 26th November, when she will be joined on stage by The Sweet Visitor Band.  This comprises husband James Fagan, with whom Nancy has twice won BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and who was recently seen at the folk club as one half of The James Brothers, together with Tom Wright (Albion Band, Park Bench Social Club), Tim Yates (of Albion Band and York’s own Blackbeard’s Tea Party) and Rowan Rheingans (recently seen at our folk club with Lady Maisery).
The opening act for this one will be Nancy’s long-term family friend and our club resident Chris Euesden, and tickets are again £15 and £13 through the NCEM website or box office.
7.        DCEMBER EVENTS – CLUB & NCEM.  A quick reminder that we have solo performances by the mighty Martin Carthy at the club venue on two successive nights, Wednesday 3rd and Thursday 4th December.  It is quite a while since Martin did a solo club gig in York and we anticipate full houses – both nights are already around half sold at WeGotTickets.  Also selling well is our final club guest event of the year, the hugely entertaining Churchfitters on Thursday 11th December.  And remember that over at the National Centre for Early Music we have a seasonal special with Blast From The Past, who follow up their very enjoyable Victorian Christmas show of two years ago with A Medieval Christmas.  That is on Wednesday 17th December and booking is through the NCEM Box Office.  Note that we have a special family-friendly under-18s ticket price of just £5 for this show.
8.        RECENT GUESTS REVIEWED ONLINE.  Music critic Martin Longley attended recent club nights with Hans Theessink and Wizz Jones, as well as the NCEM-sponsored concert by Chris Wood. You can read his thoughts on all three shows at
Local journalist Richard Foster came to our Martin Simpson concert last weekend on behalf of online local newspaper York Mix and you can find his review at
9.        DAVID & ELLY ONLINE.  Back in May a small crew from the Centre for English Language Teaching at the University of York came to the club when David Gibb & Elly Lucas were our guests, to interview them and film a bit of the proceedings – see ENews 175.  After some delay the video has now been edited and a 7.5 minute film has been posted on YouTube.  It is mostly interview with David and Elly, although it ends with a snatch of their public performance.  See it at
10.     THE CLUB ON SOCIAL MEDIA.  Thanks very much to our “social media champions” Chris Euesden and Paula Ryan, the folk club has an expanding presence online.  Looking at our Twitter account this morning I see we now have almost 1200 followers, while there are 650 likes on Facebook.  Let’s keep both those numbers growing!
11.     MORE ON VALE RADIO MUSIC SHOWS.  In the last E-News I told you about the new folk show being presented by Tony Haynes on Vale of York online community station Vale Radio.  As well as streaming from 8pm to 10pm on Saturday evenings on, past FAB Folk And & Blues shows can now be heard as podcasts on Mixcloud at
Also worth an online listen is the show which precedes Tony’s on a Saturday, The Horseshoe Lounge Music Session.  Hosted by Rudie Humphrey this is an Americana and country music show, broadcast from 6pm until 8pm.  He had a studio session recently from last week’s excellent folk club guest, Sunjay.
12.     FAREWELL FLAXTON, HELLO SHERIFF HUTTON.  The friendly singers and musicians folk club which used to meet at the Thompsons Arms in Flaxton has moved venue to The Highwayman Inn on the Square in nearby Sheriff Hutton.  Organiser Mike Lawson writes “we now have the use of a separate room and continue to meet every Wednesday from 8.30pm to 11pm. The beer and food under the recently arrived new landlord are excellent. We welcome all friends, old and new, who enjoy good music in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.”  I’m sure we all wish them well in their new home.
13.     SOUNDSPHERE NEWS.  Paula Ryan, Judith Simpson and Sarah Dean write that during her final illness, their fourth Soundsphere member Angela Michel gave them a CD of solo unaccompanied songs that she'd written.  “We understand Angela went in and did these recordings just to get them down, sometime around January 2013.  In recent months following Angela's passing we have taken these solo recordings adding harmonies and made Soundsphere arrangements of the songs.  The result is a CD entitled Heart Felt.”
They continue “we are going to do a launch of this CD as a tribute to Angela and a charity fundraiser for Médecins Sans Frontières, on the evening of Saturday 13th December 2014 in the function room upstairs at The Bay Horse, Marygate, York”.  There will be more details later, but put that date in your diaries now.  “We would like to make it a celebration for everyone who knew or was touched by Angela and her music”, they say.  Paula, Judith and Sarah can be contacted on
14.     CLUB FOCUS - DONCASTER ROOTS.  I’m sometimes asked to tell you about other folk clubs in our region, so I thought I’d start an occasional feature here.  I begin with the Doncaster Roots Music Club, meeting (mostly) on Friday nights and (mostly) at the Ukrainian Centre on Beckett Road.  They have a broad musical policy, taking in roots rock and Americana as well as folk and blues. Guests this autumn have already included Roy Bailey, Jed Grimes and Rory McLeod, with The Ukrainians, Sarah McQuaid, Beck Sian, Ewan McLennan and others to come.  Find out full details on ring organiser Jonti Willis on 07939 148603.
15.     21st OCTOBER – FROM BOTH SIDES.  Firstly, a reminder about this “exploration of the theme of conflict in song and verse”, presented by David Kidman and Jim Saville on Tuesday 21st October. Doors will open 7:30 for an 8:00 start and there will be a small admission charge, with proceeds to local charity.  Further details are available at or from
16.     1st NOVEMBER - MARTYN WYNDHAM READ.  Secondly, a reminder that Stan Graham has organised a concert for his close friend – and an outstanding singer of English and Australian folk songs - Martyn Wyndham Read at the Black Swan Inn on Saturday 1st November.  This is not an official club function, but only because we already have Chris While & Julie Matthews in the diary at the NCEM on Sunday 2nd.  Martyn is coming to York that weekend primarily to join Stan in appearing (unpaid, of course) at the Remembrance Day service at York Barbican and this Saturday evening concert is by way of recouping his travelling expenses.  Tickets are just £6 and will be on sale from Tuesday at WeGotTickets.
17.     16th OCTOBER – ROISIN BAN IN BRAFORD.  I don’t usually mention the Topic Folk Club in Bradford, simply because it meets on the same night as us, Thursday.  However, since the Black Swan is Sold Out this week, I can tell you that Roisin Ban can be enjoyed at the Topic, meeting at Glyde House on Glydegate.  Roisin Ban (“white rose” in Irish) are a five man Yorkshire-based Irish music group who also have dates coming up at Grimsby FC (19th October), Crookes FC, Sheffield (27th November) and Halifax Square Chapel (30th November).  They also have a debut album just out.
18.     17th OCTOBER – ANTHONY JOHN CLARKE IN WENSLEYDALE.  Anthony John appears next Friday at a fundraising concert in West Witton Village Hall.  Tickets for this evening of humour and song are £12 in advance on 01969 622108 or 01969 625458, or £14 on the door, which opens at 7pm for an 8pm start.
19.     22nd OCTOBER – EDDIE READER IN HARROGATE.  This leading Scottish singer appears at the Royal Hall in Harrogate on Wednesday week, with tickets priced at £22.50 through the box office on 01423 502116 or at
20.     30th OCTOBER – OSILIGI MAASAI WARRIORS IN SELBY.  I’ve been asked to mention an appearance by this group of traditional performers from Kenya, who regularly visit the UK in an effort to raise funds for their families and for improvement of their village back home.  Although it is a Thursday (and a Singers Night for us) I am happy to do so.  Their performance of music, song and dance is said to be sensational and the venue, Selby Abbey, should be really atmospheric.  The show begins at 7.30pm and tickets are £9 (just £1 for children), available from or at the Abbey Coffee Shop.  Further information from Victoria Clements on 07792 644178.
21.     7th NOVEMBER – KITSYKE WILL IN KNARESBOROUGH.  A reminder that popular northern folk group of the late 70s/early 80s, Kitsyke Will is re-forming to do a short tour.  This takes in The Frazer Theatre in Knaresborough on Friday 7th November, in a concert which also marks the 40th anniversary of the Knaresborough Mummers.  Robin Van Zelst will also be appearing and tickets at £10 are still available through WeGotTickets.  For further details, contact John Burrell on 01423 566112 or  The Kitsyke Will tour also visits Reeth Memorial Hall a week later, Friday 14th November.
22.     15th NOVEMBER – FINE COMPANIONS IN MALTON.  York / Malton area folk band The Fine Companions tell me they are booked in for their 4th annual concert in the Main Hall at the Milton Rooms on Malton Market Place.  It is on Saturday 15th November at 7.30pm, with tickets at £8 available from the Milton Rooms office or on 01653 696240 or at
23.     15th NOVEMBER – UNION JILL IN BEVERLEY.  Also on Saturday 15th November, the very excellent Union Jill have a booking at Bishop Burton Village Hall, just outside Beverley, for the Beverley Folk Club (which is not to be confused with Beverley’s Monday night Not The White Horse FC).  Find out more at  By the way, Sharon and Helen say “we've started planning that difficult 4th album!  Watch out for the new material sneaking its way into the set.”
24.     FAIRPORT RETURN TO POPPLETON.  John Watterson announces that Poppleton Live Festival will be returning in May 2015, with a full day of entertainment on Saturday 9th (programme to be announced) PLUS a return performance by Fairport Convention on the Friday night, 8th May.  John says that Fairport “were delighted with the reception, the venue, the sound and most importantly the audience” this year and asked if they could return for what will be the first date (and only Yorkshire one) on their 2015 spring tour.  “Costs are still being worked out” says John “but we estimate that the Friday night concert will be in the order of £22.50.  We will take provisional reservations from now, and will request confirmation nearer the time once we have done our sums”.  Contact John on 01904 785366 or
That’s all for now!  Expect another burst of news around early to mid-November and meanwhile keep on making or supporting live music.