Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 189

26th May 2015


1.        ALL SET FOR A WONDERFUL WEEKEND.  York’s acoustic music jamboree, the City of York Folk Weekend, is ready to roll!  This year’s free festival takes place the weekend after next, 5th to 7th June, when there will be live entertainment in almost every corner of our beloved Black Swan Inn on Peasholme Green.  As usual, there is a marquee stage with full PA in the car park, plus three rooms of music-making indoors.  With concerts, a ceilidh, sessions, singarounds, workshops, themed events and more, there should be something to suit all tastes.
For this thirteenth annual event around fifty singers and bands are giving us their time and talent, alongside numerous informal participants, while a dozen or so trusty volunteers will be helping me run the whole weekend.  All the billed performers come from York or neighbouring parts and the weekend is again designed to unite, showcase and celebrate our flourishing local folk, roots and acoustic music scene.
Thanks to the generosity of the performers, all these events are entirely free of charge (although there are of course some unavoidable costs in staging any festival and we will be rattling collection tins from time to time).  The pub will have plenty of good food on sale, which you can enjoy in the (hopefully) sunny beer gardens, and it offers a fine choice of real ales and other drinks.  We are promised a larger marquee on hire this year, and plenty of chairs, and there will be extra mobile toilet facilities.  For safety reasons the car park will be closed to vehicles, but there are alternative city centre parking or park-and-ride options, and don’t forget that the Black Swan Inn sits on several main bus routes.
The full programme (and a publicity poster) can be found through the Folk Weekend link at our club, or reply to this e-mail with any queries.  Compared to the slightly earlier version printed on the new club brochure, the main programme changes are:
·         Chris Euesden and York Young Fiddlers swap Saturday and Sunday lunchtime Marquee spots
·         David Stevenson replaces Carol Henderson at 7.30 on Sunday in the Wolfe Room
·         The mooted Saturday afternoon Workshop event is scrapped
·         Tony Haynes now hosts the Sunday night Final Fling and his New Acoustic Singaround colleagues John & Val Smith will run the Saturday afternoon sing
Please tell all your friends and family about Folk Weekend, and spread the word through Facebook and Twitter and such like, then come along and join in the festivities, whether for just a few hours or for all three days!
2.        CONCERT GUESTS – IN THE MARQUEE.  Our main concerts take place under canvas on Saturday and Sunday, with favourites such as Chris Euesden, Duncan McFarlane, Leather’o and The A-Rhythmics appearing on Saturday between 1pm and 10.30pm, followed by Rakish, The Gerry McNeice Band, Fine Companions, Soundsphere and Root 64 on Sunday between 1pm and 10pm.
Folk Weekend debuts this year in the marquee include Yorkshire Irish band Róisín Bán, rootsy Leeds outfit The Durbervilles and newish York-based “indie/folk/rock” group Pelico, while the number one local ukulele orchestra, The Grand Old Uke of York, move over to the marquee after packing out the Wolfe Room last year.  There will be dashes of world music from Chechelele and the thrilling Japanese drummers of Kaminari Taiko, American traditional folk from Phil Cerny and modern bluegrass from Union Central, while singer-songwriters appearing include Stan Graham, Sarah Dean, Dan Webster, David Ward Maclean, David Swann and The Bronze.
Also taking place outdoors, Morris Dance interludes will come from local sides Acorn, Ebor and Minster Strays, while for those who want to dance themselves there is a Friday night Ceilidh under Canvas with FiddlersWreck, called by Michael Jary, 8pm-10.30pm.
3.        CONCERT GUESTS – IN THE WOLFE ROOM.  Three concerts in the upstairs function room, home of our weekly folk club, showcase a diverse range of acts, ranging from acapella vocalists The Lennanshees and Two Black Sheep & A Stallion, to instrumental trio Over The Yardarm and old style country music duo Rio Bravo.  There is Welsh music from new group Bendigedig, global folk sounds from Melthem and Caramba, humour with Phil Pipe, and original songwriting from the likes of John Storey, Paula Ryan, Simon Alexander, Martin Heaton and Fred Ring.  The Mick O’Hara Band, Toni Bunnell, To The Blue, Judith Haswell, Eddie Affleck, David Kidman and David Stevenson also feature.  These concerts are on Saturday evening (7.15pm-11.45pm), Sunday afternoon (2pm-6pm) and Sunday evening (7pm-10.30pm).
4.        JOIN IN THE SINGING AND PLAYING.  Participation has always been just as important as concert performance at our folk festival and once again there will be multiple opportunities for anyone to have a go at singing or playing.  These include all-day musicians’ sessions in the dining room, “open mic” club events, singarounds and “free & easy” jams.  As usual, poets and storytellers also get a look-in, with a Saturday lunchtime “poems and pints” open reading, hosted by local writer John Gilham.
New this year is a Traditional Irish Night, held in the function room on Friday evening, 5th June 8pm-11pm, hosted by York’s lively new Irish Association (see also item 23 below), and open to anyone wanting to share some Irish songs, music and craic.  
Participants are also invited for three workshop sessions on Sunday 7th.  Sarah, Paula and Judith, Soundsphere, reprise their popular Singing workshop from 11am to 1pm in the Wolfe Room (further details on 01904 623599).  Steve Morrison of thriving local music shop Red Cow Music (see also item 19 below) presents a beginner’s Ukulele workshop in the Oak Room at 1pm and Harrogate’s Charles Hindmarsh, celebrated as the “Yorkshire Musical Saw Man”, offers an introduction to the Musical Saw in the Oak Room at 2.30pm– special toothless saws provided!
Don’t forget also that two regular weekly gatherings in York constitute an off-site “Festival Fringe”, namely the Friday night open house session at the Victoria Vaults, Nunnery Lane and the Sunday night Old Time music session at The Golden Ball, Bishophill.
5.        LAST CALL FOR SHARP’S HARVEST.  There are still tickets left for the special show this Thursday (28th May) - Sharp’s Appalachian Harvest, a multi-media presentation in which Brian Peters (UK) and Jeff Davis (USA) tell the story of Cecil Sharp’s song collecting journeys in southern Appalachia a hundred years ago. The story is told by Brian and Jeff in music, song and words, and illustrated with some of Sharp’s original photographs of the mountain characters who had kept the old traditions alive.  Brian & Jeff perform some of the best songs from this wonderful harvest, accompanying with guitar, banjo, fiddle and mandolin.  Please note: this is a two hour show with one interval, so the only other performance that night will be a short opener by MC Phil Cerny, after which Brian & Jeff will be on stage by 8.45. Tickets are £10 full or £9 concessions from WeGotTickets or on the door.
6.        SINGERS NIGHTS EITHER SIDE OF FOLK WEEKEND.  We do like to keep the Thursday night club going even at Folk Weekend time, so we have Singers & Musicians Nights scheduled for both 4th June (MC John Storey) and 11th June (MC Phil Cerny).  All singers, players and listeners welcome, particularly those who find they cannot get to Folk Weekend itself!
7.        ENDA KENNY ENTERTAINS.  Irish-born and now based in Australia, Enda Kenny is our club guest on 18th June.  As reported in the last newsletter, he takes over the night originally advertised as being David Francey’s.  Sadly, David has health issues at present and had to cancel his tour.  Every cloud has a silver lining and we’ve exchanged a Scottish-Canadian singer songwriter for an equally fine Irish-Australian one!  Enda (not to be confused with the Irish Taoiseach of the same name!) has a lot of admirers in this country and did an impressive floor spot at our club when he called in one evening last summer, so we were delighted to hear that he was able to take on this booking, which has already attracted a good measure of interest.  Chris Euesden will be the MC and tickets are £8 or £7 at WeGotTickets.
8.        DANA & SUSAN – AMERICANA AT ITS BEST.  Making their sixth visit to York on June 25th – yes, we like them that much – are Dana & Susan Robinson.  Based these days in Asheville North Carolina, in the heart of the southern Appalachians, they perform music which explores rural America with elegant simplicity. Dana’s powerful guitar, mandolin and fiddle playing and Susan’s sometimes funky, sometimes haunting mountain banjo support their strong voices and intimate harmonies.
With an eye for vivid detail and drawing on a rich musical heritage, Dana writes songs which are little stories of the American landscape, fitting seamlessly alongside the traditional elements of their repertoire.  A raconteur with a rich voice, he’s a fine example of the travelling troubadour, whose writing has been likened to that of Woody Guthrie, Steve Goodman and even Dougie Maclean.  A natural musician, Susan brings her rich harmonies, confident vocals and distinctive claw-hammer playing into the mix.  With riveting fiddle tunes, eloquent banjo and guitar ballads, aching harmonies and outstanding songs, she and Dana present Americana at its best. 
Eddie Affleck hosts this one and prices are £11 or £10 through the ticketing website.
9.        LOOKING AHEAD TO JULY – INCLUDING ANOTHER PROGRAMME CHANGE.  We welcome vibrant young acapella vocal group The Teacups on July 2nd.  They return for a full booking with a new CD imminent, after first sharing a New Roots double bill as students in 2012.  Our first Singers Night for the month falls on 9th July, then on 16th July our guest is a very assured and accomplished young English traditionalist, James Findlay.
Sadly, our advertised guest for July 23rd, Judy Dunlop, continues to be rather unwell and regretfully has had to cancel her visit a second time.  In her place we bring back to York two of Leeds’ very best younger folk/roots musicians,Serious Sam Barrett & David Broad.  This event will be updated on the club website and at WeGotTickets very soon. Lastly, it being a five Thursday month, we have a further Singers Night on July 30th.
10.     LADY MAISERY REVIEWED.   Our local newspaper sent along a critic to the recent concert we promoted by female trio Lady Maisery.  You can read the ensuing 5* review at
11.     ELIZA CARTHY, TIM ERIKSEN & MORE.  There are no more Black Swan Folk Club events at the NCEM this season, but some other folk concerts are still to come.  There are still tickets left for Eliza Carthy & Tim Eriksen this coming Sunday (31st May), for storytelling & music event The Whispering Road, performed by Serious Kitchen, aka Nick Hennessy, Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer (12th June) and for legendary singer Peggy Seeger on her 80th Birthday tour (20th June, with sons Neill and Calum MacColl).  See for full details.
12.     AUTUMN EVENTS LINED-UP.  We resume concert promotion at the Early Music Centre with a solo show by Phil Beer on 25th September, with events to follow which include Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick (19th October), Clive Gregson & Liz Simcock (13th November) and Blazin’ Fiddles (23rd November).  Booking is already available for Phil Beer, while the rest will follow in late summer. 
13.     FAREWELL GILL.  Lastly, we must mark the retirement of the Early Music Centre’s long-serving administratorGill Baldwin.  Gill has been our primary contact ever since we began to use the NCEM 15 years ago and she has always been a pleasure to work with – efficient, courteous and ever helpful.  We wish her a long, healthy and happy retirement, which I’m sure will be an active one.  We now look forward to working closely with her successor, Hannah Witcomb.
14.     BRUCE MOLSKY IN SOWERBY BRIDGE.  A good friend of this club, Pete Coe, asks me to mention the monthly venue which he runs in Sowerby Bridge.  The Ryburn Folk Club meets on the last Wednesday of the month, from September to June, at The Works on Hollins Mill Lane.  Each month there is a featured guest supported by an all-star cast of resident singers.  Our own Phil Cerny is a fairly regular attendee, I believe.  This Wednesday (27th) the guest is that mighty American musician and Transatlantic Sessions stalwart Bruce Molsky.  Aileen Carr is June’s guest, on Wednesday 24th, then after the summer break they reopen with no less than Nic & Joe Jones on 30th September.  The website is or ring 01422 822569.
15.     JENI & BILLY’S ANNUAL VISIT.  Popular American musical couple Jeni & Billy usually visit the UK at this time of year and they can be enjoyed at the Black Swan Inn on Wednesday 10th June.  “If you love Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings, or Emmylou & Gram, then you’ll love Jeni & Billy” say local organisers and support act King Courgette, who add “the pair are on a high because their most recent album, Picnic in the Sky, made the long-list for the Best Traditional Album at the 2015 Grammy Awards”.   Tickets are available from the Little Apple Bookshop on High Petergate or by phoning 01904 676103 or 07753 709267.  Jeni & Billy also perform for Loosely, Folk at the Golden Fleece in Thirsk on Friday 12th June.  Tickets for that one can be had through WeGotTickets.
16.     UNION JILL IN BEVERLEY.  Sadly, other commitments prevent Union Jill appearing at our Folk Weekend this year.  However, you can catch up with them the following Friday, 12th June, at Beverley Folk & Roots Club, meeting at Hodgson’s Pub on Flemingate, with David Swann doing the support.  Tickets are just £8 and you can find more details at  (Incidentally, on the same club website I find a very enthusiastic review of The Poozies’ March concert at the NCEM!)
17.     “HEARTS OF FOLK” DRAMA AT THE BLACK SWAN.  Student theatre company TalkSimple Productions have been in touch to tell us about a stage show they are putting on at the Black Swan Inn on 13th & 14th June. "Hearts of Folk are plodding along with their UK tour, but there is a mysterious weight of bad feeling that hangs over the band like a bad smell” says the synopsis.  “The arrival of new session musician Theo brings unwanted questions, and hidden secrets just can't be kept in much longer.  Steeped in passive aggression, farce and cornflakes, this hilarious new comedy is a light-hearted parody of all things folk.”  Doors open each night at 7pm and the play begins at 7.30pm. Tickets are £5 on the door, £4 for concessions or if reserved in advance.  Email for more information and to reserve tickets.
18.     HUNT OUT BROONZIES IN HAMMERTON.  Jez Lowe has recently formed an occasional band The Broonziesalong with fellow Geordies Rod Clements (of Lindisfarne fame) and Ian Thompson, together with accordion player at large Chris Parkinson and one of my favourite banjo players Maggie Holland.  Check them out at Green Hammerton Village Hall near York on Sunday 14th June.  It’s a 7.30 start and tickets are £9.50 (under 16s, £5) on 01423 339168 or through
19.     MIDSUMMER UKES IN YORK.  A reminder that Red Cow Music are organising the York Ukulele Festival 2015on midsummer eve, Saturday 20th June.  It runs from 2pm until late, with most events at the Black Horse (formerly the Tap & Spile) on Monkgate.  Like our own Folk Weekend (where Red Cow Music do their uke workshop on Sunday lunchtime) this is a free event, and you can find the line-up of performing ukulele groups and associated workshops on the website at
20.     STEPHEN KENWRIGHT BENEFIT CONCERT.  Last year we lost local musician and activist Ste Kenwrightafter a long battle with cancer.  In the final months, Ste and his band Ostler’s Dog recorded a set of new songs at his bedside in St Leonard’s Hospice.  To mark the anniversary of Ste’s death and to launch the finished CD, The St Leonard Sessions, there will be a major benefit concert on Saturday 27th June at Clements Hall on Nunthorpe Road in York.
Artists appearing include The Bronze, Blonde on Bob, New Earswick Musical Society, Soundsphere, Bar Bowen, Ralph Bown and the remaining members of Ostler’s Dog, John Vaughan and Paul Robson.
Doors open at 7pm and tickets are just £5 (concessions £3.50) with proceeds going to St Leonard's Hospice, York Cancer Care Centre and the Mikoko Pamoja project in Kenya.  Booking is through WeGotTickets with the precise  Alternatively e-mail
21.     PLATFORM FESTIVAL IN POCKLINGTON.  There is a music and comedy festival lined up for the Old Station in Pocklington on July 16th-18th.  Most folk interest will focus on the all day Saturday music events, which are headlined by Bellowhead and also include acts like Buffalo Skinners, Grand Old Uke of York, Stornoway, Beth McCarthy and Dan Webster, as well as more rock, country & pop oriented bands The Shires, The Magic Numbers and David Ford.  There is a skeletal website at or search out the Pocklington Arts Centre site.  The organisers will have an information stall on the Saturday of our York Folk Weekend.
22.     LITTLE FESTIVAL RETURNS – MUSICIANS WANTED.  Ever busy local music promoter Ellen Cole has just been in touch.  She is delighted to announce that York's Little Festival of Live Music will again be hosting 7 days of live music during the York Food and Drink Festival, from Friday 18th to Saturday 26th September, except for the 21st and 22nd.  “The festival is currently looking for 28 acts to join the line-up” she says “and I would love to get some more folk musicians / bands involved.  If you would like to apply to be part of the festival then please”.  If it follows the same format as last year, this will be a performance stage inside the main marquee in Parliament Street.
23.     IRISH EVENT LINED UP FOR THE BARBICAN.  Barely a year old but proving incredibly active, the York Irish Association announce that they will be hosting an Irish Culture Night at the York Barbican no less, on Saturday 19th September at 7.00pm. The show will feature a variety of acts including Irish singer and songwriter John Spillane as the headliner. There will also be a dance display by the O'Connor Academy of Irish Dance and music performances from Brian Stafford & Josie Nugent (see E-News 188), Paula Ryan and regulars from the York Irish traditional scene.  “We are also honoured that the Irish Ambassador to Britain, Daniel Mulhall, will give a talk” says organiser Brendan Tannam. “Elly Fiorentini from BBC Radio York, who herself has Irish ancestry, will be the MC for the night.”
Tickets for the event will be available at the York Irish Association’s Friday night gathering at our Folk Weekend (see item 4 above), or through the Barbican's website and at its box office.  They cost just £14.  All proceeds will go towards making sure the York Irish Association can continue to make a difference to the community in York in 2016 and beyond. Find more details on or email
That’s all for now.  Expect another mailing around late June, once I’ve had chance to recover from organising and running the Folk Weekend!