Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 196

2nd January 2016


1.        NIAMH LAUNCHES THE CLUB YEAR IN FINE STYLE.  We are pleased to have multi-talented Niamh Boadle starting 2016 for us this coming Thursday, 7th January.  She is an excellent singer and a gifted instrumentalist whom we have admired since she first played for us as a youthful teenager at a Young Performer Night in 2008.  Subsequent visits have included an NCEM support spot, a club booking with her former group Trí (which also included the even younger Ciaran Algar) and several Folk Weekend appearances as a member of the Gerry McNeice Band.
Niamh plays guitar, fiddle, bodhran and more besides, and these days she also impresses with the maturity of her singing, tackling traditional songs and modern covers with equal ability, and even adding a few well-crafted originals to the mix.  Although she grew up in north Lancashire, Niamh has half Irish ancestry and Irish songs are a distinctive element in her repertoire.  She is currently a student on the Newcastle University Folk & Traditional Music degree course, as part of which she spent a semester at Limerick University in 2014 studying Irish music and dance and particularly traditional Irish singing.
Last year specialist English folk label Wild Goose Records released Niamh’s Maid on the Shorealbum, which has picked up fulsome reviews.  I’m playing it again as I write this, and I’d certainly rate it in my personal Top 10 records of 2015.  You can find out more about her at
Entry on Thursday will be just £8 (£7 concessions) on the door from around 7.45 and Stan Graham will be acting as MC.
2.        JUST 10 TICKETS LEFT FOR JIM MORAY.  As I write, there are just ten tickets left at WeGotTickets for the show by Jim Moray next week, 14th January.  Jim is one of the most consistently inventive and intriguing musicians working in traditional music today.  Winner of five BBC Folk Awards and with five ground-breaking albums so far, he stands at the forefront of the modern English folk scene, hailed as a pivotal influence by a whole new generation of roots musicians.  His solo show for us two years ago was a stunning success and we are thrilled to welcome him back, particularly as he will be previewing some of the material from imminent new album Upcetera.  Grab one of those last few tickets soon!  Chris Euesden will be acting as MC.
3.        AN IRISH NIGHT WITH ROISIN BAN.  After Jim Moray’s very English sound, we have a full-blown night of Celtic - mostly Irish – music and song lined up for you on Thursday 21st January.  Yorkshire-based quartet Róisín Bán (it is Irish for “white rose”) comprises Chris Dyson (fiddle, mandola, vocals ), Paddy Heffron (melodeon, vocals), Steve Lacey (guitar, mandolin, banjo, vocals) and Tom Leedale (flute, whistles), with Paddy also promising a bit of solo “sean nos” dancing – if the dodgy club room floor permits!
Róisín Bán are doing very well on the British folk scene, having performed at numerous festivals and other venues since their formation in 2013, as well as making a tour of the Netherlands and Belgium and appearing at the Costa Del Folk festival in Spain.  They were a notable hit at our last City of York Folk Weekend and have done several events for the York Irish Association.  Their website can be found at
Phil Cerny takes his turn as MC for this one and tickets are £9 (£8 concessions) on the door, or booked beforehand through WeGotTickets.
4.        LOOKING FURTHER AHEAD.  Our Singers & Musicians Night for this month is held on Thursday 28th January with John Storey acting as MC, and it is followed on Sunday 31st January by our annual Winter Folk Day – see item 6 below.
On 4th February we bring you a really exciting young Canadian group The East Pointers. There’s a mighty buzz in the air about this fiddle, banjo and guitar trio, with a handful of UK dates late last year whetting British appetites.  Cousins Koady and Tim Chaisson with Jake Charron bring an exuberant contemporary twist to music rooted in the Irish and Scottish traditions, with powerhouse live shows guaranteed to get hands clapping, feet stomping, and faces smiling.
Next month continues with a firm favourite on the English folk scene, Bob Fox, on 11th February.  Bob’s velvet voice, lovely guitar work and wonderful choice of songs, many from his native North East, have delighted audiences since the 1970s.  With his long stint as Song Man in the hit stage show Warhorse finally at an end, Bob is free to return fully to the club scene, much to our pleasure.
Each year we offer a showcase night for two artists nominated for us by Young Roots.  This is an event for young performers held each spring in St Albans.  The 2015 “winners” who are coming to York on 18th February are Somerset-based fiddle player and singer Hannah Cumming and schoolboy melodeon and English concertina player Saul Bailey from Hertfordshire.  These nights are usually great fun, so please come and support the youngsters if you can.  “It really means a lot” says Hannah.
February’s Singers Night is on 25th, the day before our first NCEM concert event of 2016 (see next item), and then in March we welcome back antipodeans Jamie McClennan and James Fagan, aka The James Bothers (3rd), Scottish singer songwriter Ewan McLennan (10th – see also item 11 below) and Lancastrian veteran Bernard Wrigley (31st) as well as giving a club debut to highly rated Ange Hardy (24th)
Our new club leaflet gives details of all our events between now and mid May 2016 – pick one up at any club function, or from outlets like the Black Swan Inn, City Screen, Tourist Information Centre, York Explore (Central Library) and Red Cow Music.  Full details are also available on our website and tickets are on sale for all guest night events at WeGotTickets.
5.        SPRING CONCERT SEASON AT THE NCEM.  We are hosting four events at the National Centre for Early Music during their Spring concert season.  One of these is by BBC Folk Awards Best Folk Group of 2015 The Young’uns, on Friday 15th April.  Their Three for All Spring tour received a national publicity launch last month and NCEM tickets were made available to coincide.  Early sales were impressive – 40 in the first four days – and a sell-out seems very likely – so take note!
Before that one, we have two other NCEM concerts to look forward to, beginning with a Scottish night on Friday 26th February with promising young six-piece band Barluath – you can expect much more about them in the next newsletter.  English folk music takes centre stage on Wednesday 16th March with Fay Hield and The Hurricane Party, and is again spotlighted on Monday 16th May with The Melrose Quartet.  Tickets are now on sale for these three shows at or ring 01904 658338.
The new NCEM full colour brochure should appear any day now.  In it you will read about some other events which could well be of interest, all of them being promoted by the NCEM themselves rather than by us.  Martin Simpson & Martin Taylor combine different acoustic guitar styles on 5th April, John McCusker brings his band to York during his 25th Anniversary Tour on 3rd May and June Tabor appears with Iain Ballamy (saxophones) and Huw Warren (piano) as folk/jazz fusion trio Quercus on 17th June.
6.        YORK’S WINTER FOLK DAY IS 31st JANUARY.  Once again we are running a folk event for the York Residents’ Festival at the end of January.  In keeping with the theme of the weekend, our Winter Folk Day showcases folk and acoustic musicians based within the city, with club residents Eddie, Paula, Ian, Judith, Chris, Toni and Phil being joined by Leather’o, Union Jill, Solar Union, Steve & Dee Marshall, The A-Rhythmics and Miles Salter & Ron James.  There are afternoon (2.00-5.30) and evening (7.30-10.30) concerts at the Black Swan Inn on Sunday 31st January with Free entry to York Card holders and any others admitted for a small charge, space permitting.
The full running order during the afternoon session is Leather’o (2.00), Eddie Affleck (2.30), Union Jill (3.00), Paula Ryan (3.30), Solar Union (4.00), Toni Bunnell (4.30) and Phil Cerny (5.00), then in the evening we have Steve & Dee (7.30), Chris Euesden (8.00), The A-Rhythmics (8.30), Ian Pybus (9.00), Judith Haswell (9.30) and Salter & James (10.00).  It should be a great day in itself, and a suitable taster for our much bigger City of York Folk Weekend, which (to remind you) is scheduled for 3rd, 4th and 5th June.
7.        BLACK SWAN INN NARROWLY AVOIDS FLOODING.  The unprecedented weather events of last week saw the Black Swan Inn car park fully submerged by the flooded River Foss, with water almost reaching the entrance to the beer garden and the pub’s back door. The landlord took delivery of a stash of sandbags but in the end they were not needed.  My fellow club organiser Chris Euesden bravely donned his wellington boots and retrieved much of the club’s PA equipment and other kit which is normally stored in an outbuilding alongside the car park.  Although there was a foot or so of water inside that outbuilding, happily no serious damage had been done.
Flooding disruption meant that Chris had to cancel his Blonde on Bob Christmas Bash on Monday 28th December.  He hopes to reschedule it fairly soon.
8.        CARLISLE FOLK & BLUES CLUB NOT SO LUCKY.  Sadly, our sister club in Carlisle was not so lucky earlier in December.  Its relatively new venue The Old Fire Station was badly flooded and the club is now closed until further notice.  They couldn’t even consider moving back to their old home at Carlisle Football Club says organiser Myrna Reay (who we were pleased to see at our recent Christmas Party) as it too had been flooded.  Our sympathy goes to Myrna and the rest of the Carlisle team.
9.        FUNDS FOR ST LEONARD’S HOSPICE.  Talking of our recent Christmas Party, I’d like to thank everyone who contributed prizes for or bought tickets in our raffle that night.  This raised £70 for St Leonard’s Hospice, in memory of the late Julie Affleck.
10.     PAULA’S CHARITY SINGLE.  Club resident Paula Ryan writes “you may be familiar with the work of one of the oldest York charities the Wilberforce Trust, which provides support and help for those with sight loss.  In September I took part in a fundraising concert for the Trust at (York) University which was on the theme of sight loss and I (wrote) a song entitled Vision for that concert.  Well the Wilberforce Trust adopted the song, asked me to record it and have released it as a charity single where all proceeds going to the Trust.”  If anyone would like to support their work by buying the single, it is available to download from their website  Alternatively, it is available as a CD single either from the Wilberforce Trust or from Paula herself.
11.     AND EWAN SINGS FOR CHARITY TOO.  Also songwriting in support of charity is our March 10th club guest Ewan McLennan.  He writes “in response to the ongoing migrant crisis, I recently wrote a song called 'Lampedusa' which traces the journey of a migrant crossing the Mediterranean.  Thinking of our rich tradition of ballads that depict with compassion and humanity the plight of desperate emigrants, I thought I would write one in the same vein that spoke to what's going on now.  I've just recorded the song and fiddle-player Lauren MacColl and dobro-player Sid Goldsmith have added some of their fine playing too.”  The song was released as a single last month and all proceeds are going to the charity Médecins Sans Frontières, whose work includes rescue operations in the Mediterranean.  You can listen to the track and download it at just £1 - or whatever else you wish to donate – at
12.     MORRIS DANCERS WANTED.  Was one of your New Year resolutions to take more exercise?  Well men’s team Ebor Morris and ladies’ side Acorn Morris are both looking for new members.  “If you like meeting new friends, getting some exercise, and generally having fun then why not try Morris dancing?” they ask.  There will be an open evening for potential recruits at the Black Swan Inn on Monday 8th February, from 8pm to 10:30 pm.  “Come along to meet the teams and find out more”, they say, or visit
13.     AND A BASS PLAYER WANTED TOO.  Based in the York and Malton areas, folk band The Fine Companions are looking for a new bass player – either electric or double bass.  “Alas Nick Merriam has decided to concentrate on his first love (of) jazz” says band member Glenn Stott, “he (is) a very good bassist and will be sadly missed.”  If you might be interested in joining The Fine Companions, get in touch with Glenn and have a chat – 07810 261819 or
14.     CLUB EVENTS REVIEWED.  Freelance local critic Martin Longley attended several of our nights during November and December.  You can read his report on the Blazin’ Fiddles concert at, while his views on the Jim Boyes’ “Sensations of a Wound” show and on one of Dick Gaughan’s problematic performances are at  Martin was also writing a review of the Harp And a Monkey event for Songlines magazine – it will probably appear in the March issue.
15.     REMEMBERING J P BEAN.  A couple of months ago the Sheffield-based writer and folk music enthusiast Julian Broadhead sadly passed away.  Writing under the pen name J P Bean, his most recent publication was Singing from the Floor: a History of British Folk Clubs in 2014 (see E-News 172).  The Guardian ran an obituary online at, and belatedly in the printed newspaper in late December.  Our own Chris Euesden was a good friend, having known J P ever since they were at school together, and he wrote an obituary for the current issue of South Yorkshire folk magazine Stirrings.
16.     UNION CENTRAL AT THE VAULTS.  Following their return to live gigging last month after a long lay-off, Union Central have announced a performance at The Victoria Vaults on Nunnery Lane in York this coming Saturday, 9th January from 8.30pm.  “No admission charge on this one” they say “so we rely on a good turnout so the pub can pay us!  Hope you can make it.”
17.     LEATHER’O & FRIENDS AT CITY SCREEN.  Two weeks before their Winter Folk Day spot, local instrumental band Leather’o headline a show at City Screen Basement on Saturday 16th January, with special guests Zak Ford & Jennifer Chubb, Over the Yardarm and Mulholland.  Tickets from City Screen Box Office and on the door.
18.     YORK ARC LIGHT FUNDRAISER.  Toni Bunnell is running a fundraiser for York Arc Light Centre for the homeless on Sunday 7th February at 7.30pm, also at City Screen Basement.  In Stand Up and Be Counted five singer-songwriters and three poets will perform original material “which highlights those people who have made a difference in the world”. Taking part are David Swann, James Cramphorn, John Storey, Don Walls, Paula Ryan, John Gilham, Stan Graham and Toni herself.  Tickets are £6 from City Screen and on the door.
19.     NORMAFEST IN SCARBOROUGH.  This coming Friday and Saturday 8th and 9th January at The Spa in Scarborough there are “two nights with the first family of English Folk and special guests, offering a very rare chance to see the grande dame of English folk song,Norma Waterson, perform live”.  Friday night features The Gift Band (Norma, Eliza Carthy, Martin Carthy, Neil MacColl and Kate St John ) plus Mawkin and The Devil's Interval, while Saturday has Scotland's Eddi Reader accompanied by guitarist and songwriter Boo Hewerdine for a stripped back acoustic duo performance.  The Marry Waterson Band and The Waterson Family, including Norma, are also on the Saturday bill.  For further details and last minute ticket availability check
20.     SARAH DEAN IN PICKERING.  Sarah Dean writes that for her first gig of the year she is the guest at the Pickering Acoustic Music night, being held at the Sun Inn on Wednesday 13th January.  “It will be exactly two years since I was last there and (that time) battled heavy snow storms” she says.  Hopefully she’ll have no snow to contend with this year!
21.     NEW SEASON AT HOWDEN SHIRE HALL.  Howden Live have announced their new season of concerts.  Amongst the rock bands and tribute acts are a couple of folk/roots events, namely Holy Moly & the Crackers on 6th February and Vin Garbutt on 16th April.  See
22.     AND A NEW SEASON AT SELBY TOWN HALL.  Also just announced is the new season of events at Selby Town Hall and as usual there are quite a few folk, roots and acoustic acts scheduled, beginning with Nancy Kerr & the Sweet Visitor Band on 13th February.  See for full details.
23.     MEGSON IN REETH.  Husband and wife duo Megson are first folk guests of 2016 at the Memorial Hall in Reeth, Swaledale, on Friday 19th February.  See
24.     MOONBEAMS IN DRIFFIELD.  The Moonbeams March Folk Weekend takes place at The Bell Hotel in Driffield on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th March.  The above mentioned Holy Moly & the Crackers also headline this one, along with Saltfishforty, Chris While & Julie Matthews and a strong supporting cast – see
25.     FAUSTUS IN RIPON.  English folk “supergroup” Faustus (Saul Rose, Paul Sartin and Benji Kirkpatrick) appear in Ripon on Saturday 12th March as part of their next tour.  Venue is the Golden Lion – contact Nick Thompson for further information on
26.     ROGER DAVIES ON THE ROAD.  To promote a new live CD, and following on from his extensive winter tour supporting Fairport Convention, our good friend Roger Davies has a few local dates scheduled for this spring.  He is at York City Screen Basement on Saturday 23rd April and also appears in Bridlington (19th March) and Harrogate (26th March).
27.     POPPLETON LIVE NEWS.  Plans have been announced for this year’s Poppleton Live Festival, which will be held over two weekends in late April and early May.  The first weekend, 29th April – 1st May, “will be smaller shows similar to the Poppleton Live events we hold through the year” they say, while the second weekend, 6th-8th May “will be the larger shows in the Poppleton Centre that you've come to know and love”.  The Saturday Spectacular on 7th May has an afternoon line-up including Grand Old Uke of York, King Courgette, The Mather Robinson Band and Blackbeard’s Tea Party, while the evening show comprises Richard Digance and The Animals & Friends.  For tickets and further information visit
There will be another of these mailings in about four weeks’ time, all being well.  Meanwhile keep on making and supporting live music throughout 2016.