Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 202

26th June 2016

With the Folk Weekend now behind us and with 12 weeks to go before we resume special concert activities, our summer focus is firmly on Thursday night club gatherings.  Unlike most folk clubs we are proud to offer a full programme right through the summer season.  However, we have been finding that increasingly difficult in recent years and we sometimes run up a considerable financial loss over these weeks.  So please come along and support our summer guests if you possibly can – they are all carefully chosen and should not disappoint.
1.        KIRSTY BROMLEY & LUCY WISE – ANGLO-AUSTRALIAN DUO.  This week’s “Two Hemispheres” night (30th June) brings together two travelling songstresses from opposite sides of the globe.  Kirsty Bromley is a young contemporary folk singer based in Sheffield, influenced by a wide range of traditional music and with a disarmingly pure voice, whom we first enjoyed at a Young Performers night three years ago.  “A fine young voice, poised but unaffected, confident and heartening” said The Guardian’s critic of her debut album.
Lucy Wise hails from a small seaside town in Western Australia and comes from a family steeped in music-making.  She has delighted audiences across Australia and New Zealand with her masterful storytelling, intricate ukulele and guitar playing and soulful voice.  Our recent club guest Chris While knows Lucy from her own tours down under and was singing her praises to us just the other week.
Kirsty and Lucy found an instant musical rapport when they first met each other and after a joint tour of Australia earlier this year, they are now performing a series of UK dates.  Expect songs telling stories of love, people and places, focussing on everyday moments of light and darkness, with melodically rich music steeped in the Celtic, American and English folk traditions that surrounded them both growing up.
As an added treat, they will be joined in York by Kirsty’s regular musical partner Simon Dumpleton with accordion and piano accompaniments.  Chris Euesden will be acting as MC and entry will £9 (concessions £8) on the door, or available for advance booking  See and for more about these fine singers and for a video taster
2.        WELCOME BACK KATE HOWDEN & PAUL JONES.  Returning to our stage on 7th July after a gap of seven years are contemporary folk duo Kate Howden and Paul Jones, who go by the stage name howdenjones.  Based in Lancashire, Kate and Paul have been playing together since 1999.  They cut their teeth as performers on the folk scene, playing clubs and festivals across the country (four times here at the Black Swan), but in recent years they have mostly worked on the rural touring circuit, playing in village halls and community centres and winning many new admirers along the way.
With powerful harmonies, skilled musicianship and beautiful arrangements, Kate and Paul write all their own material and between them play, guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo and bodhran.  On stage, they have that special magic that captivates their listeners and creates a wonderfully intimate atmosphere.  Their mixture of songs, tunes and stories has the audience joining in, singing along, and laughing as they share their experiences through their music and banter.
“We have heard some brilliant guitar playing at the hall in recent years” says one Devon village hall manager “but none as warm and mellifluous as these two talented performers.  The lyrics were poetic, based on closely observed details of life and sometimes bizarre local stories, and the tunes quite beautiful.  And between the songs Kate and Paul told amusing anecdotes.  It all made for a gentle and thoroughly entertaining evening.”
Phil Cerny hosts this event and entry will again be £9 (concessions £8) on the door, or available for advance booking at  The duo’s website is
3.        GRAHAM HODGE, OUR LOCAL FAVOURITE.  Few introductions should be needed for our guest singer on 14th July.  Graham Hodge has been a mainstay of the local acoustic music scene since the 1970s and it is a real pleasure to present a full evening with this much-admired singer.  We expect a sublime choice of modern folk and pop covers, mingling imperceptibly with a few well-crafted originals, and all accompanied by some very subtle and supple guitar playing.
As a club, we don’t often devote the whole evening to a locally-based artist – our role is rather to bring the widest choice of top quality national and international folk acts into York – but for Graham an exception is wholly justified.  Eddie Affleck will be the MC for this one and entry will be £8 (concessions £7) on the door, or available for advance booking
4.        THE JULY SINGERS NIGHT.  John Storey hosts our monthly “open house” Singers & Musicians night on 21st July.  We never quite know what to expect at one of these nights but there are almost always a few surprises and some interesting visitors.  We had a remarkable 18 singers at the pre-Folk Weekend gathering on 2nd June and a very commendable 10 performers last week, 23rd June, including visitors from Sussex and Ireland.  Who knows next time?
5.        BRAM TAYLOR, ANOTHER FAVOURITE VISITOR.  Making no less than his eleventh appearance at the Black Swan on 28th July is Bram Taylor – he truly is one of our all-time favourites.  With his fine rich voice – deftly accompanied on guitar, occasionally on ukulele or concertina and sometimes used a cappella - allied to a great sense of humour and a supremely well-chosen selection of traditional and modern songs, Bram is a superlative folk club entertainer.  He is the longest serving artist in the Fellside Records stable and has issued 10 solo albums over the last thirty years or so.   Stan Graham acts as compere for this one and tickets are a modest £8 (concessions £7) on the door or beforehand through WeGotTickets.
6.        AUGUST & BEYOND.  The summer programme continues with student trio Granny’s Attic on 4th August, the band which includes Gareth Braithwaite-Kilcoyne, who so impressed us all with his solo support spot at the NCEM in March.  Celebrated Wharfedale 12-string guitarist Serious Sam Barrett brings us his lively blend of folk, blues and country on 11th August (“songs that rattle with the ghosts of Appalachian folk and southern blues, yet sound emphatically English” says UNCUT magazine).  After a Singers Night on 18th August we are delighted to welcome BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2016 winners The Rheingans Sisters on 25th August, then Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar return on 1st September after a barnstorming debut in 2014, followed by US duo Hungrytown on 8th September.
All the above dates are now open for booking at WeGotTickets.  Highlights later in the year, but not yet on sale, will include David Francey, The Mile Roses (Edwina Hayes, Kate Bramley & Simon Haworth), Jimmy Crowley, Craig & Willoughby, Daoiri Farrell, Brooks Williams and Jackie Oates.  Watch this space….
7.        DAMIEN O’KANE AT THE CRESCENT.  It may be twelve weeks away, but our first autumn concert presentation is already well deserving of your attention.  With his recent CDAreas of High Traffic shortlisted in the BBC Folk Awards Best Album category and lauded for its imaginative reworkings of classic Irish folk songs, Damien O’Kane and his band make a welcome appearance in York at The Crescent on Friday 16th September.  Not that Damien is a stranger to York – he has appeared at The Barbican several times with his wife Kate Rusby and her band – but this is a headlining first.  Co-promoted by ourselves and PleasePleaseYou (Joe Coates), the setting is relatively new community venue The Crescent, just off Blossom Street behind the Reel cinema.  Tickets are already on sale through the website SeeTickets (note – NOT WeGotTickets) priced at £15 plus booking fee – go to
8.        NCEM: BREABACH AND O’HOOLEY & TIDOW TICKETS ALREADY ON SALE. Also on sale already are tickets for two of our autumn NCEM concerts, because these dates form part of nationally announced tours.  Scottish quintet Breabach return to the NCEM on Monday 24th October (£16/£14), and we welcome back O’Hooley & Tidow on Tuesday 1st November (£14/£12).  Booking is through or on 01904 658338.
9.        NCEM: THREE MORE EVENTS TO FOLLOW.  Our other three autumn events at NCEM will go on sale sometime in August.  They are Scottish “chamber folk” fiddle quartetRANT (Monday 3rd October, with support from guitarist Alex O’Neil), songwriter Chris Wood(Wednesday 30th November) and the Celtic Christmas Strings festive show from Maire Ni Chathasaigh & Chris Newman (Wednesday 21st December).
10.     GREAT WEATHER, GREAT MUSIC.  What an outstanding free festival we had earlier this month!  The sun shone, the music was uniformly excellent, attendance numbers were generally high and the whole atmosphere was relaxed and friendly throughout.  Thanks go first and foremost to all those who performed over the weekend – 53 billed acts, plus dozens of other participants in singarounds and sessions.  Secondly, I must thank the team of around a dozen helpers who ran the weekend with me, by acting as an MC, operating the Wolfe Room PA, shaking collection tins or staffing the information desk or whatever.  Thirdly, thanks to our landlord Andy Cross, his partner Maggie and all their staff, who helped the event run so smoothly.  And lastly, on behalf of all the Marquee performers I would like to thank sound engineer Tony Evans who did a grand job over two gruelling 12 hour days.
11.     COMMENTS & FEEDBACK ALWAYS WELCOME.  Of course, not everything was 100% perfect.  A few of the daytime indoor events were rather sparsely attended, with people preferring to be outside in the glorious sunshine, and the musicians’ session (though great on the Saturday) generally failed to materialise on Sunday.  A small group of us are getting together soon to “de-brief” on this year’s event, so if you have any comments or suggestions please make then now.  Next year’s event will be the same first weekend in June, which will be 2nd-4th June 2017 – reserve those dates!
12.     PHOTOS, FUNDS.  A talented local amateur photographer Christine Cockett attended much of Saturday's event in the Marquee and returned on Sunday evening for a couple of sets. She has made a huge number of her excellent pictures freely available on her Facebook page ( and also some videos.  She has also placed the best pictures in an album on Flickr – see  Thanks very much indeed, Christine.
Lastly, I am happy to report a financial surplus on the weekend.  After all the collections money had been counted and all the expenses tabulated, we were left with a surplus of £261, which compares favourably with last year when we just managed to scrape a £13 excess of income over costs.  Thank you to everyone who donated – it certainly helps ensure the continuation of this event next year.
13.     CLUB FACEBOOK NEARS 1000 LIKES.  Ably managed by Paula Ryan and Chris Euesden, and boosted by the impact of our Folk Weekend, the folk club’s Facebook page is steadily approaching a landmark 1000 “likes” (978 as I write).  If you are also a Facebook user and have not yet “liked” us, please consider going to doing so now.  Meanwhile, a flurry of Folk Weekend new sign-ups has taken the e-mailing list well beyond the thousand mark – in fact we now have around 1045 recipients for this newsletter.
14.     FOLK CLUB NOMINATED IN GRASSROOTS MUSIC AWARDS.  Back in E-News 2000 I mentioned the Grassroots Awards run by the Yorkshire Gig Guide website.  A message posted to our Facebook page now tells us that we have been nominated in the Outstanding Music Club category, while the Black Swan Inn gets a listing in the Outstanding Small Live Venue section.
There are a dozen award categories in all and folk / roots / acoustic names feature prominently in most of them.  For example Tony Haynes’ FAB Vale Radio show picks up some nominations (along with the Vale’s Americana presenter Rudie Humphrey), while our good friend David Swann is nominated in the songwriter category.  Also worth noting are nominations for our star Folk Weekend PA man Tony Evans in the Live Sound & Recording Engineer category and for our Crescent collaborator Joe Coates (of Please Please You) in the Promoter ballot.
Find the full nomination lists and maybe cast a vote at (yes that does say 2015!), where voting is open until 31st August.
15.     PAULA KEEPS BUSY.  Looking after the folk club’s Facebook and Twitter presence is but one of Paula Ryan’s many activities.  On Sunday 10th July she is one of the acts appearing on a folk stage at the Bradford Festival (organised by our fellow Thursday night folk club The Topic), the following weekend she is at the Hull Folk & Maritime Festival (see item 26 below), then she takes part in a concert in York on 30th July (see item 21) before heading up to Edinburgh for the Festival Fringe, followed by a trip over to Ireland, before coming back to England to work as an MC at the prestigious Shrewsbury Folk Festival.  Her next scheduled singing appearance at the Black Swan is a floor spot on 1st September.
16.     FINERY & FILTH AT THE BLACK SWAN.  A reminder about that Early Music event at the Black Swan Inn next Friday 1st July, Finery & Filth, with Dante Ferrara singing and playing cittern and hurdy-gurdy.  Tickets are £8, on the door or through WeGotTickets.
17.     WOODY GUTHRIE SHOW IN POPPLETON.  Next Saturday, 2nd July, Will Kaufmanpresents his captivating “live documentary” Woody Guthrie: Hard Times and Hard Travelin'for Poppleton Live.  Using music, narrative and projected images, Will sets the classic songs of Woody Guthrie in the context of the American 1930s - the Dust Bowl, the Depression, the New Deal and the popular music of the time.   We greatly enjoyed this show when Will brought it to the Black Swan a few years ago, while Steve Tilston says “Will does it all so well! You can taste the dust and hear the train whistle blow.”
The venue is All Saints Hall in Poppleton, doors open at 7pm for a 7.30 start and tickets are £12.50.  Book online through or contact John Watterson to make a reservation: or 01904 785366.
Incidentally, looking at the Poppleton Live website I was delighted to see that in October John has booked the American female trio Harpeth Rising, who gave us such a phenomenal performance at the folk club last year.  That one is on Saturday 29th October.
18.     THE FAB JON PALMER.  The headline act at Vale Radio’s next FAB Folk & Blues Club event is The Jon Palmer Acoustic Band from Otley.  That is on Sunday evening 10th July at the Cottage Inn, Haxby.  Jon’s group is building a reputation as one of the most energetic new bands in the region (with nominations in the above mentioned Grassroots Music poll) and indeed we have them booked for a show at the folk club later in the year (17th November).
19.     MUSIC EVENTS AT THE GREAT YORKSHIRE FRINGE.  Some of the live music on offer at the Great Yorkshire Fringe from 15th July to 1st August may well be of interest.  For example, York’s leading ukulele orchestra The Grand Old Uke of York appear in the White Rose Rotunda (that’s at the Marks & Spencer end of Parliament Street) on Tuesday 19th July, while nationally successful “Gypsy folk ‘n’ roll” outfit Holy Moly & The Crackers are on the Turn Pot Stage in St Sampson’s Square the next night, Wednesday 20th July.  Note also that Folk Weekend favourites Kaminari UK Taiko Drummers do a full hour show “Matsuri” on 23rd and 24th July on the Turn Pot Stage.  The previous week, Saturday 16th July, they are also offering a one hour beginners workshop in Japanese drumming at the same venue.  Find full details and booking services at
20.     GILL LANDRY IN THE BASEMENT.  Louisiana singer songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and storyteller Gill Landry, perhaps best known as a member of Old Crow Medicine Show and as a Laura Marling collaborator, appears at the Basement in York on Thursday 21st July. Normally, I wouldn’t mention in the newsletter an event which is a direct clash with one of ours, but as the promoter in this case is our good friend Joe Coates, I am happy to make an exception, the more so since it is a Singers Night at the Black Swan that night, rather than a paid guest artist.  And Gill Landry really is very good.  Tickets £8 in advance or £10 on the door,
21.     SPIRITED SONGS IN YORK CEMETERY CHAPEL.  Three York acts on their way to this summer’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe have organised a special show for Saturday 30th July. World music choir Chechelele, eclectic acoustic duo Lunabai and our own above mentionedPaula Ryan share an evening in the atmospheric setting of the chapel on Cemetery Road in York.  The music starts at 7pm and is preceded by a bring-your-own picnic from 6pm.  It is a free event but donations will be welcome.  Enquiries to
22.     DANCING THROUGH THE SUMMER.  Regular public ceilidhs continue right through the summer season under the banner of York Ceilidhs – that is the last Sunday evening of each month from 7.30pm at York Railway Institute (so next on 31st July, with The New Fox Band), and on third Sunday afternoons from 1.45 at Clements Hall on Nunthorpe Road (so next on 17th July, with Paul Young).  See for more details.
23.     CARRIE MARTIN IN MALTON.  Hull-based acoustic singer-songwriter Carrie Martin appears at The Milton Rooms in Malton next Friday, 1st July, with a support set by Pickering-based Martin Heaton, who is a regular visitor to the Black Swan.  Find out more
24.     MARTIN SIMPSON IN KNARESBOROUGH.  There are just a handful of tickets left for Martin Simpson’s concert at the Frazer Theatre in Knaresborough next Saturday, 2nd July.  The website is, tickets are £18 and doors open at 7pm.
25.     FESTIVAL WEEKEND IN CLECKHEATON.  This coming weekend (1st-3rd July) sees the friendly annual folk festival in the West Yorkshire town of Cleckheaton, with tickets still available for many events.  Find out who is on and more at Poignantly, the printed programme published a few weeks’ ago includes a Welcome from the tragically murdered local MP, Jo Cox.  No doubt she will be mourned during the weekend.
26.     AND FESTIVAL TIME SOON IN HULL.  A fortnight later, local festival focus shifts to East Yorkshire for the Hull Folk & Maritime Festival.  This is a mostly free event over 15th-17th July with over 70 acts taking part across 13 different venues, although it is launched on the Friday night with a ticketed event (£12) at Kardomah94 with The Wilson Family and others. Find full details at
Incidentally, this venue Kardomah94, at 94 Alfred Gelder Street in Hull, HU1 2AN, is also hosting a new monthly folk/roots music event, Roots@94, “showcasing some of the best hidden talent from around the country” according to organiser Mark Pollard of band Beggar’s Bridge. “It's a wonderful little venue with a brilliant sound and a lovely ambience” he says.  Events will be held on the last Friday of each month, so next on 29th July with a double bill of Dogfinger Steve and Stevie Simpson.  See
Our next mailing will at the end of July, all being well.  Enjoy the summer, and support live music along the way.