Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 224

11th March 2018


1.PROGRAMME CHANGES AND ADDITIONS. There have been a few changes and other developments within our previously announced programme for this spring and summer:

  • Pilgrims' Way on 1st March were forced to cancel by the horrendous weather. They were stuck in Scotland and could not safely get to York. We decided to close the club altogether that night, not even having an informal singaround. So far as I can tell from our records, this is the first time ever that the club has been completely shut down by bad weather. WeGotTickets has refunded ticket holders and we will find a replacement date for the band if we can, probably next year.
  • New Zealand singer Rachel Dawick has had to cancel her visit on 12th April. She is now unable to travel to the UK until later in 2018. In her place we have arranged an exciting night with some of our younger local musicians – see item 8 below.
  • Not surprisingly, the visit by Andy Irvine on 26th April is now completely Sold Out. I have started a waiting list in case any returns are notified to us.
  • Superb singer Vikki Clayton is a late addition to our summer line-up. She was a regular and popular guest here in the 1990s and earlier 2000s, before emigrating to New Zealand. This summer she makes a major "Back to Blighty" return tour and will visit us on 12th July, with Pete Morton kindly agreeing to move from that date to 19th July in order to accommodate her.

The programme page of the club website has been updated with all of these changes and has a full list of confirmed events right through to the end of November.

2. THIS WEDNESDAY AT NCEM – ALISTAIR ANDERSON & NORTHLANDS. There are still tickets available for our Northumbrian night at the Early Music Centre this Wednesday, 14th, when we are very much looking forward to seeing Alistair Anderson & Northlands in concert, with the added bonus of an opening spot by Stan Graham.
Alistair is an internationally acclaimed master of the English concertina and Northumbrian pipes who in a career spanning five decades has always championed the music and song of North East England. In Northlands he continues this tradition alongside three younger musicians who have been influenced by him as a teacher and mentor through Folkworks or the Newcastle Folk Degree, both of which he co-founded. Sophy Ball is a wonderfully dynamic fiddle player and Sarah Hayes a gifted singer and flautist, while Ian Stephenson plays guitar and creates many of the subtle arrangements that this great group loves to play.
Tickets are £16 full or £14 concessions (65 and above, unemployed, disabled) from or on 01904 658338, or when the Box Office opens at 6.30pm on the night. Note that this concert will be largely unamplified, with only a vocal PA, taking advantage of the NCEM's expertly designed acoustic qualities.

3. THIS THURSDAY – SINGERS NIGHT. Our friendly Open House gathering for this month is due to be hosted by Phil Cerny on 15th March. After 19 performers at the January event and 20 last month, who knows what we can expect this time! Admission is just £3 on the door, or £2 for students. Performers are asked to put £1 in the kitty. After this one, the next Singers Night will be in five weeks' time, on 19th April.

4. 22nd MARCH – YOUNG PERFORMERS NIGHT. Ever since the late 1990s we have held showcase nights once or twice a year devoted to talented young folk musicians. Amongst those who taken part and gone on to make a substantial mark in this field of music are Sam Pirt, Fay Hield, Jim Causley, Laura Hockenhull, Gilmore & Roberts, Lucy Ward, Louise Jordan, The Young'uns and Sam Kelly – the latter two nominated (again) in this year's Folk Awards. Two of last week's club guests, Andrew Cadie and Katie Doherty, appeared at one such night in 2007 with their student group Roll a Penny, while Steve Lacey, now with Róisín Bán (see item 7) also took part in a young performer night in 2007.
This year's featured artists are Finn Collinson and Clarke Camilleri, who you are encouraged to check out on 22nd March. They were nominated to us by the annual New Roots contest for aspiring young musicians, held in St Albans each spring.
Hailing from East Anglia and now a student at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Finn's main instrument is the recorder but he also plays mandolin, cello, bouzouki and guitar and has shared stages with acts such as Bellowhead and The Young'uns. He recently took part in the semi-final weekend of the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award and says that experience "has really inspired me to keep developing solo material". Finn also performs with a group called Shorelark and occasionally collaborates with York University student Tilly Moses (see item 8). He has a Facebook page at
Clarke Camilleri is from the East Midlands and is a singer-guitarist with a growing interest in playing traditional folk songs alongside originals. Or as he puts it on his newly launched website at "I'm a lad from the country of Nottinghamshire, who likes to write songs, loves traditional music and the folk community."
Eddie Affleck will be acting as MC and with no other floor spots each performer gets to do two sets. Tickets are £8 in advance or £9 on the door, with ALL proceeds split 50/50 between the two youngsters. Please give them your support.

5. 27th MARCH – SCOTTISH SOUNDS AND MORE AT NCEM WITH BARLUATH. The innovative young Celtic folk band Barluath is based in Glasgow, where some of its members studied at the Royal Scottish Conservatoire. I first booked them for the NCEM two years ago, having been very impressed by their performances at Warwick Folk Festival the previous summer. They were a great hit on that NCEM debut and so we are delighted to bring them back to York on Tuesday 27th March.
Now a five-piece, Barluath's repertoire spans traditional and contemporary folk music from Scotland, Ireland and North America. They are fronted by the wonderful singing, in both English and Gaelic, (not to mention occasional step-dancing) of Ainsley Hamill, who is superbly supported by a rich instrumental mix of bagpipes, whistle and bouzouki (Edward Seaman), fiddle (Eilidh Firth), piano (Alistair Iain Paterson) and guitar (Pablo Lafuente).
Our own tame Scotsman Eddie Affleck will be acting as MC and support act, and tickets are again £16 full or £14 concessions at or on 01904 658338 or on the door.

6. 29th MARCH – 40th ANNIVERSARY PARTY NIGHT. In 1978 a group of music loving students moved their regular folk gathering from the York University campus into town and chose the Black Swan Inn. And so our club was born. We always knew things began this way, but with no surviving archives before autumn 1979, we were a little unsure of the precise chronology. Then last summer I had an email from musician Paul Buckley, explaining how he, Piers Jackson and some others "inherited the folk club at the University in 1976 and after running it in the form of club nights and concerts in university rooms, moved it into the town. We started making enquiries in a few York pubs, well quite a lot of them actually, particularly the real ale ones (and) eventually settled on the Black Swan. I'm struggling to remember details but I found an old diary the other day and the first reference I can find is Thursday 9th February 1978". The long-vanished Bob Greenwood was also involved in the early days of the club, and a little later Mike Tavener, who is still an active musician in York.
After forty years and well over 2,000 events we are still here, so join us to celebrate on Thursday 29th March. Paul Buckley, a professional guitarist now living in Ireland, is returning to play for us, and we hope that quite a few other founders and early supporters will come along. Eddie Affleck, our longest serving resident performer, will act as MC and rather than having pre-booked floor spots we will welcome as many other performers as we possibly can on the door, with preference given to those from the early days and other long-term supporters. We don't know exactly what to expect, but do come along and party with us! For listeners, there will be a token entry charge of £5 (advance) or £6 (on the door).

7. 5th APRIL – MUSIC FROM IRELAND & BEYOND WITH ROISIN BAN. The Yorkshire-based Celtic folk band Róisín Bán (which means simply "white rose" in Irish) makes a second appearance at our club on 5th April. This great group now comprises original members Steve Lacey on guitar, mandolin and banjo, Chris Dyson on fiddle and Paddy Heffron on melodeon, plus our old friend Gordon Tyrrall on guitar, flute and vocals. We look forward to a night of beautifully performed mainly traditional songs and tunes from Ireland, Scotland, England and Brittany, with perhaps a bit of Paddy's sean nos dancing thrown in. Chris Euesden is the MC for this one and we anticipate floor spots from Judith Haswell, John Storey and John Cherry. Prices are £9 in advance or £10 on the door.

8. 12th APRIL – STUDENT SHOWCASE NIGHT. Following the cancellation of Rachel Dawick's planned visit on 12th April (see item 1 above), we are instead handing the club over that night over to some of our younger supporters for a Student Showcase: current York students and recent graduates, together with their musical friends. Amongst the excellent singers and players taking part will be "guitar & mandolin led Celtic bluegrass fusion duo" Bella Gaffney & Polly Bolton and singer-songwriter Tom McKenzie, both of whom featured in our recent Winter Folk Day and are occasionally seen doing floor spots at club guest nights. Matthew Mason is an amazingly gifted ukulele player who sometimes appears at our Singers Nights, as have done singer-songwriters Tilly Moses and Crispin Halcrow.
As explained above (item 6) our club was founded 40 years ago by an earlier generation of student musicians, so now you could say we are coming full circle! How very appropriate, I think. Do come along and give them a listen – you'll not be disappointed. Tickets are £8 in advance or £9 on the door, with the usual half-price offer for students and under-18s.

9. THREE CONCERTS IN MAY AT THE CRESCENT & THE NCEM. We have no concert events during April this year but we bounce back into action in May with two shows at The Crescent and a third at the Early Music Centre. At The Crescent Community Venue, behind the Odeon off Blossom Street, where we work in collaboration with Joe Coates of PleasePleaseYou, we have a feast of acoustic blues on Sunday 6th May when two of our favourite players Hans Theessink & Brooks Williams pass through York on their Steady Rollin' Blues joint tour. Then on Tuesday 22nd May it is an Irish night to savour with the great Dublin quartet Lankum, formerly known as Lynched. Lankum have been nominated for no fewer than three different BBC Folk Awards this year (see item 12) so this is a particularly suitable time to finally get them to York. Both shows are now on sale at, the first at £12, the second at £16. Tickets are also available "over the counter" at the venue (evenings) and at Earworm Records off Goodramgate.
Finally we look forward to a night of contemporary Canadian folk-rock in a show by former members of that much loved and hugely missed outfit Tanglefoot. Ritchie Parrish Ritchie brings together Steve Ritchie (guitar) Rob Ritchie (keyboards) and Al Parrish (bass), together with percussionist Beaker Granger. They appear at the NCEM on Wednesday 30th May, with tickets now on sale at £16 full price, £14 concessions through the NCEM website or box office.

10. AND COMING NEXT TO THE BLACK SWAN INN. Thursday night guests at the Black Swan Inn during May are Kitty Macfarlane (3rd), Rosie Hood & Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne (10th) and Hannah James & Claudia Schwab (24th). These events are already open for booking at WeGotTickets, as are two special shows in June, an entirely solo performance by Nancy Kerr (14th) and the ever-popular Clive Gregson (21st).


11. FOLK WEEKEND TAKING SHAPE. Work is now well underway on planning our annual early summer jamboree, the City of York Folk Weekend, which this year takes place on 1st, 2nd & 3rd June. Draft running orders have been drawn up for both the Marquee stage and the indoor events in the upstairs club room and I am now sorting out the other bits-and-bobs of programming before moving on to work out who does what and when in terms of things like PA duty, MC-ing and stewarding. Very many thanks to all of you who volunteered to help out in this regard. Meanwhile Richard Nagy has again offered to design a poster for us. Hopefully both the draft timetable and the poster will be loaded on the club website and the Folk Weekend Facebook page by Easter.
To whet your appetites, the draft running orders for the Marquee stage look like this at present, though of course they are liable to change. JSS will again be providing PA services on Saturday and Sunday, with ace engineer Tony Evans at the controls.

  • Friday Night: Ceilidh with FiddlersWreck
  • Saturday: 1.00 The Bronze, 1.45 Stan Graham, 2.40 The Duncan McFarlane Band, 3.45 Chechelele, 4.40 Leather'o, 5.30 Two Black Sheep & A Stallion, 6.25 Stillhouse, 7.15 Graham Hodge, 7.55 Ebor Morris, 8.25 Joshua Burnell Band, 9.30 Dan Webster Band
  • Sunday: 1.00 Phil Cerny, 1.50 Alterego, 2.45 The Ale Marys, 3.50 David Ward Maclean, 4.40 Soundsphere, 5.30 Bella Gaffney & Polly Bolton, 6.20 Union Jill, 7.15 White Sail, 8.05 Edwina Hayes, 9.00 King Courgette


12. BBC FOLK AWARDS 2018. The annual shindig that is the BBC Folk Awards will be upon us soon. Nominees were announced a few weeks ago and the Awards themselves take place on 4th April, this year in Belfast.
As usual, the nominees include quite a few acts who have appeared at club events in the past or are scheduled for later this year. For example, the Best Duo category includes both Edgelarks (NCEM last October) and O'Hooley & Tidow (NCEM most recently in 2016), the Best Group nominees include Lankum (coming to The Crescent in May) and the Musician of the Year finalists include Martin Simpson (NCEM most recently last November) and Mohsen Amini (coming to NCEM with Talisk next October). We are also negotiating to bring Siobhan Miller to the NCEM next autumn - she is one of the Folk Singer of the Year nominees and is also shortlisted for Best Traditional Track for her take on Banks of Newfoundland.
The Horizon Award for best "up-and-coming" act is always one to watch. Nominees include Georgia Lewis, who visited the Black Swan last November, and Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne, seen at the Black Swan with Granny's Attic in August 2016 and returning in May this year in a double-header with Rosie Hood (see item 10)

13. AND YORKSHIRE GIG GUIDE AWARDS 2018 OPEN FOR NOMINATIONS. Closer to home, public nominations have opened for the Grassroots Awards 2018 run by the Yorkshire Gig Guide website. You may recall that we won the Outstanding Music Club category in these awards in 2016. Make you nominations for 2018 at

14. PAULA GOES STATESIDE. Club supporter Paula Ryan advises that she is away on a "mini tour" of the East Coast of USA for much of March. "I'm very excited" she says "as this is probably the biggest tour in the US I have done to date with dates in New York City itself but also covering New York state, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut etc." Over two weeks or so it seems she has 10 gigs, so well done Paula! Once she is back in (old) York, one of her future bookings will be to open for Lankum at The Crescent on 22nd May (item 9 above).

15. RED COW TO CLOSE DOWN. Steve Morrison has announced that he will be closing down his music shop on Goodramgate, Red Cow Music, in mid-April. A limited online business will continue at Steve began his music retail career almost exactly 40 years ago at Banks Music, before going on to found MOR Music. After selling MOR and wanting to focus more on his closest interest of folk instruments, he launched Red Cow eight years ago and has built it up into a highly valued resource for folk and acoustic musicians across Yorkshire and well beyond. Steve has always been a good friend to the folk club, helping us with publicity and supporting our folk weekend. Red Cow will be greatly missed, but at least you should check out some great offers in the closing down sale.
In another development, Red Cow's helpful shop assistant Alex Golisti has taken up a full-time administrative job with the Early Music Centre. We wish him well there and look forward to working with him.

16. SHAKESPEARE PROJECT SEEKS FOLK MUSICIAN. The York Shakespeare Project are looking for a musician, either a violinist or an accordionist, for a production of Two Noble Kinsmen, to be performed at York Theatre Royal's De Grey Ballroom in early May. "You will need to be willing to learn Cuckoo's Nest by ear and if you can also play three verses of the Padstow May Song then that's all to the better, but not essential" they say. "There are a number of rehearsals during April, but the main two to make will be the afternoon of Sunday 29th April, and the dress rehearsal on Tuesday 1st May at 7pm."
"There are performances every evening at 7pm from Wednesday 2nd to Saturday 5th May, plus a Saturday matinee at 2pm. The musician could leave after the Morris dance is done- around 8.30pm. As a community theatre group we can't offer a fee, but we will pay reasonable travel expenses for rehearsals and the performance run." Further details on the production are available at If you are interested, contact Tom on 07761 540831 or


17. YORK ST PATRICK'S FESTIVAL, 16th & 17th MARCH. The York Irish Association holds its annual St Patrick's Festival next weekend. "Our biggest event of the year returns with music, dancing, ceilidhs, food, drink and much more in a marquee in the centre of York" they say. That's in St Sampson's Square from 5pm on Friday 16th and all day from 11am on Saturday 17th, with everything Free Entry. Friday events include a ceilidh with FiddlersWreck and live music with Gaelstrom and our good friend Damian Fynes. Saturday includes music from Folkestra, Roisin Ban, The Flying Donkeys and others, plus another ceilidh. You can see the full programme at

18. YORK'S LITTLE FESTIVAL OF LIVE MUSIC "MINI-FEST" 31st MARCH. Ellen Cole has now announced the line-up for her Easter Saturday mini-fest at the Black Swan Inn. "Come and join us for six and a half hours of great acoustic and folk music" she says. The line-up is 2.30 Scarlett Gordon, 3.00 Leather'o, 4.00 Toni Bunnell, 5.00 Bruni (a four-piece group performing interpretations of Norse folk songs), 6.00 David Ward Maclean, 7.00 Nick Hall and 8.00 Edwina Hayes. Doors open at 2.15 and entry into the festival is free, although there is a suggested donation of £5 which will be given to The Island Mentoring Scheme, a children's charity which supports vulnerable children living in York. Ellen suggests you RSVP your attendance at

19. GREEN CHILLI ROOTS. A new addition to the York music promotion scene is Green Chilli Roots, who will be promoting regular roots and Americana gigs in the city. They are planning concerts on the first Tuesday of each month at The Winning Post on Bishopthorpe Road, which will be complemented by some additional nights at the Winning Post and other venues to fit in with artists' touring schedules. They promise outstanding "international and UK artists", with those already booked including Lachlan Bryan from Australia, Christina Martin from Canada and Nashville based Amelia White. Popular Yorkshire artists will be featured too, including Plumhall, Gary Stewart, Fargo Railroad Company and Fran Wyburn. The headliners will be supported by local artists to provide a full evening of high quality music. The series began with local heroes The Dan Webster Band on 6th March. Canadian trio Port Cities follow at City Screen Basement on Saturday 31st March, with support from the above-mentioned (item 8) Bella Gaffney & Polly Bolton, and then Leeds-based female songwriter collective Sisterhood are at The Winning Post on 3rd April. There is a Facebook group at

20. BLONDE ON BOB AT THE WINNING POST, 13th APRIL. Staying with Bishopthorpe Road venue The Winning Post, Chris Euesden and his Blonde on Bob covers band are doing a semi-unplugged night of "Nothin' but Dylan" there on Friday 13th April at 8pm. Tickets are £7 at or £9 on the door.

21. CHARITY CONCERT AT THE BLACK SWAN, 15th APRIL. Our own Stan Graham is organising a charity folk night on Sunday 15th April at the Black Swan, in aid of SeeAbility. This is one of the oldest disability charities in the UK and has pioneered specialist support for blind people for over 200 years. The folk club "house band" Ramshackle (Stan, Eddie, Chris, Phil and Judith) will be appearing, Stan will also do a solo spot, and Dorset based singer-songwriter Nigel Waite is a special guest. The show will start at 7.30pm and tickets at just £5 can be booked online at


22. COMING TO YORK LATER IN APRIL AND EARLY IN MAY. Here is a quick run-down:

  • Savour some world music with Madagascan trio Toko Telo at the NCEM on Friday 20th April. See
  • There's "joyful Celtic folk music" with former York University student group Nish As Rish, including Manx vocalist Ruth Keggin, on Friday 27th April at the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall on the university campus. See
  • Joshua Burnell & his band give new album Songs From The Seasons its official launch at The Crescent in York on Saturday 28th April. Advance tickets are only £6 through
  • Legendary singer-guitarist Michael Chapman appears at City Screen Basement also on Saturday 28th April. See
  • Subtle folk duo Ninebarrow (BBC Folk Awards nominees in 2017) make a return visit to Thorganby Village Hall also on Saturday 28th April. See
  • Sheffield folk singer Sharron Kraus appears at The Black Swan Inn on Saturday 12th May, organised by John Pritchard under the auspices of the "Folk Horror Revival Network". Sarah Dean is also on the bill. Details of times and tickets to follow.

23. ACOUSTIC BLUES AND SOUL AT JUNCTION IN GOOLE. Singer Maggie Bell and ace guitarist Dave Kelly appear at Junction in Goole on Saturday 14th April at 8pm. Tickets are £15 at or on 01405 763652.

24. MARTIN CARTHY ANTI-FRACKING FUNDRAISER. Martin Carthy does a fund-raising concert at Pickering Memorial Hall on Friday 4th May in aid of the Frack Free Ryedale campaigning group. He will be supported by David Swann, the show begins at 7.30 and tickets are £15. They can be obtained from Lynne Blair on


I was inundated with messages of sympathy after revealing in the last E-News that I am terminally ill with motor neurone disease. Thank you all so very much for your best wishes; it really helps me to carry on knowing I have so much support out there. My condition has deteriorated only moderately in the last month and I am still getting to club events most weeks. Bruising from a clumsy fall in the street a couple of days ago has set me back a bit, but hopefully that will prove only temporary.

One thing I am finding more and more difficult is using a keyboard and mouse to compose e-mails and documents such as this. Acting on advice from a disability charity I therefore invested in some Nuance Dragon "naturally speaking" software, which in theory should enable me to control my computer largely by voice. I have successfully (I think) installed this on my PC but I'm having great difficulty actually getting it into use. If anyone out there has experience of using such voice control software and can give me some assistance, I'd be hugely grateful.