Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 226

4th May 2018


Our next three guest promotions are all "double header" events with pairs of artists who are established solo performers joining forces for a one-off series of dates.In each case we look forward to a mix of solo numbers and exciting collaborative pieces.

1. BROOKS WILLIAMS & HANS THEESSINK AT THE CRESCENT THIS SUNDAY, 6th MAY. We have a feast of acoustic blues for you this Sunday when two of our favourite singer/guitarists Hans Theessink and Brooks Williams pass through York on their Steady Rollin' Blues joint tour.This special event is at The Crescent Community Venue, which is behind the Odeon off Blossom Street, where we promote occasional shows in collaboration with Joe Coates of PleasePleaseYou.It will be a fully seated show.
Brooks Williams hails from Statesboro, Georgia, the town made famous by country-blues legend Blind Willie McTell.He is a mean finger-picker and a stunning slide guitarist who has been ranked in the world's Top 100 acoustic guitarists.What is more "he has a beautiful voice," says AmericanaUK, "that you just melt into."Brooks is now based in England but tours worldwide and has 22 albums to his name.He has entertained us several times at the Black Swan in the last decade, and once at NCEM in partnership with Boo Hewerdine.He's "the real thing" says fellow guitar wizard Martin Simpson.
Dutch-born, Vienna-based Hans Theessink is probably Europe's Number One blues export.After more than 7,500 concerts (ten of them in York, mostly at the Black Swan), 50 years on the road and with more than 30 albums, an instructional video, a songbook and a DVD to his name, he's a roots and blues institution.His baritone voice and nimble guitar work is instantly recognisable, rich and emotional.The US music press has called him "an international blues treasure" and "one of the world's pre-eminent pickers" while for the legendary Bo Diddley he was "one helluva guitar player."
Dallas, Texas is where Robert Johnson made roughly half of his iconic recordings.It is also where Hans and Brooks met for the first time and struck up their friendship, sharing a love for the old blues songs, fingerpicking guitar and bottleneck slide.The country blues tradition is alive and well in the hands of these two musical ambassadors and this one-time collaboration is not to be missed.To sample them beforehand, here is a YouTube link:
Tickets for this one are £12 in advance (online through either WeGotTickets or See Tickets, over the counter at the venue, evenings only, or from Earworm Records in Powell's Yard off Goodramgate).Entry will also be available on the door from 7.30pm at £14.With a mix of solo sets and joint numbers there is no support act, but Eddie Affleck will be acting as MC.

2.ROSIE HOOD & COHEN BRAITHWAITE-KILCOYNE – THURSDAY 10TH MAY. Next week at the Black Swan Inn (Thursday 10th May) we have a promising collaboration between two of the best young singers on the English traditional end of the current folk scene, Rosie Hood and Cohen Braithwaite Kilcoyne.
Rosie Hood is a young singer known for her strong, pure voice and engaging performances.A BBC Performing Arts Fellow in 2015 and a 2016 Horizon Award nominee at the Radio 2 Folk Awards, Rosie started learning folk songs at an early age from her family and has a keen interest in the history of traditional songs, particularly those of her native Wiltshire, where she has spent time researching in local archives.More recently she has developed her songwriting abilities and honed her instrumental skills.Last summer's debut solo album The Beautiful and The Actual was widely praised."A classy arrival" said The Guardian, giving it four stars, while fRoots talked of "immortal songs allowed to speak for themselves" and awarded five stars.We enjoyed her singing here a couple of years ago in the group The Dovetail Trio.
Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne is another exceptionally gifted young folk performer with a passion for songs and tunes rooted in the English tradition.He has been a musician since the age of 6, took to squeezeboxes in his teens and is now a fine player of both the melodeon and the Anglo concertina, with his rich voice soaring through a range of historical ballads, industrial songs and shanties.He combines a solo career with playing alongside two old school-friends in Granny's Attic, and was one of the shortlisted artists in this year's BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Horizon category.We know how good he is from both some solo singers' night visits (while he was a music student in Leeds) and from a storming performance in 2016 by Granny's Attic.
Phil Cerny is the scheduled MC for this one and we expect floor spots from Steve Marshall, Judith Haswell and Simon Alexander.Tickets are £9 in advance or £10 on the door, with the usual half price rate for students and children.

3.HANNAH JAMES & CLAUDIA SCHWAB – 24TH MAY. After a Singers & Musicians Night on 17th May, MC'ed by Eddie Affleck, our final Double Headline event this month brings to the Black Swan Hannah James and Claudia Schwab on Thursday 24th May.Hannah has emerged as one of the most imaginative and adventurous younger artists on the folk scene.First coming to attention as accordion player and singer with the teenage band Kerfuffle, she was later in an acclaimed duo with Sam Sweeney and is now a member of leading female trio Lady Maisery, as seen by a full house audience at the NCEM last autumn.Hannah also works with folk legend Maddy Prior, in which guise she was back at the NCEM last month, and she has also been widely praised for her one-woman show JigDoll.
Claudia Schwab is a fiddle player, singer and composer, originally from Austria but now living in Ireland.Stomping rhythms, fiery reels, consoling Indian ragas and funk-beat Austrian yodelling abound in her eclectic blend of Irish, Indian, Swedish and Eastern European folk music styles.Her restless musical travels have taken her to Asia, Africa, North America and many parts of Europe, with orchestras or bands or as a soloist, but this will be her York debut.
Stan Graham is the designated MC for this event, scheduled floor singers are Toni Bunnell, Phil Cerny and Matthew Mason and tickets are £10 in advance or £11 on the door, again with students half price.


4. LANKUM AT THE CRESCENT, TUESDAY 22nd MAY. It will be an Irish night to savour with the great Dublin quartet Lankum, formerly known as Lynched, appears at The Crescent on Tuesday 22nd May.They are surely one of the most talked-about Irish groups in decades, combining distinctive vocal harmonies with uilleann pipes, concertina, accordion, fiddle and guitar on a repertoire ranging from classic ballads to music-hall ditties and street-songs, traditional dance tunes and original material.Comprising brothers Ian and Daragh Lynch with Cormac MacDiarmada and Radie Peat, they carried off the Best Group and Best Original Track trophies at last month's BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2018, so this is a particularly suitable time to finally get them to York.
York's own Irish folk star Paula Ryan acts as MC and support act and doors will open at 7.30pm.Priced at £16, tickets are available through both WeGotTickets and See Tickets, or over the counter at the venue (evenings only) or from Earworm Records in Powell's Yard off Goodramgate.Early booking is advised but if there are seats left on the night (it is a seated show, so capacity is limited to about 200), entry on the door will be £18.

5.RITCHIE PARRISH RITCHIE AT THE NCEM, 30th MAY. We return to the Early Music Centre for our final concert special of the spring on Wednesday 30th May, presenting "Canadian acoustic folk that rocks" with the band Ritchie Parrish Ritchie.This outfit is fronted by former members of much missed Canadian group Tanglefoot, who were hugely popular here in Britain in the late 1990s and in the first decade of the current century, along the way appearing four times at the Black Swan then twice at NCEM.In this new line-up Tanglefoot survivors Steve Ritchie (guitar), Rob Ritchie (keyboards) and Al Parrish (bass), with percussionist Beaker Granger, have developed their own contemporary folk-rock sound that echoes the Tanglefoot legacy whilst expanding the envelope.Their music, storytelling and high-spirited presence displays the same blend of enthusiasm, ability and personality that made the earlier band so successful.Whether an original song of Al's, Steve's recollection of a Robert Plant version of a Dylan tune or Rob's incisive humour, all the trademark harmony, chemistry and impact are there.
Tickets are now on sale at £16 full price, £14 concessions through the NCEM website or box office on 01904 658338.Note also that there will be no support act for this one: RPR will be on stage at 7.30 and promise two long (60 minute) sets.


6. YORK'S ANNUAL FREE FOLK JAMBOREE. Do make a date with our annual early summer festival City of York Folk Weekend, which this year takes place on 1st, 2nd & 3rd June.The programme is now finalised (barring any last minute hiccups) and has been loaded onto the club website at can also find it in the new season folk club leaflet, now widely available around York (City Screen, Visit York, York Explore, Black Swan Inn, etc.) or for a summary of what is in store, see E-News 225.
Also on the Folk Weekend page of the club website you will find download links for this year's poster, kindly designed for us by Richard Nagy.This is available in colour or black and white, in either PDF or JPEG version.Please make use of this artwork in any way you can to help spread word about this year's event.Remember also that there is a dedicated Facebook page at

7. POETRY, WORKSHOPS & A CHILDREN'S SHOW. One event on Saturday and three on Sunday perhaps deserve special mentions:
· Poems & Pints at lunchtime on Saturday in the downstairs Oak Room is our spoken word session, open to all storytellers, poets and eager listeners.Hosted as usual by John Gilham, it kicks off at 1.30pm.
· Soundsphere (Paula Ryan, Sarah Dean and Judith Simpson) will be repeating their ever popular Singing Workshop on Sunday morning from 11am to 1pm, in the upstairs room.If you want to know a bit more about what this involves, ring Sarah on 07963 792504
· At 12.30pm on Sunday lunchtime, our recent club guests Polly Bolton & Bella Gaffney present a workshop on Introducing Old Time Music.This is in the Oak Room and scheduled to last an hour.If you'd like to find out a bit more beforehand, contact them on
· This year's Children's Event follows in the Oak Room at 1.45pm on Sunday.Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and children's writer Toni Bunnell presents Enter the World of Story, a show which she has previously run at libraries and other venues in York and elsewhere."Come visit the magical world of storytelling" she says, "through songs, music and the spoken word, using the hurdy-gurdy and the Appalachian dulcimer.Enter the story and join in the fun."Toni's show lasts approximately 45 minutes and is suitable for children aged 5 to 10.

8. BOWES ROOM AVAILABLE FOR SESSIONS. Finally, can I remind you that the downstairs dining room, the Bowes Room, will be available all day Saturday and Sunday for informal musicians' sessions or singarounds.Tunes sessions have been a bit hit-and-miss over the last two or three years of our festival (Friday's Irish Night excepted) and it would be great to have lots of lively informal music making in the Bowes Room this year.


9. SUMMER CLUB NIGHTS TO LOOK FORWARD TO. After Singers Nights either side of the Folk Weekend (31st May, 7th June), the early summer season begins with Nancy Kerr (14th June) on her first ever entirely solo tour.Perennial favourite Clive Gregson follows (21st June) and then we are looking forward to hearing again that accomplished younger folk artist Lucy Ward (28th June).July begins with another Singers Night (5th), then continues with the wonderful but now expatriate singer Vikki Clayton (12th July) on her first major UK trip in 10 years.Our old friend Pete Morton follows (19th July) and then it is the Black Swan debut of Karin Grandal-Park & Karl Robins (26th July).August begins with another Singers Night (2nd) and then it is our pleasure to host local favourite Edwina Hayes (9th August).All of the above guest nights are open for booking at WeGotTickets.

10. EXCHANGES WITH CROOKES FOLK CLUB, SHEFFIELD. Earlier this year four Black Swan residents were invited to perform at the well-established Crookes Folk Club in Sheffield.John Storey, Paula Ryan, Sarah Dean and Eddie Affleck were due to appear at The Princess Royal, 43 Slinn Street, Crookes, S10 1NW in early March but the atrocious weather put paid to that.A new date for their visit has now been agreed for Friday 8th June.We then reciprocate with a night at the Black Swan featuring some of the Crookes singers.The trio Dogwood Rose and soloists Julia Waldron, Paul Pearson and Welsh Geoff will entertain us at the Black Swan on Thursday 16th August.

11. WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO THIS AUTUMN. Our club programme for the rest of this year is now complete and has been loaded onto the programme page of the club website.August events continue with Leeds trio The Heathen Kings then in September we look forward to return visits by Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar and The Askew Sisters as well as the belated Black Swan debut of Geordie entertainer Billy Mitchell.October begins with old and dear friends of ours Chris Sherburn, Denny Bartley & Emily Sanders and continues with debut visits by Rachel Newton and Jack Rutter.Two very popular artists returning in November are Jim Moray and Steve Tilston, while Ange Hardy will pay us a second visit and coming to the Black Swan for the first time will be Kim Lowings & The Greenwood.December has multi-instrumentalist Tim Edey making a long-delayed first visit, then our old friend Dave Burland returns with his mates The Awkward Squad.
We also have five concerts lined up for the Early Music Centre in the autumn: Jon Boden, doing a solo show, Scottish instrumental trio Talisk, which includes the 2018 BBC Folk Awards Musician of the Year Mohsen Amini, superlative Irish singer Daoiri Farrell, young Scottish vocalist Siobhan Miller (another BBC Folk Awards winner this year) and in December Emily Smith with her Christmas Songs show.
These events are not yet open for booking but do check out the dates on our website and put things which interest you into your diary now!


12. RIP SIMON HEGINBOTHAM. I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the recent death of an old acquaintance and fellow music promoter, Simon Heginbotham of Saltaire Live.Simon passed away two weeks ago, by his own hand.Apparently he had suffered from bouts of severe depression for many years, although he was very good at hiding this when he was dealing with all matters related to his great love, which was of course folk music, particularly Scottish and Irish folk.I had known Simon ever since he began to put on shows at the Victoria Hall in Saltaire and I was full of admiration for his energy and enthusiasm as he expanded operations to other venues around Yorkshire.Only a week before his death he had been in York doing publicity work for his upcoming shows at St Michael-le-Belfry, calling in en route at the Black Swan to say a cheery hello.
Simon's family, executors and friends determined that his outstanding concerts in both Saltaire and York should go ahead as planned."We hope that the many people who knew and loved Simon, or simply like the music and bands that he worked with, will come and join us at one or more of these events" they say.Hence Show of Hands will still be appearing at St Michael-le-Belfry, near York Minster, on Saturday 12th May, on their Where We're Bound tour, with Geoff Lakeman in support.The concert begins at 8pm and tickets are £22.50, with all bookings now to be made through not try to order via the Saltaire Live email or phone anymore, say Simon's family.A certain number of tickets will also be held back for sale on the door.

13. BEVERLEY FOLK FESTIVAL CANCELLED. Hardly comparable with Simon's death I know, but last week brought a second piece of shocking news: this summer's Beverley Folk Festival has been cancelled and the organisation behind it has gone into liquidation.Beverley Festival has been running almost as long as I have lived in this part of Yorkshire and I have many fond memories of it, particularly in its earlier years when there were venues such as the Picture Playhouse and Nellies.While it seems as though punters who had booked tickets for this year's event will not be refunded, I am particularly sad for those musicians who have lost a good booking that weekend.Earnings in this area of music are seldom high and summer festival engagements can contribute significantly to an artist's annual income.
I gather there may be some alternative events that weekend at Beverley's East Riding Theatre, plus fringe activities in the town centre, but no further details as yet.

14. RAILWAY TO GREENWAY PROJECT SEEKS PERFORMERS. The Heritage Lottery funded Railway to Greenway community project has been in touch, looking for singers and musicians to take part in events this summer.This project aims to celebrate the history of the former East Coast main line from Selby to York, closed in the 1980s for the short-lived Selby coalfield and now a popular traffic free cycle and walking route.For more about the project see information boards, a video, a website, poetry and artwork all in preparation the project organisers would also like to incorporate some music into their activities.
The first such event will be on Thursday 31st May.Project organiser Peter Huxford writes that Bike Belles will be doing a ride out to Naburn Station that evening."They will be ending at the station for food and I would like to offer music" he says."Can you suggest anyone who might be interested in performing there?It would be about 7pm in the open air, though there would be a gazebo type shelter.We have a generator but (numbers) won't be huge so performers could probably do it acoustically.Free pizza and a modest fee are available and while not essential, songs about the railways, coal mining, the river, space or ecology (or even cycling) would be good."
A second outdoor event is planned for daytime on Sunday 10th June, as part of the York Festival of Ideas, that would benefit from music too, and further activities will follow through the summer season.If you'd be interested in taking part in one or more of these, contact Peter on

15. AND THE LITTLE FESTIVAL LIKEWISE SEEKS PERFORMERS. Fresh from her successful all day music event at the Black Swan Inn on Easter Saturday, Ellen Cole is now accepting applications for those wishing to be part of the Little Festival of Live Music's September week of shows within the York Food and Drink Festival.See for details.The deadline is 31st May.
Also following that Easter event, Ellen has announced plans to run further such one-day folk and acoustic sessions at the Black Swan Inn two or three times per year, with the first one scheduled for Saturday 28th July from 3pm to 9pm.She is calling these the Eboracum Sessions and they have their own Facebook page at

16. NEWS FROM SARAH DEAN. Earlier this week club supporter, singer and harpist Sarah Dean was in touch. "I'm currently in Wales" she says "doing recording work with bands I'm involved in.Swansea based Luna Rossa are busy recording their third album and are set to tour extensively later this year (including York's Crescent venue) and I'm then heading to the iconic Rockfield Studio near Monmouth to record some vocals on York-based ex-Mostly Autumn singer Heather Findlay's new album.I shall be sure to sit and play the famous Bosendorfer grand piano that Freddie Mercury recorded Bohemian Rhapsody on!"
By now Sarah will be back at home as she playing three sets at the Filey Folk Festival this coming weekend.She is at The Imperial tonight (Friday) at 7.30pm, then at The Belle Vue Hotel twice on Sunday, solo at 1pm and with White Sail at 3pm.
Funnily enough we have received no other publicity at all about this year's Filey Folk Festival, which seems a little bit strange, given its proximity to York and our general willingness to publicise other events around the area.Looking at the website,, there seem to be lots of good things taking place over the weekend.With the Tour de Yorkshire also passing through Filey on Saturday afternoon, the seaside town looks like it will be having a lively weekend.

17. FOLK AT THE PROMS. Club regular Peter Quinn has been studying the programme for this year's BBC Proms and suggests that I draw your attention to an event at the Royal Albert Hall on Friday 3rd August at 7.30pm.Folk Music of Britain and Ireland will feature Julie Fowlis (Scotland), Jarlath Henderson (Ireland), Alaw (Wales) and Sam Lee and The Unthanks (both England), alongside the BBC Concert Orchestra.Tickets range from £9.50 to £50 and online booking opens on May 12th.


18. EBOR MORRIS DANCE THE CITY WALLS, 6th MAY. This Sunday, 6th May, Ebor Morris will be doing their traditional tour around York's famous city walls, dancing at all the Bars and corner towers on the circuit."This year we will have a record 17 dancers out, with three musicians" they say."If you're in York that day then come and watch us perform".The route and timings are on their website at

19. SWANSONGS AT THE BLACK SWAN, 12th MAY. A reminder that John Pritchard and the "Folk Horror Revival" are hosting an event at the Black Swan on Saturday 12th May, from 7.00pm.Headlining is the Sheffield folk singer Sharron Kraus who "draws on landscape, folk tales and traditions to create portals into other worlds of magic and mystery".Also appearing are the above-mentioned Sarah Dean and Leeds-based electronic duo Hawthonn.Tickets are £10 in advance: see

20. UNION CENTRAL AT THE BLACK SWAN, 18th MAY. Long established local acoustic band Union Central are not appearing at this year's York Folk Weekend but instead you can catch them later this month at the Black Swan Inn.They will be performing an evening of bluegrass music in the style of Alison Krauss and Union Station in the Wolfe Room on Friday 18th May.I'm not sure about ticketing arrangements but there is a telephone number you can call for more information: 01904 783029.

21. THORGANBY FOLK EVENTS.The next concerts being run by Thorganby Folk at Thorganby Village Hall are Chris While & Julie Matthews on Saturday 26th May and Louise Jordan with her No Petticoats Here show on Saturday 23rd June.The latter tells stories of First World War women through song.Thorganby Folk then take a break over the summer months but have just announced their first show of the autumn, Lady Maisery on Saturday 13th October.Booking is through

22. GREEN CHILLI ROOTS JUNE EVENTS.Local Americana promoters Green Chilli Roots have had a couple of late changes to their programme and now have two events in June.Gina Dootson is at the Winning Post on Tuesday 5th June and American singer Matt Woods is at the same venue on Wednesday 20th June.In both cases, opening acts are still to be arranged.Booking is through

23. POPPLETON LIVE PRESENTS ANTHONY JOHN, 23rd JUNE. John Watterson and the Poppleton Live team have been able to rearrange the Anthony John Clarke concert which had to be postponed in February.Jack Parker from Hull will be doing the support set.The show is now on Saturday 23rd June at All Saints Hall, Upper Poppleton, with doors open 6:45pm and music from 7:30pm."AJ is one of our most popular acts so please don't leave it to the last minute to book" says John.Booking is through or by contacting John on 01904 785366.After the summer break, next up at Poppleton Live will be the Ric Sanders Trio on Saturday 29th September.


I continue to be deeply moved and cheered by all the goodwill messages flowing in since I revealed that I am terminally ill with motor neurone disease.Dexterity in both hands continues to deteriorate slowly and it is increasingly difficult for me to do even simple things such as handwriting, dressing and eating.Mobility is also an increasing problem as I find I can walk shorter and shorter distances.I have now been issued with a disabled person's bus pass which may make travel around York a bit easier, although my home is not particularly close to any bus route.Happily I have been managing to get to most club functions over recent weeks, and to some other events such as Joshua Burnell's CD launch.Thanks very much to all of you offering lifts.