Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 232

1st November 2018


With Jim Moray’s club appearance tonight Sold Out (no surprises there), let’s move straight on to next week, when we have two top class but contrasting events for you.

1. TUESDAY 6th NOVEMBER AT THE NCEM – DAOIRI FARRELL.  There is a great night of Irish folk song in prospect next Tuesday at the NCEM when we proudly present the Dublin-born singer and bouzouki player Daoirí Farrell.  Daoirí (pronounced Derry) is widely acclaimed as one of most important performers to come out of Ireland in recent years, breathing vigorous new life into the Irish folksong repertoire.  His breakthrough album True Born Irishman lead to three BBC Folk Award nominations in 2017, more than any other artist, with wins in the Horizon (for best newcomer) and Best Traditional Track categories.
Since then Daoirí has toured widely around Britain and far beyond, including with the Transatlantic Sessions, and at leading festivals such as Cambridge and Shrewsbury, winning admirers wherever he goes.  Only the other day, two friends were telling me of their visit to last month’s Costa del Folk Festival in Portugal and saying how Daoirí (on his third Costa booking) had been one of the absolute highlights.  From Portugal Daoirí went on to a festival in Sweden, then a string of dates back home in Ireland, and now he embarks on a busy UK tour.  A new album is imminent (expected early next year) and no doubt he will be showcasing material from it on this tour.  The album is being produced by Irish legend Donal Lunny and this week’s Radio 2 Folk Show had a sneak preview of one track, an impressive take on The Galway Shawl.
Daoirí’s debut appearance at the Black Swan in 2016 was one of our standout nights that year (and a full house), so we had no hesitation in inviting him back to York at the much larger NCEM venue.  As an added bonus, support on Tuesday 6th November comes from popular York-based Irish singer Damian Fynes, best known as a member of Two Black Sheep & A Stallion and a regular at the lively Friday night session in the Three Legged Mare.  Another well-known York Irish musician, Paula Ryan, will be acting as compere.  There are still tickets available, priced at £15 full or £13 concessions.  Booking is through or on 01904 658338, and on the door from 6.30pm.

2. THURSDAY 8th NOVEMBER AT THE BLACK SWAN – KIM LOWINGS & THE GREENWOOD.  Each autumn before my illness I used to attend an event called the English Folk Expo, designed to showcase up-and-coming artists working within the English folk tradition to club, concert and festival promoters.  One of the acts which impressed me at last year’s Expo was the singer and dulcimer player Kim Lowings and her band The Greenwood, hailing from Stourbridge in Worcestershire.
In the group Kim is joined by Tim Rogers on percussion, Dave Sutherland on double bass and her father Andrew on guitar and bouzouki.  Their energetic sound has been described as “punchy and authentic” by Mike Harding, no less, and cleverly combines original compositions with innovative new arrangements of familiar traditional songs.  They have performed widely at clubs, festivals and other venues around the Midlands and gradually their reputation is growing nationwide – it certainly deserves to.
Do consider coming along and checking them out when Kim and her band make their welcome York debut next Thursday 8th November.  Tickets are £9 at or £10 on door, with students half price as usual.  Phil Cerny takes his turn as MC and the anticipated floor acts are Toni Bunnell, Eddie Affleck and young ukulele maestro Matthew Mason.

3. MND FUNDRAISER, THURSDAY 15th NOVEMBER AT THE BLACK SWAN.  As I announced in the last newsletter, the guest artist we originally had booked for Thursday 15th November, Ange Hardy, has suddenly withdrawn from touring and has cancelled all her outstanding engagements. Rather than have me book another guest artist at short notice or organise an extra singers night, our club residents immediately offered to run an MND Fundraising Night and I must say the response has been very heartening.
Headlining the night will be Ramshackle, our lively club “house band” comprising Stan Graham, Judith Haswell, Chris Euesden, Phil Cerny and Eddie Affleck.  Members of Blackbeard’s Tea Party have also offered to come along and will be doing a semi-acoustic set of songs.  Other performers will include John Watterson, aka Fake Thackray, Toni Bunnell and Steve & Dee Marshall.  It should be a thoroughly enjoyable way of spending a musical evening so please come along and help us raise as much money as possible!
As most of you will know, I am now seriously ill with motor neurone disease (MND) and while I can still sit at a computer and just about do things like this newsletter, my mobility is greatly reduced.  Proceeds from this concert will be divided between helping to pay for practical measures (e.g. the recently installed stairlift) which help me continue to organise and attend the club and making a donation to the local branch of the MND Association.
We have kept the ticket price as it was to have been for Ange Hardy, namely £9 in advance at, and early booking is advised. If there are any tickets left on the door they will be £10.

4. MONDAY 19th NOVEMBER AT THE NCEM – SIOBHAN MILLER.  After leading singers from England (Jon Boden) and Ireland (Daoirí Farrell) and a top Scottish instrumental act (Talisk), our fourth NCEM show this autumn features one of the foremost young singers in Scotland.  Siobhan Miller is a truly exceptional talent whose soulful and stirring take on folk song has won her Singer Of The Year an unprecedented three times at the Scots Trad Music Awards, as well as this year’s Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Traditional Track.
Siobhan’s superb vocal style has been honed through collaborations with many of Scotland’s top musicians and tradition bearers, while her extensive range spans choice contemporary songs and lyrically rich self-penned material as well as traditional favourites.  Check out some of her many videos on YouTube (e.g. at if you want to get an idea of the treat in store.
Siobhan’s third album, Mercury, is released tomorrow to tie in with what is a month–long British tour. Her award-winning second release, Strata in 2017, included her take on songs such as Banks Of Newfoundland, What You Do With What You've Got, One Too Many Mornings, The Month Of January and Bonny Light Horseman.  No doubt some of these will feature in her NCEM performance alongside material from the new album.
Siobhan will be accompanied on Monday 19th November by her small backing band, comprising Euan Burton (bass), Aidan Moodie (guitar, vocals) and John Lowrie (piano, percussion).  Support comes from adventurous local trio White Sail (Jane Stockdale, Chris Bartram & Sarah Dean), Steve Marshall will be acting as compere and tickets are £16 full or £14 concessions from the NCEM website or box office.

5. THURSDAY 22nd NOVEMBER AT THE BLACK SWAN – SINGERS NIGHT.  John Storey will host November’s club open night.  All are welcome at what is usually a very varied and enjoyable informal evening.  Entry is £3 on the door (students £2) and performers are asked to put £1 in the kitty.

6. THURSDAY 29th NOVEMBER AT THE BLACK SWAN – STEVE TILSTON.  Forty seven years down the road from his seminal first album, Steve Tilston remains firmly at the top of his game.  As a celebrated song-smith and a superb acoustic guitar player, he has few equals.  Steve has entertained us many times over the years and it will be a great pleasure to welcome him back to York again on 29th November.  Stan Graham will be your MC and the anticipated floor performers are Simon Alexander, Judith Haswell and Chris Euesden. Tickets are £11 in advance at (already selling quite well) or £12.50 on the door.


7. THURSDAY CLUB NIGHTS.  Next month’s diary begins with the hugely talented Tim Edey on Thursday 6th December.  This singer, guitarist, accordion player, songwriter, accompanist and producer was due to make his Black Swan debut in 2013 but was called away to join The Chieftains on a US tour, which shows you just how highly respected he is by other musicians.  Five years down the line, we have at last secured another date for him.  We can expect everything from Irish tunes and classic Scottish airs to songs that span traditional balladry to country blues, Taoist reflections to Swing Jazz idioms.  Eddie Affleck will be the MC and tickets are £10 in advance or £11 on the door, students half price.
For our end-of-year special on Thursday 13th December, who better than one of our all-time favourite singers, Dave Burland and his friends The Awkward Squad?  Dave’s rich and mellow vocal tones and his distinctive guitar style have been enjoyed many times in the 40 year history of our club. Tonight Dave is joined by Dave Fisher on vocals, keyboards, lap steel and pedal steel guitars and Bryan Ledgard on vocals and percussion.  Together they perform a collection of songs that all three musicians regard as timeless classic material.  Dave’s old friend Chris Euesden will be MC for this one and tickets are £11 in advance or £12.50 on the door, again with students half price.
We have our customary Christmas Party on 20th December, then take a week off between Christmas and New Year – the only Thursday all year when the club does not meet!
The club diary is now fully sorted for the first half of 2019 and all dates through to mid-July have been posted at  January’s line-up includes firm favourite Jez Lowe, Otley’s finest The Jon Palmer Acoustic Band and a very promising debut for Kentucky-based female folk duo The Local Honeys.  February likewise brings us another set of debut guests, the highly-rated Dorset duo Ninebarrow, more local favourites in the fine shape of Duncan McFarlane & Anne Brivonese, and a return booking for the sensational pairing of Dan Walsh & Alistair Anderson.
March onwards sees a similar mix of firm favourites such as The Churchfitters, Mairearad Green & Anna Massie, Bob Fox and Gilmore & Roberts, alongside debut guests such as Scottish singer Jenny Sturgeon, political singer songwriter Grace Petrie and highly rated Irish duo Ye Vagabonds.  There are return appearances by West Yorkshire vocal trio Yan Tan Tether and by young blues and folk singer/guitarist Sunjay, and a rescheduled night with Pilgrims’ Way, whose performance in March this year was scuppered by all that snowy weather!  There will also be a Young Performers Night featuring the bands Nidd and Don’t Feed The Peacocks and a debut visit by the excellent duo of Rosie Hodgson & Rowan Piggott.
I’ll be writing the copy for our next club brochure sometime during the current month, after which I will get all events through until at least May open for booking at WeGotTickets. Watch this space!

8. TUESDAY 18th DECEMBER AT NCEM - SONGS FOR CHRISTMAS WITH EMILY SMITH.  For her fifth visit to NCEM, the much admired Scottish singer Emily Smith will be presenting her unique Christmas show on Tuesday 18th December.  Accompanied by Jamie McClennan and Anna Massie (guitar, fiddle, backing vocals), Emily promises a beautiful blend of original and traditional festive songs.  Sing along with old carols, tap your toes to upbeat instrumentals or simply close your eyes and let Emily’s evocative voice help you dwell on the joy and peace that Christmas can bring.  From humble beginnings in 2012, she has honed this show into a widely-acclaimed and moving, family friendly seasonal night out.  Support comes from popular Ryedale singer-songwriter David Swann and tickets are £17 full or £15 concessions, at or on (01904) 658338.

9. COMING TO THE NCEM IN 2019.  Also now open for booking are our first two NCEM shows of 2019: a return visit by Phil Beer on Tuesday 12th February (almost exactly 10 years after he presented us with our Folk Club of the Year trophy at the 2009 BBC Folk Awards) and a Celtic special with Mike McGoldrick, John McCusker & John Doyle on Tuesday 26th February.  Confirmed NCEM events later next Spring include The Rheingans Sisters in March, Peter Knight’s Gigspanner in April (see also item 22 below) and The Melrose Quartet in May.  The latter three should be open for booking through the NCEM website later this month.


10. FAREWELL JOHNNY TAYLOR.  Just as I was putting the finishing touches to this newsletter, I received the very sad news that Teesside club and festival organiser Johnny Taylor had passed away yesterday, 31st October. This is a particularly poignant loss for me.  Johnny ran the very first folk club I attended, at The Wheatsheaf in Hutton Rudby circa 1972 (at that time I seem to recall he ran no fewer than three different clubs each week around the Cleveland area!) and he also masterminded the very first folk festival which I attended, at Redcar in 1973.  45 years later, Johnny was still the lead organiser for the long-running Cutty Wren Folk Club in Redcar and the annual Folk Festival in Saltburn.  His passing leaves a massive hole in the folk scene in that part of the world.

11. YORKSHIRE GIG GUIDE AWARDS 2018.  Regional music website Yorkshire Gig Guide held their annual Grass Roots Awards ceremony a few weeks ago in Mexborough, and Paula Ryan, Chris Euesden and I attended on behalf of the folk club.  As you may recall we were awarded the trophy for Outstanding Live Music Club in these awards a couple of years ago.  This time, however, I was very humbled and moved to be the recipient of a personal and one-off Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition of the 30+ years I have spent organising folk music events in the York area.  Thank you very much Andrew, Joe and everyone else at Yorkshire Gig Guide.  The etched glass trophy now has pride of place on my mantelpiece!

12. AND THE YORK CULTURE AWARDS.  Closer to home, the shortlists have also been announced for the York Culture Awards 2018.  These cover the whole range of cultural activity, not just music, but there are a few nominations which may be of interest to readers.  In particular I would draw your attention to the Outstanding Performing Artist category (in which Joshua Burnell was runner up last year), which recognises “a stand-out performer or group of performers in York including actors, dancers, musicians, singers, spoken word artists or comedians”.  The Chechelele World Music Choir is one of 3 nominees in this category and will be well known to anyone who was attended our Folk Weekend, where they have sung almost every year.  Club stalwarts Judith Haswell and Paula Ryan are just two of the members of this fine multi-lingual choir.
Another name which caught my eye was Oz Hardwick, in the Excellence in Writing category, which recognises “an author, playwright, screenwriter or poet who has had an outstanding work published or performed”.  As well as being a creative writer, Oz is an occasional musician who has appeared at several of our Folk Weekends in the past and he is also a regular feature writer and reviewer for the music magazine RnR (Rock & Reel).  There is an Outstanding Busker award this year as well and the shortlist includes Rachel Croft who is fast making a name for herself on the music scene.
Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony taking place at the Theatre Royal on Monday 19th November, unfortunately clashing with our Siobhan Miller concert at the NCEM.

13. TONY HAYNES SEEKS STUDIO GUESTS.  FAB Folk and Blues radio presenter Tony Haynes writes that “I am starting to put together a live guest list for FAB shows in 2019.  If you fancy coming in and playing live one Wednesday evening, and choosing some CD tracks to play, get in touch”.  The studio in Wetherby can now accommodate bands of up to five members, he points out.  See for more details.  The FAB diary is already full for the first quarter of next year and includes several acts who will be familiar to Black Swan supporters, such as Phil Pipe, Toni Bunnell and The Joshua Burnell Band.


14. JOHN SMITH AT THE CRESCENT, 4th NOVEMBER.  A reminder that highly rated Devon singer and guitarist John Smith appears at The Crescent Community Venue this coming Sunday, 4th November, with support from our own recent club guest Rachel Newton.  High-energy Scottish band Skerryvore are also coming to The Crescent, on Sunday 18th November, and East London outfit Stick in the Wheel are there on Friday 23rd November. Find out more at

15. AMNESTY CEILIDH, 10th NOVEMBER.  The York local group of Amnesty International UK is holding a grand fundraising ceilidh on Saturday 10th November.  The venue is Melodie Park on Wigginton Road, YO32 2RJ, and the band will be Bandiera Rossa, with doors opening at 7 pm for a 7.30pm start, running through until 11pm.  Tickets cost £10 (£5 for children) which includes snacks during the interval.  A bar will be available and there will be a raffle.  Tickets can be bought in person at Books for Amnesty on Goodramgate, Fairer World on Gillygate or Cycle Heaven on Bishopthorpe Road, or online through  Enquiries to 01904 479477 or 0797 486 7301.

16. WILL POUND IN KIRK HAMMERTON, 16th NOVEMBER. A reminder that the virtuoso accordion and harmonica player Will Pound appears at the Village Hall in Kirk Hammerton, near York, on Friday 16th November, at 8pm.  The named contact for tickets and further information is Duncan, on

17. FINAL GIGS FOR THE FORESTERS, 8th & 14th DECEMBER.  Steve Marshall writes that having failed to recruit a replacement for departing member Fred Ring, “It looks like we have come to the end of the road after 47 years and The Foresters are heading to their last two concerts”.  These are a fundraiser for Green Lane Growers at 7:30pm on Saturday 8th December at the Severus Club on Milner Street, YO24 4NJ (Tickets £5 from Colin Smith on 07758 857943 or and the band’s customary Christmas Party Night on Friday 14th December.  The latter takes place at Wigginton Recreational Hall, also starting at 7:30pm.  “Bring your own drinks and nibbles and enjoy a fun evening” says Steve.  Tickets are £7.50 and can be reserved by ringing him on 01904 490440 or 07929 719286, or by email to

18. BELLA & POLLY, 9th DECEMBER.  Our recent and very successful Talisk concert at the NCEM included an excellent opening spot from Bella Gaffney & Polly Bolton, joined by their fiddle player Holly Brandon.  I now understand that Bella and Polly have booked the club room at the Black Swan Inn for a Winter Party gig on Sunday 9th December. Doors will open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start by support act Tom McKenzie.  Bella and Polly will be joined by their full group The Magpies, including not only Holly Brandon but also cello player Sarah Smout.  Tickets priced at £8 (£7 students) are now on sale through

19. SOUNDSPHERE & TWO BLACK SHEEP, 15th DECEMBER.  Two of York’s mightiest vocal groups are getting together for a special pre-Christmas night also at the Black Swan Inn.  Soundsphere and Two Black Sheep & A Stallion tell me that they are” joining forces and voices for a joyous rousing celebration of the season” on Saturday 15th December.  More details to follow.

20. LAST FEW TICKETS FOR O’HOOLEY & TIDOW, 21st DECEMBER.  Thorganby Folk present Belinda O Hooley & Heidi Tidow on their annual Winter Folk tour, on Friday 21st December at the Village Hall in Thorganby.  Belinda and Heidi have established quite a following in this part of the world and the organisers tell me that there are only a handful of tickets left.  They cost £15 and can be booked at  Alternatively, contact Anne on if you would like to reserve and pay directly by BACS.


21. HARROGATE FOLK CLUB LAUNCHES ON SUNDAY.  A reminder that the brand-new Harrogate Folk Club holds its first meeting, an open singers and musicians evening, this coming Sunday, 4th November at 7:30pm in the upstairs function room of The Empress, on Church Square beside the Stray (HG1 4SP).  The club will then meet on the first Sunday of each month with Flossie Malavialle on 6th January their first “big name” guest.  There is a Facebook page at, or for general enquiries ring 0773 432 3572.

22. GIGSPANNER IN HELMSLEY ON SUNDAY.  In the wake of his departure from Steeleye Span, multi award winning fiddle player Peter Knight turned his full attention to his innovative trio Gigspanner, and they have established a reputation as one of the most genuinely ground-breaking forces on the British folk scene.  We are bringing them to the NCEM next Easter but meanwhile you can catch them at Helmsley Arts Centre at 7.30pm this coming Sunday, 4th November, and there are still some tickets left priced at £16.  Booking is on 01439 771700 or online at

23. MONTHLY SESSIONS IN STAMFORD BRIDGE.  Over in Stamford Bridge Alterego Ceilidh Band (which includes the above mentioned Steve Marshall, also of The Foresters) has resumed its monthly winter sessions at the local Cricket Club.  The band hosts an acoustic singaround cum session on the third Saturday of each winter month except December, so on 17th November and then 19th January, 16th February and 16th March.  Sessions get under way around 7:30pm and the Cricket Pavilion is on Low Catton Road, Stamford Bridge, YO41 1DZ.

24. JOSHUA BURNELL IN POCKLINGTON, 21st NOVEMBER.  A reminder that Joshua Burnell launches his brand-new album The Road to Horn Fair at Pocklington Arts Centre on Wednesday 21st November.  The full band will be in action and there will also be an opening spot by Rachel Croft (see item 12 above).  The concert starts at 8pm and tickets are a very modest £8 in advance through

25. FOURUM IN RIPON, 30th NOVEMBER.  Guests at the monthly folk gathering in Ripon on Friday 30th November are Fourum, described as “a popular North East group with songs from Ireland, Scotland and Tyneside with their own brand of music and humour”.  The venue is St Wilfrid’s Community Centre.  Ring Tish Hall Wilkinson on 01423 325664 for information or for tickets, with the latter costing £8. The venue is not licensed so bring your own drinks along.

26. THE JEZ LOWE CHRISTMAS TOUR.  Jez Lowe’s annual Christmas tour with The Bad Pennies and Benny Graham is set for twenty performances around the UK in December.  This will be a new festive show called 'Thor'd Out' and for these gigs fiddler and vocalist Kari MacLeod will be standing in for regular band member Kate Bramley, who is busy with her Badapple Theatre work.  Local dates include Beverley Folk Club on Monday 3rd December, Hutton Rudby Village Hall near Stokesley on Saturday 15th, Bishop Burton Village Hall in the East Riding on Sunday 16th and of course the Village Hall in Jez’s adopted home village of Green Hammerton on Saturday 22nd.  Find out more at  Remember also that Jez is our first guest of 2019 at the Black Swan, on 10th January.

I am sorry to say that my health is deteriorating steadily and I am finding it increasingly difficult to use a computer, so the dictation software which is putting together most of this newsletter is proving invaluable.  All being well there should be one more newsletter this year, around the end of November or beginning of December.