Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 30

Mid March 2005

Here’s another bumper round-up of folk news from the York area.

  1. FOLK MUSIC RETURNS TO LOCAL RADIO. First, some really great news − folk music is back on the agenda at Radio York! Starting next Wednesday, 16th March, there will be a weekly North Yorkshire Folk programme broadcast 7.05 to 8.00pm, i.e. immediately before Mike Harding’s national broadcast on Radio 2. The show is the project of York University student and BBC employee Michael Brothwell and has the full support of station bosses. Michael hopes to cover the whole folk/ acoustic spectrum, with a strong emphasis on local performers and events. Michael needs our help. Firstly, he is in dire need of CDs to play on air − the Radio York record library is very weak on our kind of music and his own record collection is limited. It would be wonderful if all you local artists could send him your current albums. Secondly, Michael wants to hear from local performers anyway, especially those who might be interested in doing a "live" appearance. Thirdly, club and events organisers need to let him know what they have coming up, preferably with a CD of the artist involved, so he can give you some airplay. Lastly, Michael would welcome offers of assistance with preparing the show − so come on any budding radio reporters out there! Michael can be contacted on 07870 412011, e-mail:, or write to him at BBC North Yorkshire, 20 Bootham Row, York, YO30 7BR.

  2. BLAZIN’ FIDDLES / HARVEY ANDREWS. There are still some tickets available for both of the coming week’s Big Events. That musically and visually stunning young Scottish combo Blazin’ Fiddles are at the National Centre for Early Music on Tuesday night (15 March) while legendary singer/songwriter Harvey Andrews revisits the Black Swan on Thursday (17 March). Tickets for the Blazers can be had from the NCEM Box Office on 01904 658338, For Harvey, tickets can be reserved with me for collection on the door (contact details below). In addition, and following the demise of Cassady’s Records, the Black Swan Inn has kindly offered to sell tickets for Thursday events (not NCEM concerts) over the bar, starting with Harvey Andrews and those heavenly harmonisers Artisan, who are our next ticketed guests (14th April). Tickets are available at the pub in normal trading hours (12 noon onwards), to personal callers paying by cash or cheque.

  3. DR FAUSTUS. April’s folk concert at the NCEM (Wednesday 13th) is the York debut of exciting young English music ensemble, Dr Faustus, touring to promote their brand new second CD. Tim Van Eyken (melodeon, vocals) has been twice at the NCEM, with Ethno England and with Waterson:Carthy, and before that did a solo set at the Black Swan back in 1999. As a ridiculously talented schoolboy Rob Harbron (concertina) shared a Black Swan Double Bill exactly ten years ago to the very day (13th April 1995!), since when he has worked with many of the top names in English music. Benji Kirkpatrick (bouzouki, guitar) inherited more than his fair share of his father John’s musical genes and is also a member of Bellowhead and Oyster Band’s Big Session, while Paul Sartin (oboe, violin) comes from another very musical family and has played with bands such as Belshazzar’s Feast. Booking for Dr Faustus is now open through the NCEM Box Office.

  4. FOLK CLUB OPEN BUSINESS MEETING. There will be an open meeting to discuss club matters on Monday 21 March at 8pm, in the Oak Room at the Black Swan Inn. It’s been a long while since we had one of these. The idea is just to have a wide-ranging, friendly and positive discussion around the club and its activities. As we have no formal membership, the meeting is open to any of you out there who have ideas or constructive criticisms to voice. The Agenda includes:
    • Future programme ideas, including suggestions for concerts
    • City of York Folk Day 2005
    • Club finances, admission prices, etc.
    • Investment ideas: more PA kit, spotlights or whatever
    • The website (Stan will soon have a new domain name and site off the ground)
    And any other business you care to raise. Do come along.

  5. FOLK SINGERS NEEDED FOR CHARITY CD. Ray Black of the lively Harrogate folk club tells me that a CD of traditional Yorkshire folk songs and folk singers is being planned to help raise funds for a local special school. They already have quite a few singers lined up, but could still do with a few more, especially women singers. If any of you care to offer your vocal services, give Ray a call on 01423 502875 or write to him on

  6. AND A BLUES SINGER WANTED TOO. Jim Clarke, indefatigable organiser of folk and cultural events in the Yorkshire Wolds, e-mails me to say he is putting together an electric blues band and needs a good vocalist (gender unspecified!). Any blues crooners out there should contact

  7. BRIAN COOKMAN. Sad news reaches us that jug-band and blues singer Brian Cookman passed away last month, after a short battle against cancer. A true character with a great sense of humour, Brian was a regular guest at the Black Swan in the 80s and early 90s, where his vaudeville styled blues playing and easy manner always went down well. I still remember fondly one 1990 post-club late night malt whisky drinking session with Brian, his local guitar maker and a pair of local blues players! Brian, RIP.

  8. CLUB PREVIEW. A year ago Debra Cowan turned up at the Club and did an impressive floor spot - an American singer with a great voice and a nicely balanced repertoire. On 24th March she’s back as guest. The following week, 31st March, it’s a strong young folk band in the guise of Isambarde. Emily Sanders (fiddle, vocal) was a club resident during her time at St John’s College. She is joined by Jude Rees (oboe, whistle, vocal) and Chris Green (vocal, guitar, bouzouki).

  9. AROUND & ABOUT. Once again, not enough space for all I could tell you about!
    • Saturday 19th March − Los Yobos rock it up at the Black Swan Inn.
    • Saturday 26th March − Singer/guitarist Julie Ellison appears at City Screen Basement Bar, preceded by a guitar workshop at 7pm.
    • Saturday 2nd April in the afternoon − Red Wedding (alias Joseph "Blyth Power" Porter and Steven Cooper) plus guests at the Black Swan Inn.
    For a full guide to local gigs, pick up the excellent free listings magazine The Talk.