Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 32

Early May 2005

May is a very full month in the York folk music scene and this edition of the newsletter is largely devoted to upcoming club nights, our Danú concert and the City of York Folk Day. As always, feel free to quote, pass on to interested friends, etc.

  1. FORTHCOMING CLUB GUESTS. As predicted in E-News 31, there has been great interest in next week's visit by John Spiers & Jon Boden (May 12) and at copy date there were only two tickets left! Tickets have also been selling steadily for the debut visit by global troubadour Rory McLeod (May 26), but there are still plenty available at this stage. They are £8 (£6.50 concessions), on sale over the bar at the Black Swan Inn (personal callers only, cash or cheque), from me at club functions, or by ‘phoning or e-mailing me. Sandwiched between these two ticketed events is a particularly tasty filling in the shape of Pete Morton (May 19, £6/£5 on the door), one of our all-time favourites making his eighth appearance, no less!

  2. DANÚ DELIGHTS. Excitement mounts as our Irish concert special with Danú approaches fast, on Tuesday 17 May at the National Centre for Early Music. This thrilling band has won a slew of awards over its nine-year history, including Best Group in the BBC Folk Awards in 2001 and again in 2004, and Best Traditional Live Act 2004 in the Irish Music magazine readers’ poll. We are in for a real treat with this one! What is more, Danú have recently announced that after this year they will be retiring from international touring in order to spend more time with young families at home in Ireland. This first opportunity to enjoy them in York will also most likely be our last, so let’s make the most of it! For this tour Danú are Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh (lead vocal, flute, whistle), Tom Doorley (flute, low whistle), Éamonn Doorley (bouzouki, fiddle), Benny McCarthy (button accordion, melodeon), Dónal Clancy (guitar) and Oisín MacAuley (fiddle). Sadly, piper & bodhran player Donnchadh Gough is unable to appear due to a broken leg. There’s a new CD just out to coincide with the tour, called When All Is Said And Done, and when all is said and done this will be the Irish traditional gig of the year, definitely not to be missed.

    "This is a great band. The standard of musicianship is super-league" − The Daily Telegraph

    "Vocalist Muireann … has taken the group from being merely brilliant to something approaching greatness" − The Irish Post

    "The next big thing in Celtic music" - The Boston Globe

    "Reels, jigs, polkas and songs tumble together in a glorious mix" - Hot Press

    Doing the 7.30 support slot will be Lucy Wright & Paul Young of York University Folk Club with some beautifully sung and tastefully guitar-accompanied English folk songs. Danú tickets are £13 each (£11 concessions), available from the NCEM Box Office on 01904 658338,, online at I also have a few available for sale direct if you care to contact me.

  3. FOLK DAY 2005. Likewise approaching fast is the third City of York Folk Day, held on Saturday 21 May at the Black Swan Inn. This will follow the successful formula established in previous years. In the marquee behind the pub is a concert stage with PA, while the upstairs room hosts a rolling folk club session, again with PA available if required. The Oak Room bar is chock-a-block with session musicians, hosted by the regulars from the Maltings, Tap & Spile and Golden Ball, while the other front bar is available for informal jamming or whatever. We hope to get a proper singaround session going as well this year, probably in the evening in either the front bar or the club room.
    Performers have been queuing up for a half-hour Marquee Stage slot and I have now put together a draft running order. Artists featured (in no particular order!) are Los Yobos, Lyn Geddes, Kevin Loughran, Tom Bliss, Phil Cerny (back from USA for a few weeks), Monkey’s Fist, Dan Webster, Geoff Watson, Fine Companions, Two Black Sheep & A Stallion (aka Pete, Ron and Martin of the Tap & Spile), Adrian Spendlow, Ripple, Susie Fox, Chris Euesden, Graham Hodge, Eddie Affleck, Tim Pheby, Tom Euesden and the aforementioned Lucy & Paul. There’s also a dance spot by Minster Strays Morris and (awaiting confirmation) from Black Swan Rapper. The Rolling Folk Club upstairs will be open to all performers, with no pre-booked spots. One or other of our MC team will be on hand to keep things running smoothly. Spots could be two, three or four numbers depending on demand.

    Other points to note:

    • The landlord will be repeating last year’s successful barbecue, with a range of meat and vegetarian dishes on offer − plus the usual well-stocked bar. A license extension until midnight has been applied for.
    • Little Pot Stove Records will be there during the afternoon with a big choice of folk & roots CDs at reasonable prices − so bring some spare cash!
    • There will be no smoking in the upstairs club room. In the other bars it is up to participants to agree smoking policy as they go along.
    • Parking is strictly limited and priority will be given to people delivering PA equipment, record stall etc. The marquee takes up some parking spaces and the pub does have regular Saturday car park users as well.
    • Why not use public transport? The Grimston Bar and Monks Cross park-and-ride buses operate until 8pm and both run through Peasholme Green (as do the Leeds to Scarborough/Whitby Coastliner services), while the Askham Bar park-and-ride now operates until midnight.

    Things get underway at noon, with music in the marquee from 12.30pm if not earlier, and remember that all the entertainment is free. Drop in for ten minutes or ten hours, whatever suits, and enjoy yourselves.

  4. AROUND & ABOUT. Just space left for news of two local bands:
    • Country and Western Swing favourites Los Yobos do a Saturday gig at the Black Swan on 14 May, and return to the Black Swan a week later for a Folk Day afternoon spot.
    • Union Central are a new tribute band devoted to the modern bluegrass sound of Alison Krauss & Union Station. Four "old hands" on the acoustic music scene, Phil Quin (guitar), Geoff Earp (acoustic bass), former H T Hobo Dave Crocker (fiddle, mandolin) and Graham Metcalf (banjo, dobro, guitar) are joined by stunning teenage vocalist Josie Mills for a debut public gig at the Black Swan on Saturday 4 June, with Graham Hodge in support.