Late May 2005
Here’s another folk news update. As always, feel free to quote or pass on.
- TECHNICAL PROBLEMS. When mailing E-News 32, I used my Yahoo address for the first time for some of you. Most people seem to have received it safely but in a few cases it arrived in a garbled form, for which I can only apologise. I don’t have the technical expertise to know what went wrong! Any suggestions? When using Yahoo, I will attach text as a Word Document, as well as pasting into the message.
- VIRTUOSO IRISH HARP & GUITAR. For our final concert of the current run at the National Centre for Early Music, we are delighted to bring back to York that most sublime duo, Máire Ní Chathasaigh & Chris Newman. The date is Friday 3rd June, at 7.30, with tickets on sale now through the NCEM Box Office, 01904 658338 / email@example.com, priced at £10 full / £8 concessions.
This wonderful couple perform an eclectic repertoire with great emotional range and a real spirit of adventure. Although firmly rooted in the Celtic tradition, their music blends in hot jazz, bluegrass and baroque, enhanced by Máire’s clear, warm and expressive singing and rounded off by Chris’s subversively witty introductions. He is a stunning guitarist who always displays perfect control whilst performing a dazzling array of styles. Máire is a harper who has brought her own flourish to this ancient instrument, being hailed as the greatest Irish harper of our age. Like Chris she is able to perform musical acrobatics and leap from Celtic slow airs to hot jazz at the turn of a hand. An evening of beautiful music is ensured!
Opening the NCEM concert will be Stan Graham, giving us a taster of his about-to-be-released second CD, More Than Words, a record which promises to cement the national reputation of our foremost local folk songwriter. By the way, the formal record launch takes place three weeks later, 23rd June, at the Black Swan.
- MAY RETROSPECT. As predicted last time, May was an exceptionally busy and musically stimulating month. Spiers & Boden delighted a capacity audience in the Black Swan club room, Pete Morton entertained a good crowd containing a large number of other working musicians, and as I write there are just a handful of tickets left for Rory McLeod this Thursday (26th). Danú achieved a full house at the NCEM, despite competition from local gigs by Fairport Convention and Paul Brady on the same night, and turned in a thoroughly marvellous performance.
The Third City of York Folk Day was our busiest yet, despite some variable weather. After a rather tentative start at lunchtime we soon had music being made in four different rooms at the same time. Our more organised approach to pro-gramming the Marquee stage worked well, with 20 acts doing half-hour spots, plus two different dance displays and a final jam. The musicians’ session was just as popular as always, and a series of spontaneous singing/jamming sessions kept the other front bar packed. Upstairs the rolling folk club ran most of the afternoon and evening, though in retrospect we could have done a bit more prior planning for this side of things. We’ll know next year! (Yes, of course there will be a next year!)
Thanks go to all the performers and participants, but in particular to Chris and Michael for handling PA, Eddie, Geoff, Phil and Chris for Marquee MC-ing, David for hosting the afternoon Folk Club, Ken & co for "organising" the tunes session, and most of all to our ever tolerant and helpful landlord Mike Dobson and his staff.
- JUNE PROSPECT. Being a five-Thursday month, June sees TWO of our popular Singers & Musicians Nights. June 2nd will follow the usual all-comers format, but on June 16th we are experimenting with a theme: "Duos, Trios and Groups". This was one of the suggestions raised at the recent club business meeting, and our regular performers, mostly soloists, are already casting around for new musical partners. It should be fun! On the guest front, we have the Black Swan debut of celebrated English songwriter Steve Ashley (June 9th), the afore-mentioned CD launch by Stan Graham (June 23rd) and the exciting young trio Uiscedwr (June 30th), about whom I have already been receiving enquiries.
- GUEST SUGGESTIONS WANTED. I am starting to plan club bookings for 2006, together with concert guests for the NCEM, and I’d like to hear your opinions! Please give it some thought and then send me names of up to FIVE personal favourites suitable for a club booking (who could be either established artists or promising newcomers) and also up to FIVE suggestions of possible concert acts.
Please don’t name anyone who has been our guest in the last 6 months or so, as we do try to leave two years or so (minimum) before a return engagement. Here are details of guests already booked for the second half of this year and beyond:
- July: Beneche (7th), Singers (14th), CrossCurrent (21st), Real Time (28th)
- August: Bayou Seco (4th), Singers (11th), Kieron Means & Sara Grey (18th), Rosie Doonan & Ben Murray (25th)
- September: Singers (1st), tba (8th), Mike Agranoff (15th), Singers (22nd), Cloudstreet (29th)
- October: Christine Collister (6th), Singers (13th), Kellie While (20th), Johnny Dickinson (27th)
- November: Singers (3rd), Jez Lowe (10th), Pegleg Ferret (17th), Haines & Leighton (24th)
- December: Singers (1st), tba (8th), John Wright Band (15th), Party (22nd)
- 2006: Eddie Walker (Jan 19th), Vin Garbutt (Jan 26th), Martyn Wyndham-Read (Feb 2nd), Andy M Stewart (March 9th), John McCormick (May 11th)
- Concerts: Niamh Parsons (Sep 23rd), Tanglefoot (Nov 1st), Waterson:Carthy (Dec 21st)
- NEW FOLK WEBSITE. Ray Black draws our attention to a new free resource at www.folkdirectory.co.uk. I’ve already registered the Black Swan and it proved very quick and easy. If you run any sort of a club, festival, session or other event, it is worth checking out. The more people who register, the more useful it will become.
- UNION CENTRAL. Lastly a reminder that new "tribute" band Union Central pay homage to the modern bluegrass sound of Alison Krauss & Union Station at the Black Swan on Saturday 4 June. 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, with Graham Hodge doing the support set.