Late January 2006
Only three weeks into the year and there is lots to talk about, so here goes with an extra long edition...
- ASHLEY CHASES RAINBOWS. Affectionately known as The Guv’nor, Ashley Hutchings has been a key figure in English folk music for over 35 years. He was a founder member of Fairport Convention and a major factor in their development of electric folk (coincidentally, the seminal Liege & Lief album is hotly tipped for “Most influential folk record ever” in the BBC Folk Awards announced on 6th February). Ashley went on to found Steeleye Span, then launched the long running Albion Band project, whose ever changing line-up produced many classic recordings and introduced lots of excellent singers and players to a wider audience.
Rainbow Chasers is Ashley’s new acoustic band, featuring 3 outstanding young musicians and focussing on subtle arrangements of sophisticated self-penned songs. Jo Hamilton plays viola and guitar, Ruth Angell fiddle and guitar, Mark Hutchinson is on lead guitar and as ever Ashley plays bass. All four of them sing, and potent lead and harmony vocals are a key part of the band’s sound. Their debut CD Some Colours Fly was released just before Christmas and the launch tour brings Rainbow Chasers to the National Centre for Early Music on St Valentine’s Day, Tuesday 14th February for our first concert promotion of 2006.
Opening the night is Cumbrian singer/songwriter Elaine Davidson, a new name to us but a distinctive and gifted writer with a lovely voice if her home-produced CD is any guide. Tickets are just £10 (£8 to concessions) and can be booked as usual via the NCEM Box Office on 01904 658338, email@example.com. Alternatively, I have tickets with me on Thursday evenings, or you can buy from me by post – phone or send an e-mail for details. The same goes for tickets for the Swåp concert on Friday 24th February – more about which in E-News 45.
- WEBSITE UPDATE. Over the last few months our website at www.bsfc.org.uk has seen some major improvements, thanks to the hard work of web master Michael Jary. The volume of content has increased significantly, while behind the scenes Michael has done lots to make sure the site operates quickly and efficiently. There is usually a fully annotated programme for the next few months, with basic listings for several months beyond that. The current newsletter is always available, while another page gives a full archive of past issues.
The latest addition is a Links page. A quick initial list has already gone live, with sections such as “Other Clubs”, “Musical Instrument Shops” and “Sympathetic Local Businesses”. We welcome suggestions for additions and as the list grows Michael will be looking at ways to make it more attractive and easily usable.
The other recent improvement has been a major overhaul of the Photo Galleries. These have been moved to an external host (bsfc.fotopic.net), making it easier to upload, name and arrange pictures. As a result lots more photos are now on display, many of them the work of our “resident” photographer Phil Myers.
Of course, there is still plenty to do, such as re-writes of the Singers Nights and Concerts pages. Comments and suggestions, including additional Links, can be sent to me or direct to Michael on firstname.lastname@example.org.
- OPEN MEETING REPORT. Last week’s Open Meeting was fairly well supported and very harmonious. Regarding the City of York Folk Day, the main discussions were, as forecast, about tightening up the management of the club room and the singarounds. I’ll have lots more to say about Folk Day in future editions of E-News.
On the Folk Club front, the main decision was to run a full programme through the summer months but to do so in a way which minimises the financial risk to the club, i.e. by booking artists on a “play for the door money” basis. It was also agreed that in future floor acts should be asked to pay a token £1 each on Singers Nights as well as on Guest Nights. This will take effect from April, when our next flyer is published. The Folk Club’s financial year ends on 31st January and I should have a business report ready in time for E-News 45.
- CLUB UPDATE. First, a reminder that Vin Garbutt’s visit this Thursday is totally Sold Out! The following week, 2nd February, we have Martyn Wyndham-Read in what promises to be a rather special night. Each summer Martyn hosts a series of workshop weeks at his French home, La Jeusseliniere and our own Stan Graham has attended several of these, latterly as Songwriting tutor. Stan will be Master of Ceremonies on 2nd February, and we are also due to have floor spots by two La Jeuss students, John Storey of Harrogate and Ian Simpson of Bielby! After that, 9th February sees another Singers & Musicians Night, following a belter of an event two weeks ago when we had around 20 acts to fit in during the evening!
- FOLK BRITANNIA. Word reaches me of a new three-part BBC4 TV series, called Folk Britannia, about the development of the folk music revival from the end of the Second World War right up to the present. The programmes are said to offer “a vibrant picture of Britain’s musical heritage and a fascinating alternate take on the social history of the past 60 years”. Artists featured range from pioneers such as Lonnie Donegan and Ewan MacColl through Bert Jansch, Martin Carthy, Fairport and the like to recent innovators such as Seth Lakeman. The series goes out 9pm Fridays 3rd, 10th and 17th February – see www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour for more info. If somebody out there could record it for non-digital me I’d be very grateful.
- VOTE FOR MORRIS. It seems we have to have votes and popularity polls for everything these days. There’s a government sponsored one on the Web at present to find the “top English icons”. The 180+ nominations include not only such things as the village pub (under threat!), the Routemaster bus (phased out!) and foxhunting (illegal!), but also morris dancing (still very much alive), which stood at 14th in the rankings a few days ago. If you are so inclined, you can vote for morris at www.icons.org.uk/nom/nominations/morris-dancing.
- HOWDEN, OTLEY & HELMSLEY EVENTS. I’ve had some programme news from three other arts venues in our region (see E-News 43 for Pocklington, Goole and Selby). Otley Courthouse (www.courthouseproject.org.uk) has been running for a couple of years or so with a mixed arts, music, comedy and cinema programme. They have young Scottish band Dochas on Saturday 25th February and Pauline Cato & Tom McConville on Friday 31st March. Over in Helmsley, the Arts Centre (www.helmsleyarts.co.uk) promotes the occasional folk concert and has Simon Mayor & Hilary James on Saturday 4th February. I’ve also heard rumours of a new acoustic night in the Centre’s bar, but have no firm details. Further south, Howden Live (www.howden-live.com) run regular events in the Shire Hall and have The Doghouse Skiffle Group this Saturday, 28 January, and Waterson:Carthy due in April, alongside jazz, blues and other stuff.
- OF SCHOLARS AND PEAS. Two other venues worthy of your attention are Scholars Notes and The Processed Pea. The former is a weekly acoustic music show in Scarborough, held Wednesday evenings in the Scholar’s Bar of the Bedford Hotel. Up-coming guests include Emily Druce & Steve Jones, Waking The Witch, Mick Hanly and Boo Hewerdine, plus a chance to see Vin Garbutt (15 March) for those who missed out on his York gig. See www.scholarsnotes.co.uk for details.
The Processed Pea is a folk & acoustic music club which has been running for many years at The Light Dragoon in the village of Etton, north of Beverley. They meet on the first Tuesday of each month and have the livewire French singer Flossie Malavialle on 7th February, with Jim Diamond & Snake Davis in March and much-talked-about new folkie James Raynard in April. The man to contact is Martin Peirson on 01964 551145. Martin also has a hand in community events in the neighbouring village of Cherry Burton, and tells me they have the wonderful Last Night’s Fun in the Village Hall on Saturday 18th February. To find out more, the websites are respectively www.beehive.thisishull.co.uk/processedpea and www.beehive.thisishull.co.uk/cherryburtonarts.
- FEBRUARY FOLK FESTIVAL IN LEEDS. In an adventurous piece of programming for an academic institution, the University of Leeds School of Music has put together a weekend of folk-related events next month. There is a FREE lunchtime recital by John Renbourn on Friday 17th February, and a FREE early evening concert by renowned Irish flautist Desi Wilkinson. Maggie Boyle does a Saturday lunchtime concert on the 18th, then she, Desi and fiddle maestro Joe Broughton offer afternoon workshops. Saturday evening’s headline concert is by Joe Broughton & the Birmingham Conservatoire Folk Ensemble, then on Sunday afternoon there is a more conventional classical recital, “Folk Song Into Art Song”. The weekend is supported by folk instrument dealers Hobgoblin Music and takes place in the Clothworkers’ Centenary Hall. The enquiries number is 0113 343 2584, or I have fliers available in the Thursday night leaflet stand.
- LOS YOBOS SELL OUT! Well, almost! There are only a very few tickets left for the old time country, bluegrass & western swing mega-gig by The Crocker Brothers and Los Yobos on Friday 3rd February at The Winning Post in York, so ring 01904 798738 without delay to secure yours!
- SATURDAY NIGHT ROOTS AT THE BLACK SWAN. Lastly, a reminder that Saturday night often sees some first rate folk/roots/acoustic gigs in the upstairs room at the Black Swan Inn. Miles Cain and his musicians are there this Saturday (28th January) with highly rated local singer Holly Taymar in support, then the modern bluegrass sounds of Alison Krauss tribute band Union Central can be heard on 11th February.