Black Swan Folk Club
Mid March 2006
- NEW CLUB FLYER. The next club flyer has now been published. We have so much good stuff happening that it covers little more than two months. As well as the Thursday night programme there is a Tuesday Special at the Black Swan, two more concerts at NCEM and of course the City of York Folk Day 2006. Get out there and enjoy!
- UPCOMING ON THURSDAYS. Giving the new season a suitably rousing start on 30th March are Bill Whaley & Dave Fletcher, a Lincolnshire-based duo specialising in traditional style chorus songs accompanied on concertina. Their voices have been described as “two of the best in folk music” and one critic writes that there is “no better advertisement for the classic folk club experience”. Their repertoire includes one of Stan Graham’s songs so naturally he hosts this event.
While Bill & Dave have been singing together for a quarter of a century, The Brian Bedford Band on 6th April is a brand new act coming to us on their debut tour. After twenty years with acapella trio Artisan, Brian and Jacey Bedford have taken a totally new musical direction. Joined by the American couple William Pint & Felicia Dale and multi-talented young English musician Ben Walker, they offer original songs laced with traditional tunes and plentiful humour. With five voices and twelve instruments at their disposal, they promise a really full, exciting sound. This week it is John Cherry’s turn to act as compere.
Harper, singer and storyteller Nick Hennessey appears on 13th April, a powerful performer with a deep love of traditional stories, ballads and music. By contrast, The Durbervilles on 20th April are a roots music band drawing on country, folk, rock and blues influences. Energetic, entertaining and heartily recommended! Tony Morris is Master of Ceremonies on 13th then it is back to Stan on the 20th.
- TUESDAY SPECIAL WITH ONE OF THE GREATS. Legendary Irish singer Andy Irvine is as busy as ever (the reformed Planxty and current bands Patrick Street and Mosaik, amongst other projects, plus recent appearances on Folk Britannia) but he still makes time to tour small club venues and returns to the Black Swan on Tuesday 18th April. Advance tickets are available for this one – on sale now over the bar at the Black Swan Inn, at preceding Thursday club nights or from myself.
- SINGERS NIGHTS – PRICE CHANGES. The open business meeting in January agreed unanimously that we should begin to charge performers a modest £1 entry fee on Singers Nights and this will take effect from 27th April. At the same time I have decided to change the standard admission price for listeners from £2 to £2.50 – the first such increase since May 1997, so well behind inflation! Singers Nights have been of a very high standard recently, so it remains excellent value-for-money entertainment. The concessionary rate will stay at £1.50. In one other small change, the floor performers rate on Guest Nights goes up to £2 from 30th March, the first such increase since this charge was introduced in January 1997!
- CELTIC MUSIC SONG & DANCE AT NCEM. Make a date with Old Blind Dogs at the National Centre for Early Music on Wednesday 26th April. This band is at the cutting edge of Scottish folk music, combining a healthy respect for the folk repertoire with a bracingly modern musical attack. In Jim Malcolm the band has an exceptionally fine lead singer, ably supported by Jonny Hardie, Rory Campbell, Aaron Jones and Fraser Stone. Voted “Folk Band of the Year” in the 2004 Scottish Trad Music Awards, Old Blind Dogs are a welcome addition to our Celtic music strand at the National Centre. Tickets are £12 each (£10 concessions).
For May we are doing something different. Damhsa is an Irish dance and music spectacular put together by some of the best UK-based Irish performers. We are using a special dance stage and admissions will be limited to around 150, with more than a quarter sold already. Damhsa takes place on Tuesday 9th May and tickets are £10 each (£8 concessions).
Tickets for both our Early Music Centre events are now booking through the NCEM Box Office on York 658338, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- FINAL CALL FOR WORKSHOP WEEKEND. Next, a final reminder about the Workshop Weekend taking place at York Steiner School this coming weekend, 25-26 March. There are still a few places available for both Soundsphere’s Vocal workshop and Stan Graham’s Songwriting tutorial, on either a full weekend or one-day basis. There is also a public concert by both acts on Saturday night at William’s Café Bar, 14 Goodramgate in York, starting at 8pm. For more information ring York 468702 or e-mail email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
York Steiner School looks like being a busy place this Saturday. It is also hosting an afternoon workshop (1.45-5pm) for young fiddler players, ages 8-18, under the banner of York Young Fiddlers. This continues on from earlier events organised by Yorkshire Dales Workshops and is open to any aspiring young fiddlers in the area. For more information, go to their website at www.yorkyoungfiddlers.org.uk or contact Paul Docherty on email@example.com.
- TRAVELLERS & GYPSIES IN OTLEY. Talking of Yorkshire Dales Workshops, their next project is a celebration of the rich contribution which travellers have made to British folk culture. Travellers, Gypsies & the Oral Traditions takes place on Saturday 8th April at Otley Courthouse Arts Centre. There are concerts, workshops, storytelling and dancing lined up, plus a session at the nearby Manor House pub. Those taking part include Sheila Stewart, The Orchard Family and The Boat Band. For more information go to www.ydw.org.uk or ring 01535 631166.
On the same website you can find details of other YDW events this year. If you were inspired recently by the Anglo-Swedish music of Swåp, why not give YDW’s Scandinavian Folk Festival a try over the Mayday Bank Holiday weekend in Settle?
- JULIE ON AIR & IN THE BASEMENT. South Yorkshire musician Julie Ellison has a growing reputation as a terrific guitarist and a writer of great songs. She guests on North Yorkshire Folk on Radio York this week, and again on Michael Brothwell’s Sunday Set on 26th March (Radio York, 4pm-6pm), immediately before embarking on her Spring tour. This sees her in concert at City Screen Basement Bar in York on Saturday 1st April. Doors open 8.30 for a 9.00 start and tickets are £6 from the City Screen Box Office, York 541144. For the full tour see www.julieellison.co.uk.
- GATHERING APOLOGIES. To the disappointment of many people, including myself, the recent show by The Gathering at the National Centre for Early Music was cancelled at the last minute. This was in no way down to the band, who found themselves with an unpaid night off. Contrary to some information, it was not a case of illness within the band. Debby and the others were deeply frustrated and I am sure they would like me to pass on their apologies. Nor were the tour Agents (Emerging Music) or the venue (NCEM) at fault, so draw your own conclusions!
- AUDEN & FOLK SUCCESS. One concert that went ahead very successfully was the Auden & Folk event last Saturday. Local artists Pugwash Convention (stepping in at the last minute for someone else), John Brown, David Ward Maclean and Two Black Sheep & A Stallion gave a nicely paced first half, followed after the interval by a short but informative talk by Vic Gammon, Senior Lecturer on the Folk Music course at Newcastle University. Martin Carthy’s headline set was one of the best solo performances I have seen from him in quite a while, with a particularly magisterial acapella version of Bonny Bunch of Roses and a diversion into Americana with Frankie & Johnny. Well done, all at the York Auden Society.
- WATERSON:CARTHY FOR HOWDEN. Talking of Martin Carthy, he is about to go on a full scale tour with Norma, Eliza and Tim. Their nearest concert to York is probably Howden Shire Hall on Saturday 29th April. Tickets are £15 on 01430 431535 (shop hours) or 01430 431488 (evenings & Sundays), and the website is www.howden-live.com. Following their two sell out York shows last December, early booking is advisable! Incidentally, there is a strong likelihood that the “Frost & Fire” show will return to York next Winter in a bigger venue. Watch this space..!
- BELLOWHEAD FOR LEEDS. English folk “supergroup” Bellowhead, fronted by John Spiers & Jon Boden, have only one Yorkshire date on their forthcoming tour. Catch all eleven of them in action at Leeds Irish Centre on Monday 10th April at 8pm. Organised by West Yorkshire promoters Centre Stage, with sponsorship from The Music Room, this should be a really tasty gig. Tickets are £14 from the Irish Centre on 0113 248 0887. General enquiries to 01422 833552.
- SALTAIRE LIVE & LIVELY. Another very active regional promoter is Simon Heginbotham of Saltaire Live. At his “home” venue of the Victoria Hall in Saltaire, near Shipley, Simon has upcoming concerts by Russian gypsy band Koshka (9th April), Fairport Acoustic Convention (5th May) and Shooglenifty (16th June). Simon has also put together a short string of northern dates for the mighty Irish band Altan, including Saltaire (21st May), Leeds Irish Centre (22nd May) and Sheffield City Hall (23rd May). For more information or to join the Saltaire Live mailing list, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, 01274 588614.
- LOS YOBOS REVISED GIG LIST. With one band member about to have a small operation, Country & Western Swing outfit Los Yobos have revised their upcoming diary. They appear at the Black Sheep Brewery in Masham this coming Saturday (25th), then their next gig is not until Sunday 30th April at The Junction on Leeman Road in York. This is another Double Bill with The Crocker Brothers, reprising their recent sell-out success at The Winning Post. Keep on yodelling lads!
- YOURS TRULY DOES ALL THE TALKING. Local music magazine The Talk is profiling me (of all people!) in their “Tell Us What You Know” column which focuses on “behind the scenes” types on the local music scene. If interviewer Miles Salter can make any sense of my ramblings there will be a piece in the April issue.