Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 52

Late June 2006

  1. UPCOMING AT THE BLACK SWAN. Even though I say it myself, I think we have a tasty menu coming up on Thursday nights. This week (29 June) it is the formal debut of Nova Scotia singer/ songwriter Dan McKinnon (though he did drop in on us for a floor spot one night in April 2005 and was originally scheduled for a guest booking later last year). Some club regulars saw him in action recently in France and came back wildly enthusiastic: a great singer of both original songs and covers (traditional, Stan Rogers etc.) and a delightfully warm and friendly gentleman. David MC's this one, with floor spots by Phil, Stan and Monkey's Fist (who were on excellent vocal form when I saw them in action the other day).
    Graham Hodge (6 July) is always well worth listening to. He's a stupendously gifted guitarist and a soulful singer who spans the folk/acoustic rock spectrum. He tells me he was recently invited to accompany Nic Jones' singing on a track for a new project by Nic's revived 1960s band The Halliard. Some accolade! Stan will be hosting this event, with Eddie, Chris and John doing floor spots.
    The Queensberry Rules (13 July) are an intriguing young trio from Manchester. With a line-up including guitar, double bass and drums there's a catchy skiffle feel to the music but their self-penned lyrics delve much deeper, tackling personal, social and historical themes in titles such as Sinking Town, Perkin Warbeck and The Unluckiest Man. Routes Music, the agency representing major names such as Harvey Andrews, Steve Knightley and Christine Collister certainly think they have real potential and have taken them onto their roster. Chris is MC for this one.
    Local acapella heroes Two Black Sheep & A Stallion promise a first class night when they share a Double Bill with those other York stalwarts Damian Fynes & Frank Pallister (20 July). Damian's recently emerged talents as a songwriter are ably complemented by Frank on his 1920 Gibson mandolin, as we've heard during several recent Singers Nights. As well as doing their own spots, the two acts are rehearsing some numbers on which they can join forces. Phil hosts this one.

  2. EAST EUROPEAN MUSIC IN YORK. The final concert of the current "World Sound" series at the National Centre for Early Music is one I am particularly looking forward to. Bulgaria's Bisserov Sisters perform on Tuesday 4 July. From the beautiful Pirin Mountains, Lyubimka, Mitra and Neda Bisserov sing of love, tragedy and everyday life in the haunting Balkan open-throat style, accompanied on traditional folk instruments. There are still some tickets available, at £ 10 (£ 8 concessions, £ 3.50 students) from the NCEM Box Office on 01904 658338.
    A little later in July, there is chance to sample traditional Russian folk and religious music when the ensemble Svetilen present a short early evening concert at Holy Trinity Church on Goodramgate. This 8-piece group are making their first visit to England. The date is Friday 14 July, from 6pm until 7pm, with tickets priced at £ 6.50 available from the church. For further details, ring 01904 613451.

  3. MUSICIANS IN RESIDENCE NEEDED. The Yorkshire office of Arts Council England operates a scheme called "Musicians In Residence", designed to assist local musicians gain more work at decent rates of pay. Venues and promoters booking M-in-R artists can apply for subsidy at rates of up to 40%. The Folk Club has been using the scheme for may years, with artists such as Pete Coe, Artisan, Steve Tilston and Damien Barber, to name only a few.
    For 2007/8, the M-in-R scheme's organisers are trying to increase the number of participating musicians. The scheme is open to professional musicians living in Yorkshire or Humberside who must be established individual performers or groups in Folk, World, Jazz or Classical music. Any such amongst our readership should note that the closing date is 10 July. Find out more and make applications through, or contact Sarah Derbyshire on 01653 669410.

  4. SONGWRITING NEWS (1). The York Songwriters' Circle held a successful first gathering earlier this month, well supported and buzzing with positive ideas. They meet again on Sunday 2 July at the Black Swan Inn at 7.30. For more information, the contact point is John Pritchard on 01904 652382,

  5. SONGWRITING NEWS (2). The BBC Radio York songwriting competition is now underway and is open to anyone other than full time professional musicians. There are two categories. For A Song For Yorkshire the song must have some Yorkshire theme or context, while in the General category three songs are required but with no restrictions on subject matter. Songs must be original material and the entrant must own the copyright on them. Entries can be submitted on CD or minidisc and must be accompanied by the entry form which can be downloaded from The organisers stress that it is the songs which are being judged, not the performances, so a slick sophisticated recording is not essential, nor do songs necessarily have to be sung by their composer.
    The closing date is 16th July and the judges will be Michael Brothwell of Radio York, songwriter and song tutor Stan Graham and (for my sins) yours truly. First Prize is professional studio time plus guaranteed daytime airplay on Radio York.

  6. MUSICAL ROUND-UP. Lastly, news of a few other forthcoming events:
    • The Official Bob Dylan Photographic Exhibition takes place at Nunnington Hall, near Malton until 9 July. This is a first showing outside London for a fascinating collection of images. The Hall is open 1.30 - 5.30 except Mondays and normal National Trust admission charges apply.
    • Saturday 1 July at City Screen Basement Bar in York sees a contemporary song line-up of Miles Cain, Dan Webster, Helen Turner and our own Geoff Watson. Doors open at 8.00 and tickets are £ 4 from the cinema box office.
    • Wednesday 12 July also at City Screen Basement Bar brings another show by lyrical singer/songwriter Ruby Paul (aka Jane Edwards to some of us). Again, it is an 8.00 start, tickets £ 4 (concessions £ 3) from the box office.
    • Performance poet Adrian Spendlow hosts a monthly Music & Poetry Jam at the Royal Oak on Goodramgate in York on the third Monday, i.e. 17 July and 21 August. The event kicks off around 8.15 and entry is just £ 1.
    • The next Kirkburn Acoustic Night is Saturday 22 July at the Village Hall in Kirkburn, just off the A614 west of Driffield. Performers in any style are most welcome and listeners too. It starts at 7.30 and costs just £ 2. Take your own drinks and glasses. More details from David & Jean on 01377 229048.

That's all for now, folks. Expect another epistle in about a month's time.