Early August 2006
It’s been a longer than usual interval between E-Newsletters, while we enjoyed the glorious weather, but now that the heat wave has come crashing to an end our thoughts turn back to the musical delights lined up for late summer and beyond.
- UPCOMING AT THE BLACK SWAN. So far we have had a good summer, with lots of excellent entertainment and (with one exception) good audience numbers. Half way through the club’s accounting year, the average paying audience figure is up nearly 10% on the equivalent period last year, which is very welcome news. August’s guests certainly merit a continuation of that trend.
Bram Taylor (Tonight, 3 August) is a superb vocalist with lots of great songs, mostly accompanied on guitar or concertina, and he has a fine line in Lancashire stage patter. Although Bram is a professional performer, when he heard of our difficulties last summer he immediately offered to play for us for the door money, rather than the usual fixed fee. Such support from Bram and all our other summer guests has given us a top class programme without risk of financial loss, for which we are thoroughly grateful. Eddie Affleck MCs this one, with floor spots from Phil Cerny, Chris Euesden and Geoff Watson.
Emily Weygang & Ben Harker (10 August) are one of York’s finest folk acts, strongly committed to traditional and political folk song. Emily is a commanding singer when not playing her fiddle or whistles, while Ben adds elegant guitar accompaniment. We seldom see them at the club so this will be a real treat. Tony Morris acts as host, with floor spots from some of Ben & Emily’s many musical friends: Mick O’Hara of the First Sunday Folk Club, Dave & Sue Swales of Kirkby Malzeard Folk and our own Susie Fox, joined by Jack Firminger and Dave Shaw.
George Papavgeris (17 August) has shot to prominence over the last couple of years as a prolific and accomplished songwriter. Endorsed by such luminaries as Martin Carthy ("George is something special") and Harvey Andrews ("the best thing to happen in UK songwriting for many a year"), George has already had songs covered by the likes of Andy Irvine, Roy Bailey and Vin Garbutt, and the list grows by the month. David Kidman, an early champion of George’s, fills the MC slot and floor performers include John Cherry and that other remarkable songwriter, Stan Graham. (By the way, note how we have so much local talent that no floor act is repeated over this three week block of guest performances!)
- LOOKING FURTHER AHEAD AT THE BLACK SWAN. After the monthly Singers Night on 24 August, the next batch of guest nights takes a North American flavour: old time songs and tunes from Debby McClatchy (31 August), Anglo-American celtic fusion band Gypsy Reel (7 September) and country-styled singer songwriter Edwina Hayes (14 September), based locally but with an international following.
I’ll soon be writing the Autumn publicity flyer, hopefully in time to circulate it with the next E-Newsletter. Club highlights include debut visits by Andy M Stewart, Mike Silver and American legend Steve Gillette, with partner Cindy Mangsen. There are also return appearances by Nancy Kerr & James Fagan, The Witches of Elswick, Michael Marra, Dick Gaughan and Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman, plus a Charity Special for Save The Children on Saturday 11 November, featuring Gordon Tyrrall, Jim Eldon, Jon Harvison and guest MC J P Slidewell. More details soon!
- THE POOZIES LAUNCH NCEM SEASON. We have a series of five thrilling concerts lined up during the autumn months at our "second home" in the National Centre for Early Music. The first of these is on Wednesday 20 September and sees the return to York of that wonderful all-woman band The Poozies, three years after their triumphant first visit. For this tour, the band reverts to its original early 1990s line-up, with Sally Barker returning to the fold while Eilidh Shaw is on maternity leave. As ever Patsy Seddon and Mary MacMaster work their magic on clarsachs and electro-harps while Karen Tweed demonstrates her total mastery of piano accordion. Expect irrepressibly imaginative treatments of Celtic music, with a rock-inflected contemporary edge from Sally and all those glorious trademark vocal harmonies. Tickets are on sale now priced £13 (Concessions £11).
Future NCEM events include youthful Scottish band Dòchas (Monday 9 October), which includes BBC Horizon award-winning Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis, followed by an evening with guitar legend Stefan Grossman (Tuesday 24 October). BBC Folk Band of the Year Flook return on Wednesday 8 November (on blisteringly good form at Brampton Live festival the other week), and we round off with Rachel Unthank & The Winterset on Monday 27 November). Tickets are now available for all these concerts at the Box Office on York 658338, email@example.com.
- FOLK FEVA IN KNARESBOROUGH. FEVA is a lively community arts festival held each summer in Knaresborough. As usual, they have a good selection of folk and roots music events in this year’s schedule, with shows by Rory McLeod and Titch Frier (both Friday 11 August), Jon Strong and Ray Stubbs (both Thursday 17 August) and Vin Garbutt (Friday 18 August), plus a Cajun dance (Saturday 12 August) and more. For details of venues, times and prices go to www.feva.info.
I have been asked particularly to mention a show on Tuesday 15 August at The Frazer Theatre, called An Evening With Blind Jack And Friends. This is billed as an evening of Yorkshire folklore, music, song, dance and drama and is headlined by Chris Simpson (of Magna Carta fame), "Nidderdale’s most famous musician". Also taking part are Bella Hardy (of The Pack and Ola), Knaresborough Mummers, Nigel Swan & Jan Porter, The Pateley Prats longsword dancers and an old friend of ours, Joe Nicholson, who ran the Blind Jacks Folk Club for many years.
Tickets are £7 (£5 concessions) with all proceeds going to the Blind Jack CD project, a Yorkshire folk song initiative in aid of Henshaws Society for Blind People, who run a school in Knaresborough. Booking through the local Tourist Information Centre on 01423 866886. See the above website for more information.
- MORRIS ON THE MOORS. Our resident musical poet Tony Morris announces a performance he will be giving on Thursday 7 September at the Robinson Institute in Glaisdale, near Whitby. Billed as Two Shows In One, the first half will be Iron Rush, in which Tony tells some of his stories, songs and poems about the North Yorkshire ironstone mining boom of the later 19th Century. This will be followed by a Most Requested selection of Tony’s other work. Tickets £4 (£2 concessions) from the Glaisdale Village Shop or via Tony’s website at www.tonymorrispoet.com.
That’s all for now, but I hope to be back by the end of the month with another update.