Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 54

Late August 2006

Here’s another bumper bulletin of folk-related news from York. Feel free to send in feedback, items for possible inclusion and so on. Please forward to friends you think might be interested. And if you should wish to Unsubscribe, you have only to ask.

  1. AUTUMN FLYERS PRINTED. The next club flyer is with our printer and should be ready any day now. As usual, the full text minus logo is attached to this newsletter in both Word and Plain Text. There is so much happening that I was only able to fit in two months’ events, from 14 September to 11 November. It is certainly a full programme and I hope you find it a varied and exciting one.

  2. CLUB & CONCERT BOOKING ARRANGEMENTS. Please note we are making all Black Swan Inn shows this next season PAY ON THE DOOR events, with no ticket sales in advance, even for fairly "big" names like Nancy Kerr & James Fagan and Mike Silver. However, I am always happy to take informal seat reservations, particularly if you are travelling a considerable distance to see a favourite artist.
    For our concert presentations at the National Centre for Early Music, booking facilities opened on 21 August. Ring the Box Office on 01904 658338 during office hours, or use the secure online booking facility at Alternatively, why not buy your tickets from me on Thursday evenings? I have a block of tickets available for each concert, and if you buy from us it does save us some money.

  3. PROGRAMME CHANGE 28 SEPTEMBER. Sadly, there has had to be a change of programme on Thursday 28 September. Andy M. Stewart is still suffering ill health and has had to withdraw. I understand that despite two operations he still has numbness in his hands and is unable to play guitar. He was due to do a couple of trial performances in Scotland this month with an accompanist (his first public shows in a long time), but it seemed unlikely that he would have a musician available that he could bring to York. In the circumstances, cancellation was the only prudent option.
    In Andy’s place we have a splendid Double Bill of contemporary folk song. The first half of the night will feature the Lincolnshire duo Winter Wilson, while our own Stan Graham gets his head with a full length second half set. Kip Winter is a powerful and emotional singer and Dave Wilson is well regarded as a writer. Like Stan a few years earlier, Dave’s talents have been noted by the keen ears of Vin Garbutt and his song Storm Around Tumbledown can be heard on Vin’s latest CD.

  4. DEBBY’S DOZEN. Next Thursday (31 August) sees Debby McClatchy make her twelfth Black Swan guest appearance in 21 years. She really is one of our all-time favourites, a truly delightful lady with a great repertoire of old time, vaudeville and folk songs from the Appalachians. As well as solo work, Debby tours with fellow old time musicians Alice Gerrard, Brad Leftwich and Tom Sauber as The Gathering. This show by Debby is particularly welcome following the regrettable last-minute cancellation of a concert by The Gathering at the National Centre for Early Music earlier this year (for reasons over which both they and the venue had no control).

  5. GYPSIES BACK ON THE ROAD. "Celtic music in overdrive" is how Anglo-American quartet Gypsy Reel describe their music, with a line-up of banjo, fiddle, mandolin and guitar, plus Camille Parker’s gorgeous vocals. They were prominent on the folk/roots scene back in the 1990s, and played lively York gigs variously at The Winning Post, Fibbers and the old Arts Centre. Circumstances then took them out of the limelight for a long while, but now Gypsy Reel are back on the road and doing a short UK tour prior to a more extensive visit in 2007. Catch up with their stirring brand of Celtic music at the Black Swan Inn on Thursday 7 September.

  6. FOLK DAY 2007 OPEN MEETING. Already it is time to start thinking about Folk Day 2007. Shall we have one? On the same weekend? How could we improve on this year’s event? Are there any new things we could do? I’ve booked the Oak Room at the Black Swan Inn for a Folk Day 2007 Open Meeting from 8pm on Tuesday 12 September. If you have views and suggestions to contribute, please make every effort to come along and share them with us. All welcome!

  7. SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR. Recently I was privileged to be a judge in BBC Radio York’s songwriting competition, along with Stan Graham and North Yorkshire Folk presenter Michael Brothwell. We had a very healthy number of entries to listen to and most were of a very commendable standard. Inevitably, a lot of the entrants were already known to me or Stan or Michael, but there were also several "new" songwriters who greatly impressed.
    In the Songwriter Of The Year category we narrowed it down to a final six, with the First Prize finally going to Anna Shannon from Scarborough, who swayed all the judges with her striking melodies, strong lyrics and interesting subject matter. The joint runners-up were Helen Bell, Suzy Bradley and Paul Culkin, all of York, Graham Hodge of Cliffe, near Selby, and Malton-based David Swann. A further half dozen entrants were not far behind these top six.
    In the Song For Yorkshire category we agreed on a song by David Swann as winner: Silver And Gold tells a true story from Robin Hood’s Bay in a convincing modern folk style. In second place we voted Safe Home by Anna Shannon, another song inspired by Yorkshire’s maritime heritage, and third came Angel Street, a love story set in wartime Sheffield from York-based John Pritchard.
    Well done all the entrants. It proved a real pleasure to listen to your songs. A charity CD of the best songs is being mooted, and I am considering organising a "Songwriters" night at the Black Swan early in the New Year. Watch this space...

  8. UNIVERSITY FOLK CONCERTS. As some of you know already, there are two folk music concerts this autumn in the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall at the University of York. June Tabor appears there on Friday 27 October, and Waterson:Carthy & Friends present an expanded version of their Frost And Fire seasonal show on Thursday 14 December. The latter is in association with the Folk Club and takes the place of our usual Thursday night gathering. Hitherto, the University has programmed few folk events (Kathryn Tickell excepted) so this is a very welcome development, offering major acts an acoustically outstanding venue with roughly twice the capacity of the NCEM.
    I’ve already had several enquiries about how to buy tickets for these shows. All bookings are being handled by the University Box Office, which opens for business after the summer break on Monday 25 September, although e-mail reservation will be possible from 13 September. Contact details are, 01904 432439. They also hope to have an on-line booking facility available fairly soon via the website Tabor tickets are £13 (concessions £11), while for Waterson:Carthy they are £15 (concessions £13).

  9. FOLK FESTIVAL IN DRIFFIELD. If you are reading this straight away, then you still have time to catch the Driffield Folk Festival over the Bank Holiday weekend (Friday to Sunday). Events include a ceilidh, open stages, sessions, workshops and street entertainment. Booked artists include Stewart Hardy, Stan Graham (that man again!), The Alley Cats and Tablets Of Stone Ceilidh Band. Contact Margie on 07887 914974 for more information, or look at

  10. COME SING IN YORK MINSTER. There is going to be a big singing event in the North Transept of York Minster on Saturday 28 October (that infamous tent having been dismantled by then!), giving people the opportunity to listen to and join in with the singing of songs from around the world. It is part of One World Week and aims to raise awareness and funding for YUMI, the York Unifying & Multicultural Initiative (
    Local choirs taking part include Chechele, SoonAmore and Soundsphere, but as the intention is to encourage maximum participation, a series of Saturday workshops are being held in the weeks running up to the concert, where you can drop in to learn the songs which will be sung in the Minster. The first workshop is 2pm on 9 September at The Stables at 10A Nunmill Street in York, with a variety of times and venues in subsequent weeks. For more information, pick up a leaflet from the stand at club meetings or contact Helen on 01423 358801,

  11. YOUNG FOLK WANTED. Entries are currently invited for the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award 2007. The premier national competition for young musicians is open to soloists, duos and groups aged between 15 and 20 who perform "folk, roots or acoustic music from any culture". Find out more on but bear in mind that the closing date for entries is 11 September.
    Nearer to home, the organisers of the Wickersley Music Festival in South Yorkshire are holding another Young Acoustic Roots competition at next year’s event, on Saturday 3 March. This is open to soloists and groups (max 6 members), aged 12-21 and the music can be folk or country or blues, etc., just so long as it is acoustic. Closing date for this one is 31 January. Entry forms and further details can be obtained from Pete Thornton-Smith on 01709 739093,

  12. ROUND-UP. Here’s a quick summary of some other forthcoming events:
    • Festival On The Moor 2006 takes place at venues across the North York Moors between 1 and 10 September, with a strong element of folk and acoustic music. Find out more on 01287 660200 or at
    • Billy Mitchell (ex Lindisfarne) appears at the Processed Pea Folk Club in Etton, near Beverley, on Tuesday 5 September. Tickets on 01430 810669.
    • The next Kirkburn Acoustic Night is on Saturday 9 September at the Village Hall, Kirkburn near Driffield. More information on 01377 229048.
    • Great guitarist, songwriter and singer Julie Ellison makes a return appearance at the City Screen Basement Bar in York on 13 September. Tickets are £6 in advance from the cinema box office on 01904 541144, or £8 on the door.

That’s all for now, but there are many more items in my "pending" tray, so I intend to be back early next month with another instalment.