Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 65

Late March 2007

I’m back sooner than anticipated, mainly because of lots of requests to mention non- club folk news and events, which I am always happy to do. But to begin with...

  1. FOLK CLUB UPDATE – JUDY COOK. A few people have asked me for more information about Thursday’s guest singer, Judy Cook, who is making her York debut. Judy comes from a musical family in Virginia and now lives in Maryland. Long captivated by traditional folk song, she first began performing professionally around the USA in the early 1990s and since 1998 has done annual tours of the UK, appearing at prestigious events such as Whitby Folk Week and The National Folk Festival as well as at many of the country’s more traditionally-inclined folk clubs. For example, this current trip takes in such celebrated clubs as Swindon, Bodmin, Lewes and the Britannia Inn at Darlington, as well as the Black Swan.
    Judy offers a splendidly sung selection drawn from her huge repertoire of Anglo American folk material. A typical show includes transatlantic variants of ancient British ballads, American work songs from cowboys, miners, lumberjacks and such like, narrative story songs and a sprinkling of whimsical ditties. Judy sings mostly unaccompanied, though sometimes joined on harmonies by her partner Dennis, and she laces her presentation with plenty of easy humour.
    Doors open at 8pm on 29 March and the cover charge is £5 (concessions £4). Chris Euesden will be acting as master of ceremonies for this one.

  2. FOLK CLUB UPDATE – APRIL. We have an extra Singers & Musicians Night in April. The first one, on 5 April, follows the standard format, but for the second one, on 26 April, there is a special theme: Duos, Trios and Groups. We tried this idea about 18 months ago and it was very successful, encouraging many of our regular solo performers to combine with friends, with interesting results!
    Kieran Halpin appears on 12 April as part of his Auf Wiedersehen tour. Kieran is moving his family to Australia in June for a well-earned year off, so this will be a last chance to see this wonderful singer/songwriter for quite some time. Kieran’s visits are always popular, but it is only a “pay-on-the-door” event, so get down in good time. As usual, I am happy to take seat reservations. The following week, 19 April, and in a very different musical style, our second April guests are leading sea-songs and shanties group Kimber’s Men.

  3. FOLK CLUB UPDATE – MAY AND BEYOND. A reminder that tickets are on sale in advance for four club specials in May and June, Allan Taylor (2 May), Katy Moffatt (24 May), Harvey Andrews (7 June) and Bob Fox (21 June). Tickets can be bought by post from myself, or at any club function, or they are available via the NCEM Box Office on 01904 658338, online at
    The Thursday club programme is now virtually complete for the rest of 2007 and a full listing has been posted on the diary page of the website at

  4. NCEM CONCERTS UPDATE. Our next concert at the National Centre for Early Music is a return visit by the ever-popular Last Night’s Fun on Monday 23 April, showcasing their new member, bodhran maestro and singer Ciaran Boyle, and with support from popular local duo Diad, alias Damian Fynes & Frank Pallister. This one is already nearly two-thirds sold, so don’t delay in booking your tickets – available as always from myself or via the NCEM Box Office (see item 3 above).
    Also selling well is Van Eyken, the final concert of the current season on 2 May, and I am now investigating options for concert events in the autumn season. We already have a firm date for Vin Garbutt (Tuesday 4 December) and a provisional one for exciting Scottish band Malinky (Tuesday 23 October), with more to follow.

  5. NCEM GIFT VOUCHERS. Talking of events at the National Centre for Early Music, I should have told you some time ago that they have introduced a gift voucher scheme. Vouchers in various denominations can be purchased through the Box Office, in person, by phone or on-line and can be exchanged for tickets for any concert in the NCEM brochure, including our folk events. They could be a perfect gift for that musically inclined friend!

And now for “other” news, beginning with a bit of real whimsy!

  1. THE HIGHLY IMPROBABLE BLACK SWAN. As some of you will know, in my day job I am a Librarian. One of my roles is membership of the small panel which selects new adult non-fiction books for North Yorkshire’s libraries, working from weekly lists of forthcoming publications. Imagine my surprise when I spotted the following on a recent list: The Black Swan: the impact of the highly improbable, by one Nassim Nicholas Taleb. The subject heading is Uncertainty (Information Theory) and the content summary says “The Black Swan is a concept that will change the way you look at the world. Black Swans underlie almost everything, from the rise of religions to events in our own personal lives. Nassim Taleb explains everything we know about what we don’t know, and shows us how to face the world”. So now you know – or don’t know! Publication date is 3rd May (no, not 1st April) by Allen Lane at £20 and the ISBN is 0713999950

  2. LIVE MUSIC LICENSING PETITION. The Licensing Act 2003 made major changes to the regulation of live music in Britain; some say not all for the better. Whereas in the past a licence was not usually required if only one or two musicians were performing, now the unlicensed provision of even one musician in a private performance to raise money for charity would be a potentially criminal offence.
    While there are legitimate public safety and noise control arguments for licensing live music, it does seem illogical that similar controls do not apply to broadcast entertainment such as big screen sport, no matter where shown or how powerfully amplified. It is estimated that around 40% of pubs and clubs have opted not to hold public entertainment licences, often on account of the high cost or tiresome paperwork involved, so the overall marketplace for live music is diminished. There is an online petition on the Downing Street petitions website at present, calling for a review of the Licensing Act. A few days ago it stood third on the list with a whopping 58,355 signatories. If you are sympathetic, why not consider adding your name? Go to Closing date is 11 June.

  3. LOUDON IN YORK. A reminder that the truly unique Loudon Wainwright is at the Grand Opera House in York on Saturday 28 April. Here is the venue’s brochure copy: “Singer, songwriter and actor Loudon Wainwright has been recording albums since 1970. His material is intended to amuse, move, entertain, educate and irritate, and not necessarily in that order. It can be autobiographical, topical, serious, silly or any combination thereof. Favourite topics include death and decay, the family, the search for love, pets, and whoever happens to be President of the United States.” It is a 7.30 start, with support from Loudon’s daughter (and step-sister to Rufus and Martha) Lucy Wainwright Roche. The box office is on 0870 606 3595, or book online at

  4. JAZZ WITH A TINGE OF FOLK. I’ve been asked to draw your attention to one of the events taking place during the Early Music Centre’s Jazz Weekend at the beginning of May. Apparently, there has already been some crossover between folk and jazz audiences at the NCEM, and this show should continue that trend. Innovative jazz group The Perfect Houseplants (which includes long time June Tabor collaborator Huw Warren, alongside Mark Lockheart, Dudley Phillips and Martin France) is joined by Early Music recorder virtuoso Pamela Thorby in a programme which takes a radical jazz look at traditional folk music from East Anglia. This follows the release of an album on the same theme – find out more about it at The concert is on Friday 4 May at 7.30 and tickets are £12, £10 or £3.50 student special.

  5. WHITBY FOLK CLUB ON THE MOVE. After 39 years as a Wednesday night event, Whitby Folk Club has decided to switch to Thursday night meetings as from 5 April (OK – it is the same day as the Black Swan, but 50 miles apart!). Run these days as an “all-comers welcome” singers club, the venue continues to be the Friendship Rowing Club on Church Street, starting around 8.30pm. Club contact is Mick Haywood on 01947 601963.

  6. WHITBY SINGER SEEKS MUSICAL PARTNER. Staying with the Whitby area, Clare Barber is a 34 year old singer and whistle/bodhran player looking for a guitarist/singer to play with, hopefully setting up some public gigs. Although Whitby-based, Clare is willing to travel. She can be contacted on 07971 025541 or 01947 825828, or via her business on

  7. UP-COMING LOCAL GIGS. Lastly, some noteworthy forthcoming events:
    • LOS YOBOS offer another dose of “Good time Western Swing” on Saturday 31 March at the Winning Post on Bishopthorpe Road in York. Doors open at 8.30 and entry is £5. More info and reservations from Mike Tavener on 01904 798738
    • Saturday 31 March also sees the next meeting of THE BURN, aka the Kirkburn Acoustic Night, a lively “open mic” session at the Village Hall in Kirkburn, off the A614 west of Driffield. To find out more, contact David or Jean on 01377 229048.
    • MILES CAIN has created a splendid line-up for the Black Swan Inn on Sunday 1 April. Aside from Miles himself, we get T.W.0. (alias Helen Turner & Sharon Winfield), who did an excellent spot at our last club Singers Night, plus acapella vocal trio RIPPLE and songwriter ALEX WILMOTT. All this for £4, starting 8pm.
    • On Easter Sunday, 8 April, there’s a Folk Party to Remember at the Black Swan, organised by our lovely landlady Shelly under her “Shelle’s Belles” banner. It’s a Double Bill with University-based folk band OK BRANDY and acoustic singer -songwriter STEVE WATSON, plus DJs, cake and sparklers!! £4 on the door, 8pm.

I should be back just after Easter with yet more folk-related news.