Late April 2008
Welcome to another folk club bulletin, beginning with a piece of very important news:
- NEW WEB ADDRESS. The Folk Club website is back on-line at last, but under a new URL. All attempts to persuade the old hosting company (Onetel) to either restore or release our “bsfc” address drew blank. Reluctantly, therefore, we have had to switch to a new URL, with no automatic re-routing from the old one. The site itself looks much the same (though with some "behind the scenes" improvements) and can now be found at www.blackswanfolkclub.org.uk.
Unfortunately, it will take a long time for the new address to rise up search engine rankings and overtake the old "bsfc" one. Please do whatever you can to help this process by creating / updating any links you control from other relevant websites, and of course bookmark the new address in your own favourites.
Meanwhile, the club MySpace page remains active and Phil Myers regularly posts new pictures and other content at www.myspace.com/black_swan_folk_club. Thanks go to Phil for the MySpace entries and to Michael Jary for his work on the main web site.
- YOUNG PERFORMERS SHOWCASE. This Thursday’s club meeting (24th April) takes the form of a Double Bill which spotlights two promising new bands.
Franana is a trio of bright young students from the Newcastle University folk music degree course, which has proved such a hotbed of new talent in recent years. They are fronted by Fran Smith, who has a growing reputation as both a singer and a songwriter, accompanied by Chris Meredith on guitar and fiddle and Amy Thatcher on accordion, fiddle and piano. They perform Fran’s beautiful original songs alongside refreshingly new versions of both traditional and contemporary folk material. Course tutor Sandra Kerr writes "Franana brings together Fran’s richly textured songs backed by Amy’s luscious accordion playing, with great rhythm from Chris in guitar" while Karine Polwart says "it’s really exciting to discover a songwriting talent as intelligent and insightful as Fran, and it’s even better to find one who knows how to sing her own stories with such conviction".
Midnight Special is also a trio, based in the West Yorkshire area and combining folk, blues, jazz and swing influences. Amy Atkinson plays fiddle and piano and takes the vocal lead. She comes from a folk family background and her teachers have included Chris Coe (voice) and Gina Le Faux (fiddle). Sam Leahy started playing electric rock and blues guitar at the age of 12 but in recent years he has gravitated to the acoustic instrument and a wider range of musical styles. Tim Yates wields the double bass in the band, though as a student in York he is often to be found at local sessions playing a variety of other instruments as well. Together, this is an entertaining and exciting young trio with its own distinctive style.
Eddie Affleck is MC on Thursday and in order to give both bands good long sets he will be the only floor performer other than resident poet Don Walls. Doors open at 8pm for an 8.30 start, with entry priced at £6 (£5 concessions) and all proceeds being shared equally between the two bands
- MAYDAY WITH GYPSY REEL. From new bands to long-established ones on Thursday 1st May, when we have a return visit by the Anglo-American quartet Gypsy Reel with their “Celtic music in overdrive”. British musicians Jon Scaife (guitar) and Graham Parker (fiddle) are joined by Camille Parker, who plays mandolin and sings in both English and Spanish, and lead singer and songwriter Claudine Langille, who plays a mean tenor banjo and mandolin. Gypsy Reel describe their music as rooted in the Celtic tradition but drawing on worldwide rhythms and influences. It is certainly high energy, stirring stuff, as we have found on previous shows. Phil Cerny, back for an extended visit, MCs this one and it is a £ 7 (£ 6 concessions) door charge.
- TANGLEFOOT 2008 VINTAGE. Canadian favourites Tanglefoot return to York for a concert at the Early Music Centre on Tuesday 6th May. The band has gone from strength to strength during the two and a half years since its last visit to York. Old hands Al Parrish (double bass), Steve Ritchie (guitar) and Terry Young (mandolin, guitar) were joined some time ago by fiddle player and singer Sandra Swannell, who has given a feminine boost to the band’s powerful vocal sound and helped them win the Best Vocal Group category in the Canadian Folk Music Awards of 2007. More recently, Steve’s brother Rob Ritchie has rejoined the band on keyboard, but as he was unable to commit to this long UK tour his place is taken by honorary guest member Robert Graham.
Anyone who has seen Tanglefoot before will know what a second-to-none live band they are. Once described as “Stan Rogers meets Van Halen”, they combine extremely hot playing, head-snapping harmonies, boatloads of personality and beguiling story songs that lodge in your head. "This band delivers more colour and punch than any ensemble on the circuit" says the Toronto Star, and has “enough energy to light up a medium-size city”; while Sing-Out Magazine, writing of their story songs, says that they “leave audiences with the satisfaction of having read an engrossing novel, with the added bonus of a memorable soundtrack”.
We have worked with Tanglefoot on numerous occasions since their very first trip to Britain and it is always a real pleasure to welcome them back. Tickets this time around cost £12 (£10 concessions) and are still available via the NCEM Box Office (01904 658338, www.ncem.co.uk) or from myself at club meetings. Doors open at 7pm for a prompt 7.30 start, with a support set by David Swann.
- FUTURE TICKETED EVENTS. There are two Thursday night club guests coming up for whom we are offering tickets in advance. Greenwich Village 60s folk legend Eric Andersen makes an extremely rare foray to Britain soon and takes in the Black Swan on Thursday 15th May. Don’t miss this one-in-a-lifetime chance to see him in an intimate small club venue. And looking further ahead, old favourite Jez Lowe is returning (5th June). Tickets for both these singers are now on sale via the NCEM Box Office (as above) or from myself. Prices are £9 (£8) for Eric and £8 (£6.50) for Jez.
Next for an update on Folk Weekend:
- FOLK WEEKEND MARQUEE STAGE LINE-UP. The running order of bands, singers and dancers for the Marquee stage at the City of York Folk Weekend is now pretty much complete, with only a few confirmations still awaited. As things stand, it looks like this:
SATURDAY 31st MAY
1.00 David Swann / 1.35 York Young Fiddlers / 2.00 Diad / 2.30 Medusa Dancers / 3.00 Union Central / 3.50 Stan Graham / 4.25 Wendy Arrowsmith / 5.05 Los Yobos / 5.55 Soundsphere / 6.30 Paul Pearson, Charley Barker & Ben Trott / 7.00 Acorn Morris / 7.15 Ruby Paul / 7.45 Ebor Morris / 8.15 Two Black Sheep & A Stallion / 8.55 Duncan McFarlane & Ann Brivonese / 9.45 Ripple / 10.25 tbc / 11.05 Geoff Watson
SUNDAY 1st JUNE
1.00 Anne Curran / 1.35 Susie Fox & Jack Firminger / 2.10 Graham Hodge / 2.50 Sixpenny Wayke / 3.20 Minster Strays Morris / 3.50 The Basement Band / 4.50 Pete Mitchell / 5.25 Beneath The Oak / 6.00 West Port / 6.35 Phil Cerny / 7.15 Chris Euesden / 8.00 Midnight Special / 8.35 Eddie Affleck / 9.15 Dan Webster & friends.
There will be non-stop sessions in the Bowes Room both days and I am still working out detailed programming for the other two spaces, the Oak Room (downstairs) and the Wolfe Room (upstairs). As well as plenty of “rolling folk club” time, there will be one or more “indoor acoustic concerts”, designated singaround times, a "poems and pints" hour and other specials. I should have full details in the next E-News.
Next, a miscellany of other news items:
- GOOD NEWS FROM BRYONY. Ailsa Mackenzie of Bryony writes to tell us that her partner Derek has now been given the all-clear by his doctors and is back at work. It was Derek’s sudden and serious illness which caused the cancellation of Bryony’s visit in February, which has now been rescheduled for 28th August. “I would like to say thank you to everyone who has sent good wishes and expressed their concern” writes Ailsa, “it has been a very worrying time but thankfully all is now well. Bryony is really looking forward to coming to the Black Swan later in the year.”
- YOUNG MUSICIANS FOR CAMBRIDGE FOLK FESTIVAL. The organisers of this year’s Cambridge Folk Festival have announced a competition for young musicians. “Into Folk Music?” they write, “Want a chance to perform live in the Club Tent? We have a limited number of free weekend tickets with camping for the festival, for people to participate in band workshops at The Hub youth music area and get the chance to perform with The Hub Band in the Club Tent on Sunday evening 3rd August.” The competition is open to individuals or bands, aged 11-18 (under 14’s would need to be accompanied by a responsible adult), with winners selected according to the strength and suitability of their music. To enter, send a maximum of three tracks on CD, together with your age and other information about yourself, to Young Musician Competition, Cambridge Folk Festival, The Guildhall, Cambridge, CB2 3QJ. Closing date is 22nd May and winners will be notified by 6th June.
- OVERTONE VOCAL WORKSHOP. A good sized club audience enjoyed the music of David Moss & Masha Kaestner earlier this month and in particular David’s ethereal overtone vocal harmonics. If you fancy learning this ancient vocal technique for yourself – holding a note and simultaneously sounding its harmonics – then David is running a Workshop in York on Sunday 4th May, 11am-4pm at Miller’s Yard, off Gillygate. It costs £35 (£25 concessions) and can be booked on 07717 833909 or via firstname.lastname@example.org. “With a great deal of affectionate humour, we discovered we were brave enough to make strange noises in public” says an earlier workshop participant! Find out more at www.mossarts.co.uk.
Now for a quick look at some other upcoming gigs in York. The next few weeks look like being exceptionally busy!
- LOS YOBOS UNPLUG THE SWAN. Having had to cancel a recent gig because of illness, Los Yobos announce a replacement date for their “unplugged” format at the Black Swan Inn on Saturday 26th April at 8.30pm. Enjoy some “good-time music with sweet melodies and great bluesy guitars” for just £ 4. More info on 01904 798738.
- ACOUSTIC AMNESTY. The following Saturday, 3rd May, Dan Webster has put together a strong line-up for an Amnesty International fundraiser at the Black Swan Inn. Artists taking part include Edwina Hayes, Miles Cain, Steve Kendra and Dan himself, all for a very modest £ 5 advance (07973 681401), £ 6 on the door. Doors open 7.30pm for an 8.15pm start.
- CROCKERS & DICKINSON IN THE CEMETERY. The same night, Saturday 3rd May, The Crocker Brothers have organised a concert in the Chapel at York Cemetery, with their old friend Johnny Dickinson, the brilliant folk/blues singer and slide guitarist from Northumberland. The Brothers themselves will also be performing and Kathy Crocker will have some new material as well. The chapel acoustics are said to be excellent and this should be a very special evening of top class folk, blues, bluegrass and acoustic music. Tickets are £ 8 in advance or £ 10 on the door, with doors open from 7pm for an 8pm start.
- THIRTY YEARS OF THE FUREYS. The Fureys & Davey Arthur are celebrating their 30th anniversary at the moment and the UK leg of their worldwide tour includes the Grand Opera House in York on Monday 5th May at 7.30pm. To enjoy these legends of popular Irish music, singing all the well-know hits, contact the GOH Box Office on 0844 847 2322 or go online at www.GrandOperaHouseYork.org.uk. Tickets cost £ 16 and the official website is www.thefureys.com.
- TAKE YOUR PICK ON 7th MAY. A reminder next of two contrasting events in York on Wednesday 7th May, as trailed in E-News 81, where you will find full details: The Demon Barber Roadshow is at York Theatre Royal while Kathryn Tickell collaborates with table player Kuljit Bhamra and others at the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall at York University.
Just space left for a few out-of-town events:
- VIN GARBUTT is the latest guest at Thorganby Village Hall on Saturday 10th May. Tickets £ 12 (£ 10 concessions) on 01904 448220 or from the Ferry Boat Inn.
- CLIVE GREGSON can be enjoyed in Leeds on Saturday 17th May. He’s at St George’s Church Community Room, Great George Street, LS1, in an evening promoted by Going North Productions, “a group of friends who love folk, roots and acoustic music who want to bring quality artists to Leeds”. Doors open at 7.30pm and tickets are a modest £ 6 advance / £ 7 on door. For more details contact email@example.com.
- OTLEY COURTHOUSE has upcoming gigs by Maalstroom (2nd May) and Park Bench Social Club (16th May) amongst others. www.courthouseproject.org.uk.
- SPIERS & BODEN, about to release a new CD, can be enjoyed at Pocklington Arts Centre on Friday 9th May. www.pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.