Early April 2009
CLUB EVENTS & NEWS
- YOUNGSTERS DOUBLE BILL. This week’s club meeting (9th April) is a showcase night for younger performers. Jack McNeill & Charlie Heys were BBC Young Folk Award finalists in 2007 and released their debut CD for Fellside last year. They are both final year students at the Birmingham Conservatoire. They mostly perform Jack’s own songs “about the places we go and the people we meet along the way”, together with some instrumental sets. Jack plays guitar and Charlie the fiddle. Hear samples at www.myspace.com/jackmcneillandcharlieheys
Kate Holland is an acapella singer of traditional songs based in Kent, recommended to us by the 2008 New Roots event in St Albans. She says she is influenced by “all sorts of folk music from the Bushburys to Anne Briggs”. I’ve just heard that on Thursday she will be joined on some songs by her friend Alex Percy on fiddle or guitar. Hear her at www.myspace.com/katejholland
We’ve been holding Young Performers Nights for ten years or so and have had many an enjoyable evening. Several of our past guests have gone on to substantial folk careers (e.g. Jim Causley). Do come along if you possibly can. After a busy season in January and February, club attendances have been significantly down for the last three guest weeks and it would be a great shame if that happened again this time. Don’t forget that Friday is a public holiday! Phil Cerny MCs this one and each guest will do two sets in the course of the evening. Entry is £ 6 (£ 5 concessions).
- SINGERS NIGHT SUCCESS. While guest night turnouts are proving variable, Singers & Musicians Nights seem to draw a consistently large and enthusiastic crowd of performers and plenty of listeners besides. April’s event, on the 16th, is to be hosted by Susie Fox and already has two visiting duos lined up alongside the many locals – Steve & Carol Harris from Scotland and WildeWest from Minchinhampton Folk Club in the Cotswolds.
- KIERAN AND PETE – TWO VETERANS. We move from Young Performers to Old Hands with two very different singers who complete our April programme. Kieran Halpin (23rd April) is a leading singer/songwriter and a charismatic stage performer. One of the hardest-working singers in the business, and refreshed by a year’s “sabbatical” in Australia and New Zealand, he is now back to regular touring across Britain, Ireland and the continent. Expect songs from his new CD The Deal We Made With God and a selection of Halpin classics. Susie Fox MCs again and tickets are £ 8 (£ 6.50 concessions) – advance booking is advisable at www.wegottickets.com.
Pete Coe, the one-man folk industry, has been a professional champion of traditional folk music since 1971. He plays banjo, bouzouki, melodeon and dulcimer and uses step percussion. His repertoire is rich in old folk songs, some of which he collected himself, alongside self-penned material, sometimes satirical, sometimes openly political, and a few choice covers from other writers on the folk circuit. Tony Morris MCs this one and tickets are £ 7 (£ 6 concessions).
- LOOKING AHEAD. May brings us harmony trio Craig Morgan Robson (7th), Anglo-Alaskan duo Tania Opland & Mike Freeman (21st) and Scottish great Brian McNeill (28th), while June has Irish legend Andy Irvine (4th), Canadian Nathan Rogers (Stan’s son)(18th) and Judy Dinning & Kenny Spiers (25th). I’ll be writing the next publicity brochure soon and then we can launch online booking – which is sure to be needed for such major acts as McNeill and Irvine. I’ve also been filling the remaining gaps in our 2009 diary. There are still three or four events under negotiation, but all other confirmed dates are now loaded on the club website, so have a look.
- LAST FEW TICKETS FOR ROBIN & JOHN. Be warned that there are only around 15 tickets left (£ 14/£ 12) for John Renbourn & Robin Williamson on 15th April at the Early Music Centre, and ALL those tickets are now with the NCEM Box Office, 01904 658338. Eddie Affleck does the introductions and “nu folk” trio Beneath The Oak are the opening act.
- TAMS & COOPE. Our May concert at NCEM (Wednesday 13th) features multiple BBC Folk Awards winners John Tams & Barry Coope. At the time of writing there were around 70 tickets left (£ 12/£ 10) for this one – some with me and most with NCEM Box Office. David Swann hosts and West Yorkshire favourite Roger Davies does the opening spot.
- WHIPPERSNAPPER A WELCOME ADDITION. We’ve added a really exciting extra concert to our current season. Whippersnapper comprises Dave Swarbrick, Chris Leslie, Kevin Dempsey and Martin Jenkins and they visit NCEM on Monday15th June during a short UK tour.
Recently reformed, Whippersnapper was the brainchild of legendary fiddle player Swarb. During the second half of the 1980s it was one of the must-see bands on the British acoustic music scene, commanding a stunning array of instruments with awesome virtuosity and helping to define English folk music after the heyday of folk-rock. Band members went their separate ways in the 1990s, with Chris (for example) joining Swarbrick’s old band Fairport Convention, while Dave himself revived his duo partnership with Martin Carthy. Following Dave’s near-miraculous return to good health in 2007, the band decided to get back together; news which was greeted as a dream come true by their legion of admirers. Twenty years down the line they have rekindled their old spirit and indeed they are said to be playing better than ever.
Box Office is open now for this very special event, with tickets priced at £ 14 (£ 12 concessions). Go to www.ncem.co.uk, book by phone on 01904 658338 or get in touch with myself.
- ERIC’S FAREWELL TOUR. Also booking now is the York NCEM concert on the “Waltzing Matilda No More” tour by Eric Bogle & John Munro. Scottish born but long resident in Australia, Eric is one of the most influential folk songwriters of his generation. He has said that this will be his last UK tour, so this is your final chance to see him in our area and early booking is advised. Eric is accompanied by his long-term musical partner John Munro on guitar and backing vocals. Stan Graham acts as MC and support act and tickets cost £ 13 (£ 11 concessions).
- AUTUMN NCEM SEASON FINALISED. Four further NCEM concerts have been arranged for the autumn months, with Folk Awards winners Jackie Oates (19th October) and Chris Wood (30th November), with top English band Faustus (28th September) and with powerhouse young Scottish outfit Breabach (18th November) but note that booking will not open for these until August, by which time NCEM hopes to have a revamped website up and running.
FOLK WEEKEND PLANS
- WEEKEND TAKING SHAPE. My most pressing task right now is to get a draft programme together for the Folk Weekend over 30th and 31st May. This will follow the same basic format as last year, though we hope to make a few improvements along the way.
One change will be to the Marquee. This is likely to be substantially bigger than in previous years, and will have to be sited further down the car park. As you will have seen if you’ve been to the Black Swan recently, our new landlord Andy has built a decked outdoor drinking area when the old picnic tables used to sit. With a bigger marquee (which has to be paid for out of bar and food profits after all) we need to attract even more people along, which in turn means more professional publicity and careful attention to programming.
On the food front, Andy is bringing in an outside caterer friend and there will be a hog roast and barbecue with lots of options. Meanwhile, indoors we’ll have the usual massed session in the Bowes Room and a mix of singarounds, club sessions, mini concerts and possibly also workshops in the Oak Room and the Wolfe Room.
We have decided NOT to extend the Weekend to take in Friday evening. Partly this is because Fairport Convention are in concert that night down the road at The Duchess. Additionally, there is the clash with the regular Tap & Spile Friday session. Also, there would be logistical problems over PA, etc. Mind you, the marquee will be erected by Friday night, so if any of you have ideas about using it for something else, do get in touch direct with the landlord on 01904 679131.
Because of the bigger marquee, car parking is going to be curtailed and there will probably need to be some kind of permit system for essential access only.
- CALL FOR PERFORMERS AND HELPERS. I’ve already been in touch with a lot of the “likely suspects” but if anyone else out there would like to be considered for a performance spot then please get in touch soon, preferably using my Hotmail address, firstname.lastname@example.org (as I am trying to keep all correspondence in one place!). Bear in mind that there will not be Marquee spaces for everyone and some hard choices will have to be made. Volunteers are also sought to act as stewards, MCs or venue managers, and people with good PA skills are always welcome, either to assist Chris Euesden with the marquee sound system or to run the Wolfe Room PA.
- DRAFT PROGRAMME SOON. I hope to do a first draft of the programme over Easter, and I need to have it close to finalised by the end of April, so that it can be printed in the next club brochure which will be going to press around then, for publication in early May. I’ll also try to include the draft programme with the next of these Newsletters in late April or very early May.
- FURTHER CONGRATULATIONS TO EDWINA. There’s more great news from local singer/songwriter Edwina Hayes. Her version of the Randy Newman song Feels Like Home has been selected for the soundtrack of the upcoming Nick Cassavetes film My Sister’s Keeper. This is released in June and stars Joan Cusack, Cameron Diaz and Alec Baldwin. Well done, Edwina!
Meanwhile Edwina is putting finishing touches to her third CD, hopefully for May release, and she has offered to do a set on the Sunday of Folk Weekend. She then headlines her own acoustic show at Friargate Theatre on Lower Friargate in York on Saturday 6th June at 8pm. Tickets are £ 10 on 01904 613000. Find out more at www.ridinglights.org.
- MORRIS AT THE MOVIES. There’s a newly released film called Morris: A Life With Bells On (www.morrismovie.com) which has been attracting a lot of media attention. As well as an article in the current issue of fRoots, there has been coverage in The Independent, The Sun, The Telegraph and The Mail on Sunday, amongst others. The film describes itself as “a heart-warming feature length comedy that follows the fortunes of one of the leading [fictional] Morris dance teams in the country, Millsham Morris, and in particular its avant garde leader Derecq Twist”. Screenings so far have been mainly in the South West, but there is a petition calling for national release at http://petition.co.uk/we_want_the_morris_movie. Perhaps York City Screen might take up the hankies and bells challenge?
- BEDALE FOLK CLUB ON THE MOVE. I’ve been asked to pass on news of another club which has changed venue. This time it is the singaround club in Bedale, which now meets at The White Bear on South End (01677 422518). They gather on the second and last Tuesdays of each month, so their next session is on 14th April. Don’t forget that in that same part of North Yorkshire there is also a lively weekly singers & players club at The Woodman Inn, Burneston, on Wednesdays. They have a MySpace page at www.myspace.com/burnestonfolkclub.
- VIOLIN TEACHER AVAILABLE. It was good to see York University music graduate and former OK Brandy member Laura Barber at the Spiers & Boden gig last week. Laura is back in York at least part-time and making a living through violin tuition. She’s a qualified and experienced teacher in both classical and folk styles and can offer individual private tutorials or adult group lessons. Contact her on email@example.com.
- NEW IN(N) FOLK FOR EASINGWOLD. The refurbished New Inn on Long Street in Easingwold is looking to celebrate St George’s Day. The landlady Annie writes “we are looking for a few Morris Dance groups to dance at the pub either on the evening of the 23rd April (St Georges Day), or on the afternoon of Saturday 25th April when we hold our main celebrations. The Minster Strays have confirmed their attendance, we just need some more on board now”. Also planned for the Saturday are singers, bands and possibly a ceilidh, street entertainers, face painting and so on. There will be a hog roast and proceeds go to the Royal British Legion.
Annie also tells me they are starting a fortnightly “open mic” folk club this Monday (6th), which will alternate with a blues session. Singers and other participants very welcome. Finally, she writes “Black Rigg Rapper are dancing here on the afternoon of the May Day Bank Holiday (4th May) and have asked if we can drum up some competition from other groups for the afternoon! This is a Folk Club day too and we are looking for a guest band or singer for the evening. Should be a fun day of dance and beers a-plenty!” The pub can be contacted on 01347 822093 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and has a web site under construction at www.newinneasingwold.co.uk.
- OTHER BLACK SWAN MUSIC. As usual, the upstairs room at the Black Swan Inn hosts other acoustic music events worthy of note. Jon Gomm is back there on Sunday 12th April. This singer/songwriter and acoustic guitar virtuoso has been described by Acoustic Magazine as "One of the world's most gifted and inspirational guitar players"! Doors open 8pm, entry £ 5
The Alley Cats appear on Saturday 25th April, performing old time American music and hillbilly blues. “Powerful vocals and dazzling instrumentals combine to provide an evening of high energy Americana” says their publicist. I caught this family band a while back and I can certainly agree that they are very good. Doors open at 8pm for an 8.30pm start. Entry is £ 5. Further information and reservations from Phil Quin on 01904 783029.
- MORE AT MELTONS TOO. The Attic Room at Melton’s Too on Walmgate continues to host acoustic music. Tim Pheby launches his CD From The Heart this Wednesday (8th) at 8.30, then singer/songwriter Paula Ryan, acapella trio Ripple and Bradford duo Otra share a night on Wednesday 22nd April. All of these acts will also be contributing to the Folk Weekend in May.
- SHOW OF HANDS IN HULL. The Albemarle Music Centre is a recently opened 300 capacity venue in Hull, situated on Ferensway near the Paragon Interchange and Hull Truck Theatre. Ever eager to try new halls, Show of Hands appear there on Sunday 26th April, joined as usual by Miranda Sykes on double bass. It’s a 7.30 start and tickets at £ 15 (£ 7.50 for children 15 and under) can be booked via Hull City Hall Box Office on 01482 226655. Secure evening car parking is available cheaply in the adjacent St Stephen’s Shopping Centre.
- CHORAL FOLK FROM SHEFFIELD TO BRIDLINGTON. The 80-strong Sheffield Folk Chorale specialises in new four-part arrangements of traditional folk songs and has a strong reputation for good music performed in an informal but informative manner. They have released 4 CDs so far. Amongst its founders in 2001 were the well-known folk duo Graham & Eileen Pratt and now Graham asks me to tell you that they are in concert on Saturday 18th April at the Priory Church in Bridlington, starting 6pm. Tickets (£ 5) and further information on 01262 670513.
- BLUEGRASS IN THE CHAPEL. York’s Crocker Brothers are delighted to welcome their old friend Chris Moreton to a special concert at The Chapel in Cemetery Road, York on Saturday 2nd May. Chris is an award-winning bluegrass flatpicker, multi-instrumentalist and singer. A former member of the well-loved Cat's Cradle String Band (alongside David Crocker), Chris brings his own unique brand of intricate guitar picking and traditional songs to York. Katherine Crocker will be supporting with a selection from her ever-growing repertoire of ballads and haunting old-time songs. Tickets are £ 10 in advance and early booking is advised as last year’s Chapel event sold out. Book online at www.thecrockerbrothers.com or call Alex on 01904 426042.
- MORE FOLK AT HENSHAWS. Several successful folk events have been held recently at Henshaws Arts & Crafts Centre on Bond End in Knaresborough (Henshaws being a charity which supports blind and visually impaired people). Now they have announced their own Day of Folk Dance and Night of Folk Music on Saturday 25th April. There’ll be Morris dancing and Mumming between 11am and 3pm, followed by a set from Henshaws’ own student band The Hotspots until 4pm. In the evening there is a concert with Monkey’s Fist and The Hotspots, doors open 7.30pm. The afternoon is free; evening tickets are £ 7. There will be food and a bar.
Coincident with the Folk Day, there’s an exhibition of Morris and Mumming pictures from the Leeds-based photographer Johnathan Leng. In full, this runs from 11th April to 24th May. Future Henshaws folk plans include Roger Davies & Friends (12th June), Mary Humphreys & Anahata (12th September) and Jez Lowe & The Bad Pennies (13th November). Further details on 01423 541888 or from email@example.com.
- FINAL QUICKIES.
- Kevin Dempsey (of Whippersnapper, as mentioned above) and Joe Broughton guest this Tuesday (7th) at The Processed Pea monthly music night at The Light Dragoon in Etton, near Beverley. Last minute ticket reservations (£ 9) to Stuart Bell on 01430 810669. Next month (5th May) the Pea has Ella Edmondson plus Joe Topping.
- Feast of Fiddles offer more great fiddle music this Tuesday (7th) at Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield (01484 430528). The line-up includes Phil Beer, Peter Knight, Chris Leslie and future Black Swan guest Brian McNeill, while the backing band has Dave Mattacks on drums.
- Mambo Jambo (as seen floor-spotting at The Black Swan last week) are this month’s excellent guests for Hunsley Live Music at the Half Moon in Elloughton, East Yorkshire (Saturday 11th April), with Clive Gregson to follow on 9th May. (www.msmm.org.uk)
- Landermason are a Folk Jazz duo about whom I’ve heard good things. They are in Staithes at St Peter’s on Saturday (11th), then over to the Tithe Bar in Northallerton on Sunday (12th). Tickets for both shows are available on the door; for further information call 01287 660200.
- Bram Taylor, a perennial Black Swan favourite, is currently touring with accompanist Roly Hindmarch. Local dates include Reeth Memorial Hall on Friday 17th April (01748 884759) and the White Hart Folk Club at Mickleby near Whitby on Saturday 18th (0191 291 1113)
Yet another packed month! I hope to be back late April or early May with the 100th Edition!