Black Swan Folk Club

Club Programme

Tickets for guest nights at the Black Swan are available from www.wegottickets.com. Search under venue "York Black Swan" or click on the links in the listings below. WeGotTickets charge a simple 10% booking fee on top of face value and email you a booking reference rather than posting a ticket, meaning you can book until 6pm on the day. Bring the booking reference number with you but do not bother to print out the whole booking confirmation.

Early booking is advised for very popular artists - we do sometimes sell out in advance!

Special concessionary rates (half the normal price on guest nights) are available for under-18s and full-time students.

All tickets are slightly cheaper if pre-booked at www.wegottickets.com compared to prices on the door.

Early Music Centre concert tickets are handled by the NCEM Box Office, either online or on 01904 658338.

Singers Nights are "pay-on-the-door" only events.

The Black Swan Folk Club has a guest performer most Thursday nights. Doors open at 7:30pm and the night starts at 8.00pm with the MC and a couple of local performers followed by 2 x 45 minute spots from our guest finishing at approx 10-45pm. Open Mic nights are held on average about once a month. Doors open at 7-30pm, music starts at 8pm through to 11pm.

NORTH SEA GAS
29th February 2024
£15.40 (inc bf more otd) 15.40
Guest Photo
Black Swan, Peasholme Green, York
North Sea Gas, are one of Scotland’s best-loved folk groups who have toured the world, They reveal that the most popular Scottish song after 40 years is probably “Caledonia”. The band, who have made 21 albums including over 270 songs and 70 Scottish and Irish tunes, are massively popular in the United States, Europe, and particularly Germany. ‘Fans expect us to play favourites like “Fear A’Bhata” and “Johnny Cope”’ said Dave Gilfillan, the band’s founder-member. But there's always a request for “Caledonia”. From humble beginnings at The White Hart Inn in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket the band’s career has taken them to every part of the world with a regular circuit in Europe and North America. Their experiences include hosting legendary late night shows in the early 80s at the Caley Cinema in Edinburgh with guests such as Hamish Imlach and Johnny Cunningham. They've appeared at many of the top folk festivals and shared stages with Dame Edna Everage, and Gene Pitney, and many more household names over the years. The band’s 21 albums have seen various personnel changes and their latest 22nd album will be a triple compilation album (featuring new material) to mark their 40th anniversary, Named appropriately “A Long Road” . The current North Sea Gas line-up has been the most stable with Gilfillan and fellow band member Ronnie MacDonald working together for twenty years and Grant Simpson joining them 16 years ago. 40 years down the road it's a Black Swan Folk Club debut for North Sea Gas.
KIT HAWES and AARON CATLOW
7th March 2024
£15.40 (inc bf more otd) 15.40
Guest Photo
Black Swan, Peasholme Green, York
One of the most exciting duos to emerge from the UK in recent times, Kit Hawes & Aaron Catlow combine heartfelt musicality, unparalleled virtuosity and vocal harmony. Using the folk music of the British Isles as a catalyst, Kit and Aaron create dynamic and effervescent interpretations of centuries-old material as well as original songs and compositions, all the while celebrating the timeless aural quality of a guitar, fiddle and vocals duet. Studio albums The Fox (2016) and Pill Pilots (2019) have been met by wide critical acclaim, receiving five star reviews and local and national airplay. The duo tour extensively in the UK and internationally across Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. BBC 2’s Mark Radcliffe is a champion of their work, saying “Kit and Aaron are reminiscent of the late Dave Swarbrick and Martin Carthy… I can give them no higher accolade. They are at the top of their game”. “Fleet fingered and ingeniously arranged. .....deserve to be thought of as up there with the best of them" - Songlines “Such dexterity, energy and passion.....mightily impressive” - R2 Magazine “The pair demonstrate an eclectic approach that lifts them head and shoulders above the rest”-Acoustic Magazine “Never a dull moment, with imagination firing throughout and an abundance of creative energy” -Living Tradition
The SAM SWEENEY Band (Concert at the Crescent Club)
12th March 2024
£20.90 (inc bf more otd) 20.90
Guest Photo
The Crescent Club, 8 The Crescent, YORK, YO24 1AW
This concert takes place at the Crescent Club. 8 The Crescent, York, YO24 1AW.
Following the colossal success of supporting Bellowhead on their comeback tour in 2022, Sam is taking to the road to play his genre-defying landmark album, Escape That, with his all-star band. Featuring Louis Campbell on electric guitar, Ben Nicholls on double bass and Stuart McCallum on acoustic guitar, this will be a gig you don’t want to miss. Sam is one of England’s finest and most in demand traditional musicians, however Escape That is his first entirely self-composed record. It ties together all of Sam’s musical passions in an honest and fearless expression of himself. Sam and his band are putting something into English music that has never been there before and pressing the reset button on how folk music should sound. Combining Sam’s love for traditional music with strong pop hooks and aesthetics, this music is unashamed in its wide pool of influences. He is a veteran of the mighty Bellowhead, former artistic director of the National Folk Youth Ensemble, founder member of the acclaimed instrumental trio Leveret, and a genre defining instrumentalist at the forefront of the revival in English traditional music.
DUNCAN McFARLANE and ANNE BRIVONESE
14th March 2024
£11(inc bf more otd) 11
Guest Photo
Black Swan, Peasholme Green, York
Firm favourites at The Black Swan Folk Club, Duncan McFarlane is a highly regarded singer-guitarist who splits his sets equally between traditional fare and his own songs which are written, most definitely, in the trad idiom. Rated by Mike Harding as a 'fine showman', his intrinsic seriousness of intent and approach is laced with a healthy irreverence and humour that The Living Tradition magazine calls 'hugely entertaining'. Accompanying him on fiddle and harmony vocal duties will be Anne Brivonese. Together they've made several albums over the years, including 'All Rogues and Villains' which gained a five-star review from R2 magazine. Mike Harding also says: 'Duncan writes some great stuff and I love his lively versions of traditional folk songs; absolutely great; really powerful playing and singing.'
OPEN MIC
21st March 2024
£3 min donation otd no advance tickets 3
Guest Photo
Black Swan, Peasholme Green, York
Everyone welcome, singers, musicians, performers and listeners. Using the mic is optional.
THE LANGAN BAND
This concert is now SOLDOUT.
28th March 2024
£16.50(inc bf more otd) 16.50
Guest Photo
Black Swan, Peasholme Green, York
For nearly 15 years now, the three members of The Langan Band have been carving out their own lawlessly virtuosic path of sound; rampaging through the boundaries of conventional genre and cavorting into the territories of wild abandon, purest intimacy, and unconditional musical elation. The trio were initially brought together by a deep respect of traditional song and music, yet they discovered a mutual love of the evisceration and regeneration of these pieces into provocative and fascinating new compositions, as was recognised by the band winning the prestigious Danny Kyle Award at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections Festival at the start of their journey together. This sound and process went on to inform the band’s now mostly original repertoire, and has resulted in a musical experience quite unlike any other.
LIZ STRINGER
4th April 2024
£14.30(inc bf more otd) 14.30
Guest Photo
Black Swan, Peasholme Green, York
Liz Stringer is one of Australia’s most admired and versatile songwriters and instrumentalists. A venerated guitarist and vocalist, her notoriously powerful live performances and melodically rich, story-based songs have earned her a unique place among the most important Australian songwriters of the modern era. Stringer’s sixth studio album First Time Really Feeling, recorded with producer Chris Stringer in Toronto, Canada debuted at #14 on the ARIA Charts, won an AIR Award for Best Blues and Roots Album 2022 and helped her to achieve a new level of industry and audience recognition after many years of being Melbourne’s ‘best kept secret’. Stringer was Port Fairy Folk Festival’s 2023 Artist of the year, following eighteen months performing in iconic Australian band Midnight Oil as backing vocalist and occasional instrumentalist and opening shows for the Oils across Australia, Aotearoa and North America. In 2019 Stringer was honoured at Woodford Folk Festival as an 'emerging legend of Australian song' with a performance of selections from her back catalogue by her musical peers. 2023 saw Stringer embark on her most ambitious recording project yet, promising another extraordinary chapter in the development of this singular artist. An exciting debut for this artisi and a chance to see her in the intimate setting of The Black Swan Folk Club
UFQ (Urban Folk Quartet) (Concert at the Crescent Club)
8th April 2024
£19.80 (inc bf more otd) 19.80
Guest Photo
The Crescent Club, 8 The Crescent, YORK, YO24 1AW
This concert takes place at the Crescent Club. 8 The Crescent, York, YO24 1AW.
Back with us in York once again. In an age where the word “folk” encompasses everything from acoustic pop to hardcore traditional music, the use of such labels to distinguish one musical experience from another has arguably been stretched farther than ever. The Urban Folk Quartet’s distinguishing features have much less to do with the traditional idea of genre. Yes, this is fiddle-led music that draws heavily from celtic dance forms and traditional song but from there on in it is unlike any folk band you have ever heard. Just as English country dance unassumingly met with big band jazz musicianship in the mid 20th century, The UFQ’s approach to the folk ethos is to embrace any and every influence that genuinely makes sense of their time and place and makes sense in their music. From funk grooves to middle-eastern melodies, afrobeat to north Indian rhythms.
OPEN MIC
11th April 2024
£3 min donation otd no advance tickets 3
Guest Photo
Black Swan, Peasholme Green, York
Everyone welcome, singers, musicians, performers and listeners. Using the mic is optional.
CATHRYN CRAIG and BRIAN WILLOUGHBY
18th April 2024
£15.40 (inc bf more otd)) 15.40
Guest Photo
Black Swan, Peasholme Green, York
One of our favourite duos at The Black Swan Folk Club, Craig and Willoughby make a welcome return, Cathryn Craig has sung with Chet Atkins, Shel Silverstein, The Righteous Brothers and Jorma Kaukonen. Her great-grandfather Jacob Sowder was recorded by Cecil Sharp and featured in his book English Folk Songs From The Southern Appalachians. Brian Willoughby is best known for his virtuoso performances on electric and acoustic guitar, with progressive folk/rock band Strawbs and also with Mary Hopkin, Joe Brown, Roger Whittaker, Bridget St.John, Jim Diamond and Monty Python. Both Cathryn and Brian have accompanied and recorded with Nanci Griffith. In 2019, Brian rejoined Strawbs for their 50th. Anniversary concerts in the USA and Cathryn was invited to sing with the band. The duo’s Alice’s Song was an Aled Jones Highlight of the Year on BBC Radio 2 and Strawbs’ recording of the song, was used by The National Autistic Society as its theme tune for Autism Awareness. Cathryn was Simon Mayo's star guest on BBC Radio 2Day, live from Nashville. The Telegraph’s Martin Chilton named the duo as his Folk Gig Pick of the year. Folking.com nominated Cathryn and Brian in their “Best Duo” category. Long live traditional music, even when it's only just been written (The Living Tradition) … sublime guitar work and one of the finest voices around (Folking.com) "I love that duo ... what a perfect combination ... great songs, great singing and of course, there’s Brian's spellbinding guitar work .. just magic." Noel Casey (Dublin City FM)
FARA (Concert at the Crescent Club)
28th April 2024
£19.25(inc bf more otd) 19.25
Guest Photo
The Crescent Club, 8 The Crescent, YORK, YO24 1AW
This concert takes place at the Crescent Club. 8 The Crescent, York, YO24 1AW.
Fired up and raring to go after a lockdown spent creating hugely popular film project, ‘The Orkney Series’, Scottish powerhouse quartet FARA unveiled their highly anticipated third studio album in 2022. Bursting with brand new self-penned instrumental tracks, and with songs adapted from the words of Orcadian poets, ‘Energy Islands’ is fuelled by their native Orkney’s revolutionary role in renewable energy. Immensely popular it enterted the UK folk charts at no 10! Fusing the talents of three fine Orcadian fiddlers and vocalists – Jeana Leslie, Catriona Price and Kristan Harvey – alongside stand-out Highland pianist and newest member Rory Matheson, FARA have firmly secured their foothold at the forefront of the Scottish folk scene since taking 2014’s Orkney Folk Festival by storm. Their unique mix of spell-binding vocals, intricately woven fiddle harmonies and energetic closers, combined with an obvious kinship born in childhood, is sure to delight and entertain audiences wherever they go. Shortlisted in 2015’s Scots Trad Music Awards for Up and Coming Act of the Year, the band performed a triumphant set at the 2017 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards at the Albert Hall as Horizon Award nominees and have gone on to win a German Critics’ Choice Award and a Live Act of the Year nomination at 2019’s Scots Trad Music Awards. They continue to tour internationally, with sell-out performances at festivals across Europe, Australia and North America, as well as a tour of China in 2023.
SOUND of the SIRENS (NCEM Concert)
4th May 2024
£18,15 (inc bf more otd) 1815
Guest Photo
National Centre for Early Music, Walmgate, YO1 9TL
This concert takes place at the National Centre for Early Music, Walmgate, YO1 9TL.
Sound of the Sirens are a singer-songwriting duo based in Exeter, Devon comprising of Abbe Martin & Hannah Wood. Honing their craft over the past decade, Martin & Wood have cemented themselves as firm favourites as “one of the UK’s finest folk acts” not only on the Westcountry scene, but nationally, and internationally too. Their status, and fast-growing fan-base is not only testament to the pair’s prowess as songwriters and musicians, but as people too. Martin & Wood are two of the hardest working musicians on the scene and wear their hearts very much on their sleeves in terms of their songwriting. The pair glide gracefully through laments of past relationships, and life experiences, as well as highlighting the important topics of the day, namely mental health awareness, and homelessness. Without being pigeonholed into any stereotypical genre, the instrumentation of the band is vast, and varied. Martin (stage right) plays acoustic and high-strung (Nashville tuning) guitar, mandolin, and bass drum, while partner in crime Wood (stage left) plays acoustic and electric guitar, tambourine, snare drum, and the piano. The pairs’ musical and vocal dexterity dovetail beautifully on the co-written songs, which range from beautiful, emotive ballads, to up-beat, foot stomping, hands in the air, sing-along anthems. The dynamic duo and their musical creations translate very well onto recorded media, but it is in the live arena where the pair truly excel. There is a certain majesty about their live performances that simply cannot be put into words. It is this “je ne sais quoi” that keeps their loyal fans returning from far and wide to see these two perform. It is not just nearly two hours of high-quality live music you get for the entrance fee, a Sound of the Sirens show is much more than that. The onstage chemistry, camaraderie, and banter is worth the ticket price alone. ‘Since their impressive 2013 debut, Sound of the Sirens has been expressing their musical masterpieces all around the world. Their majestic prowess on stage attracts fans from far and wide to witness their chemistry and camaraderie.‘ Ailovemusic
OPEN MIC
9th May 2024
£3 min donation otd no advance tickets 3
Guest Photo
Black Swan, Peasholme Green, York
Everyone welcome, singers, musicians, performers and listeners. Using the mic is optional.
ALLAN TAYLOR 'The Road Well Travelled' (NCEM Concert)
10th May 2024
£19.50 (inc bf) 19.50
Guest Photo
National Centre for Early Music, Walmgate, YO1 9TL
This concert takes place at the National Centre for Early Music, Walmgate, YO1 9TL.
Songs, stories and anecdotes of more than fifty years on the road Accompanied by his own songs and music Allan will talk about his life and times from the 60’s in London, through to the 70’s in America (New York, Los Angeles, Nashville) and then on to the 80’s in Europe and up until the present day. He will describe the experiences that led to the songs, the recordings, (more than 25 albums to date) and in excess of one hundred and fifty cover versions. ‘the most important songwriter of his generation’ Dr. Frederick Woods in the Oxford Book of Traditional Verse.
KATHERINE PRIDDY (Concert at the Crescent Club)
15th May 2024
£17.60(inc bf more otd)) 17.60
Guest Photo
The Crescent Club, 8 The Crescent, YORK, YO24 1AW
This concert takes place at the Crescent Club. 8 The Crescent, York, YO24 1AW.
Since emerging with her debut EP ‘Wolf’, UK singer-songwriter Katherine Priddy has quickly become one of the most exciting names on the British music scene. Priddy’s haunting vocals and distinctive finger-picking guitar style have already seen her sell out a headline tour, perform at prestigious festivals around the UK and abroad, including Glastonbury where she featured on their BBC 2 coverage, and support a number of world class artists including Richard Thompson, Loudon Wainwright III and Vashti Bunyan, as well as a recent show with Guy Garvey at The Roundhouse. She also recently featured on a Double LP of Nick Drake covers released by Chrysalis Records with other artists such as Self Esteem, Aldous Harding and John Grant. Her debut album, ‘The Eternal Rocks Beneath’, was released in June 2021 to great acclaim. The album singles received 200+ plays across national radio including BBC Radio 6 Music and BBC Radio 2 and reached No.1 in the Official UK Folk Charts. Now, early 2024 sees the release of Priddy’s eagerly-awaited second album, The Pendulum Swing, on February 16th, via Cooking Vinyl. The LP explores themes of home, family, love and memory, as Priddy seeks to move forwards whilst acknowledging and honouring all that has gone before. Her live performances are engaging, moving and amusing by turn, delivering original songs with emotional maturity, depth and particularly noteworthy lyrics. Despite the delicate nuances of her sound, Katherine Priddy is not a fragile wallflower, but a determined young woman making her mark.
RACHEL NEWTON
16th May 2024
£15.40(inc bf more otd) 15.40
Guest Photo
Black Swan, Peasholme Green, York
Singer, harpist and composer Rachel Newton draws on poems, ballads and stories that are hundreds of years old, working them into her contemporary compositional style to create a rich sound that is ambitious, original and unique. Rachel has worked and performed with artists from a range of disciplines including theatre, dance, storytelling and visual art. A skilled collaborator, Rachel is a founder member of The Furrow Collective and the Lost Words: Spell Songs, as well as the duo project Heal & Harrow with long time friend and colleague Lauren MacColl. Rachel was named Musician of the Year at both the Scots Trad Music Awards and the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Her albums To The Awe and Here's My Heart Come Take It were shortlisted as one of Scotland's top 10 outstanding albums in the Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award. She was awarded a Critics Award for Theatre in Scotland (CATS) for Best Music and Sound for her work with the Rowantree Theatre Company and PRS Composer of the Year in the Scots Trad Music Awards alongside Heal & Harrow collaborator Lauren MacColl. Co-founder of The Bit Collective, a group focusing on equality and diversity in folk and traditional music, Rachel has organised various campaigns and events, including the Trad. Reclaimed: Women in Folk festival at Kings Place, London in 2019. Rachel' previous solo releases are The Shadow Side (2012), Changeling (2014), Here's My Heart Come Take It (2016) and West (2018). November 2020 marked the release of her fifth solo album To The Awe, based particularly around women’s experience. 'A beauty' **** Observer 'Haunting and compelling' **** The Guardian 'Harp and strings blur the border between worlds' **** The Financial Times
MIRANDA SYKES
23rd May 2024
£14.30(inc bf more otd) 14.30
Guest Photo
Black Swan, Peasholme Green, York
Miranda Sykes has visited the Black Swan Folk Club before but this is the first time she'll be performing in a solo capacity. Of her solo venture she says- 'It feels like a lifetime ago that the world was in lockdown and the hugs and closeness of family and friends seemed like a far off dream. Many still have to be careful, many bear scars of the Pandemic and the long term effects of this on us all is yet to be realised. My new album ‘Out of the woods’ is a collection of songs that have seen me through my own journey of isolation, illness and recovery and I hope they bring you as much comfort as they did me over the past few turbulent years.' Miranda started her career as a musician in 1996 at the age of 18, playing bass guitar in a country rock band. After 2 years touring and playing for line dancing in working mens clubs across Britain, folk-rock band Pressgang were looking for a bass player. Miranda spent the next 2 years touring internationally with them. After a few years of musical promiscuity playing with Firebrand, Little Johnny England, Robb Johnson, Bill Jones, Steafan Hannigan, Reg Meuross, Kirsty McGee, The Phil Beer Band, Martyn Joseph and The Scoville Units; Miranda depped for Pete Zorn in the 2004 Show Of Hands festival band line up. She worked with them for the next 20 years. Miranda also found time for a short tour and album with the Miranda Sykes Band in 2005, duo album tours with mandolin player Rex Preston and 2 solo albums. 2024 brings a second tour with Hannah Martin, a new Baring-Gould Centenary project with Jim Causley, summer festivals with vocal group Daphne’s Flight, a tour with The Phil Beer Trio and a new solo album and tour “Out Of The Woods”.
ROBB JOHNSON
26th September 2024
£13.20 (inc bf more otd) 13.20
Guest Photo
Black Swan, Peasholme Green, York
Robb Johnson is a British musician and songwriter who has been called "one of the last genuinely political songwriters". He is known for his mix of political satire and wit. He's released more than 40 albums since 1985, either solo or in several collaborations. Robb Johnson says he’s just a bloke with a guitar. He is. But he’s one who has chronicled our times: painting the less-than-sunny political landscape in the moonlight of the personal. Just like a folk singer should. "Britain's finest songwriter since Richard Thompson"- Venue "An English original" - Robin Denselow, The Guardian