Thursday 15th December 2016 at 8:30 Entry: £6 (£5 members)
Jez Lowe & The Bad Pennies Christmas Show: “Snowed In”
Folk songwriter Jez Lowe’s Christmas tours have become something of a tradition in his native North-East over the last seven years, and indeed across the country as he sets off once more on a festive winter-tainment night of songs, banter and seasonal Scrooge-like tomfoolery.
So sit back and enjoy a night Snowed In with Jez Lowe (SONY Radio Academy Award Winner, 2015 Folk Awards Nominee) and his multi-talented band The Bad Pennies (featuring fiddle, Northumbrian Pipes, keyboards, guitar, bass, harmonica and voices). They are Kate Bramley, Andy May and David de la Haye, and will be accompanied by plus special guest folk balladeer and actor Benny Graham.
As ever, Jez puts together an original take on Christmas in the North, part folk-concert, part music-hall revue, with songs, humour and music done the way only The Bad Pennies know how, as sell out crowds across the country can testify.
TOPIC 60 - 21st Anniversary night
On Friday November 11th 1977, at the Star Hotel, Westgate, the Topic celebrated its 21st anniversary.
The top picture shows committee member the late Mick Wheeler imparting words of wisdom to fellow committee members Ian Passy and Lissa Purdy.In the lower picture are two more committee members, Ronnie Wharton and Alan Wilkinson.
The Watersons were the guest act for the anniversary.
These photos, taken by Brian Lawton, are two of the many collated by Trevor Charnock that will one day appear as a gallery of historic pictures here.
TOPIC CLUB MEMBERSHIP £5 a year from 1st January. That gives you £1 off concert tickets, and you can get more involved with running the club too if you are interested.
PS: CASTLE HOTEL Plenty of Topic regulars play and listen at the Castle Hotel in Bradford on Fridays - why not join them? December nights: Dec 9 - Tom McKenzie; Dec 16 - jam Dec 23 - jam
Bric-a-Brac are a lively young folk band playing traditional and original music. Hailing from exotic corners of Yorkshire and the Midlands such as Bradford, Sherwood Forest and Moseley Bog, they play an eclectic mix of instruments: songs and tunes in their repertoire from fast reels to sensitive airs can be lead by anything from concertina to 5-string bass. With their on-stage energy, clever arrangements, thoughtful instrumentation, harmonies (they all sing) and an evident joy in playing that easily transmits to the audience, they tick every box going. Here, without doubt, is a band with a future.
Bric-a-Brac consists of Bradford’s own Bella Gaffney (vocals, guitars and concertina), Chris Elliott (vocals, fiddle, bouzouki and guitar), Caitlin Jones (vocals, whistles, flutes, folk recorder, Heather Sirrel (vocals, bass and guitar) and Dan Latham - drums (occasional).
Bella is of course well-known to Topic goers but this is the first appearance of the band at the club. Most Topic evenings are of course “not to be missed”, but this one is even more “not to be missed” than usual.
(This concert postponed from 27th October 2016)
Featured support: The Holbeck Mummers for their annual invasion.
Singers & Musicians
A chance for anyone to come along and sing a song or play a tune or just listen
Yan Tan Tether
Yan Tan Tether is a female close harmony folk trio from Otley consisting of Rosie Knighton, Tess Leslie and Lynne O’Malley. They have been singing together since September 2013 and have already built up a reputation for wonderful performances in the local folk clubs and festivals around Yorkshire and beyond. They play a host of instruments between them but concentrate mostly on creating beautiful a capella arrangements of traditional folk songs. Their voices blend beautifully, creating spine-tingling harmonies interspersed with some rollicking chorus songs.
Their music has been played on the Mike Harding Folk Show a number of times, and Mike describes them as “one of the best a capella groups going”. They have also appeared on BBC Radio Leeds a couple of times. They won the hiring fair at Cleckheaton Folk festival in July 2016, and have played a number festivals and clubs in Yorkshire, with bookings coming in for 2017.
The trio did an impressive support slot at the Topic early in 2016 and from that are back for a full evening, and not a moment too soon.
Yan Tan Tether gave us a great performance at Kirkgate Irregular Roots with a perfect combination of sublime harmonies and varied, interesting repertoire. Highly recommended! Joe Grint (Irregular Roots)
Great band by the way, three girls singing with terrific harmonies, If you have a chance to see them, do go because they're wonderful. Mike Harding
A very entertaining evening and what a superb band Yan Tan Tether are. Their voices blend perfectly together. They are like a musical banoffee pie!” Gerry McNeice
A second visit to the Topic for this unpretentious local favourite who displays a remarkable talent for his heartfelt delivery of thoughtful songs. A Bradford lad, Stuart is making more solo appearances around the local clubs these days, stepping out of his harmonising mode to deliver some lesser known songs from his vast repertoire: contemporary, classic and occasionally comical. Stuart sings his guitar-driven music with passion and enthusiasm that is always thought-provoking. Well received wherever he goes, this is sure to be a delightful evening.
An established songwriter and musician, Ray Hearne is also well known in Yorkshire for his appearances on regional television and weekly BBC Radio Sheffield broadcasts featuring his own and other writers' poetry. Born in Rotherham of Irish parents, he still lives and works in the town and tries in his songs to bring the two cultures together; Irish and South Yorkshire; contemporary songs in a traditional idiom. His songs have been recorded and sung by Roy Bailey, Coope Boyes and Simpson, Kate Rusby and the late John Wright, but there's nothing to compare with his own passionate performances. He has played at festivals across the North of England and toured Belgium, Holland and Ireland.
An organiser and tutor for many years with the Workers Educational Association, Ray was a pioneer of the writers' workshop movement helping people of all ages across South Yorkshire's communities and beyond to find their voices, in story, verse or song. He also works with community groups and partnerships, and campaigning groups, helping them to tell their stories and to affirm themselves through poem and song. His latest CD Umpteen was released in May 2016.
More recently Ray has worked as a member of the team writing BBC Radio Two's Radio Ballad series. Ray's song Curtains' sung by Kate Rusby featured in the first programme Song of Steel.
Singers & Musicians
A chance for anyone to come along and sing a song or play a tune or just listen
Soundsphere formed in York in 2000 - originally a four-piece vocal singing group until the sad passing away of Angela Michel in November 2013. With Angela's blessing Judith, Sarah and Paula felt that there was no other path to take, but to carry on as three..."it's what Angela wished for us and so we will carry on and think of her with joy, every time we sing".
The Soundsphere style specialises in singing 'a cappella'. This tradition of singing means, basically, without accompaniment: textured harmonies which give the arrangements a rich and vibrant sound. Most of the songs in the group’s repertoire are sung without accompaniment but percussion and drums are sometimes used to great effect - if the song calls for it! Some are old and some are new and some are self-penned pieces but all are sung because they are special.
All over the world songs are sung and passed from generation to generation in the a cappella style - harmonies come and go but the basic style of creating an illusion of depth and feeling by using purely the voice and layering harmonies with each other creates a stunningly rich sound that has character and depth.
Soundsphere take their songs from many countries and from across many centuries, rarely taking a set arrangement but preferring to create a unique sound, this quite often evolves and develops as it gets sung!
It’s high time we had another visit from this superb performer: songwriter, singer and “folk rapper” with his wealth of great songs and stage presence. A veritable troubadour, Pete Morton tours constantly either solo or in various collaborations, sometimes in musical theatre shows. He has entertained all over the world with his unique style, songs telling stories and speaking of the human condition from his own unique perspective, songs of humour, politics, love and social comment delivered in the folk tradition. Pete has many solo albums of original material as well as others in collaboration with other luminaries such as Roger Wilson, Simon Edwards and Jo Freya
...not only impressive but a revelation....totally original - The Guardian
John Palmer Acoustic Band
The Jon Palmer Acoustic Band is a 6-piece folk, roots and rock & roll combo based in and around the musically vibrant West Yorkshire market town of Otley. The line-up is Jon Palmer – guitar; Nick Settle – guitar; Wendy Ross – violin; Roy Whyke – drums; Ricky Silvers – double bass; Matt Nelson – mandolin; and everyone sings!
Describing the band as "a cross between The Pogues and Bruce Springsteen’s Seeger Session Band – with a bit of Waterboys and Saw Doctors thrown in for good measure", Leeds Music Scene said the Jon Palmer Acoustic Band left them "spellbound and desperate for more!" Jon is a former winner of the Grolsch UK Songwriter of the Year, and a published songwriter with Sony.
A blur of hedonistic delight – Fatea Showcases
Jon Palmer is a very fine songwriter… if the band were a heavy electric group they’d be The Levellers, but that would lose the subtlety of the acoustic performance. - 2 Magazine (Rock n Reel)