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Topic Newsletter Archive

Tuesday March 19th 2002

THE TOPIC FOLK CLUB INFORMAL NEWSLETTER No 4

Greetings one and all.

FIRST, NEWS OF WHAT'S COMING UP

March 21 - If you are quick you will be in time to see Chris Ellis. Chris hails from Derbyshire, and offers a range of keyboards, guitar and vocals. This strikingly original, lyrical performer has just released his debut CD, "Tread Softly". He may bring some for sale. He also writes music for theatre, and has an involvement with international educational projects. He is also a friend of Finola's, so …. well, so there.

March 28 - Singers' and Musicians' Night. Suggested theme - original work - that is, your own stuff. Songs, tunes, poems, fragments, snatches, half-finished ideas, anything. Most performers have essayed some form of composition in their time, so now is the time to try it out to a sympathetic audience. But as always with these themes, they are neither compulsory nor prescriptive. Don't be put off coming down just because you haven't got any original material. Come anyway and support those who have!

April 4 - Jon Harvison. Local (well, Keighley) singer/songwriter/guitarist, with a good strong voice and a nice line in patter. Does mostly his own material, but spiced with the occasional traditional song which he interprets with relish. Some of his songs are being taken up by other performers, which is always a mark of respect in the trade. Melodic, approachable, entertaining, accomplished, sensitive - these are just some of the adjectives on his PR release. Come down and judge for yourself. And buy one of his CDs.

While you are at it, you can judge old / new kid on the block, Mark Newman. Mark is the first in our new series of Featured Support acts: a guitarist of some considerable achievement and delicacy (as anyone who saw him do a floor spot when Alistair Russell was here last year will know). A Topic regular of old, he claims to remember all our old venues . . . Once a regular professional performer on the Midlands and Yorkshire folk circuit, Mark found it more difficult to combine with the day job; but is now hoping to re-establish himself on the circuit. Come and give both of them your support. Access his website: www.marknewman.org

April 11 - Solan. Unique and addictive, haunting and beautiful, fiddle guitar and concertinas (and voice). Chris Hutchins, Frances Wilkins and Richard Chuff hail from the Shetland Isles, and much of their music reflects this. They write their own stuff too. I am sure they'll bring the odd CD or tape to sell - do come prepared to buy; we can't afford to pay massive appearance fees, so this is another way to make sure that our guests feel welcome and rewarded.

April 18 - Ken Nicol. More of him in later editions, but just whisper Albion band, guitar, and see what happens. Will this be another Alistair Russell night?

April 25 - Singers' and Musicians' night. Suggested theme - old, traditional, chorus songs (or refrains, repeats and reprises). With a hey nonny nonny - well, you know the sort of stuff. Sea Shanties, fair maidens, wicked squires, a bit of magic and mystery, wars, battles, derring do, chastity belts (if you must), knights.

May 2 - Kenny Spiers and Joe Wright (not as stated in the first editions of the last newsletter). Kenny sings songs of the borders; soft, haunting, beautiful, lilting, sad - well, that is what it was like last time he came. Former member of the John Wright Band, he will be supported tonight by the fiddle of Joe Wright.

May 9 - Banoffi. 'Nuff said. Already enough expressions of intent to fill the hall, so get down early if you want a good view. (You'll be able to hear from the street outside, but that's hardly the point, is it?) And they are watchable - from Dave Moss' manic dancing, to Ian Hulme's enjoyable grin, and Tim's ability to change three consecutive broken strings in the course of one number.

May 16 - Bernard Carney from Australia. Brilliant. May 23 Kate Howden and Paul; Jones. Serious guitar and voice duo

May 30 - Lester Simpson, with Featured Support Emily and Ben now confirmed.

More of all these later. We're more or less booked up till December now!

AND WHAT YOU'VE MISSED.

Belshazzar's Feast. Now this was a very pleasant, low-key evening, with music bordering on the classical rather than folk. Paul Sartin on oboe and violin, also singing (neither instrument is exactly designed for singing along with), and Paul gave a very convincing demonstration of how difficult it is to sing even after playing the oboe. Accompanied by Hoover the Dog's Paul Hutchinson on accordion, and very well they played together too. Floor spots from Adam Russell, Karl Dallas, Wol, Dave Kidman and James Saville - thanks to them.

We've also had an Irish Singaround, to celebrate the fact that it wasn't quite St Patrick's Day. Slightly over half the offerings were Irish, or with an Irish connection; or at the very least, could well have been referring to Irish characters as any other. The evening was most noticeable for the appearance of Tom Bliss, who told us he had meaning to drop in for about 25 years, and now had. What have we been missing for 25 years? He did some superb versions of his own material, showed a flawless technique on a variety of instruments, and now he has promised to bring his whole band Slide down on July 11. Watch this space.

As always, comments, responses, suggestions, anything really, all welcome. This may be the last substantive Newsletter for a while (in April your editor is going to China, again) but I'll try to slip out the odd short reminder of what is coming up every time I pass through the UK! See you all soon!

John Waller

Topic Informal Newsletter Editor

j.waller@bradford.ac.u

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