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Topic Newsletter Archive

THE TOPIC FOLK CLUB, BRADFORD

TOPIC INFORMAL NEWSLETTER No 23, 10 NOVEMBER 2003


Greetings –
November is going to be a big month. Three very different guests, but each important.

November 13 Steafan Hannigan and Saskia Tomkins - major performers on the international, national and festival stage. Steafan's music is rooted in the Irish, playing Uilleann pipes, whistles, bouzouki and bodhran. Saskia plays fiddle and viola, and was last seen at the Topic accompanying Robb Johnson earlier this year. Together they play pan-European music: the obvious Irish and English influences; but also eastern European rhythms, especially Bulgarian and Hungarian gipsy music. Maybe the odd story as well. Featured Support comes from Friendly Visit, an Otley-based multi-instrumental group who grace our floor spots and singarounds on occasion; plus one or two other surprise guests. This will be a Big Evening, which we will hope to start on time!

November 20 And now for something completely different. The Amazing Mr Smith has been described as Monty Python's answer to John Williams. Or a musical version of Les Barker. Or a one-man version of Mechanical Horsetrough (anyone remember them?). There'll be songs, music, instruments … may of which he has constructed himself. The mirror-image banjo. The plastic bottle bodhran. The condom harp. His act is unique, eccentric and totally hilarious, yet behind the costumes and props is a superb guitarist. A weird and wonderful combination of lunatic humour and stylish guitar playing. He did a taster floor spot with us late last year, and we've been looking forward to his return.

Featured Support of a slightly more traditional kind comes from Wench All, a delightful all-female three-part harmony outfit, visiting us from across the Pennines. They're due to headline with us in June.

November 27 Emily Weygang and Ben Harker. This York-based duo is steadily increasing the number and regularity of their gigs. They have performed Featured Support on two occasions (as well as attending singarounds) so it is good to see them headlining. Emily sings, mostly but not exclusively traditional English songs, and plays fiddle and low whistle. Ben provides careful and precise guitar accompaniment and the all-too-infrequent vocal harmony. This will be an evening for listening, and supporting two performers relatively new to the circuit. Featured Support comes from Kevin Young, often seen as a member of a duo, but performing solo unaccompanied songs tonight.

Details of virtually all these performers can be found on our excellent, updated-weekly website. Log on! www.topic-folk-club.org.uk We have direct links to the websites of every artist who has performed since January 2002, and/or who is booked up to the end of 2004. So that's an excellent reference resource for anyone wanting an update on currently-active folk artistes. Do use it!

THE REST OF THE 2003 PROGRAMME

December 11 Keiran Halpin. We are very grateful for a return visit from this highly popular singer-songwriter, many of whose songs are now well into the public domain.

December 18 The Durbervilles. A five-piece band to add a bit of noisy oooomph to the pre-yuletide festivities and sandwiches. The occasion will as always be violently interrupted by the Featured Support: The Holbeck Mummers with a timeless tirade of traditional theatrical buffoonery.

THE NEW YEAR -

This isn't set in stone yet – every chance that some of these Singers' nights may turn into a late booking. But note our experimental move into an offering of Jazz, as well as some old and new favourites.

Jan 1 Singers and Musicians: Theme: Old and new
Jan 8 The Barbara Baker Jazz Quintet
- Featured support slot available
Jan 15 Singers and Musicians: Theme: Distance, space, time, away
Jan 22 Derek Gifford
- Featured support Robin and Ben
Jan 29 Singers and Musicians: Theme: Scottish evening

Feb 5 Phil Hare plus Featured support Susie Fox
Feb 12 Grace Notes plus
Featured support Dave Speight
Feb 19 Geoff Higginbottom
- Featured support slot available
Feb 26 Singers and Musicians: Theme: The countryside, agriculture, cows . .

April 1 Mundy / Turner – plus Featured support Shaun T Hunter
April 8 Keith Kendrick
- Featured support slot available
April 15 Singers and Musicians: Theme: Colours – reds, yellows, greens …..
April 22 Duncan McFarlane
- Featured support slot available
April 29 Roy Bailey

See the website for bookings beyond!

MORE ON FEATURED SUPPORT . . .

One reason for listing these here is again to invite offers to perform as Featured Support. There has been a Featured Support act booked for virtually every guest night for over a year now. Some have gone on to full bookings (though this is not guaranteed!). Volunteers welcome! Email me.

THE WIBSEY GAPING GOOSE VISIT

We don't tend to do reviews of past gigs, for various reasons. But a word could be said for our recent highly successful singaround visit from the regulars at the Gaping Goose. Seven or eight "Geese" were present; more if you count those of us with a capo on both necks, as it were. A total of about 30 performers and audience, including some performers we've headlined, most of whom were called Tony.

Any Topic regular at a loose end on a Wednesday evening could do worse than give the Goose a go. It's what you'd expect from a singaround in the corner of a busy pub: it helps to have a loud instrument and a strong voice, and there's plenty of informal joining in. No Guest Nights. The Gaping Goose is on Slack Bottom Road, an un-adopted puddle-strewn thoroughfare between St Helena Road / Buttershaw Lane, and Harbour Road. Just down from the roundabout at the top of St Enoch's Road. You'll find it.

TOPIC MEMBERSHIP

The new membership year is upon us. Membership is one of the few ways a Club like ours actually makes money we can keep – as door receipts almost invariably go straight to the performer, and raffle surpluses often go to the Featured Support's expenses. Membership gives you 1 off every guest night, and is clearly good value. So if you have been, join again. And if you haven't, do next time you come.

See you all some Thursday at the Melborn at one of the above events. 8.30 start. Be there by then if you want to perform a floor spot, which are still available every night even where there is a Featured Support artist booked. No smoking.

John Waller Website: www.topic-folk-club.org.uk updated every week Log on!

Topic Newsletter Editor j.waller@bradford.ac.uk Topic Newsletter No 23 – November 2003

 

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eMail Note 9 December 2003

Hello

I had meant to do a proper Newsletter today; but time has defeated me. Instead, I have barely space to remind everyone that this Thursday, 11 December 2003, we have the one and only Kieran Halpin gracing our stage. One of the British Isles's best singer songwriters still actively on the circuit of clubs like ours. A polished and enjoyable performance is assured. No Featured Support (yet) so floor singers even more welcome than usual.

The following week we host The Durbervilles, a bright and breezy feel-good band with a growing following, and a repertoire just right for the festive season. So right, in fact, that they have obtained something of a coup in being booked to perform on BBC local radio, 7-10pm on Christmas Eve. Tune in! They promise to mention us, especially if we provide a good warm-up for them on 18th. Oh dear, yes; plus the Holbeck Mummers.

As always; fuller, faster and better details on the website: www.topic-folk-club.org.uk . Including links to every artist's site (where they have one) and much else besides.

Best wishes for the festive season and the forthcoming year.

John Waller

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