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Topic Newsletter Archive

TOPIC INFORMAL NEWSLETTER No 18, 19 May 2003

Greetings

I'm sure you haven't forgotten our next guest, the wonderful Maggie Boyle. This Thursday 22 May 2003 sees Maggie grace our stage for the first time since she performed an impromptu floor spot with (one of her current line-ups) Withy Creek a year or two back. Maggie performs traditional and Irish material, with "one of the most beautiful voices around, with a range, clarity and control which is simply superb". (I'm quoting from her sleeve-notes, but I wouldn't demur). She also plays flute and bodhran with talent, taste and discretion.

She has been much in demand, amongst other areas, for film soundtrack work, including working with none other than James "Titanic" Horner. She has appeared with the Chieftains, and with the three-part female harmony group Grace Notes. And now she is coming to visit us. More at her website, which you can access directly from the excellent Topic website on www.topic-folk-club.org.uk

She won't be alone. Featured Support this week is Barry Smith, local Yorkshire singer, guitarist, whistle and flute player, and songwriter. Barry also specialises in Irish material, including some he writes himself; and his own "Yorkshire" songs. His CD "Gently through the Valley" has been well-received, and includes some of his 7-part song cycle Sophie's Dance. Gentle, evocative .. worth your support. He's asked me to mention his website: www.barrysmithmusic.co.uk

There's more. We've been promised floor spots from regulars Duncan McFarlane and Tom Bliss. They're all coming to see Maggie. So had you. Rabbit. (Sorry, wandered a bit there).

Thursday 29 May is a Singers and Musicians' night on the theme of War, Peace, Politics and Passion. Hmmm. I can hear the same songs as were trotted out for the Death theme only a month ago . . .

Thursday 5 June sees the Irish theme continued. Headline guests are Instruments of Torture, already back for their second bite of the cherry this year. Irish music with attitude is what they promise. They comprise all-Ireland champion piper Brian Stafford on Uilleann pipes and low whistle. Brian toured with the Irish group Quilty, and also contrived to become a member of the Welsh-language folk Group Yr Hwntws. He subsequently joined JCB and the Gaelforce (who sound, but probably are not, English and Scottish respectively) before setting up Instruments of Torture with Steve Agnew.

Steve, in turn, plays bodhran and assorted percussion; and supplies some of the explanations of Ulster dialect (like what midgets are). You can also discover the exact difference between a jig and a reel and enjoy some excellent tunes.

Instruments of Torture do not sing. Which is why it is a special pleasure to welcome back, after a few years' gap, Muppet as Featured Support. Muppet does nothing but sing. Given his Yorkshire base and Irish/West Indian roots, it is only reasonable that he should have such a fund of traditional Lancashire songs. Plus some fusion, like the Reggae/Calypso version of Wild Rover. Muppet sings with gusto and humour. Great to see him back.

And onwards:

June 12 Pete Morton. Sings, plays guitar, and performs his own and some traditional songs. Featured Support Achord - Bradford based eight-part harmony singers.

June 19 The Lost Boys. Elusive, exclusive, eclectic, electric, enigmatic, eccentric - this trio (not all male, as far as I can judge), promise a little bit of something for everyone. Featured Support tonight is John Waller local singer/songwriter who promises to unveil some completely new material.

July 3 Roger Sutcliffe. The real thing. Blues, bluffness, banter and some very noisy shiny guitars. All the way from Whitby. Featured support this night from Knowles and Martin (see below). Ian Gobbi promises a song or two too.

July 10 Tony Martin and Roger Knowles. Guitar, slide, banjo and mandolin; singing English, Appalachian, Country, Blues, French, Spanish and their own material. Featured support slot available .

July 17 Tom Napper and Tom Bliss. A pairing of two well-travelled and experienced musicians, playing some traditional material but also a great deal of Tom Bliss's excellent original material. Expect a wide array of stringed and holed instruments, some lovely harmonies, and downright professionalism. Featured Support from Carol Langdale, traditional songs with a strong clear voice.

July 31 Roy Harris. Roy officially retired from the full-time circuit all of three years ago, but is celebrating turning 70 with a year-long non-comeback tour of all his favourite clubs after 40 years touring. Expect some unaccompanied songs with choruses you didn't know you knew - but you do. He'll tale a traditional tale or two, as well. Featured Support is a newcomer to the Topic, but hardly to the Melborn stage. Nigel Broadbent is singer, songwriter and base-guitarist for well-regarded Bradford group Scarlet Heights. Now a regular performer at the Wibsey/Buttershaw Gaping Goose singaround sessions.

Finally - apologies to the one-third of the mailing list who inadvertently received my reply to an agent hawking expensive unknown acts. But a reminder to anyone - if you want to cease getting these newsletters, just let me know, and you'll be deleted from the list.

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

Informal Topic Newsletter Editor
j.waller@bradford.ac.uk

Topic website (as recommended by Jez Lowe last week, and by Maggie Boyle this week) www.topic-folk-club.org.uk It really is updated every week, so it is always bang up to date. Log on!

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