Long since known for the freshness he brings to songs that others might have discarded for being too familiar, Ireland’s quiet man of folk music with the storyteller’s voice, Sean Donnelly is back at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 29th August. This will be the first Club night after the 51st Marymass Folk Festival finishes on the 26th. A quick turnaround.
Born near Omagh in Co Tyrone, Sean grew up in a musical family where weekly house sessions were a regular feature. He ‘emmigrated’ to Newcastle Co Down in the early ‘70s where he still lives. Sean Donnelly has been popular on the folk club circuit for a number of years. He has made countless radio broadcasts and his seventh album And Our Time Together containing songs new and old, is one of which he is particularly proud. One of his earlier albums is called Cut a long story short… and the title illustrates the unaffected style of the man.
Gentle, quiet, unshowy, relaxed are all words that are used repeatedly when people describe Sean. Ex-Planxty member Andy Irvine is just one musical luminary who is a big fan of Sean’s. The knack of knowing a good song when he hears one is Sean’s skill and he has accumulated a vast repertoire that draws heavily, but not exclusively, from the traditional well of Ulster song. He also writes songs. With his quiet storyteller’s voice and distinctive Northern Ireland enunciation, Sean handles songs with care and ease and his delicate guitar style, an ideal complement to his singing, is the envy of many . Sean also plays the mandola.
Tommy Sands who knows a thing or two about singing says of Sean ‘there is a gentleness in the man’s voice and a kindness in the guitar that unwrinkles the mind and body’. What a gift Mr Sands has for finding exactly the right words!
Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 29th August is the place to savour the songs, the singing, the stories and the music of Sean Donnelly. The Irvine
Club meets in Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road, starts at 8pm and it’s BYOB.
Finally, a new info flyer giving full details of who’s appearing when at Irvine Folk Club from now until the end of the year is now out. They are available in all sorts of places but, if you can’t find one then phone Joyce on 01294 551047 or visit www.irvinefolkclub.org.uk
51st MARYMASS FOLK FESTIVAL 23rd – 27th August
Who doesn’t like listening to a good story well told?
As part of the 51st Marymass Folk Festival two professional Storytellers from Traditional Arts & Culture in Scotland will be in Irvine. They are experienced in telling stories to audiences of all ages and eight Storytelling Sessions have been arranged over two days.
The majority of the Storytelling Sessions will be spent in some of the local schools.
In addition, a special Storytelling Session with Michael Kerins has been arranged for Thursday 23rd August from 3pm – 4pm in The Mure Church Hall for people who are above school age and you are invited.
This event is free and is open to anyone who might be interested.
This is something different for the Folk Festival – why not come along and give it a try.
Lancashire Lad Bram Taylor is the welcome guest at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 15th August. It’s been four years since Bram last played at the Irvine Club so it will be good to hear him again.
Bram has a busy diary that covers appearances throughout the UK and also includes the US of A and Europe. He has played a couple of times at the Mariposa Folk Festival in Ontario where he was delighted to be on the same bill as his heroes from the Sixties Gordon Lightfoot and Don Mclean.
Described as a collector and interpreter of songs, a set from Bram might include contemporary material from the likes of Colum Sands or Eric Bogle as well as traditional songs like ‘Peggy Gordon’. When selecting songs, the key question for Bram is always ‘Is this a good song’. He also like to sing material with a good chorus which will engage the audience. To date this has proved to be successful, having 10 albums to his name and all recorded on Fellside Records. The session musicians on Bram’s albums are a guide to the respect he enjoys among his peers – Stuart Hardy, Steve Lawrence, Wendy Wetherby, Alastair McCulloch and Tom McConville being just some of the names to be found on the credits.
In 2015 Bram teamed up with two of his best friends, Nick Peake and Dave Howard, who just happen to be multi-instrumentalists, and they formed The Bram Taylor Band. The Band does gigs when Bram’s diary permits.
Bram has a strong and clear voice and plays guitar, duet concertina and baritone ukulele. Mike Harding describes Bram as ‘one of the bedrock performers and stalwarts of the British Folk Club & Festival scene’. Hear for yourself when Bram Taylor is the special guest at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 15th August in Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road. The Club starts at 8pm and it’s BYOB. That will be the last Folk Club night before the 51st Marymass Folk Festival kicks off on Thursday 23rd August.
Inverness based Corralach is a new duo to Irvine Folk Club and make their debut on Wednesday 1st August. Most of their gigs are above the Central Belt and it may be that Irvine is their most southerly venue this year – although they are booked for Darnick in the Borders next May!
Tony Perridge and George Livingstone are Corralach. Between them they play six and twelve string guitars, bouzouki, mandolin and five string banjo. They also share lead and harmony vocals. Both Tony and George have played in various bands on the folk circuit and keeping the vocal tradition alive is what drives Corralach. They sing a wide range of harmony songs, accompanied or acapella, drawn from Scotland, Ireland and the USA.
Corralach is the resident duo at Ardisier Folk Club and also do residencies at tourist hotels in Inverness. In addition, they play regularly at a Nursing Home and feature frequently at fundraising gigs for local charities.
It seems that Wednesday 1st August at Irvine Folk Club will be a night for singing when Corralach are the guests. The Club starts at 8pm in Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road.
Looking ahead to Marymass Folk Festival 23rd – 26th August, tickets are now on sale for the Thursday concert with Celtic Quines, Friday night with the Siobhan Miller Band and Marymass Saturday Night’s Strong Women concert – with four of the best female singers in the country – Fiona Hunter, Barbara Dymock, Fiona Forbes and Sheena Wellington. Tickets from Joyce on 01294 551047.
It’s time to start planning for the Marymass Folk Festival, telling your friends, and even booking your tickets. Artists booked so far: Celtic Quines, Siobhan Miller Band, Tom McConville & Andy Watt, Sheena Wellington, Fiona Forbes, Fiona Hunter, Barbara Dymock, Pernille and Stephen Quigg, The Wendy Weatherby Band, John Graham & Jim Jack – plus storytelling sessions for all ages. Festival MCs: Willie Sinclair & Dominic Boyce. Tickets are available from the club, from Joyce Hodge or ONLINE: www.irvinefolkclub.org.uk/tickets
MARYMASS FOLK FESTIVAL PROGRAMME
THURSDAY 23 August: Celtic Quines in concert with Festival Residents
Vineburgh Community Centre – 8pm to 11pm – Tickets £15
FRIDAY 24 August: Siobhan Miller Band in concert with Festival Residents
Vineburgh Community Centre – 8pm to 11pm – Tickets £15
SATURDAY 25 August: STRONG WOMEN: Sheena Wellington, Fiona Forbes, Fiona Hunter, Barbara Dymock in concert with Festival Residents
Volunteer Rooms, High Street, KA12 0AB – 7.30pm to 12midnight – Tickets £15
Friday Lunchtime Session: The Ship Inn, 12.30 – 2pm
Friday Folk Concert for Senior Citizens: Volunteer Rooms, 2 – 4pm
Friday The Danny Kyle Tea-Time Session: The Ship Inn, 4.30 – 6pm
Saturday The Marymass Saturday Bash: Woodlands Centre, 11.30 – 3pm
Saturday A Session at The Ship: The Ship Inn, 2 – 5pm
Sunday The Marymass Sunday Singaround + World Whammy Diddling and Chuckie-Chucking Championships: Vineburgh Community Centre, 2 – 5pm
Sunday The Big MFF High Tea: Vineburgh Community Centre, 4pm (£5 must be pre-booked 01294 551047 by Friday)
Sunday The Survivors’ Session: The Ship Inn, 7pm onwards
Whatever else is in your diary for Wednesday 18th July, make sure there is an entry that says ‘Be at Irvine Folk for 8pm to hear the fabulous John Kirkpatrick’. This man really is not to be missed.
London born, Shropshire resident John played at the 1972 Marymass Folk Festival – he had just formed a duo with Sue Harris, and most likely The Eglinton was the venue. John went into folk music as a young lad via his Church Choir and Youth Club and then through Morris Dancing. He had been a member of The Hammersmith Morris since he was 12. Having already learned the Piano and Recorder, and influenced by Morris Dancing, John then took up the Melodeon, then the Button Concertina, followed by the Anglo Concertina.
As a solo performer, as part of various duos, acoustic groups and electric bands too, John’s musical career is breathtaking in quality and range. John was a member of Steeleye Span, the wonderful Albion Band, Brass Monkey, The Richard Thompson Band and now does gigs with Martin Carthy and, along with Chris Parkinson is one half of the superbly named The Sultans of Squeeze. Kirkophany is the name of a band comprising John’s four sons and himself and he still dances with The Shropshire Bedlams.
He has appeared on over 200 different commercial recordings as a featured artist, band member or session player. John also does theatre and radio work, has written reams of stuff on music and song and also leads workshops. In short, John Kirkpatrick is kept extremely busy doing that which he loves.
On Wednesday 18th July, be at Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road to hear the talented, inventive and totally unpretentious John Kirkpatrick. The Club starts at 8pm and it’s BYOB.
Finally, it was with sadness that news was received of the death of John Cooper – local musician and composer and a big gentle fellow.
A new name tops the bill on Wednesday 4th July when Graham Carter visits Irvine Folk Club. He called in to do a floor spot a little while back, but this is his first booking at the Irvine Club.
Graham hails from Poole in Dorset and moved up to live in Scotland some 12 years ago when his Scottish wife wanted to go back to her native heath. He started visiting local Folk Clubs and for the last few years has been running Strathaven Folk Club and also doing some work as a promoter.
A self-taught Acoustic Guitar player, Graham also plays Harmonica and Banjo and by all accounts has a fine voice. His repertoire includes traditional songs from the UK and Ireland, plus a smattering of Blues and Americana as well as some of his own self-penned material. Graham cites Johnny Silvo and Peggy Seeger as key inspirations for steering his musical career. It was listening to Peggy that prompted Graham to learn the Banjo.
Graham really enjoys getting audiences to sing along and so on Wednesday 4th July, the Irvine audience will have opportunity aplenty to display their vocal talents. Irvine Folk Club meets in Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road and it starts at 8pm.
Elsewhere, Folk Festivals in Scotland are coming up thick and fast. From 5th – 8th July Stonehaven takes centre stage and, as if there needs to be a reason to visit Newton Stewart & Minigaff, their Trad Music & Dance Festival is on from 6th – 8th July. And finally for now, Aberdeen hosts the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention from 11th – 15th July. Lots of very good musical reasons for getting out and about in Scotland.
We have the intention of taking a bus through to Edinburgh for the final performance of Far Far from Ypres on Sunday 11th November in the Usher Hall. This concert is selling out so quickly that even now we might struggle to get a block booking. Therefore I need to know by next club night – 4th July names of those interested along with payment of £20.
The plan would be
Bus would leave Vineburgh Community Centre at 2pm
Doors Open 6.30pm
Concert starts 7.30pm
Concert ends 9.30pm
This would give time to have a wander and get something to eat instead of rushing around at the last minute.
Ticket prices are £20 (conc £18)
Depending on how many are going the total cost is expected to be around £30
£20 would need to be paid by 4th July
Remainder to be paid on bus
This is open to anyone who would like to see this show again so if you have family or friends who might be interested please let them know.
This will definitely be the last performance of this show.
Joyce 01294 551047
Steve Turner is the guest at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 20th June. He now plays only 50 or so gigs a year so Irvine is fortunate to get this unassuming, multi-instrumentalist with a superb voice.
Manchester born Steve comes from a family of concertina players and singers. His musical career started off he says ‘as a pretend Geordie’ in the Canny Fettle band in 1970 playing concertina. From then until 1991 he toured with them internationally and in the UK and also established himself as a professional solo musician. He drifted away from folk music for thirteen years and indeed one journalist opined that Steve would be an ideal candidate for a ‘Whatever happened to…’ article. The reason for his absence from the live music scene was that he was building up an internationally known stringed instrument business. Now being semi-retired from the business gives him the time to play the venues he wants to play.
After that ‘break’ in his performing career, Steve made a welcome return to the folk scene – some say as an even better performer. He is a man of considerable talents and his style is understated. Known best as a master of the concertina, Steve also sings superbly and clearly – always relaying the full meaning of songs. He also plays cittern, mandolin and tenor banjo. He is much sought-after as a concertina accompanist and gives workshops on accompaniment. As well as being a talented performer he also has a delightful personality.
Steve tours the length and breadth of the UK and has also toured in Australia and New Zealand. At the 23rd Celtic Connections he played as part of The King’s Shilling production. Steve has seven albums to his name, the most recent one being Spirit of the game.
For those who haven’t heard Steve Turner, get along to the Irvine Club on Wednesday 20th June to hear for yourself this very fine, self-taught concertina player. You will not be disappointed. The Club meets in Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road, starts at 8pm and it’s BYOB.
Singer, songwriter and peace activist Tommy Sands is the very welcome guest at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 6th June. It’s almost three years since Tommy was at the Club and it will be good to hear this richly talented man again.
Tommy’s songwriting has drawn the admiration of Nobel Poet Laureate Seamus Heaney and the father of Folk Music, Pete Seeger. Joan Baez, Kathy Matthia, Dolores Keane and Dick Gaughan are among the artists who have recorded Tommy’s ‘Daughters and Sons’ – a song that includes the gem of a phrase ‘sow the seeds of justice’.
Born in Mayobridge in Co Down in the foothills of the Mourne Mountains, Tommy was part of a family where everyone played a musical instrument and says that when the guitar was introduced to the house, it was viewed with suspicion! Tommy engages audiences with his songs, his stories and his charm. He weaves legend, humour and thought-provoking messages into his songs – many of which are about helping shape a better world.
Although he performs his music on stages all around the world, he takes pride in in taking his music to dark corners of society eg teaching prisoners in Nevada from underprivileged backgrounds to write their own song with which to defend themselves in court. For his outstanding work as a musician and ambassador for peace and understanding, the University of Nevada awarded him an Honorary Doctorate of Letters. Last month, Tommy was performing in Iran, again using music to try to sow seeds of social change and peace.
At his home in Rostrevor, he has instigated a series of ground-breaking events under the banner of The Music of Healing where people of apparently opposing viewpoints are encouraged to see one another as neighbours rather than enemies. Sadly, it was at one such event last year that Tommy suffered a mini-stroke, from which he has happily recovered.
Make sure that are at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 6th June to hear Tommy Sands, writer of such songs as The Music of Healing, The Age of Uncertainty and Who Knows Where The Wind Blows. The Club meets at Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road. The Club starts at 8pm and it’s BYOB.