NEWS

23rd October – Mike Silver

The much-respected performer Mike Silver has notched up 50 years  experience as an acoustic singer and songwriter and he tops the bill at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 23rd October.

Starting off as a 15 year old apprentice with the Gas Board at Croydon, Mike’s greater love of music was too big a pull. His first band, The Sundowners – a Brylcreemed duo that played Shadow’s material at youth club dances – was where his musical career started.  In the mid ‘60s the music of Big Bill Broonzy, Bob Dylan and then Gerry Lockran in particular were his great influences.

Despite his 50 years as a professional musician, Mike flies under the radar and is another in the ‘best kept secret category’. His undoubted talents as a songwriter and performer plus his intricate guitar work are what makes a  Mike Silver gig not to be missed.  There is also a tremendous humour about the man. Mike is particularly pleased that he now has a Music Room at his home where his acoustic guitars adorn the walls. Guitar aficionados should visit his website and perhaps drool!

Mike writes thought provoking songs and whilst his set list will have an emphasis on his self-penned material, it is not to the exclusion of people like Dylan, Ray Charles plus some traditional melodies.

Playing music every day is for Mike, like having a birthday every day.  Music still fascinates him.  To him it’s a never-ending voyage of discovery and it’s that kind of enthusiasm that he communicates to audiences. And in answer to why is he still touring after 50 years, Mike says it’s the energy he gets from the applause or when someone takes the time to say ‘I liked that’.

Hear Mike Silver at Irvine Folk Club on 23rd October at Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road. The Club starts at 8pm and it’s BYOB.

ALASTAIR McDONALD

A wee plug for Alastair’s upcoming concert at Ayr Gaiety on Tuesday 22nd October. The concert starts at 7.30pm and promises to be a good night.

9th October – Louise Jordan

Something Very Different

In a departure from the usual way of things at Irvine Folk Club, on Wednesday 9th October the scheduled special guest Louise Jordan will be performing her one woman play The Hard Way.

Louise made her first appearance at the Club in 2014. She is a singer, multi-instrumentalist, composer and now a playwright. The Hard Way is an inspirational story about Hannah Mitchell who by sheer force of character and with only two weeks of formal schooling escaped drudgery at a remote hill farm in the Derbyshire Moors to become a campaigner, speaker, writer, suffragette, councillor and finally a city magistrate in Manchester.

Hannah’s story is told by Louise through storytelling and song and charts Hannah leaving home as a 14 year old exchanging one exploitative situation for another – to coming face to face with Winston Churchill in 1906 at a public meeting  and spending time in Strangeways Prison. The Hard Way celebrates one woman’s determination to take power in the face of insurmountable barriers, motivated by a desire to improve life for those round her.

In The Hard Way, theatre and folk music combine to make for a richer experience.  Louise is inspired by the impact music can have on people and The Hard Way follows her play No Petticoats Here, which tells the story of remarkable women through song.

At Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 9th October, the first half will be devoted to floor singers and musicians with The Hard Way being performed in the second half. A different night at Irvine Folk Club. The Club meets in Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road, starts at 8pm and it’s BYOB. There is also a very good café.                         ,r,d),

James Keelaghan and Hugh McMillan

The internationally recognised Canadian folk singer and songwriter James Keelaghan is the very welcome guest at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 25th September – his third appearance at the Club. He is a terrific artist and it’s great that he is back in Irvine as part of his current UK tour.

Calgary born but now based in Perth in Eastern Ontario, James has been in the music business for almost 30 years and has twelve albums to his name. It’s said that he has one of the most distinctive and easily identifiable voices in Canada. James is an acclaimed and popular member of the international singer and songwriter community and his albums have brought him an impressive share of nominations and awards from Australia to Scandinavia.

James’ Dad was an Irish man and his Mum was English and they encouraged James’ interest in language, storytelling and music.  His Dad was a great storyteller and James says he is still trying to be as good as his Dad. James has a passion for history and in particular about science and WW1.  He writes songs of a historical nature with underlying universal themes and the tangled emotional paths of human relationships.  James is a baritone and plays acoustic guitar, as well as his own material, he also does some covers, Gordon Lightfoot being a favourite.

James’ other passion is reading and books. In any one year he will get through around 80 books. His songwriting talent may also have been influenced by his fondness for the work of W.B Yeats – a fondness which started when he was 14.

As well as touring extensively, James also leads coach tours in Ireland which are a mix of visits to places off the beaten track and folk music. He has just completed the most recent one earlier this month before starting his UK tour with Hugh McMillan.

Hugh is also Canadian and describes himself as a folk/jazz/rock musician. He is a member of the folk rock band Spirit of the West and a multi-instrumentalist.

Expect to hear a mix of roots, rock and contemporary folk when James Keelaghan & Hugh McMillan play at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 25th September in Vineburgh Community Centre. The Club starts at 8pm.                                                                                                                    

11th September – Colum Sands

‘Whatever you say, say nothing, when you talk about you know what’ is a line from one of the seemingly endless flow of original songs by Colum Sands  and he is the very welcome guest at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 11th September.  It is always good to welcome back to the Irvine Club this gifted and internationally acclaimed singer and songwriter from Co Down.

Colum has been singing for some 40 plus years, having started out as part of the renowned Sands Family way back in the early 70s. Hailing from Newry and now resident in Rostrevor, Colum is a natural stortyteller with a warm, and engaging personality on and off stage. His songs record life past and present and some of his work in recent times has helped break down cultural barriers particularly in places like Israel where he has collaborated and made recordings with local musicians.

Having learned to play the fiddle from his late Father, Colum also plays concertina and is also a fine guitar player.  When he first played in Irvine as part of The Sands Family, he also played the double bass – but touring with a double bass can be challenging!

Colum is a hard-working musician, taking his music all over the world and has played in over thirty countries.  As well as smaller venues like Irvine Folk Club, Colum has played in New York’s Carnegie Hall and frequently finds that his songs arrive before him, being carried by other singers or recorded by other performers. His songs have been translated into German, Dutch, Danish and Hebrew. In addition, since the 1990’s, Colum has presented BBC Radio Ulster’s Folk Club from Belfast. He has his own independent label Spring Records and produces albums at his recording studio at home.

It’s been five years since Colum’s last appearance at the Irvine Club, so don’t miss the chance to hear him on Wednesday 11th September. He is one of the folk scene’s most accomplished and entertaining performers.  The Club meets in Vineburgh Community Centre, starts at 8pm and it’s BYOB.

14th August – Davie Craig and Rod Sinclair

Two men who have been round the block a few times – Rod Sinclair & Davie Craig – are the special guests at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 14th August – the final Club night before this year’s Marymass Folk Festival.

Denmark based Rod Sinclair is a guitar virtuoso who plays banjo too and is a fine singer. Rod has been part of a number of musical collaborations including with Dick Gaughan, the late John Munro and of course Davie Craig. He is also a member of the band Ransvik. In short, Rod simply likes performing. He is also a published author and has a number of CDs to his name including a forthcoming one with a Danish band featuring Burns’ songs.

This is the second appearance this year at the Irvine Club for Davie Craig, the first one being with Rab Noakes which suited all concerned when the scheduled artist had to cancel. The booking for 14th August has been in the Club diary for a while and is part of a Scottish tour by Rod and Davie.

Davie is a Fifer. He plays fiddle and guitar, does vocals and has a fund of stories which he likes to share. Davie also has a mischievous sense of humour. Well known on the Americana music scene, Davie was part of the legendary Great Fife Roadshow from which sprung High Speed Grass of which Dave was founder member. His other bands include Honky Tonk Ceilidh Band and the whimsically named The Streets of Raith.

So, gear up for the 52nd Marymass Folk Festival which starts on Friday 23rd August by being at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 14th August to hear Rod Sinclair & Davie Craig. The Club meets at Vineburgh Community Centre and starts at 8pm.

And finally, on Saturd Two men who have been round the block a few times – Rod Sinclair & Davie Craig – are the special guests at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 14th August – the final Club night before this year’s Marymass Folk Festival.

Denmark based Rod Sinclair is a guitar virtuoso who plays banjo too and is a fine singer. Rod has been part of a number of musical collaborations including with Dick Gaughan, the late John Munro and of course Davie Craig. He is also a member of the band Ransvik. In short, Rod simply likes performing. He is also a published author and has a number of CDs to his name including a forthcoming one with a Danish band featuring Burns’ songs.

This is the second appearance this year at the Irvine Club for Davie Craig, the first one being with Rab Noakes which suited all concerned when the scheduled artist had to cancel. The booking for 14th August has been in the Club diary for a while and is part of a Scottish tour by Rod and Davie.

Davie is a Fifer. He plays fiddle and guitar, does vocals and has a fund of stories which he likes to share. Davie also has a mischievous sense of humour. Well known on the Americana music scene, Davie was part of the legendary Great Fife Roadshow from which sprung High Speed Grass of which Dave was founder member. His other bands include Honky Tonk Ceilidh Band and the whimsically named The Streets of Raith.

So, gear up for the 52nd Marymass Folk Festival which starts on Friday 23rd August by being at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 14th August to hear Rod Sinclair & Davie Craig. The Club meets at Vineburgh Community Centre and starts at 8pm.

And finally, on Saturday 17th August, a tribute Rugby Match between Ardrossan A.R.F.C. and Irvine R.F.C. takes plays at Ardrossan Accies in memory of the late Dick McAllister who as well as being a faithful supporter of Irvine Folk Club had long-standing associations with Irvine R.F.C. and The Accies.                             ay 17th August, a tribute Rugby Match between Ardrossan A.R.F.C. and Irvine R.F.C. takes plays at Ardrossan Accies in memory of the late Dick McAllister who as well as being a faithful supporter of Irvine Folk Club had long-standing associations with Irvine R.F.C. and The Accies.                                                       

31st July – Archie Fisher

Nicknamed affectionately by Danny Kyle as folk music’s old smoothie, Archie Fisher is the guest at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 31st July. He’s played in Irvine on many occasions over the years and it’s always good to welcome him back again.

Archie last played Irvine at the 50th Marymass Folk Festival as one of The Four A’s in a sell-out concert where he took to the stage along with Adam McNaughtan, Arthur Johnstone & Alastair McDonald. Folk singer, songwriter, master guitarist, producer, broadcaster and a marvellous ambassador for folk music are all aspects that would feature on an Archie Fisher CV.

From birth Archie was surrounded by music. His Mum from Vatersay in the Outer Hebrides was a native Gaelic speaker and also a fine singer. His Dad was a member of The Glasgow Polis Choir. Exposure to a variety of singing styles contributed no doubt to Archie and his two sisters Ray and Cilla all becoming professional singers.

Growing up as folk music was hitting new-found heights, Archie discovered and was hugely influenced by role models like Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. Through musicians like them he found the power of song as a way to comment on politics and as a way to voice protest.

His long and wide- ranging musical career with many collaborations along the way paved the way for him to present BBC Radio Scotland’s flagship Travelling Folk programme for over 25 years. The ‘folk music’s old smoothie’ description was probably first aired live on Travelling Folk by Danny Kyle who was a contributor in its later years.

Archie is known for his skilful guitar picking ability, choosing good songs that suit his voice and a gentle presentation style. He has many solo albums to his name and his singing and guitar skills have seen him feature on the albums of a number of other artists. Canada and the USA are familiar stomping grounds for Archie as well as regular UK tours.

Clear your diary for Wednesday 31st July to hear Archie Fisher at Irvine Folk Club in Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry. The Club starts at 8pm.And finally, Information Flyers for the forthcoming 52nd Marymass Folk Festival are now out. Check out your local library and if you can’t do that then go online at www.irvinefolkclub.org.uk for full details or phone Joyce on 07798572926.                                                        

Marymass Tickets now on sale, Online

Tickets for Friday and Saturday evening Marymass Festival concerts are now available to purchase Online. FRIDAY 23rd August. 8pm Vineburgh Community Centre – The outstanding Celine Donoghue – fantastic tenor banjo player and fiddler and vocalist – will be joined by Neil Sturgeon on guitar and vocals and Thomas McCabe on Button Box for the opening concert on Friday Night at Vineburgh Community Centre. It would be advised to book a seat – Celine is a firm favourite with Irvine audiences.
SATURDAY 24th August. 7.30pm The Volunteer Rooms The Tannahill Weavers headline the Marymass Saturday Night Concert in the Volunteer Rooms.

To book online http://www.irvinefolkclub.org.uk/tickets/

For all info on the 52nd Marymass Folk Festival email JoyceIFC@aol.com phone 01294 551047 mob 07798 572926

17th July – Kim Edgar

Singer, songwriter, member of Germany based band CARA, Music Director of several choirs and workshop leader – that’s Kim Edgar’s CV and she is the guest at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 17th July.
Edinburgh based Kim is fully committed to using music and, in particular, singing in bringing about positive change. She says she is ‘quite shy’ and began performing music as a way of blending in to the background, but now finds it very satisfying to write and perform songs where she can articulate her ‘joy in, hopes for and concerns about’ the world around her.
Kim had a classical training in piano and also plays guitar. It’s her voice though that is her main instrument and it has been described as haunting and beautiful. Her rave reviews mention her ability to write absorbing, inspiring and uplifting songs that tug at the heart and the head. She has one foot in the traditional singing camp and one in the contemporary and that will be reflected at her Irvine gig. Kim is known to take a trad ballad and set it to new music – not an easy skill.
Kim has a number of solo albums to her name and all of them well received. As well touring with CARA, Kim is also part of The Burns Unit. She has played at Cambridge Folk Festival, played on TV’s Late With Jools Holland and, alongside Karine Polwart, played for HRH Queen Elizabeth,
Kim’s range of work demonstrates that she is passionate about the social and emotional benefits of singing. One example of this is her involvement with Vox Liminis, a charity which harnesses the power of music to assist the reintegration of ‘offenders’ in Scotland.
The impressive musical pedigree and interesting range of work of Kim Edgar makes for an intriguing debut at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 17th July. The Club meets vat Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road, starts at 8pm and everyone is welcome.

52nd Marymass Folk Festival

The 52nd Marymass Folk Festival – already!
Seventeen events over three days of live music, storytelling and sessions plus two World Championships – it must be the annual Marymass Folk Festival! Springing into life on Friday 23rd August and continuing right through to Sunday 25th, this will be the 52nd Marymass Folk Festival – acknowledged as the longest continuously running Folk Festival in Scotland.
Who’s playing? Only The Tannahill Weavers, Celine Donoghue & Friends, Tom McConville & Andy Watt, The Jeremiahs, The Alistair McCulloch Trio, John Graham & Jim Jack (ex-Clydesiders), Stephen & Pernille Quigg and, all the way from Norway, The Stavangar Harbour Band. None the wiser? Read on about some of them.
The Tannahill Weavers headline the Marymass Saturday Night Concert in the Volunteer Rooms and given their musical pedigree, that’s a night not to be missed. Their combination of traditional melodies, driving rhythmic accompaniment and rich harmonies will once again demonstrate the rich and varied musical heritage which they do so very well. The Marymass Saturday Night Concert is always a terrific night. Just go!
The outstanding Celine Donoghue – fantastic tenor banjo player and fiddler and vocalist – will be joined by Neil Sturgeon on guitar and vocals and Thomas McCabe on Button Box for the opening concert on Friday Night at Vineburgh Community Centre. Be advised to book a seat – Celine is a firm favourite with Irvine audiences.
The softly spoken Geordie and brilliant fiddler and singer Tom McConville is back again at Marymass, on this occasion with Andy Watt on guitar. Tom is a world class act. From slow airs, to jazz, to fiery reels and great singing plus a canny humour, he often steals the show. Guaranteed not to disappoint.
And these are just some of the quality line-up at this year’s Marymass Folk Festival. If you know the names you will want to go and if you don’t know the names you’ll kick yourself if you don’t go!
For all info on the 52nd Marymass Folk Festival email JoyceIFC@aol.com phone 01294 551047 mob 07798 572926

3rd July – Barbara Dymock and Chris Marra

The very good news is that the special guests at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 3rd July are Barbara Dymock & Chris Marra. Expect a night of well-chosen songs well sung with hunners of opportunities to join in!

Between them, Barbara and Chris have been part of a number of musical collaborations. Dundonian Chris began playing guitar when he was a teenager and has been in every kind of band imaginable – from Bighair Rock to sophisticated pop plus a lot of time recording and performing with his late brother Michael.

Barbara on the other hand learned Scottish and Irish traditional songs from her grandparents in Fife and probably it was from such early influences that Barbara’s natural storytelling talent came to light. Whilst at Dundee University playing at sessions in the 70’s, Barbara was one of the founder members of the celebrated band Ceolbeg – their inspiration coming from bands like De Danann and The Bothy Band. Then, after a 20 plus year break to concentrate on her career and raise three sons, she became known as a tradition bearer. As well as Ceolbeg, Barbara has been part of Rathlin and Palaver and, along with Christine Kydd, she formed a duo called Sinsheen. Barbara freely admits that she doesn’t like singing on stage on her own – preferring the comfort of other musicians.

After her 20 year enforced break from singing, Barbara’s return to the folk scene was very well received and she was happy to hang around sessions and festivals and has since released a couple of albums. She was invited to do a track on Malinky’s 20th anniversary CD Handsel which was released at the beginning of this month – a recognition of Barbara’s enduring quality singing.

Barbara loves being part of the constant evolution of tradition. It’s that enjoyment which has sustained her 35 plus years interest in music. At the Irvine Club expect Barbara and Chris to play Jacobite songs, Bothy Ballads, Burns, Michael Marra and perhaps a bit of Dylan.

Barbara and Chris have a considerable musical pedigree. Make sure you are in the audience on 3rd July at Irvine Folk Club to hear this duo. The Club starts at 8pm and it’s BYOB.