Don’t miss David Francey – Wednesday 5th September. ‘From carpenter to songwriter’

Irvine Folk Club is very fortunate to have secured the booking of David Francey. The Scots born Canadian is revered in Canada and mentioned alongside such luminaries as Stan Rogers and John Prine.  Eric Bogle describes him as a truly gifted songwriter.  The date to hear David Francey in Irvine is Wednesday 5th September.

Born in Ayrshire, David’s first job at 10 was as a Paperboy and he was an avid reader of his deliveries. It established a life-long interest in politics and world events whilst developing the social conscience that is the background to his songs.  At 12 his family emmigrated to Toronto. Through travel, his attachment toCanadagrew. David hitched across the country three times and thumbed his way to theYukon. His songs reflect this attachment to Canada and its people.

David  Francey has all the elements essential for a successful: a passion for the music he creates; great songwriting; amazing voice; and an engaging stage presence and sense of fun.   He has nine CDs to his name, the most recent being Late Edition. His song The Waking Hour  was the 2010 Grand Prize Winner in The John Lennon Songwriting Award.  He has won oodles of awards for his songwriting.

His warm and rich voice and his modest style are the perfect backdrop to his impassioned and searching songs about the world we live in, so acutely observed by David.  He has mastered the art of storytelling through song.

This former carpenter who now lives with his family in the Lanark Highlands in Southern Ontario is currently appearing at Denmark’s Tonder Festival. He then starts his UK  tour before going to Ireland for a nine day tour which is sold out.  Lots of reasons therefore to make sure you are in the audience on Wednesday 5th September to hear one of Canada’s brightest musical lights David Francey.

Finally,  a date for your October diary. The Whistlebinkies, as described by  the late and wonderful raconteur Mick Broderick ‘ that damned band that keep following me around’ –  they are playing at Wellwood home of Irvine Burns Club on Wednesday 10th October. More details nearer the time.

Irvine Folk Club meets in Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road at 8pm.

World Championship titles go to Stavanger and Saltcoats!

It was two musicians Eivind Hodne from Stavangerand Stephen Quigg from Saltcoats who won the World Whammy-Diddling and World Chuckie-Chucking respectively on the final day of the 45th Marymass Folk Festival.

The World Championships came at the end of what had been an excellent  Marymass Folk Festival.  Packed sessions at The Ship with musicians and punters in nearly every corner, a tremendous final concert on Marymass Saturday in the Volunteer Rooms held together in fine style by Bill Nolan and many  other highlights made it a memorable 45th Marymass Folk Festival.

Winner of the Marymass Whammy Diddling championship

But, to the World Championships. Double Bass player with The Stavanger Hrabour Band Eivind won the Whammy-Diddling title in a keenly fought, tactical battle.  Mustering all his puff, not easy the day after Marymass Saturday, Eivind managed to land the championship with a whole one point.  Speaking afterwards, a delighted  and somewhat bemused Eivind said – ‘It is overwhelming.  I am going to take this sport to Norway.  We need to spread this sport throughout the world.’

Shortly afterwards, Stephen Quigg who had been playing throughout the five day festival romped away with the Chuckie-Chucking championship.  For those who understand the scoring system of this event – and they are few – Stephen won with two sets plus a four. That meant he won!  ‘Winning the World Chuckie-Chucking Championship for the third time is a great pleasure’ said Stephen.  He added, ‘To be up there with Anna Gilmour – formerly of Dreghorn and now living in Dundee, the other three times quite something.’

The much-sought trophies and even more sought after bottles of Glenfiddich, were presented to Eivind and Stephen by Marymass Folk Festival’s Joyce Hodge.

Musicians and Whammy-Diddlers this way please!

The 45th Marymass Folk Festival 22-26 August

The annual Marymass Festival in Irvine is now well underway and as an integral and popular part of the town’s celebrations, the 45th Marymass Folk Festival swings into action on Wednesday 22nd August for a five day musical thrash.  It starts on Wednesday afternoon in gentle fashion with Coffee Afternoon Folk climaxing on the Saturday night the 25th with the fabulous new band The Outside Track.

Among the 20 folk music events on offer there are lunchtime folk sessions at The Ship Inn at the Harbourside, mini-concerts in five local schools, and an afternoon concert especially for senior citizens.  Marymass Queen Elect Emma Morrison will formally open the 45th Marymass Folk Bonanza on Wednesday night at Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road followed by the Open Stage Competition.

On Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings there are concerts featuring artists with one common denominator – they are all quality musicians and singers who excel at entertaining audiences.  Artists this year include Celine Donoghue & Neil Sturgeon, Stephen Quigg, Tom McConville & David Newey, The Barbara Dymock Band and Heather Heywood. International representatives are Irish band Drantan, The Stavanger Harbour Band and from Ireland, England and Scotland- The Outside Track.

All this plus not one but two world championships to be contested! The tricky Whammy -Diddling and the baffling Chuckie-Chucking.  Both championships will be played to a finish on Sunday 26th August at Vineburgh Community Centre and participants are quite possibly already limbering up so that they are in peak condition.  What’s involved? Go along on Sunday at 2pm and find out!

Community events, pub sessions, concerts and world championships – it must be Marymass Folk Festival.  All info from Joyce Hodge on 01294 551047

Marymass Folk Festival 2012 – Detailed Programme

Marymass Folk Festival 2012 Flyer
Marymass Folk Festival 2012 Flyer

Programmes are now out for the 45th Marymass Folk Festival which runs from Wednesday 22nd to Sunday 26th August.  You can pick one up at any North Ayrshire Library, the HAC inIrvine, Museums, The Magnum and many places in the South West too.  Or, if you can’t find one, phone Joyce on 01294 551047.


Festival guests: The Barbara Dymock Band, Celine Donoghue & Neil Sturgeon, Drantan, Tom McConville Duo, Stephen Quigg and The Stavanger Harbour Band will be playing at various times during the Festival.

Wednesday 22nd August

Coffee Afternoon Folk
Mure Church Hall, West Road: 1pm-3pm, £2

Formal Opening of the 45th Marymass Folk Festival
The Marymass Queen Elect will open the Festival followed by
The Open Stage Competition
Vineburgh Community Centre, Quarry Road: 8pm – 11pm, £5

Thursday 23rd August

The Thursday Lunchtime Sessionwith Festival Guests
The Ship Inn, Harbourside: 12.30pm – 2pm, Free

Concert for Senior Citizens
Sponsored by Irvine Rotary Club
With Festival Guests
Woodlands Centre, Kilwinning Road: 2pm – 4pm, Free

Singers’ Concert
with Barbara Dymock, Heather Heywood, Celine Donoghue & Stephen Quigg + Festival Guests
Vineburgh Community Centre, Quarry Road: 8pm – 11pm, £15

The After Concert Singaround (Open to concert-goers only)
Vineburgh Community Centre: 11pm-ish until late, Free

Friday 24th August

Marymass Folk Festival at School!
With Festival Guests
Sponsored by Irvine Rotary Club
Haysholm School, John Galt and Stanecastle School: 11am – 12noon

The Friday Lunchtime Session
With Festival Guests
The Ship Inn, Harbourside: 12.30pm – 2pm, Free

Folk Music at Options for Independence
With Festival Guests
Sponsored byIrvineRotary Club
British Red Cross House: 2pm – 4pm

The Danny Kyle Tea-Time Session
With Festival Guests and Friends
The Ship Inn, Harbourside: 4.30pm – 6pm, Free

Concert: The Barbara Dymock Band+ Festival Guests
Vineburgh Community Centre, Quarry Road: 8pm -11pm, £15

The After Concert Singaround (Open to concert-goers only)
Vineburgh Community Centre: 11pm-ish until late, Free

Saturday 25th August

The Marymass Saturday Bash
With Festival Guests and Friends
Woodlands Centre,Kilwinning Road: 11am – 3pm, Adults £1 – Children/Seniors  50p

Marymass Saturday Night Concert
with The Outside Track + Festival Guests
Volunteer Rooms, High Street: 7.30pm – 12midnight, £15 – Seniors/Children £12

The After Concert Singaround (Open to concert-goers only)
Volunteer Rooms, High Street: 11.30pm-ish until late, Free

Sunday  26th August

The Marymass Survivors’ Session
With Festival Guests and Friends.
Includes the amazing World Whammy-Diddling Championship and the difficult-to-follow World Chuckie-Chucking Championship.
Woodlands Centre, Kilwinning Road: 2pm – 6pm, Free

MCs at the festival will be Dominic Boyce, Bill Nolan and Willie Sinclair.

B.Y.O.B. Please note, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights are BYOB.

Concert tickets – £15 (£5 Open Stage) are now available at Irvine Folk Club or by post from Joyce. Please send an SAE, with cheque payable to Marymass Folk Festival and send to 7 Machrie Place, Kilwinning KA13 6RW

Festival Saver ticket for Irvine Folk Club members,£40 for all evening concerts

Accomodation –enquiries to

All Marymass Folk Festival information – Phone Joyce 01294 551047

Irvine folk Club member Dawn playing fiddle at NAFCo – The North Atlantic Fiddle Convention

We saw a photo from NAFCO – The North Atlantic Fiddle Convention – where we see Irvine folk Club member Dawn playing fiddle along with young people from various countries.  See if you can spot her smiling face in the photo. NAFCO was held in Derry this year.

Irvine Folk Club member Dawn joins young fiddlers at the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention in Derry.


Darach de Brun – Drantan

Darach, piper with Drantan at Irvine Marymass
Darach, piper with Drantan at Irvine Marymass

It was with great sadness that news was received of the death of Darach de Brun of Irish band Drantan.  Darach died suddenly on Sunday 24th June inDublindoing what he loved – playing the uilleann pipes.

Darach had played at Marymass in the dim and distant past and because of the good memories he had, he wanted his band Drantan to experience Marymass. And so it was that in 2009 Drantan first played at Marymass Folk Festival. The quartet quickly became firm favourites withIrvineaudiences and have played at the annual festival since.

Whilst he made his living as a bookbinder, Darach was happiest playing his pipes and loved being part of a session or simply listening to new bands. Darach enjoyed playing in Irvine pubs, at concerts, schools – anywhere in fact as long as he could bring music to people of whatever age.

He was an outgoing man, interested in so many things and made friends easily.  The ‘Landladies and Landlords’ who housed Drantan when they were in Irvine always spoke warmly of Darach – he was an easy guest.

Darach is survived by his wife Val and their two sons. The sympathy of Marymass Folk Festival and Irvine Folk Club goes to Darach’s family and Drantan band members Liam Davis Snr, Gerry Byrne and Liam Davis Jnr.

Next Club Night – Wed 27th June – Anthony John Clarke.

The guest at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 27th June is the internationally acclaimed singer and songwriter Anthony John Clarke.  Whilst he has played at the Club on several occasions, for anyone who has not heard Anthony John, make sure you put the 27th June in your diary.

The softly spoken, fast talking and very engaging Belfastborn Anthony John Clarke has been on the folk circuit for many years.  He has played at hundreds of Clubs and Festivals across the UK, Europe, Australasia and USA.  Anthony John has 12 CDs  and two Songbooks to his name –  Laughing at Clowns being his most recent CD.

Anthony John lists Al Stewart, John Martyn, Joni Mitchell, David Bowie and John Prine amongst his favourite songwriters. Songs by Anthony John  are Irish songs, storytelling songs, songs with an edge, songs of love, social comment and songs of everyday life.  His songs will make you sit up, listen to the words and think about the unfolding story they tell.

But don’t think it’s doom and gloom with hard-hitting messages in every song.  Anthony John sees entertaining the audience as his first responsibility. And this he does so very, very well.

Fans of Anthony John are many and loyal and the numerous tributes from his peers reflect his acknowledged talents and hard work…plus the fact that he is one of the nicest guys on the folk scene.

Anthony John Clarke being the guest at Irvine Folk Club on 27th June puts that night in the ‘not-to-be-missed’ category.  Make sure you are in the audience at Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road to hear the man with the shiny red guitar – Anthony John Clarke.

The Club starts at 8pm and it’s BYOB.

Finally, look out soon for information leaflets for the 45th Marymass Folk Festival – the dates of which are Wednesday 22nd – Sunday 26th August.  A first class line-up of artists is in place – make sure you get a copy of the programme.

Cara Luft, Wednesday 13th June

All the way from Winnipeg, Cara Luft is the Irvine Folk Club guest on Wednesday 13th June – one of only two Scottish dates on her UK tour. Cara’s tour coincides with the release of her third solo album Darlingford.

.Photo of Cara Luft

Born into a folk music family in Calgary, Alberta, Cara preferred to play with dulcimers and autoharps rather than toys and games.  Music being integral to her growing up, she entered a talent contest the prize for which was studio time. She won!  Cara cites her main musical influences as Buddy Holly and Led Zeppelin.

A solo performer for a few years now, Cara was a former founder member of The Wallin’ Jennys and played with them for 10 years. She is a singer, a songwriter and is described as a guitarist extraordinaire – indeed, she was invited to play at the prestigious Guitar Festival in theUK.  Critics have drawn comparisons with her vocal talent to June Tabor and Linda Thompson. Add these talents to her insightful and evocative song writing and it’s easy to see why Cara Luft has wowed audiences across North America andEurope.   She plays a mix of styles drawing from roots, folk, rock and country music. She also likes to laugh. What’s not to like!

Cara also teaches various workshops on songwriting, harmony singing, guitar technique and ensemble playing. She also loves doing House Concerts – something that is growing in popularity where she comes from.

Cara Luft’s UKagent is former Artisan member Jaycee Bedford and she knows a thing or two about singing.  Therefore, get along to Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 13th June for 8pm in Vineburgh Community Centre to hear the talented and engaging Cara Luft.

Jim Malcolm at Irvine Harbourside Festival and the two Ian’s at the folk club

Two guaranteed-to-be excellent folk nights are coming up in Irvinewithin the space of seven days.  On Wednesday 30th May it’s Ian Bruce & Ian Walker at Irvine Folk Club and on Saturday 2nd June Jim Malcolm tops the bill at the Harbour Arts Centre.  The three musicians make a welcome and always eagerly anticipated return to Irvine.

Ian Bruce now resident in Edinburgh and Bo’Ness based Ian Walker are two gifted songwriters and fine singers.  When they joined forces in 1987 as an occasional duo, they quickly established themselves as a winning musical combination.

It’s hard to pin down Ian B’s style – his repertoire includes traditional material, country plus some almost pop items. What’s certain is that his exceptional vocal range and fine guitar playing make him an artist that is hard to match.

The quiet man in the duo Ian W, plays banjo in an uncomplicated fashion and is known for his straightforward way of delivering songs.

The thoughtful and challenging songwriting style of both Ians continues to produce gems.  Ian W’s Hawks and Eagles Fly Like Doves was used on a CD to mark the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade inBritain and the respect of other musicians is evident from the number of artists who cover material from both Ians.

Ian Bruce & Ian Walker are at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 30th May. The Club meets in Vineburgh Community Centre inQuarry Road and starts at 8pm.  Better get there in good time to make sure of a seat.

Three days later on Saturday 2nd June it will be Jim Malcolm at the Harbour Arts Centre inIrvine. It’s part of the new Irvine Harbourside Cultural Festival.

Jim from Perthshire sings traditional songs ofScotlandas well as his own material. He has a fine, clear voice and is an outstanding guitar player and accompanies himself on harmonica too. He was lead singer for eight years with Old Blind Dogs but is now back as a solo artist. The concert starts at 7.30pm and tickets are available from the HAC on 01294 274059.

As part of the new Irvine Harbourside Festival, there will be a folk music session in The Ship Inn on Friday 1st June starting at 8pm.  And on Saturday 2nd June from 1pm and weather permitting, there will be busking at the Harbourside. Interested in playing? Then contact Joyce on 01294 551047.

Ian Bruce, Ian Walker and Jim Malcolm – three fine musicians of whom we should all be proud. Don’t miss them.