Bram Taylor is the guest on Wednesday 31st October

Bram Taylor is the guest at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 31st October – a man who by common consent is a no-frills, down-to-earth, easy-on-the-ear performer.  Expect clear and strong vocals, an entertaining sense of humour and an excellent selection of material.

From Leigh in Lancashire, Bram’s parents were keen that their son play in the local Brass Band but somehow, young Bram moved to the guitar. Starting off playing with various duos and trios, Bram eventually went solo.  He now has ten albums to his name, the most recent being Jokers & Rogues released in January this year.

Bram is an experienced performer on both the UK and international folk music scene and has built up a reputation for his fine singing.  His touring takes him all over Europe, the USA and of course the UK. He has played at the Mariposa Festival in Ontario a couple of times and was particularly pleased when he was playing there alongside his heroes from the sixties Gordon Lightfoot and Don McLean.

Bram’s vocal strengths mean he is a confident acapella singer and his instrumental accompaniment is on duet concertina and acoustic guitar. His material is a mix of traditional and contemporary. Peggy Gordon, Ralph McTell’s Weather The Storm, Bogie’s Bonnie Belle and Sing Me A Song Mr Bloom might all feature in a Bram Taylor set. He describes himself as a collector and interpreter of songs – whatever their vintage.  His method of selection is simple – is it a good song?

So, after you’ve been guising, celebrate Hallow’een by listening to Bram Taylor at Irvine Folk Club.  All witches and warlocks welcome at Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road for an 8pm start. It’s BYOB and that goes for Treacle Scones too!

Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer – Wednesday 17th October

Just when you thought most kind of musical combinations had been heard at Irvine Folk Club…think again.  Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer are the Club  guests on Wednesday 17th October and they are a unique duo combining a mastery of a variety of instruments, good harmony singing and an extremely varied repertoire.

Based in Essex, this husband and wife duo started off as a very talented instrumentals only partnership. They have since emerged as impressive songwriters and arrangers and singers.  Vicki Swan is half Swedish and a second generation piper who started out on the musical ladder as a five year old. She studied double bass at the Royal College of Music where she eventually became principal double bass.  Jonny Dyer had been singing choral music, soul and jazz for as long as he can remember and although offered a place at Colchester Institute to study music, elected to do a Masters in Historic Building Engineering.

Between them they excel at playing Scottish Smallpipes, the Nyckelharpa (a kind of keyed fiddle closely related to the Hurdy Gurdy), Flute, Double Bass, Guitars, Accordion, Piano and Low Whistle.  Expect to hear amazing jigs, murder ballads, Swedish songs, self-penned songs and traditional material with a modern interpretation.

Vicki and Jonny also do a range of workshops including guitar technique and repertoire; developing accompaniment skills and techniques for creating original tunes. Their most recent album is Stones On The Ground and like all of their releases, earned good coverage on national and local radio and good press reviews.

The Club starts at 8pm and it’s BYOB.

Janet Russell at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 3rd October

Janet Russell is the guest at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 3rd October and if you like good singing it is strongly recommended that you put the date in your diary.   Scots born and raised and now based south of Hadrian’s Wall, Janet is blessed with a terrific voice and a gift for getting others to sing – irrespective of their vocal talents!

Janet has played on the folk scene professionally for more than twenty years and has previously appeared at the Irvine Club with her singing partner Christine Kydd – and what a talented duo that was!

Starting off singing in Edinburgh Pubs was Janet’s introduction to playing in public. From those beginnings she has since played in concert halls, church halls, village halls, folk clubs and arts centres all over the UK, Europe and the USA.  As well as being a solo performer Janet is a committed and enthusiastic promoter of participation in folk arts.   She is recognised as an accomplished vocal harmony workshop leader.

Clearly Janet is in her element organising, promoting and participating community singing events.  She is involved with the Silsden Singers, the Street Choirs Festival inSheffieldand a harmony workshop in Angus. Her workshops include Pub Carols and Street Choirs and this year, with a number of others, has been working on a show called ‘Celebrating Subversion: an anti-capitalist roadshow’ As well as all of this Janet still finds time to record albums.  Her third solo album Love Songs & Fighting Talk was long awaited and well received.  Such is her standing among her peers that musicians of the calibre of Tom McConville and Steve Tilston were happy to provide musical support on the album.

Therefore, to hear this singer, songwriter and general singing enthusiast, get along to Irvine Folk Club in Vineburgh Conmmunity Centre in Quarry Roadon Wednesday 3rd October for 8pm.

Heather Heywood is the guest at the Girvan Folk Club this Friday 28th September.

Heather Heywood is the guest at the Girvan Folk Club this Friday 28th September.  Irvine Folk Club and Girvan have always had friendly relationships and Bobby Robb, the founder of the Girvan Club, has been a regular participant at the Irvine Folk Club and Marymass over the years.  If you fancy a trip, this Friday would be a great opportunity to experience a friendly club that has a lot in common with Irvine and to touch base with Bobby and the singers down there.   The club meets in the back room of the Queens Hotel at 8.30.  For those late birds among you, there is always an after hours session or you can wend your way home after the club finishes.

The Whistlebinkies at Irvine Burns Club and Folk for Heroes concert at Irvine Sports Club

Finally, you are reminded of two concerts in Irvine in early October. On Wednesday 10th October in Wellwood home of Irvine Burns Club the very talented Whistlebinkies will be taking the stage.  Admission at the door is £10 and this includes a glass of wine.  Meanwhile on Friday 12th October at Irvine Sports Club at Marress there will be a Folk for Heroes concert.  This fundraising night starts at 7.30pm and admission is £5 and features many local weel kent musicians.

Ragged Glory at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 19th September

Strong harmony singing is always popular and is in short supply, so the guest appearance of Ragged Glory at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 19th September is doubly welcome.  It will be their first time at the Irvine Club.

Ragged Glory is a four-piece band. They met at Nitten Folk Club some six years ago – Nitten being the local name for Newtongrange inMidlothian. George Archibald is a Nitten resident, May & Jim Weatherston are in Edinburgh and Aberdonian Charlie Milne completes the line-up. Their whole purpose is to have fun and, singing good songs with strong harmonies certainly contributes to that!  Quiet Joys is the title of their CD and includes material from Burns, Karine Polwart, Phil Spector and Stan Rogers among others. They have two Edinburgh Folk Festival Fringe ‘Sell outGarlands’ to their name.  A ‘Garland’ is given to shows which sell-out at the international festival. Not bad going!

Ragged Glory is also part of Ian McCalman’s much acclaimed ‘Far, far from Ypres’  a story told in song about events of World War 1.  The production relies on strong singing and it therefore speaks volumes about Ragged Glory that Ian invited them to take their part in a line-up ofScotlands’ finest voices.

Reviews of Ragged Glory all make mention of their good choice of songs, strong harmonies and their evident enjoyment in what they do. Therefore, cut along to Irvine Folk Club in Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Roadon Wednesday 19th September for 8pm.  It’s going to be good.

Finally, two dates for your October diary.  On Wednesday the 10th October, The Whistlebinkies are playing at Irvine Burns Club. It starts at 8pm and admission is £10.  And on Friday the 12th October at Irvine Sports Club at Marress there will a Folk for Heroes Concert. It starts at 7.30pm, admission is £5 and it features a number of local folk musicians.  More details on both nights to follow. Irvine continues to help keep music live!


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.