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At: The Merchant Bar, 25 Peckover Street,
Little Germany, Bradford, BD1 5BD Tel: 01274 721100

Est: 1956



Coronavirus/ Covid-19: Club Suspension


Due to the novel coronavirus/ Covid-19 pandemic, The Topic has been closed since the 12th of March until further notice. 

See the Newsletters for information about various online folk-related activities instead.

Topic YouTube Channel

A dedicated Topic YouTube channel has now been set up.. You will be able to upload your own videos and of course view those that have been uploaded. Many thanks to Zbig Szafranski for setting this up.

1. Topic Folk Club YouTube Channel at

2. And any performers can submit a video on : Google Drive

with an account: . Use that email address to obtain the password.

Or send it on Facebook messenger or post in on Facebook - Zbig can usually pick it up from there. It will be included in that month's performers session. Hope all this makes sense: any problems let Tony Charnock know at and he'll relay them to Zbig.


No 224  - February 2021    

Hello all, I hope you're all keeping well, as always.

Lots to take in this month: as previously, I'll list all the regular streaming stuff at the end: I keep an eye on most of it, but it's possible that some online performances have been discontinued for whatever reason, but there's plenty going on out there.


CD Review:

Hazjak - Listerville

Hazjak are Lynne O'Malley and Steve Chapman Smith: both are respected and established artists on the local acoustic music scene, Steve having performed in many different collaborations over the years, and Lynne who is a founder member of the well-established popular a capella trio Yan Tan Tether. Having been performing as a duo for a while now, this is their debut album which ticks all the boxes you would want an album to tick, variety being the keynote: nine excellent self-penned songs ranging from the light-hearted to the more serious, one cover, and the duo's take on two traditional songs. Steve's throaty voice is perfectly complemented by Lynne's harmonies, her voice strong and occasionally bluesy in her solos. All thoughtfully arranged and underpinned by excellent musicianship on a wide variety of instruments with some lovely fiddle accompaniment by Anne Briovonese on two of the tracks.

This album is a welcome addition to my CD collection, as I'm sure it will be to yours: it's also a reminder of the quality of music available on our local folky scene. A reminde, too, of what we've all been missing.

Visit: for contact details to obtain a physical CD for download

Tony Charnock


Live Stream Review Celtic Connections – Week 1

Having never been able to venture to Glasgow to see the Celtic Connections festival live – this January, the virtual Celtic Connections was available in your front room.

Beautifully filmed and recorded mainly in a variety of prestigious Glasgow venues, some of the best of the Scottish folk scene, along with a number of international artists, all put on excellent socially distanced performances, in spite of there being no audience present in the often sizeable venues.

The first week of evening concerts had many highlights with the Celtic Connections Big Band, Talisk, Duncan Chisholm, Shooglenifty, Blazing Fiddles, Siobhan Miller Blue Rose Code (aka Ross Wilson) and kora virtuoso Sona Jobarteh, being particularly notable in my mind. Week 2 promises to maintain the high standards of the earlier concerts.

Festival Director Donald Shaw (Capercaillie) and his team are to be congratulated on putting together a quality programme of performers and events in these difficult circumstances, which has certainly brightened the long dark January evenings for myself and thousands of others, at a minimal cost per day which equates to less than the purchase of a cup of coffee.

It is not clear whether any of the performances will be available beyond the end of the festival but a quick check at may be worthwhile.

Neil Etherington


Duncan McFarlane's Tune a Day marathon

Definitely worth a mention....Duncan McFarlane has sung a ‘Tune a Day’ series on Facebook since March 20th 2020, three days before the first UK lockdown. Whilst this was initially aimed at being short term, he’s now reached 300+ songs (currently there’s 100+ Trad songs, 100+ Contemporary songs and almost 100 of his own compositions) ...mostly Folk, but with some surprises! Now aiming for 365 to complete a full year, he’s already had many thousands of views. The series can be found daily at The entire series is now also on YouTube as a Playlist. Subscribing is free and that gives easier navigable access to the whole lot at



One Topic Facebook concert this month: Plumhall on Thursday 11th February, 8 pm.


A note from Jim Saville about an event on Zoom  tonight at 7.30 pm, which I'll copy and paste:

JIM SAVILLE is inviting you to an evening celebrating the birthday of Cicely Fox Smith 1st Feb 1882


Time: Feb 1, 2021 19:30 London 

Meeting ID: 869 1726 2683

Passcode: 326912



I hope those of you who wish to access the new Topic YouTube channel are able to do so without any problems. Details as advised in my separate newsletter of 20th December.

The mummers' play - about the Boar of Bradford, no less - written by John Waller and performed by Topic regulars (mentioned in the last newsletter) is now available to watch on the channel (along with other Topic-related delights) so head on over to:


and from afar....

Eddie Lawler, formerly a great supporter of the Topic, now living in East Yorkshire has sent this link to view his latest offering, a newly written song called Ebruary. (He already has other clips featuring his songs on YouTube).


Roger Sutcliffe (hardly needs any introduction!) has sent us a note about Zoom singers and Musicians Nights from his part of the world for anyone who would like to join in. They take place on a Tuesday:

Here is the link: and the website is



Dougie McLean does a series of online concerts, some free, some longer ones for which you have to book and pay to watch. He has lots of website/contact pages which you can find by googling him, but this one seems to give most of the info about these concerts:

Pete Coe's club - Ryburn Folk Club, - Not sure what's coming up online, but bound to be something. For details or to be put on their mailing list or to request a place in their current Zoom Folk Club send your request to 

There's the usual regular stuff going on online: NB some artists may be taking a rest from regular streaming, but by following the links you can usually watch past sessions.

Kath Reade, singer songwriter, has been using lockdown as an opportunity to broadcast her songs live on Facebook and they have been getting thousands of views. 

Kath has now set up a new facebook page, Kath Reade's Songs, so all her songs can be found in one place.  

Skinner & T'witch, a Leeds-based duo who have been to the Topic on a singers and musicians night, have a facebook page which is well worth visiting, they have different stuff going on regularly, eg "Pick & Mix" sessions with some well-known performers, and what they call "Garden Sessions", plus lots of other stuff.

The Grove Folk Club is running sessions every Friday on their group Facebook page at folkatthegrove. The club has contacted me to say anybody is welcome to send in a video to take part, see the fb page for details.

Karen Pfeiffer & Paul Walker continue to do a regular afternoon spot on  Fridays at 4pm.  

Honey & The Bear bring their excellent music every Sunday evening at 7.30 pm

Winter Wilson's "Live from the Lounge" every Thursday, 8.15 pm, see their facebook page. 

Check out The Live Room Saltaire -  who have had to suspend their live concerts but are continuing to stream some excellent shows. Lots going on there.

HEART (Headingley Enterprise and Arts Centre) in Leeds has been closed for the duration of the latest restrictions, but keep an eye on their website, there's sure to be something as soon as circumstances permit.

Phew, lots of info and lots of links: I hope you can navigate your way round the things that interest you.

Take care all.

Best wishes to everybody

Tony Charnock

Topic Folk Club


A History of The Topic
An outline of
the History of The Topic from 1956

Topic Historic Photo Gallery
Pictures from the 50s, 60s, 70s and more on the website
in a single gallery here.

The Topic at 60
The view from 2016, by John Waller. This is not a comprehensive history - instead John has put together a snapshot of the Topic as it is now, telling the story of how those currently responsible for the club's running came to be involved.

Topic Club Membership
5 a year from 1st January. That gives you 1 off concert tickets, and you can get more involved with running the club too if you are interested.

Clicks since 03-2-2004:

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