Thursday 21st December 2017 at 8:30 Entry: £6 (£5 members)
Crickmore: Crewe is a four piece band who, each December, perform a programme of Gallery Carols and Christmas Curios.
The line up consists of ex-Wenchall members Emma Crickmore & Virginia Crewe with husbands Pete Crewe (ex Brillig) and David Crickmore (The Durbervilles). The programme of festive songs they perform are drawn from different sources, many familiar, some not so, but all designed to conjure a rustic atmosphere. Their four part seasonal vocals are complemented by a selection of instruments including vintage harmonium, mandolin, guitar, whistle and percussion.
In Wenchall, as well as countless live performance up and down the country, Emma and Virginia put out three albums, did two live sessions for BBC Radio 2 and sang the theme music to a BBC Radio 4 play.
Topic Historic Photo Gallery Last year The Topic had its 60th anniversary. Each week during that autumn we posted a different historic photo taken in or relevant to the club during the 60s, 70s, 60s and even 90s, with some historical context. Many photos were by Eddie Saxton and Brian Lawton, and others centred on the 21st and 25th anniversaries. Finally they are 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 - insteadJohn 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 60th Song Lyrics Club members and attenders were invited to write a song to mark our 60th birthday. Those who did were able to sing them at a special Singers' and Musicians' Night on the 3rd of November 2016. The lyrics of the various songs performed are now available on the website here.
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.
PS: CASTLE HOTEL Plenty of Topic regulars play and listen at the Castle Hotel in Bradford on Fridays - why not join them? December: 15 Paula Ryan
Singers & Musicians
A chance for you to sing a song or play a tune or just listen.
Trials of Cato
The Trials of Cato formed in Beirut in the summer of 2015 and spent a formative year performing traditional music on the Lebanese music scene and developing their sound. Following their debut at Radio Beirut in September 2015, they went on to regularly fill some of Beirut’s foremost music venues. Since returning to the UK, their feet have hardly touched the ground as they are booked up at folk clubs and festivals across the country thanks to a formidable live reputation.
Their eponymous debut EP has been well received, and was described as ‘one hell of a calling card’ in FATEA Magazine earlier this year. The Trials of Cato are now hard at work developing their debut album alongside their busy gigging schedule.
The band’s live set includes both original and traditional material, featuring fretted instruments alone to achieve a musical presence not often heard on the modern folk scene. With tight instrumentation and rousing harmonies, the music is firmly rooted in the folk traditions of Ireland and Britain, yet the source material is decidedly contemporary.
The band took a Topic singers night by storm last year: this full Topic debut night being a deserving result, a scenario that has been repeated at folk clubs up and down the country.
Tom Kitching & Zoe Mulford
In a successful ten year career, Tom Kitching has worked with numerous singers and bands, including Pilgrims' Way, Gavin Davenport, Jon Loomes, Gren Bartley, and Albireo. He has tutored at Folkworks Summer Schools, and has led numerous workshops around the country. Heavily involved in the dance scene, and veteran of over 1200 gigs, he stands at the leading edge of the English folk scene. His style is English at heart, whilst encompassing elements of many other traditions. It is a unique, vibrant style full of exuberance, energy and wit, yet capable of expressing extraordinary emotional depth.
In March 2015, he released his solo album, Interloper, a deeply personal project to capture the state of the English instrumental tradition and define the role of the fiddle within it.
There are dozens of folk violinists, but few with the attack, passion, and ingenuity of Tom Kitching. The most beautiful instrumental playing of the year - Sunday Express
Tom Kitching is one of the best English fiddlers ever – he plays with fire and gusto, energy, intelligence and feel – takes English folk music by the scruff of the neck and sends it off laughing and dancing and having a good time - Mike Harding
Zoe Mulford is an American songwriter whose former hometowns include Durham, NC and Greenbelt, MD and whose current hometowns are Swarthmore, PA, and Manchester, England. She last played the Topic in 2011 as one half of a double-header bill.
Zoe charms audiences with powerful, story-driven songwriting, an engaging stage presence, and a laid back vocal style that draws comparisons to Joan Baez. She backs her voice with guitar or claw-hammer banjo, drawing on the traditional music of Appalachia and the British Isles and stealing a few pages from the American Songbook to create music that feels both comfortably lived-in and sparklingly fresh.
Her lyrics are intelligent, thought-provoking, and so warm that they demand that you get to know this person better - Bob Gramann, Fredericksburg Songwriters' Showcase
Sally Ironmonger & Brian Carter
Sally Ironmonger & Brian Carter have been writing, performing (and, they say, bickering) together for nearly 20 years. Based in Medway, Sally has been described as a superb songwriter with a voice that doesn’t back down, along with fine guitar backing. Their material is contemporary, with a nod to traditional themes: stripped down, unplugged story-based.
Brian has worked as a professional and semi-professional musician all of his adult life. Over the years he has developed his own style which produces a unique mix of melody and bass rhythms.
Over the years they have written commissions for BBC documentaries and Broadstairs Folk Week, they ran the First Friday Folk club at the Tom Thumb Theatre, Margate, and have been supporting artists for Belshazzar’s Feast, Barbara Dickson, Jacqui McShee, Chris Wood & Jez Lowe. They also won the Milkmaid Folk Club Folk Song competition in 2016.
Sally and Brian are an absolute one off. They have a quirky and distinctive style. Brian’s accomplished and sensitive guitar is the perfect accompaniment to Sally’s unique voice and their songs will make you laugh, cry and think - Lynne Heraud & Pat Turner, regular guests at the Topic
1st February Singers & Musicians
A chance to sing a song or play a tune or just listen. Entry free.
Ninebarrow are a multi-award-winning folk duo, who are impressing audiences across the country with their innovative and captivating take on the folk tradition. Described by Mike Harding as sounding ‘damn fine’ and by Kate Rusby as ‘absolutely amazing’, Jon Whitley and Jay LaBouchardiere combine breathtaking vocal harmonies and melodies, delivering original songs that are inspired and rooted in the landscape and history of the British Isles. As well as crafting unique and engaging original material, Ninebarrow also take a wide-range of traditional folk songs and rework them in their own, distinctive way. Not only exceptional singers and musicians, Ninebarrow are also equally passionate about the stories behind their songs - combining their music with history, folklore and storytelling.
The duo were nominated in the 2017 BBC Radio 2 Folk Award ‘Horizon’ category for Best Emerging Artist and also for ‘Best Duo’ in both the Fatea Magazine Awards 2016 and the Folking.com awards of 2017.
Take three girls. Name them Cathryn, Angela and Jennifer. Bring them up in a home where someone is always singing. Listen to them start to sing in harmony from a very young age. Realise that nature has blessed them with rather beautiful voices. Give them a guitar. Discover that they have a natural musical ability. Mix together; and you have a promising musical trio – The Hayes Sisters.
Three young teenagers start to make a name for themselves in local pubs and clubs; reality intervenes… They go off to University, start families – do the serious grown up stuff! They pursue careers in different cities, in different fields; in teaching, nursing, and acting (you may have seen Jen (Stage name – Jennifer Hennessy) in The Office, Coronation Street, Doctor Who, and lots more; in fact, she appears soon as Mrs Cratchit in the BBC’s new epic serial, “Dickensian”)
They decide to “have another go” at the music…And then they’re back together on stage; appearing at festivals and gigs across the North West.
They are spotted by Nashville–based, Clive Gregson; one of the most-respected names in the music industry. And things go from there…The Hayes Sisters soon have a producer; and an album in the making.
Another Man’s Shoes is produced by Clive Gregson and John Wood, and features the awesome musical talents of Andy Dinan, Andy Seward, Fiona Lander, Simon Whitbread, and Clive Gregson himself. The album is a collection of songs borne from personal experiences and emotions; by history, politics, art, literature, the traditional music of England and Ireland, always influenced by groups or songs where vocals and harmonies dominate: as kids they were brought up singing in harmony because “ that was just what you did. It was natural”
Steve Turner is known as a pioneer of highly sophisticated English concertina song accompaniments, stretching the boundaries of traditional forms, with one of the best voices in the business. He is a multi-instrumentalist, who also accompanies himself on the cittern, and also plays mandolin and banjo.
After a thirteen year break, building up an internationally known stringed instrument business, he made a welcome return to performing in folk clubs and festivals in 2005.
Steve’s 7th album “ Spirit of the Game” was released in January 2016.
...total intensive musical focus and a vast serious repertoire – Nancy Kerr
A shining example of the music the British folk scene is capable of producing - Folk Roots