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At: The Merchant Bar, 25 Peckover Street,
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Topic Newsletter Archive

Newsletter No 222  - December 2020    

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

Nothing much new to report that you don't already know, the situation is still fast-changing, with lockdown on the way out, tiers to come and vaccines on the horizon. So still no Topic programme news, of course, but hopefully some content in this newsletter that may be of interest. Most of it relates to artists who have performed at the club in days gone by.

As has become the norm, I'll list all the usual 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. Have a browse of the new stuff for December.

REVIEW.

CD Review:   Plumhall – The Ghost of Noise

It’s been a long wait for Plumhall’s 2nd CD, but listening to this fine offering, it’s certainly been worth it. Impeccably produced by Dave Crickmore (Durbervilles/Fiat Lux) the 12 tracks push the boundaries of folk with innovative arrangements; however, it is the strong songwriting of Nick and Michelle that is at the heart of the album.

Some of the songs featured may already be familiar, but the newer songs quickly register on an equal level and result in an album which merits repeated listening –headphones bring out the subtleties of a superb recording – and one which will feature in my personal best of 2020 list.

It’s a shame that the CD hasn’t been able to be promoted live as intended; nevertheless, this is an album which builds significantly on their fine debut, but regrettably – in line with most Specialist music – it’s unlikely to gain the wider attention and audience which it undoubtedly deserves.

Highly recommended – it’s available to buy through the Proper Records website.

Neil Etherington  

 

A piece from a favourite of the club (and many others), Jez Lowe:

Jez Lowe – Lockdown Tales

As November begins, a reluctant look into my dusty diary tells me that tonight I should have been starting a week’s run of folk club gigs in the south of England, starting in Chichester, then up to Dartford, over to Dorking, and so on, ending at The Cellar Upstairs in Central London on Saturday. Instead, my main concern today is whether to have cauliflower cheese or mushroom curry for tea. Last night I did a short on-line gig for local pals Skinner and T’Witch and their Leeds Foodbank benefit fund. I’ve only done about half a dozen on-line events since lock-down started, some as fund-raisers for myself, and others like little on-line floor-spots, to Stonehaven and Glenfarg folk clubs in Scotland, and to Valley Folk in Corning, New York, and very enjoyable they were. But my main activity over the past months has been the recording and release of a new CD (“Crazy Pagan”), recorded at home, all on my “lock-down lonesome”, and just released in the past couple of weeks. It was hard slog, as not only did I have to play and sing everything on the album myself, I also had to learn how to use the Pro-Tools computer programme, a woeful experience at times. But in the end, I enjoyed myself immensely, and the CD seems to have been well-received so far. Luckily, all the new songs were ready to go, so any writing I’ve done in recent months has been directed at my other project, a third novel which had lain half-finished since this time last year. A first draft is now complete, though with plenty still to do, and whether it will ever be published is open to conjecture, but like those on-line gigs, it’s given me a focus and an escape from the real world when I’ve needed it, and for that I’m grateful.

Thanks to Neil Etherington for passing this on to us. We'll have a review of Jez's new CD in the next newsletter.

THE TOPIC IN CYBERSPACE   

Topic Facebook Concerts

The second Topic Facebook artists' session will be on Thursday December 17th when Henry Parker will perform live through our Facebook page at 8 pm.

Topic Virtual S/M nights

The date for this month's virtual singaround (Topic version) is 10th December.

For anyone new coming along it's important to note that when you apply to come to the meeting, either as a performer or just to listen, I will need to pass your email address on to the host, so implicit in your application to attend will be your agreement for me to share your email address. This is because of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

So newcomers, please email me tocharn@gmail.com a few days before the event indicating whether you would like to perform or just be part of the audience. 

(Those already on the list need only tell me if they wish to perform (again, a few days beforehand please), or if they wish to have their name removed).

I need the names well beforehand of those who wish to perform so that I can tell the host/MC in time for them to draft a running order.

Everyone will be informed of the meeting ID and password by the day of the session.

NEW! Topic YouTube Channel coming soon!

Exciting stuff: we are in the process of setting up a Topic YouTube channel, so people can submit videos etc for public viewing: it's another way of keeping Topic stuff going in lieu of live performances. When it's finalised I'll let you know how it works and how to access it in a separate newsletter. Soon.

OTHER ONLINE STUFF

NEW THIS MONTH....  

NINEBARROW are streaming another of their much-acclaimed live concerts on 12th December at 7 pm. For details go to  https://www.ninebarrow.co.uk/live

GARETH DAVIES-JONES  is doing a one-off publicly available Livestream Christmas Acoustic Concert the evening of Wednesday 23rd December at 7.30pm from a special location in Northumberland. It will be streamed live via Facebook and more details about it will be on his website and social media nearer the time. It will be a ‘by donation’ event with half of all the proceeds going to Christian Aid's Christmas appeal. Anyone will be able to watch and listen. 

VICKI SWAN & JONNY DYER |(who have brought their festive show to the Topic in previous years) are doing several Christmassy Zoom streamings, including their brand new Winter Warmer which is on 9th December at 8 pm. Visit http://www.swan-dyer.co.uk/gigs/zoom-christmas/

 

We received this suggestion from a long-timeTopic supporter:

"Something your members might like is live concerts by LEO KELLY from the duo Tir na Nog you can find him on face book. 

There is a paypal account if people wish to make a contribution. He sings songs from Tir na Nog days and his solo works.

Kind regards

Max"

Other Online Stuff

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:   https://www.facebook.com/ButterstoneTV

Pete Coe's club - Ryburn Folk Club, https://www.ryburn3step.org.uk/ - has Mossy Christian via Zoom on 2nd December. For details or to be put on their mailing list or to request a place in their current Zoom Folk Club send your request (you'll have to look sharp, it's tomorrow!) to ryburn3step@gmail.com 

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.

 https://www.paulwalkermusic.co.uk/  

Honey & The Bear bring their excellent music every Sunday evening at 7.30 pm https://honeyandthebear.co.uk/

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

Eddie Lawler emailed me to say he has put a selection of his stuff on YouTube

Check out The Live Room Saltaire - https://theliveroom.info/  who have had to suspend their recently introduced 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 lockdown: we have no information on what they are planning for the coming month, but there's sure to be something.

Well that's it for another month. Here at the Topic we send our heartfelt wishes that you will all manage to have an enjoyable festive season despite the difficult circumstances, and that the New Year brings better days for everyone. That is, of course, a huge understatement.

Take care all, be safe and well,

Tony Charnock
Topic Folk Club

SUPPLEMENT - 20 December 2020

Hello all (again)

As mentioned in the last newsletter 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.

There are two parts to this:

1. Topic Folk Club YouTube Channel which is on :

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCe1S_4ASeMXzo2RnYqGn4jw

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

with an account: topicfolkclub@gmail.com

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 me know and I'll relay them to Zbig.

While I'm on, so to speak, HERE is a lovely arrangement of a well-known carol from Paul Walker and Karen Pfeiffer (who have appeared at the Topic on more than one occasion) which they have encouraged us to share with Topic followers.

Once again, I hope you all manage to have an enjoyable festive season, and with every good wish for the New Year

Tony Charnock
Topic Folk Club

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