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Topic Newsletter Archive

Newsletter No 228  - June 2021    

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

There's a lot to cover in this newsletter so I'm going to make a separate attachment for the usual streaming stuff that I always include, it'll free up a bit of space for other news, I hope that's convenient for everyone. Bear in mind that as performers hopefully start to get back to live bookings, that may well affect what's available online.

REVIEWS.

Join All the Dots - Den Miller

Singer/songwriter Den Miller has been a popular artist on the local acoustic music scene for many years now, either solo or in various collaborations. As well as being an excellent guitarist and keyboard player, he’s always been good, very good, with words: in this collection of eleven of his own songs he has IMHO excelled himself. Not only the sheer variety of the songs themselves, the arrangements and presentation are top quality. Not only good songs,: Den plays all the instruments on the CD (too many to mention here) himself.

The opening track, a very upbeat number, Too Many Choices, is an observation about probably what we all think, that in every aspect of life we are bamboozled by the plethora of decisions we have to make every day, and harks back to how it used to be before the frenzy set in. Kind of amusing, but telling a real truth: to my mind a typical Den Miller offering. It’s a huge contrast to a tender and very moving ode from a father to his daughter, Father Tongue, and also to a plaintive anti-war song with a difference, Madmen Calling. Add the philosophical It Matters If It Matters To You; a touching love song Following Me Following You; songs about travelling, heart on sleeve personal offerings and a couple more songs about life and other things and you have a CD surely worthy of your collection.

All things being equal, Den is having a CD launch at Exchange Arts, Russell Street Keighley (https://www.exchangearts.co.uk) on 26th June at 7.30 pm with Phil Cockerham, Lynda Hardcastle & Alan Rose and Strid (Jennie Kiff & Simon Allan).

The CD is available digitally to buy on all major platforms such as Apple Music/iTunes and amazon, and to stream on all major services such as Spotify and YouTube Music. The physical CD will be available via Den’s website, denmiller.com from 26th June 2021 or of course at any of his gigs which he hopes will be arranged soon.

Tony Charnock

Rakes and Misfits – Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne - CD and Topic Live Streaming Concert

This review is mostly about Cohen’s CD; and he played many of its tracks in his recent Live Streaming event for the Topic, which is still available.

Cohen is a master of just about every variant of instrument in the squeezebox genre – the four he uses on the CD are melodeons or concertinas, but in a various set of keys, and with different numbers of rows and stops. He actually helped build one himself, on an Emmanuel Pariselle course, for those who know about such things. The songs and the tunes are mostly traditional; though he’s added his own verses to some of them, and you won’t hear the joins. Most of them concern the lives and doings of highwaymen (both successful and less so), thieves, con-men (and women), drunks, or others with non-standard lifestyles. Hence the CD title. There are sets of tunes as well, one of them Cohen’s own compositions.

All are sung and played with confidence and brio. The words are clear, and the finger-work faultless. The helpful sleeve-notes detail the origins of each track, and why Cohen has chosen them.

For me, the standout track is the penultimate, on both the CD and the streamed concert; the tune ‘The Worcester Farewell’. It has shades of Bach and Pachelbel: a simple motif repeated eight times with variations – especially the interplay between what I’ll simplistically call the bass (left hand) and the treble (right hand) as they compete to present the core melodic line. It sounds as if two or three instruments are all playing at once. The final track is pure music-hall – the timing and the ebullience of the singing taking you back to those good old days.

Young and talented musicians like Cohen deserve our support while their normal performance opportunities (and income) have been disrupted. You can see the Live Streaming performance on https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCe1S_4ASeMXzo2RnYqGn4jw and you can buy his CD from Products Archive - Granny's Attic (grannysattic.org.uk) . Do either. Do both. You won’t be disappointed.

John Waller (with thanks to JC

                                                                          -----------------------------------------

Tim Moon is running the following folk programmes:

Folk Us on Mondays 9 – 10 pm 106.6 FM and net etc

Coast and County Radio on Tuesdays 8pm – 10 pm 96.7FM and net etc

Ken Hudson's Roving Folk programme on Phoenix Radio (based in Halifax)  is broadcast on the fourth Sunday of the month from 10.00am to 12.00 noon on 96.7 FM, and is then available via the station's podcasts and via Mixcloud.

OTHER STUFF

NEWS FROM THE MAGPIES  (as you'll remember the band includes Bradford's own and Topic favourite Bella Gaffney) who are hosting their own festival. It will take place on 14th August 2021 at Sutton Park,York and features a great line-up. See https://www.themagpiesfestival.co.uk/ for details and tickets.

JON BODEN. In September 2021 The Knoydart Retreat (situated on the Knoydart peninsular on the remote west coast of Scotland) is organising a 5 day Folk songwriting retreat run by Jon Boden, from Monday 13th - Friday 17th.

It consists of mentoring by Jon with one-to-one sessions, masterclasses, daily songwriting challenges, writing in the wilderness and an end of retreat concert performing alongside Jon.

More details from http://www.theknoydartretreat.com/

                                                                      ---------------------------

THE TOPIC IN CYBERSPACE  

There is one Topic Facebook concert this month:

Mishra  (who were due to perform at the club in 2020)      Thursday 10th June 8 pm 

See the attachments for details.

                                                                       ----------------------------------------

TOPIC YOUTUBE CHANNEL 

Here is the link if you wish to access the channel:

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

                                                                                       ---------------------------

Check out The Live Room Saltaire - https://theliveroom.info/  who are  starting to present socially distanced live concerts (some of which will also be streamed) again, after a mammoth effort streaming regular high-quality shows throughout the whole time of the pandemic.

HEART (Headingley Enterprise and Arts Centre) in Leeds are back with a full programme of music events in June (including Hazjak and Pete Ivatts). See their website https://www.heartcentre.org.uk/ for details

Other Items of Interest

The Folk Forecast  advertises all sorts of folky stuff going on (with some big names) which you might find very useful, self explanatory of you follow this link:

https://thefolkforecast.substack.com/people/17173534-the-folk-forecast. Thanks to Graham Smout for the info.

It covers the current week, if you subscribe they will send you details each Monday.

MAKE MUSIC DAY

We have received the following from Lynne O'Malley of Yan tan Tether and  Hazjak who is a volunteer ambassador for Make Music Day: I'll quote her email in full.

QUOTE

Make Music Day is the UK’s largest single-day music event and the world’s biggest celebration of music, taking place in 125 countries on 21 June annually. It’s an inclusive DIY festival encouraging people to organise in-person and online music events for their communities. Everyone can take part as long as performances happen on 21 June and they’re free to watch. Last year saw 1,739 performances across the UK, reaching over 531,700 people.

With social distancing measures in place in the UK, Make Music Day will be a hybrid of in-person and online for 2021. To get involved, you can either have a look at events that are happening in your area or online and see what you’d like to attend (click here for more details) or run your own event for your community (click here to register an event).

Make Music Day events come in all shapes and sizes, from small doorstep gigs to getting involved in competitions to being part of a global film premiere. The thing they all have in common is the spirit of Make Music Day:

Events are free to attend and take part in

It takes place on 21 June

And… it’s about music!

Discover how you can get involved in the biggest participatory festival of the year,

visit makemusicday.co.uk or follow @MakeMusicDayUK on social media.

UNQUOTE

Sounds very worthwhile.

TykesStirrings

Many of us, individuals and organisations, have found the going tough during the pandemic, and our invaluable local folk magazine is no exception. With virtually none of the normal outlets to take copies they have been relying more and more on readers taking out subscriptions. If anyone could see their way to placing a regular order even for 12 months or so it would be very helpful. The cost to receive the magazine by post is 16 for 4 issues (the latest issue has just come out). Cheques should be sent to:

TykesStirrings Subscriptions, c/o Aireview Cottage, Grange Road, Kildwick, N.Yorks BD20 9AE

There is also the facility to pay online using Paypal at www.tykesstirrings.org.uk.

On a similar note the Topic Committee would like to remind our club's supporters that over this period we have had virtually no income but ongoing expenditure in the form of payments to artists who have been involved in the Facebook concerts, website maintenance etc,  also in the very early days of the first lockdown some cancellation fees were paid out. Payments to artists who have organised Facebook concerts have been nominal as there has of course been the tipjar facility, but nonetheless there has been a considerable drain on our reserves. If anyone would care to make a donation, however small, that would be a great help. You can email me for an address should you wish to send a cheque.

Stay safe and well. It's become a bit of a mantra, but I mean it.

Tony Charnock

Topic Folk Club

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