At: The Merchant Bar, 25 Peckover Street,
TOPIC FOLK CLUB, BRADFORD
At The Merchant Bar, 25 Peckover Street, Little Germany, BD1 5BD
Newsletter No 212 - February 2020
First of all may I ask that if by any chance your eyes tend to glaze over reading these newsletters could you unglaze them where it gets to the TOPIC STUFF item in this one, as some changes are in the offing that may well affect you. Will affect you, in fact, if you come to the club regularly.
I usually use these newsletters to inform you about upcoming guest nights etc rather than dwell on past gigs but on this occasion I just want to record our appreciation to Honey and The Bear who stood in at 24 hours notice on the last guest night in January (Sam Kelly had to cancel at very short notice through illness, giving Sue our bookings secretary a few stressful hours!), drove all the way up from Suffolk to give us a superb night of top-quality musicianship that will, I'm sure, long be remembered by those who were there: thank you too to those who came along to see an act whose name was probably unfamiliar to many, regardless of the cancellation and the foul weather.
Here we go, then, well on the way towards spring now: in the meantime....
6th February: Singers and musicians. Free entry.
13th February : Karen Pfeiffer & Paul Walker.
A return to the club for this excellent Anglo-German duo who are making a name for themselves on the folk scene both in the UK and Europe with their original songs, well-chosen covers and fine delivery
Paul and Karen’s music is not only multifaceted but they also deliver it perfectly on the same wavelength, and these waves carry great energy towards the audience. Through countless live performances and three carefully composed albums the Anglo-German duo have conquered the hearts of their numerous fans. Their repertoire combines handpicked folk favourites and their own handcrafted songs. “Great show!” praised Graham Norton heartily.
Paul Walker & Karen Pfeiffer tour internationally and have collected enthusiastic reviews along the way. Their secret of success? As soon as the native of Stuttgart and the Englishman from Staffordshire appear on stage they entertain - and then seem to turn, note by note, into their music. Short anecdotes, melody and rhythm: two clear, full voices and a guitar, occasionally subtly accompanied by flute and recorder sounds are sufficient to create the unmistakable Walker-Pfeiffer presence. Thus, the two merge harmoniously into an authentic and versatile unity, which either rhythmically grooves or gently poetically touches, which tells colourful stories - and releases grand emotions that linger long after the concert has ended. £6/£5
It seems that there is nothing that this duo cannot bring into fruition with their own unique style and passion - Secret Sounds
An Englishman and a German prove impressively how much fine music flies under the well-informed radar. With two grand voices - individually and together - Folker (German Folk Magazine)
Great Show! - (Graham Norton)
20th February : Tom McConville & Tony Wilson.
Award winning fiddle player and singer Tom McConville, BBC Folk Musician of the Year in 2009, is internationally renowned for his fiery, heart-stopping performances which are a roller coaster of musical delights; from fast rhythmic dance tunes through beautiful slow airs and of course great singing - all presented with his inimitable sense of humour and style. Truly the most original fiddle player in the UK, Tom blends traditional music from his home town of Newcastle with Irish, American and Scottish influences to create a sound that has elements of jazz, folk, bluegrass and classical music. Over the years he has recorded with and appeared alongside performers as diverse as Stephane Grappelli, Barbara Dickson, Lindsifarne, Richard Thompson and many others on well over a hundred albums - and continues to be in huge demand.
Tony Wilson has toured the world as a fantastic singer, banjo, guitarist and ukulele player as well as a first class storyteller. As a duo Tom and Tony present an entertaining, rich and varied collection of music and song that they have absorbed, developed and written during their long and varied careers, bringing together all of their skills and expertise to display a refreshingly dynamic and unique take on folk music old and new.
Their performances have ranged from folk-clubs to large theatres and have been met with praise and a wonder that they didn't get back together sooner.
Expect to be amazed, amused and entertained by two of the North-East's finest sons. £6/£5
27th February : Ragged Trousers
Ragged Trousers are a vocal trio from the Merseyside area who sing a broad variety of unaccompanied traditional songs, with a strong emphasis on harmonies and arrangements that are not excessive in their complexity yet imaginative, while being conscious of the importance of communicating the meaning of the song. Their repertoire is varied and includes ballads, sea songs, work songs and shanties, and folk songs that express social consciousness.
If you like The Young Uns , The Wilsons and Coope Boyes & Simpson, you'll like this trio. £6/£5
Ragged Trousers Facebook page
TOPIC STUFF - IMPORTANT!!
The committee has decided to increase the admission price on guest nights from £6 (£5 for Topic members) to £7 (£6 for Topic members). This is in part to consolidate the club's financial position - a position which I stress is very healthy - but perhaps more importantly to ensure that we are affording guests artists the respect they deserve in financial terms. This has been in the minds of the committee for some time now, and recently it has been suggested to us very tactfully and in no way questioning the club's right to run its affairs as it wishes that perhaps the current admission price no longer reflects the true value of what the artists are providing. It's many years since the entry price has been raised and we hope that this decision will have the support of our regulars: the admission price for the Topic remains the lowest of any club in our area as far as we are aware.
We have also decided to charge an admission fee of £1 on singers and musicians nights. This too is in line with, or less than, most of the surrounding clubs. Membership fees will remain unchanged at £5 per year.
These changes will take effect from 1st March 2020.
It's worth a mention here to remind you that all the money taken on the door goes directly to the artists who come to perform for us: the usual arrangement is for a negotiated fee against 100% of the doortake. The club is funded solely by the raffle and membership fees, plus a small profit on things like the sale of Tykes News etc. The funds accrued go towards the relatively minor administration costs, and to cover the occasional shortfall if the doortake doesn't meet the minimum guaranteed to the guest on any particular night: also to maintain a reserve fund to cover any unforseen eventualities. So we are very grateful to everyone who buys raffle tickets.
If you would like to become a member of the Topic Folk club it still, as mentioned above, only costs only £5.00 for the year. Membership runs from 1st January and entitles you the lower ticket prices shown in this newsletter as well as the chance to become more involved in the workings of the club if you would like to. You can join or renew your membership on any club night.
For performers who may be thinking of approaching the club for a booking, please email: email@example.com
If you’re visiting the club for the first time, be sure to come and say hello, and if anyone has any suggestions for the club, for example if you would like us to try to book a particular artist, we’d like to hear them.
The Topic runs on Thursdays at The Merchant Bar, 25 Peckover Street, Little Germany BD1 5BD, 8.00 pm start. Like all the clubs in the area, our aim is to provide good quality live entertainment to suit all tastes of those interested in folk music, and we thank you for your continued support.
Floor singers are always welcome (though may be limited when we have a booked support act - please check). Please arrive by 7.45 pm if you’d like a slot – it helps the MC to plan the evening. Would-be floor singers please note that for the time being we may change the format of the evening slightly and have all the floor singers at the beginning of the first half to start the night.
It's not set in stone, but it may help the evening run smoothly and ensure that the finish time is strictly adhered to, so that the necessary furniture moving etc can be attended to.
To find the Topic on Facebook search for "Topic Fc".
Topic Newsletter Editor