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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 2020 until further notice. 

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

Thursday 8th July, 2021 at 8pm

There is one Topic Facebook concert this month -
Live streaming 8 o'clock on Thursday 8th:edwinahayes3

Edwina Hayes

Edwina's beautifully written songs, charming stage presence and voice of an angel have won her a reputation as a true natural talent of gentle folk-Americana.

She has opened numerous shows for Jools Holland and Van Morrison as well as her own gigs playing stages everywhere from Glastonbury Festival to The Royal Albert Hall. Edwina numbers Michael Parkinson and Mike Harding among her fans and the title track of her album ‘Pour Me A Drink’ was covered by Nanci Griffith who calls her “the sweetest voice in England.”

Her cover of the Randy Newman song ‘Feels Like Home’ was featured in the Cameron Diaz film My Sister's Keeper and has since had over twenty million plays on You Tube.

Her full biography is here:

Songs and videos:




You Tube:

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.

You can find the Topic Folk Club YouTube Channel at: 

If you would like a video put up on the channel please send it to Martin Richards at within 7 days of the s/m session. Also we would ask that any videos uploaded to the channel consist of either original or traditional material: no covers please in case of possible problems regarding copyright."

Newsletter No 229  - July 2021    

Hello all, I hope you're keeping well, as always. It looks as though this month there will be some light at the end of this dark tunnel.

As before, 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.


The Loft Tapes – Mishra – CD and Topic Live Streaming Concert

Sheffield-based Mishra are basically a duo – Kate Griffin (banjo) and Ford Collier (low whistle and percussion) – who often perform with collaborators.  For their Topic Live Streaming concert it was Joss Mann-Hazell (double bass), while John Ball (tabla) joined the three of them on the CD.

 Their music is impossible to pigeon-hole.  Definitely a strong classical Indian influence; but also Americana and Jazz; all rooted in English folk.  The result is both distinctive and unusual – plenty of innovative rhythms and interplay between instruments that you don’t often hear together.  I’ve rarely come across such versatile use of a banjo, for example: it is probably the core instrument around which everything else revolves.  I’d particularly recommend Morphology, the final track on the CD, as the best illustration of their excellent musicianship.   There are some lyrics, but it is the music that drives their performance.  All but one of the tracks on the CD are self-composed or (in one case) arranged.

 You can listen to the Live Streaming, on  It contains some material from the Loft Tapes CD, which you can buy at The Loft Tapes | Mishra (  Other tracks from the Live Streaming will be available on their forthcoming new CD, currently in production.    Both they and we hope they’ll be visiting the Topic in person in 2022.  Do catch them one way or another – you won’t be disappointed.

 John Waller



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.

NEW from Robbie Martin:

Into The Buttercup Monday 5th July BCB 106.6fm 11pm to midnight and on listen again

Jerron Paxton gets us going with two tracks specially recorded at The Live Room.

New releases from Gabriel Moreno, Carmel, Peter James Millson and The Little Unsaid. Along with O’Hooley and Tidow, Rachel Newton, Yvonne Lyon, Chumbawamba and the Commoners choir and Ron Jappy and a poem by Tom Weir.

Don’t Forget to Boogie!


Reminders (2)

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 for details and tickets. The festival will be operating at 50% of maximum capacity to accommodate social distancing and the site has been designed from the outset in a Covid-secure way, with all areas open air. So be advised, tickets are limited.

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



There is one Topic Facebook concert this month:

Edwina Hayes  -   Thursday 8th July 8 pm

See the attachments for details.

Just to clear up any misunderstandings: all the donations to the tip jar at these concerts go to the performer, not the club.



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


Check out The Live Room Saltaire -  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 for details'

(NB I've just heard that the centre has had to close until 7th July due to a few team members having to self-isolate.)

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: Thanks to Graham Smout for the info.

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


As mentioned in the last newsletter TykesStirrings have been finding the going tough during the pandemic. 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. 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

Stay safe and well. It's become a bit of a mantra, but it's a heartfelt one. Hopefully we will be able to be meeting up in person to hear live music again before too long.

Tony Charnock

Topic Folk Club


Streamers for newsletter (ongoing)


A reminder about Roger Sutcliffe's 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


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, but bound to be something good. To find out

email or phone 01422 823099.

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 a 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.

Phil Snell, a frequent visitor to the Topic over past years, has made a selection of lockdown videos: tunes and songs "in an attempt to cheer folk up". You can check them out on:


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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