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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.

13 May



Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne

Cohen has recorded a special gig for the Club.

Free to view, donations

"A spine-tingling traditional folk performer, Cohen (Granny’s Attic) is a fine player of both the melodeon and anglo concertina. His rich voice soars through a range of historical ballads, industrial songs and shanties, with a particular penchant for material from the West Midlands, where he’s lived for much of his life."

Online Shop:



27 May



Mockingbirds are acoustic harmonies duo Cath Harney and Pam Johnson. Cath and Pam both live in Keighley, West Yorkshire and are well known in local music circles for their lovely harmonies and original songs. Mockingbirds have been singing and writing together for around 5 years now and loving every minute of it. They cover a wide range of styles and eras from folk to country, to bluegrass and pop and have recorded two CDs, one of which was Christmas fundraiser for the Bradford Metropolitan Food Bank. Both CDs are available on Bandcamp. Cath and Pam have been busy over the last year writing new songs about people from their local area and about places in Yorkshire and are planning to record them later this year. Songwriting remotely has been a novel and rewarding challenge for them and they are looking forward to playing this new set of original songs for the first time as a full set at The Topic Folk Club.







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.

1. Topic Folk Club YouTube Channel at

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

with an account: . 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 Tony Charnock know at and he'll relay them to Zbig.

Newsletter No 227  - May 2021    

Hello all, I hope you're all keeping well, as always. And a happy May Day to you all!

As usual I'll list all the regular 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: more and more as time goes on.


CD Review Jon Boden - Last Mile Home (Hudson Records)

Jon has an impeccable track record over the last couple of decades, as a solo artist, in a duo with John Spiers, with Bellowhead and his own band the Remnant Kings.

His latest album is the final part of a trilogy of post-climate change albums and contains 12 self-penned songs. Describing a journey from moor to coast, the album has a strong acoustic feel with most of the instruments played by Jon himself.

Production is excellent, as would be expected from from Andy Bell, and overall the high standard of Jon’s recent albums is maintained and indeed, some may say, surpassed.

Standout tracks include Dream of the Ocean, Lay My Body Down and Come Out Wherever You Are; but all 12 tracks fit comfortably into the general feel and theme of the album.

Well worth a listen - Last Mile Home is available to stream and download through the usual channels and the CD can be purchased from Jon’s website - or Hudson Records

Neil Etherington  

Duncan McFarlane's Tune a Day marathon

Duncan's ‘Tune a Day’ series on Facebook which has been going since March 20th 2020, three days before the first UK lockdown is still worth checking out. It's an amazing achievement. Whilst it was initially aimed at being short term, he’s now well past 300+ songs (currently there’s 100+ Trad songs, 100+ Contemporary songs and almost 100 of his own compositions) ...mostly Folk, but with some surprises!  The series can be found at and the entire series is now also on YouTube as a Playlist. Subscribing is free and that gives easier navigable access to the whole lot at

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


There are two Topic Facebook concerts this month:

Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne          Thursday 13th May 8 pm 

Mockingbirds                                   Thursday 27th May 8 pm  

See the attachments for details.


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

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 is


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. 

Check out The Live Room Saltaire -  who have had to suspend their live concerts but are continuing to stream some excellent shows. Lots going on there. Big news is that in May and June they will be starting to present socially distanced live concerts, so check them out on their website.

HEART (Headingley Enterprise and Arts Centre) in Leeds has been closed for the duration of the latest restrictions, but keep an eye on their website, there's sure to be something as soon as circumstances permit.

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:

Other News:

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.


Take care and best wishes to everybody. 

Tony Charnock

Topic Folk Club



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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