A chance to come along and sing a song or play a tune or just listen.
The photograph at right is one taken by Eddie Saxton and shows several early Topic members, though not in this case at The Topic itself. Left to right are Paul (Dad) Tattersal, Harvey Barraclough, Alan Emmett and JB Stuart down at the Students' Club, a (nother) iconic music club in Bradford open 1957-62, which hosted trad jazz, skiffle and later beat groups.
JB was the first elected Topic Treasurer, and Paul and Alan were in at the very start of the club. From the 25th Anniversary History: "Founded by Alex Eaton, with his wife, Louise, together with Paul Tattersal, Rennie Pickles, Alan Emmett and Dave and Marion Dalmoure, the Topic is the longest-running folk club in the country."
This photo is one of a series collated by Trevor Charnock which we will put on the website in the near future.
TOPIC 60 - LOCAL SONGWRITERS The Topic Folk Club will be 60 years old in autumn this year and is looking for songs to help celebrate the event. No rules, no prizes (apart from praise). Try out your “Topic Song” at a Singers' and Musicians' night, or collaborate and make a group effort.
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.
PS: CASTLE HOTEL Plenty of Topic regulars play and listen at the Castle Hotel in Bradford on Fridays - why not join them? May 27th Strid ( Jennie Kiff & Simon Allan); in June: 3rd Jam; 10th Tcha ( Gerard Paul Cavallari, Nikki Prescott); 17th Big Red ( Thomas Dowling); and June 24th Jam (Dent Fest weekend).
Kelly Oliver lives in North Hertfordshire and comes from a working class family, with no previous connections in the music scene. Listening to Bob Dylan, Alanis Morissette and Dolly Parton from a young age gave Kelly a passion for music, and an influential immersion into her paternal grandmother's Irish culture created a musical inspiration for her self penned songs. After graduating from Royal Holloway, University of London, working in a local bar for a year and then travelling around Europe, Argentina and Brazil in spring 2013, Kelly decided that on her return she would pursue a career as a singer/songwriter.
Folkwords' Best Album By A Female Artist 2014, Kelly Oliver’s This Land is an exciting, contemporary take on the acoustic folk tradition. It’s a genre Kelly is fast establishing herself in since winning an Emerging Excellence Award from Help Musicians UK in October of last year. Alongside acoustic guitar melodies and notes of Irish storytelling, Kelly includes harmonica, self-taught, which has led to sponsorship from leading brand HOHNER.
This Land, released in October 2014 by Folkstock Records, features legendary fiddle player Dave Swarbrick, as well as BBC Folk Award Nominees Sunjay and Luke Jackson. Kelly has appeared live on BBC regional stations, including BBC London radio in an interview with Gaby Roslin. Her singles 'Diamond Girl', 'Jericho', 'Rio' and 'Same World' have enjoyed numerous regional BBC and local radio plays, including on BBC Radio 2’s Folk Show with Mark Radcliffe, Bob Harris’ BBC Radio 2 Sunday show and Chris Hawkins' BBC 6 Music show.
An emerging voice in British Folk Music - Bob Harris, BBC Radio 2
A fantastic new talent – Chris Hawkins, BBC 6 Music
Crystal voice...confident harmonica...intricate guitar -— Folk Radio UK
Paula Ryanis an award-winning singer songwriter, originally from Tipperary, currently based in Yorkshire. She uses a unique range of instruments (Marimba, Guitar, Bodhran, Bazouki) to accompany original songs which are “really powerful....what song-writing is all about, making you think” (Fatea Magazine). Paula plays regularly at venues and festivals not only in UK and Ireland but also in USA, France and Germany. Recent appearances have included Edinburgh Fringe Festival (sell out show), Hull Freedom Festival (lead role as soloist in opening night spectacular in front of thousands of people), Shrewsbury Folk Festival (Winner - Peace Song Competition).
Whatever the stage or the size of the audience, Paula's performances are always laced with the warmth, wit and passion of her Irish roots. Lately, Paula has been focussing on recording and her newly released studio album Let Me Fly described as “an album of beauty and attraction, the Gaelic voice haunting the imagination and one that has truth within its soul” (Liverpool Sound & Acoustic) has earned airplay on BBC Radio Ulster and received favourable reviews from leading folk/acoustic publications such as fRoots, Acoustic Magazine .
"Paula is a unique and powerful performer, her songs are sung from the heart.... ..lovely sound and so meaningful" - Colum Sands, BBC Radio Ulster
Jess Morgan is a songwriter’s songwriter. Constantly touring, constantly writing, constantly striving to do better, to be better. Inspired by storytelling songwriters like Nancy Griffith, the playfulness of Devon Sproule and upfront British voices like Billy Bragg, expect a tumbler of unfancified roots music – with heart, with passion, with gusto.
Over the past few years Jess has been making a noise in the UK and further afield with a string of albums comprised of acutely observed, beautifully delivered country-folk ballads; song about travel, about people, about history, about love, about whatever the song needs. The songs are intimate, but not in that earnest, quiet way. There’s fire in Jess’ voice, the way it soars between notes like a bird in flight.
The Bournemouth EP was released to vibrant acclaim in Summer of 2015.The entire first run of CDs, dressed in tactile limited edition packaging, sold out in less than a day – a triumphant follow up to the full-length album Langa Langa which attracted the ears of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Show, Bob Harris Sunday, BBC 6 Music, Folk Radio UK, R2, Uncut and The Telegraph.
something truly special – Folk Radio UK
making waves and turning heads – R2 Magazine
musicianship dovetails well with her clever and understated songwriting – The Telegraph
inventive and poignant – R2 Magazine
Sam Kelly Duo
Sam Kelly's debut EP - entitled 'Your Way Home' was released in March 2013, which swiftly created a buzz of interest in the folk scene for Sam's music. He followed this up with the release of the widely acclaimed Spokes EP in February 2015. This cemented Sam's place further as one of the most exciting young prospects in the folk scene - landing him a nomination in the Best Singer category at the 2015 Spiral Earth Awards, and grabbing the attention of BBC Radio 2's Folk Show. Then in May 2016 he won the Horizon Award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.
Touring as a trio with Jamie Francis (banjo) and Evan Carson (percussion), Sam has gained a reputation for an incredibly high class and dynamic live show, and the guys are rapidly becoming firm favourites at venues and festivals in all parts of the country. After a barnstorming performance to a completely rammed Club Tent at Cambridge Folk Festival 2015, the guys were invited to play their first session on Radio 2 live from the festival.
Not content with resting on his laurels, Sam enlisted the extraordinary talents of new band members Ciaran Algar (fiddle) and Graham Coe (cello) and went straight back into the studio to record his debut album. 'The Lost Boys' came out in November 2015 to a storm of rave reviews, cementing Sam's place as one of the most rapidly rising stars on the UK folk scene, and enticing Radio 2 to invite the guys into the BBC studios as the featured live session guests on the Mark Radcliffe Show - an honour usually only bestowed upon much more established musicians. The album has also been championed by numerous legends of folk broadcasting, including Mike Harding - who played tracks from the album for four weeks in a row on his online radio podcast. Sam is taking the album on tour throughout 2016 with the full album band, aptly named Sam Kelly and The Lost Boys.
Coming from a family largely made up of Norfolk dairy farmers has left Sam with an unmatched experience of singing in front of hurtfully disinterested Friesians, and his meandering musical journey has ranged from reaching the final of ITV's Britain's Got Talent as a teenager, to being selected for the first ever EFDSS Artist Development Scheme. Whether playing to 13 million people on prime-time television, or to 10 people in a tiny pub, Sam's child-like fascination with music shines through, and his passion for discovering and rekindling the sounds of his musical heritage has gained him the respect of peers and audiences worldwide.
Sam has such a beautiful voice and sings with so much soul. I've seen him perform live a few times and he's amazing - Cara Dillon
One of the most interesting voices on the folk scene...He has a fine and powerful voice but with subtle delicacy too...I think this guy is absolutely brilliant - Mike Harding
A captivating performer, Sam Kelly has one of the best young male voices in British acoustic roots music. Seriously...Check him out! - Sean Lakeman
This is Roger’s 53rd year of playing at the Topic: there is very little we can say about him that his army of admirers don’t already know. But for any newcomers to the world of acoustic music Roger stands on his own as ragtime picker extraordinaire, blues supremo, and singer of songs of those genres. There are invariably a number of guitarists in his audience who have learned their craft first hand from Roger, so whether you pick, play or just listen, get down early for another packed night.
Singers and Musicians
A change to the second Thursday for this month to accommodate Roger’s (see above) preference to play as near the 4th in July as possible. Well, he has been entertaining us for a long time...
A perennial favourite at the club with his songs of social comment and observations on all aspects of life. Robb Johnson is now recognised as one of the finest songwriters working in the UK today, having played pubs, clubs, pavements, pickets and benefits arts centres and festivals, local radio, with airplay on BBC Radio 3 and 4 and a host of international radio appearances. This will undoubtedly, as always, be a busy night, so come down early.
The real deal when it comes to songwriting – Mike Harding
An English original – Robin Denselow, The Guardian
Featured Support: Katie Spencer
Katie Spencer is a singer-songwriter inspired by the people and her surroundings in the Yorkshire countryside. Enjoying music from a young age has developed her ever-evolving and infinite musical tastes and influences, including John Martyn, Roy Harper and Led Zeppelin. Katie began to teach herself to play the guitar in December 2012 and soon after started writing refreshingly mature songs that quieten the room, as you accompany their characters on evocative and poignant journeys. Katie is also in the process of creating her debut album alongside Brian Young, featuring Ted McKenna and Foss Paterson, with bass written by Danny Thompson.
Karin Grandal-Park and Rosie Clegg
A new duo to the Topic, though Rosie has appeared at the club before in various collaborations, namely Five and Dimers.
Karin Grandal-Park and Rosie Clegg combine strong vocals and harmonies to perform original songs (written by Karin) as well as classic versions of traditional and contemporary Folk songs. Karin and Rosie teamed up 18 months ago and are establishing a name for themselves with performances at a range of Folk Clubs and Festivals in North Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria as well as performing at Costa Del Folk, Portugal in October 2015 and Costa Del Folk, Mallorca in April 2016.
Their first EP was recorded live and produced by Mike Harding who also plays mandolin and acoustic bass on several of the tracks. Karin comes from a blues/jazz background and discovered her love of Folk Music only 2 years ago. After 30 years she says 'I have finally found where I belong musically. I had not realised that Folk music was so diverse and as a singer/songwriter it gives me a huge spectrum from which to draw inspiration'.
Rosie has been involved in both the Folk scene and Bluegrass scene for 30 years and is well known and respected amongst the Folk community. She contributes a wealth of musicianship playing both guitar and banjo as well as the musical arrangements for the duo's repertoire, and provides strong backing vocals and harmonies to Karin’s compositions. In her solo capacity she performs beautifully crafted covers by such artistes as Nancy Griffiths and Iris dement.
This is undoubtedly a duo to watch out for and we are delighted to welcome them to the Topic for what will be a very entertaining night to end the season.
August 4th, 11th, 18th & 25th
Singers and Musicians
Every Thursday in August, as per normal, is a Singers' and Musicians' Night - a chance for anyone to come along and sing a song or play a tune or just listen.