Back in Five Minutes, York Eighties’ band re-unite after 30 years for one night only

Five Minutes back together in 2020: from left to right: Nigel Dennis, Sean Rochester, Mark Pearson and Chris Turnbull. Fellow member Matthew “Duck” Hardy took the picture on February 22..

A BAND called Five Minutes had their 15 minutes in York in the late 1980s. Now they are re-uniting for a one-off gig at the Victoria Vaults, in Nunnery Lane, on February 29.

The reason? “The singer and youngest member of the band still living here will be the last of us to turn 50 in February and in his words, ‘Let’s do it before one of us dies’,” reveals trumpet player Matthew “Duck” Hardy, now 50 and a professional musician.

“Our last gig was in January 1989 and most of us haven’t seen each other for 30 years. Now we want to get as many people from York’s late ‘80s music scene down to the gig for a huge reunion.”


In the soul and funk line-up on February 29 will be Hardy; business development manager Chris Turnbull, newly turned 50 next month, on vocals and guitar; IT consultant Sean Rochester, 53, on bass; cinema owner Nigel Dennis, 52, on drums, and retired police officer turned Criminology MSc mature student Mark Pearson, 52, on saxophone.

Not there, but there by the wonder of a video link, will be ex-pat trombonist and urban dog trainer Paul Shelbourne, 49, from his home in Brisbane.

Five Minutes in the 1980s, when they were four, before they became six, although they were never five!
From left to right: Nigel Dennis, Sean Rochester, Mark Pearson and Chris Turnbull. Matthew “Duck” Hardy and Paul Shelbourne joined later.

“We’ll be playing original, danceable, driving Northern Soul-esque music with hard- hitting catchy brass riffs and a couple of covers thrown in near the end,” says Matthew, .introducing a set list featuring The Party; Smile; Sequels; Merry-go-round; Bridge In Time; Happy Home; Casanova; Could It Be; This Innocent Kiss; Only A Fool; Soul On Fire; Cornflake Packet; Time Will Tell; B Derdela; All The Daughters and Heatwave.

Back in their day, Five Minutes played York Arts Centre and Harry’s Bar, in Micklegate; Temple Hall, York campus of the College of Ripon and York St John; Central Hall, University of York; the Gimcrack pub (now flats), in Fulford Road, and Bretton Hall (now the Yorkshire Sculpture Park), near Wakefield.

Come February 29, Five Minutes will be back in action for rather more than five minutes, preceded by a DJ set by Rocky from Sweatbox, but why were/are they called Five Minutes?

“I’ve absolutely no idea why, as it started off as a four-piece and ended up as a six-piece!” says Matthew. “When Paul joined, the Evening Press photographer took a photo of us in the courtyard of Ye Olde Starre Inn, on Stonegate, and the paper did a write-up under the headline ‘Six appeal for Five Minutes’.”

What’s in a name?

Five Minutes start their set or encore with the instrumental B Derdela, so named after saxophonist Mark Pearson asked how singer Chris Turnbull wanted him to play the sax line. Chris gave him the note and the rhythm: B…derdela!

York Community Choir Festival on song to celebrate friendship and harmony in March

Stagecoach Academy Senior Choir: taking part in the fifth York Community Choir Festival. Picture: Michael Oakes

THE fifth York Community Choir Festival will raise the roof at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, from March 7 to 14

This annual event “celebrates the inclusivity of making music in groups of all ages and friendship across the generations” by bringing people together to share the joy of singing in seven concerts, each featuring at least four different choirs.

“Choirs will be coming from Easingwold in the north, Garrowby and Stamford Bridge in the east and Knaresborough and Tadcaster in the west and south, as well as from York itself,” says festival organiser Graham Mitchell, the JoRo’s company secretary, fundraising and events director and trustee. 

York charity Musical Connections combats loneliness and isolation in older people by running regular music sessions in community locations across York, and their 40-strong pensioners’ choir, The Rolling Tones,will be taking part for the first time.

Performing too will be choirs from Wigginton Primary School, Robert Wilkinson Primary Academy,the secondary-age choir of Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate, and the “younger” adults of Dunnington Community Choir in a special matinee on March 14.

Another group of primary-school age, appropriately named Starlings, from the Hempland area of York, will sing in the Friday (March 13) concert. Secondary school-age choirs taking part will be Tutti Amici and Stagecoach Academy Choir, who have both excelled in previous festivals, and two Huntington School choirs will appear for the first time.

Dunnington Community Choir: emotion in motion in the joy of singing. Picture: Michael Oakes

York singer and tutor Jessa Liversidge, who runs her Singing For All sessions every week in Clements Hall, South Bank, York, and in Easingwold, says: “Many singers who attend my groups testify that their lives have been transformed by our weekly sessions of informal singing, tea, cake and good company.

“Looking around the room at the happy faces and seeing everyone leave afterwards with a spring in their step is evidence enough for me of the wonderful power of a good old sing.”

York has workplaces with choirs that employers encourage as being good for morale, among them Aviva’s Vivace! Choir and York Hospital’s Wellbeing Choir, which combines staff, volunteers and patients in one lively group in weekly sessions. Vivace! will open the festival and the hospital choir will appear on the last night.

Graham says: “I’m particularly pleased that we can include both young and old and bring the generations together in the same concerts. The benefits of singing have been widely researched and findings show that communal singing has far-reaching benefits for health, happiness and general wellbeing.

“We’re so lucky to have such a variety of choirs in and around York, most of which welcome new members with open arms. No need to be able to read music; just a desire to join in and sing!”

Concerts will take place on March 7, 11, 12, 13 and 14 at 7.30pm; March 8, 4pm, and March 14, 2pm. The full list of who will be singing when can be found at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

Tickets are on sale on 01904 501935, via josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk or in person from the JoRo box office in Haxby Road, with savings if buying five or more tickets. All proceeds will be donated to the Joseph Rowntree Theatre charity to help to maintain and improve facilities at this community venue.

All you need is extra tickets and a new venue for music film-maker Tony Palmer’s Harrogate Film Festival event

Film-maker Tony Palmer with The Beatles’ John Lennon

A RUSH of ticket sales has prompted a change of venue for The Rock Goes To The Movies evening with BAFTA-winning filmmaker Tony Palmer next month in Harrogate.

This exclusive Harrogate Film Festival event on March 12 will switch from RedHouse Originals art gallery to The Clubhouse at Cold Bath Brewing Co, on Kings Road, only five minutes from the original location on Cheltenham Mount.

“The evening sold out all its stickers at £12 a pop so quickly that we’ve have had to move to a bigger location,” says Harrogate Advertiser journalist and Charm event promoter Graham Chalmers, a stalwart of the Harrogate music scene, who will be hosting the Q&A with the legendary film-maker, now 77.

“That means extra tickets have been put on sale and are available via the box office at Harrogate Theatre.”

All existing tickets are still valid for the new venue for the 7pm event that will combine a film screening with the Q&A session about Palmer’s work with The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Leonard Cohen, Rory Gallagher, Cream, Frank Zappa, The Who, Donovan and many more.

The London-born film-maker and cultural critic has more than 100 films to his name, ranging from early works with The Beatles, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Rory Gallagher (Irish Tour ’74) and Frank Zappa (200 Motels), to his classical profiles of Maria Callas, Margot Fonteyn, John Osborne, Igor Stravinsky, Richard Wagner, Benjamin Britten, Ralph Vaughan Williams and more besides.

Over the past 50 years, Palmer has received more than 40 international prizes, including 12 gold medals from the New York Film Festival, along with numerous BAFTAs and Emmy Awards.

The Beatles: rare screening of Tony Palmer’s film of the Fab Four will be a highlight of the Harrogate Film Festival event on March 12

Palmer, who served an apprenticeship with Ken Russell and Jonathan Miller, made the landmark film All My Loving, the first ever about pop music history, first broadcast in 1968.

He was responsible too for the iconic live film Cream Farewell Concert, shot at the supergroup’s last-ever show at the Royal Albert Hall: a memorable night with Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker in 1968.

Harrogate Film Festival founder Adam Chandler says: “Tony Palmer’s glittering career deserves such an event, so we can’t wait to welcome him. We’re delighted this film-making legend is so popular and are grateful to our venue partners, Cold Bath Brewing Co and RedHouse Originals, for enabling this exciting event to happen.”

Host Chalmers says: “Palmer is the greatest arts documentary filmmaker Britain has produced in the past 50 years and personally knew most of the greatest figures in the classical music world, as well as rock music.

“The fact he’s making the journey to Harrogate as a stand-alone event shows how highly regarded Harrogate Film Festival is nationally and shows that Harrogate, despite appearances, is a town with a genuine rock’n’roll pedigree.”

RedHouse Originals gallery previously has played host to Pop Art doyen Sir Peter Blake and still will be involved in next month’s event, hanging classic 1960s’ artwork and photography at The Clubhouse and curating the music playlist for the after-show party.

The sleeve artwork for All You Need Is Love, Tony Palmer’s 1977-1978 series on The Story Of Popular Music

Presented by Chalmers in conjunction with Harrogate Film Society, Rock Goes To The Movies will feature a rare screening of Palmer’s film about The Beatles that featured in his All You Need Is Love TV series, with a script by Fab Four insider Derek Taylor, plus clips from Palmer’s Cream Farewell Concert film.

Tickets available from harrogatetheatre.co.uk, on 01423 502116 or in person from the Harrogate Theatre box office. More information on the 2020 Harrogate Film Festival at harrogatefilm.co.uk.

Any profits from the evening will go to Harrogate Film Society and Harrogate Film Festival.



Tony Palmer’s ten music films
1. All You Need Is Love,1975-1976,17-part series on the history of American Popular Music from Bing Crosby to The Beatles.
2. Bird On A Wire, 1972, featuring Leonard.
3. All My Loving,1968, including The Who, The Beatles and more.
4. Cream Farewell Concert 1968.        
5. 200 Motels – Frank Zappa,1971.
6. Rory Gallagher – Irish Tour,1974.        
7. A Time There Was, 1979, profile of composer Benjamin Britten.
8. Tangerine Dream – Live In Coventry Cathedral,1975.
9. Ginger Baker In Africa,1971.
10. Wagner – By Charles Wood, music conducted by Georg Solti, photographed by Vittorio Storaro; with Richard Burton, Vanessa Redgrave and Laurence Olivier,1983.

Singer, PhD sociology student and artist, Alice Wilson has no time for slacking

Alice Wilson: Slack Habits finale tomorrow; solo album next month

YORK singer, artist and Ph.D student Alice Wilson will sing with Slack Habits for the last time at their Old White Swan debut in Goodramgate, York, tomorrow before focusing on her solo album.

For the February 22 gig, she steps in for departed lead singer, Marsha Knight, re-joining bassist Iain Marchant, drummer Martin Wilson, guitarist Andy Elmslie and keyboards player Josh Hill, with whom Alice used to perform in an earlier incarnation of the York band.

Alice and songwriter, guitarist and producer Andy Wilson – no relation – are progressing quickly with the album’s recording sessions at his home studio in Holgate, with Andy aiming to have it fully mixed and mastered in time for a March launch.

Alice, nearing 30, says she has “looked to music for escapism for even longer than she has looked to books or alcohol”.

I was heavily tricked into thinking theatre was not a career,” says Alice Wilson

“My first forays were into musical theatre when I was at Millthorpe School, then Fulford Sixth Form,” she reveals, recalling her favourite role being Tallulah in Bugsy Malone when she was 16.

“I did theatre through GCSE to A-level but was heavily tricked into thinking theatre was not a career.”

Instead, Alice has pursued a scholarly path, starting with joint degree honours in anthropology and sociology at Durham University, “so that I could do both science and arts,” she says.

Next came an MA in urban sociology at the University of York, specialising in housing. “I’ve blagged my way into pretty good educational institutions as a result of being a working-class queer,” she says.

Writing her thesis, creating her art, singing: all in a day’s passage for Alice Wilson

“I’m now doing a Ph.D over the next three years, again at the University of York, where I’m trying to make radically affordable houses available for the people who need them.”

As part of her Ph.D in sociology with “heavy fraternisation with environmental science”, Alice is building a tiny house in the garden of her Heslington home, 30 square metres in size.

“You might think it’s a glorified shed, but it’s not that glorified,” she says. “It’s a timber-framed structure with super-insulation made from re-claims from demolition sites.

“Ideally it does inform my Ph.D, so I want to film it in progress, as well as writing a thesis, doing my art and singing all the while – though it all leaves minimal time for singing.”

Alice Wilson “hopes you enjoy the ear feel of her voice”

The tiny house, once complete, will have three rooms downstairs – a main living room, a tiny kitchen and tiny bathroom – and a stepladder will lead to the mezzanine level above: a crawl floor where you can sleep, says Alice. “It qualifies for recreational use, like a summerhouse, so I’ll use it mainly for painting in.”

As her official profile says: “Alice draws and paints @neither.both.illustrations and post pictures of herself at the gym @neither.both. Alice recycles, votes left, and worries about how productive she is being, like all other millennial snowflakes. She hopes you enjoy the ear feel of her voice.”

As Slack Habits’ songwriter, Andy most certainly enjoys that “ear feel of her voice”. “Alice sang with Slack Habits for a while, playing the Blues Bar in Harrogate, the National Harley Davidson Convention, pubs, festivals, Lendal Cellars and the Little Festival of Live Music in York,  and being featured on BBC Introducing, before abandoning us to go into academia,” he says.

“But I didn’t want to let her talent go, so ten months ago we started working together again.”

Andy Wilson and Alice Wilson working on Alice’s album at his Holgate studio in York

The result is such songs as The Other Woman, Put That Down and Cabaret Queen. “There’s also a mash-up of Led Zep’s Whole Lotta Love that turns into Whole Lotta Last Waltz,” says Alice. “That turns it into being a song about domestic violence.”

Andy adds: “I’ve happened to write and produce for three or four female singers in recent years and the songs on Alice’s album tell stories about all kinds of different fictional women,  good, happy, sad or bad.

“When I started working with Alice, I was stunned by her talents and charisma but I was also excited by her ability to ‘become’ the characters she sings about.  So, it was obvious that she would be the perfect musical partner in an album project that had been brewing for a while.

“Luckily she agreed and now it’s nearly ready. I hope people are going to be moved and entertained by Alice’s ‘other women’.”

All being well, that opportunity should come next month. In the meantime, watch her singing Slack Habits’ “absolute bangers”, ranging from rock and electric blues to smoky ballads, reggae and funk, from 9pm tomorrow (February 22) at the Old White Swan, Goodramgate, York.

REVIEW: Martin Dreyer’s verdict on Opera North’s hellish The Turn Of The Screw

A scene from Opera North’s The Turn Of The Screw. Picture: Tristram Kenton

REVIEW: Opera North in The Turn Of The Screw, Leeds Grand Theatre, February 18. Further performances on February 21, 25 and 27, then touring until March 19. Box office: 0844 848 2700 or at leedsgrandtheatre.com

PART of the fascination of any ghost story – and Henry James certainly intended The Turn Of The Screw to be one – is its dabbling with a world that we can never fully comprehend or understand.

We are frightened, as James was himself, by his own creation, by the horrors that our imaginations are led to conjure. The sky – or hell – is the limit.

Myfanwy Piper’s libretto retains most of James’s ambiguities, while Britten’s music wonderfully clarifies their existence but offers no definitive answers to the questions they pose.

We know of Britten’s own obsession with the corruption of innocence. We also have plenty of recent examples of the terrors that may befall children put into care, like Miles and Flora here. The question for a director of the opera is how unambiguous to be.

Alessandro Talevi’s production was certainly probing when it first appeared in the autumn of 2010. This time round, he opens up new possibilities: he hardly misses an opportunity to interpret and he has schooled all six of his cast into finely honed acting, without exception.

In Sarah Tynan’s Governess we have a minutely judged, sexually repressed ingénue: she is as surprised as we are by a lonely Mrs Grose’s fondling attentions. She is equally puzzled by Miles’s come-hither kiss, delivered just before he climbs into her bed: this boy may be in thrall to Quint, but is also prey to rampaging hormones.

So, which of these signals leads up an emotional cul-de-sac? Or are they merely figments of the governess’s fevered imagination? The fact that such questions need to be asked at all is a sure indication that Talevi knows exactly how to provoke.

He also views the tale from the children’s point of view. At one point, we are shown a Narnia-style, fairy-tale landscape – easily taken for a Victorian orangery stocked with exotic flowers – in which younger versions of Miles and Flora can be seen frolicking.

In Madeleine Boyd’s majestic set, Bly is a Victorian pile in need of more than a spring clean, with Quint glimpsed in the tower behind its tall, murky windows. The building itself is part of the oppression all its inmates feel, doubtless compelling them into aberration.

Her costumes are regulation late Victorian, shading into Edwardian, but her hair-styles are notable: the Pre-Raphaelite cast of Miss Jessel’s Titian tresses, Quint’s bright orange thatch and side-burns, Flora’s Alice-curls, all contrast firmly with the governess’s prim blonde bun.

The props are carefully selected too: a manic rocking-horse, a giant four-poster, from whose roof Flora dangles her puppets, a school desk, and a large horn above a turntable, on which Miles “plays” parody Mozart; all bask in Matthew Haskins’ shadow-laden lighting.

After an exceptionally clear prologue, Nicholas Watts fashions a menacing Quint, likely to cause many a nightmare, while Eleanor Dennis’s pregnant Miss Jessel finds an unearthly tone equally guaranteed to spook. Heather Shipp’s seemingly phlegmatic Mrs Grose flashes into emotion more than once. 

Tynan’s keenly-observed governess is a study in bafflement as she steadily loses her marbles to guilt and self-reproach. Jennifer Clark’s lively, mischievous Flora suggests someone much younger than she looked, while Tim Gasiorek’s well-tuned, light-voiced Miles acts his socks off.

All have reason to be grateful for the exceptional clarity with which Leo McFall’s orchestra paints their various motifs; one could hardly imagine their playing being more finely nuanced. Talevi’s revival may raise more questions than it answers, but it unquestionably held this audience in rapt appreciation.

Review by Martin Dreyer

York gig of the week? Stand up for Portico Quartet at The Crescent on Tuesday

Portico Quartet: The Crescent looms on Tuesday

PORTICO Quartet play a standing show at The Crescent, off Blossom Street, York, on Tuesday night.

Sending out echoes of jazz, electronica, ambient music and minimalism since forming in London in 2005, these Mercury Prize nominees have created their own singular, cinematic sound over the course of five studio albums and one EP.

In the line-up are Duncan Bellamy, drums and electronics; Milo Fitzpatrick, bass; Taz Modi, hang drums and keys, and Jack Wylie, saxophone.

Portico Quartet made their breakthrough with 2007’s Knee-Deep In The North Sea, followed by the John Leckie-produced Isla in 2010, the self-titled Portico Quartet in 2012 and Art In The Age Of Automation in August 2017, plus its companion EP, Untitled, in April 2018.

Each album has seen Bellamy, Fitzpatrick, Modi and Wylie expand their palette or explore new trajectories, a modus operandi continued with last October’s Memory Streams, released on Gondwana Records.

Ouroboros presents Portico Quartet at The Crescent, York, on Tuesday (February 25). Tickets cost £18.50 from The Crescent or Earworm Records, in Powells Yard, Goodramgate or at seetickets.com or more on the door from 7.30pm.

Destiny calling! James to headline Deer Shed Festival’s Saturday line-up on July 25

James, fronted by Tim Booth, centre, will play Deer Shed Festival this summer

JAMES will be the Saturday night headliners at July’s Deer Shed Festival at Baldersby Park, Topcliffe, near Thirsk.

The Manchester band, led by Boston Spa singer Tim Booth, will top the July 25 bill, following in the footsteps of Johnny Marr, Goldfrapp, John Grant and Richard Hawley.

Deer Shed Festival’s delighted director, Oliver Jones, says: “There’s no doubt James are one of the biggest bands we’ve ever booked for Deer Shed.

“Their back catalogue is astonishing, with track after track of excellent guitar anthems, and their most recent album [August 2018’s Living In Extraordinary Times] confirmed that they’re still at the absolute top of their game. I’m not sure we’ve ever had a band that can pack out Leeds First Direct Arena before.

“Curating a line-up of artists that we personally love every year is always a source of much pride for our team, and James now sit on top of what we think is both the best and most star-studded music bill we’ve ever put together.” 

Formed in 1982, James have charted with such singles as Sit Down, Destiny Calling, Laid, Sound, Born Of Frustration, Sometimes, Come Home, Tomorrow, She’s A Star, Just Like Fred Astaire and Getting Away With It (All Messed Up), as well as releasing 15 studio albums.

James, who headlined Scarborough Open Air Theatre in 2015 and 2018, join Stereolab, on July 24, and Baxter Dury, on July 26, to complete Deer Shed 11’s trio of main-stage headliners.

Meanwhile, the family-friendly festival’s latest additions, announced today, are The Soft Cavalry, the new project from Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell and her husband, Steve Clarke, on the Lodge Stage on July 25, before DIY supergroup Shopping take up the late-night party slot on the same stage.

French-Caribbean act Dowdelin, indie-rock band Marthagunn and Hullensian post-punk outfit Low Hummer all join Deer Shed’s In The Dock stage bill.  Elsewhere, David Thomas Broughton and Andrew Cushin strengthen the festival’s north eastern contingent, alongside Marsicans, Life and Ruthie. 

Manchester club night DJs Across The Tracks and Leeds DJ and production duo Baba&Ganoush join Happy Mondays’ Bez on the late-night silent disco line-up. 

Deer Shed’s tenth anniversary event last summer sold out with record audience numbers. Tickets for Deer Shed 11 are on sale at deershedfestival.com, where further festival information can be found too.

Kate Tempest: playing Deer Shed 11 on July 26

Deer Shed Festival 11’s confirmed acts:

James; Stereolab; Baxter Dury; Ghostpoet; Cate Le Bon; Kate Tempest (Telling Poems); Tim Burgess; The Twilight Sad; Warmduscher; Boy Azooga; Sinkane; Dream Wife; Roddy Woomble; Jesca Hoop; The Soft Cavalry; Snapped Ankles; Melt Yourself Down.

Liz Lawrence; LIFE; Marsicans; Erland Cooper; Dry Cleaning; Admiral Fallow; W.H. Lung; Ren Harvieu; Shopping; International Teachers of Pop; Avalanche Party; I See Rivers; Kitt Philippa; Rachael Dadd; Native Harrow; Kate Davis; Big Joanie; Do Nothing; Egyptian Blue; Rina Mushonga; Dowdelin; Friedberg; Heidi Talbot & Boo Hewerdine; Ruthie.

Serious Sam Barrett; Eve Owen; Low Hummer; Irish Mythen; Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band; Tom Joshua; Brigid Mae Power; David Thomas Broughton; Conchur White; Gary Stewart; Beccy Owen; Morrissey & Marshall present Dublin Calling; Steo Wall; The Magpies; Padraig Jack; Andrew Cushin; Bez (DJ); Rory Hoy (DJ); Meg Ward (DJ); Across The Tracks (DJ); Baba&Ganoush (DJ). 

What’s on the horizon at York’s National Centre for Early Music this spring?

Richard Durrant: cycling from concert to concert en route from Orkney to Sussex. York awaits on June 14

THE National Centre for Early Music’s 20th anniversary spring season in York opens not with the raising of a glass of champagne, but with a Cuppa & A Chorus.

Led by community musician Chris Bartram, the 2pm to 4pm session on February 24 is an opportunity to sing in a relaxed environment and enjoy a cup of tea, a slice of cake and a friendly chat.

Up to 50 singers attend each monthly gathering to sing “songs you know and love and explore new ones from around the world”, and further sessions of “Connecting Through Singing” will follow on March 30, April 20, May 18 and June 22. The charge is £3.50 each time; booking is recommended and more details can be found at ncem.co.uk/cuppachorus.

Helen Charlston: taking part in the University of York Song Day on February 29. Picture: Ben McKee

2020’s concert programme opens with the University of York Song Day, an afternoon and evening of three concerts under the title The Year of Song on Leap Year Saturday, February 29. The focus falls on romantic lieder in the 19th century company of Robert Schumann at 12.30pm; Robert and Clare Schumann at 3pm and their protégé Johannes Brahms, along with Robert, at 7pm.

Soprano Bethany Seympour, mezzo-soprano Helen Charlston, tenor Gwilym Bowen and fortepiano player Peter Seymour perform the first and last concerts; soprano Emily Tindall, bass Jonty Ward and fortepiano player Nicky Losseff, the middle one.

Silent Films At The NCEM return with Franz Osten’s 1928 epic Shiraz: A Romance Of India (cert U) on March 8 at 7.30pm, telling the story behind the creation of the Taj Mahal, screened in a BFI restoration with a score by Anoushka Shankar.

Acoustic Triangle: blurring the boundaries between classical, jazz music and the avant-garde on June 23

As part of the Yorkshire Silent Film Festival, running from May 5 to 17 with live music in village halls, theatres, cinemas and the NCEM, a double bill of Funny Business (U) at 4pm and The Woman  One Longs For (PG) at 7pm will be shown on May 10.

Jonny Best’s piano accompanies Laurel & Hardy and comedy’s greatest female clown, Mabel Normand, in Funny Business; Best is joined by violinist  Irine Rosnes for Curtis Bernhardt’s 1929’s German film, The Woman One Longs For, wherein Marlene Dietrich shines in her first starring role as a mysterious femme fatale in a steamy tale of erotic obsession.

Folk At The NCEM has two concerts to be presented in association with York’s Black Swan Folk Club: Urban Folk Quartet, supported by Stan Graham, on March 9 and Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman’s On Reflection show on April 22.

Jazz drummer Jeff Williams: in Bloom at the NCEM. Picture: Bob Hewson

Urban Folk Quartet’s high-energy, multi-instrumental virtuosos Joe Broughton, Paloma Trigas, Tom Chapman and Dan Walsh combine Celtic tunes and traditional song with Afrobeat, Indian classical, funk and rock.

2020 marks 25 years of husband-and-wife duo Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman making music together. To celebrate this anniversary, they take a whistle-stop tour through their past, revisiting and reinterpreting songs from the early days of folk supergroup Equation to latest album Personae, via a nod or two to their extra-curricular musical adventures.

Scottish traditional folk duo Aly Bain & Phil Cunningham, who have toured together since 1986, play on March 29 and folk guitarist, composer and ukulele player Richard Durrant returns to the NCEM on June 14 as part of his Music For Midsummer tour that will take him 860 miles by bicycle from Orkney to Sussex.

Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman: whistle-stop tour through 25 years of making folk music

On his fourth and longest Cycling Music adventure, travelling with his guitar and ukulele, he will be showcasing his new album Weald Barrows. “I’ll be cycling down from Orkney alone this year and this will, for me at least, introduce a magic and a concentration to the music,” says Durrant, whose 7.30pm concert will be featured in the York Festival of Ideas.

On May 25, the NCEM plays host to Youth Sampler Day from 11am to 4pm, a chance for 12 to 18-year-old musicians to play by ear, develop their creativity and discover more about the National Youth Folk Ensemble.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for young musicians to learn from inspiring professional musicians, with no experience of folk music necessary, and there’ll be opportunities to take part in a short audition for the ensemble too,” says NCEM director Delma Tomlin.

Antonio Forcione: return visit to the National Centre for Early Music

Jazz At The NCEM presents the returning Italian guitarist Antonio Forcione on April 26; legendary London and New York drummer Jeff Williams’ Bloom trio, featuring pianist Carmen Staaf and bass guitarist Michael Formanek, on May 17, and University of York Jazz Orchestra, directed by James Mainwaring, with composer John Low on piano,  in a May 29 programme spanning quasi-classical textures to full-on big band sounds.

The jazz line-up continues with innovative trumpet player and composer Byron Wallen’s Four Corners, with Rob Luft, on guitar, Paul Michael on bass and Rod Young on drums, on June 10, when they will be taking part in the York Music Forum Showcase too.

In a concert embraced by the York Festival of Ideas, Wallen will be putting his new album Portrait in the spotlight, conceived when sitting in the central square in Woolwich and being struck by the community around him with its mixture of ages and nationalities. Wallen last played at the NCEM last October as a member of Cleveland Watkiss’s band.

Trumpet player Byron Wallen: leading Four Corners at the NCEM. Picture: Urszula Tarasiewicz

Acoustic Triangle blur the boundaries between classical, jazz music and the avant-garde on their return to the NCEM on June 23 with their adventurous repertoire of compositions by band members Tim Garland (saxophone, bass clarinet) and Gwilym Simcock (piano), plus Kenny Wheeler, John Taylor, Bill Evans, Olivier Messiaen and Maurice Ravel. Double bassist Malcolm Creese completes their line-up.

World Sound At The NCEM welcomes more returnees, Scottish combo Moishe’s Bagel, on March 27 with their cutting-edge, intoxicating, life-affirming Eastern European and Middle Eastern folk and klezmer music.

Everything stops for tea at 7.30pm on June 9 in the second World Sound event, Manasamitra’s Tea Houses: Camellia Sinensis, a show that tells the story of tea as new live music mixes with lighting and soundscapes, participatory tea rituals and ambisonic technology that captures the audience’s emotional responses in the performance space.

Teatime at the NCEM in Manasamitra’s Tea Houses: Camellia Sinensis

Creator Supriya Nagarajan uses her experience of synaesthesia to explore the interplay between sight, sound, taste and smell in a multi-media show that directly engages the 7.30pm audience in a musical interpretation of a tea ceremony that now forms part of the York Festival of Ideas.

Early Music At The NCEM has two highlights: the Early Music Day on March 21 and the University of York Baroque Day on May 2.

Three concerts in one day make up the Early Music Day, featuring harpsichordist playing JS Bach’s 48 Preludes & Fugues Part 1 at 1pm at the NCEM; recorder ensemble Palisander, with the NCEM’s Minster Minstrels, presenting Double, Double Toil And Trouble at 3.30pm at the Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate, and The Brabant Ensemble’s Cloistered Voices at 6pm at the NCEM. Previously known as the European Day of Music, the Early Music Day will be streamed across Europe.

Trumpet player Crispian Steele Perkins: performing at the University of York Baroque Day

The University of York Baroque Day is likewise divided into three concerts, taking the theme of Airs and Graces: A Musical Miscellany. At 12.30pm, trumpeter Crispian Steele Perkins joins Yorkshire Baroque Soloists for theatre music by Purcell and a flamboyant arrangement of Vivaldi’s La Follia; at 3pm, harpsichordist Masumi Yamamoto plays works by Handel, Scarlatti and Aime; the University Baroque Ensemble rounds off the day at 7pm with Scottish airs arranged by James Oswald and Geminiani.

Families At The NCEM brings Leeds company Opera North to York for 11.30am and 2pm performances of Dr Seuss’s Green Ham And Eggs in an introduction to opera for four to seven-year-old children and their families.

Two opera singers and a nine-piece orchestra begin their short performance with an interactive workshop introducing families to the music, instruments and themes within the piece, before they bring to musical life Dr Seuss’s tale of the persistent Sam-I-Am’s mission to persuade a grumpy grouch to try a delicious plate of green eggs and ham.

Sam Sweeney: playing the NCEM in the autumn

Looking ahead to the autumn, concerts in the NCEM diary already are folk trio Faustus (Benji Kirkpatrick, Saul Rose, Paul Sartin) on October 13; Chiaroscuro Quartet’s Mozart String Quartets, November 18; Unearth Repeat, with Sam Sweeney, Jack Rutter, Louis Campbell and Ben Nicholls, November 23, and Lady Maisery: Awake Arise, A Christmas Show For Our Times, with Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith, December 18.

In this 20th anniversary year, “this spring we are undertaking an essential refurbishment programme, in part to upgrade some of the facilities that are showing the strain of so much usage,” says Delma, as new loos and a kitchen take shape.

“We’ll be celebrating the anniversary fully in the autumn, especially with a commission that will engage Early music with digital technology and field recordings from Askham Bog. Yorkshire Wildlife Trust will be involved, as will gamba player Liam Byrne this autumn.”

Tickets for the NCEM spring season are on sale on 01904 658338 and at ncem.co.uk.

George Thorogood’s Good To Be Bad tour is looking good for York Barbican in July

George Thorogood: Good To Be Bad tour date at York Barbican

GEORGE Thorogood & The Destroyers will play York Barbican on July 22 on their Good To Be Bad: 45 Years Of Rock tour, their first in more than seven years.

“Ever since our first shows there in 1978, the UK has been one of our favourite places to play,” says boogie-blues guitarist Thorogood, from Wilmington, Delaware, who will turn 70 on February 24.

“We’re talking great venues, great energy and truly great audiences, and we’re looking forward to coming back for it all. Expect our best, because that’s what you’re gonna get.”

Since 1975, Thorogood & The Destroyers have sold more than 15 million albums and played more than 8,000 ferocious live shows, built around Who Do You Love, I Drink Alone, One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer, Move It On Over and his definitive badass anthem, Bad To The Bone.

“To hear George Thorogood flail his slide up and down his guitar,” wrote Greil Marcus in Rolling Stone magazine, “you might have thought he was Ben Franklin – that he’d discovered not the blues, but electricity.” 

In the Destroyers’ line-up alongside Thorogood will be Jeff Simon on percussion, Bill Blough on bass, Jim Suhler on guitar and Buddy Leach on saxophone.”

Tickets can be booked from Friday (February 21) at 10am on 0203 356 5441, at yorkbarbican.co.uk or in person from the Barbican box office.

Alfie Boe to climax Armed Forces Day with Scarborough Open Air Theatre concert

Alfie Boe: performing at Scarborough Open Air Theatre for a fourth time

CHART-TOPPING tenor Alfie Boe will bring Armed Forces Day to a climax on June 27 with a 6pm concert at Scarborough Open Air Theatre.

The East Coast resort has the honour of hosting this year’s Armed Forces Day National Event that day.

Around 200,000 people, including members of the Royal Family and prominent politicians, are expected to head to Scarborough for a series of events to honour the dedication and sacrifice of the nation’s servicemen and women.

Boe says: “It is an amazing honour, as well as a huge thrill, for me to be back at this wonderful venue to perform on Armed Forces Day.

“I’ve played there many times and I’ve always received such a warm welcome from the good people of Yorkshire. The fact I will be performing as part of Scarborough’s hosting of Armed Forces Day’s National Event will make it even more special. I cannot wait for June 27; it will be an amazing evening.”

Mezzo-soprano Laura Wright, who has performed at major events around the world, will be among those to join Boe on stage.

Boe, who has starred in stellar productions of Les Misérables and La Bohème, will be appearing at Scarborough OAT for the fourth time. He headlined Armed Forces Day concerts there in 2015 and 2018 and performed alongside his friend and collaborator in song, Michael Ball, in 2017.

He and Ball will next sing in Yorkshire at Leeds First Direct Arena on February 25. On his return in June, he will combine familiar favourites with selections from last November’s celebration of songs of the 1930s and 1940s, As Time Goes By, his first solo record since 2015.

Mezzo-soprano Laura Wright: joining Alfie Boe at the Armed Forces Day concert

Recorded with Grammy award winner Gordon Goodwin and his Big Phat Band, the album journeyed through the defining songs of that golden era, from the full force of Sing Sing Sing to the smooth The Way You Look Tonight and title track.

Laura Wright, who topped the classical album chart with her debut, The Last Rose, is writing and recording her seventh album. At 24, she composed the Invictus Games anthem, Invincible, for Prince Harry and two years later wrote Heroes, the first official anthem for England Women’s Cricket, and then Brave for the Military Wives.

She became the first ever official singer of the England Rugby Union team and has sung at the Rugby Union World Cup, the NFL series, the Grand National at Aintree, Royal Ascot and the FA Cup Final. 

Looking forward to presenting Boe on June 27, Peter Taylor, director of Scarborough OAT concert promoters Cuffe and Taylor, says: “Alfie is massively popular and is someone we are asked to bring back every year, so we are delighted to be welcoming him back to Scarborough OAT this summer.

“June 27 will be an extra-special night as the nation’s focus will be on Scarborough. It is such an honour to host the Armed Forces Day National Event and so we really could not think of anyone better to headline this concert than Alfie, who will be joined by the wonderful Laura Wright.

“It will undoubtedly be an incredibly moving and special concert and, we feel, the perfect climax to a day that celebrates the dedication and sacrifice of our Armed Forces.”

Stuart Clark, Scarborough OAT venue manager and event manager for the Armed Forces Day National Event, says: “Alfie Boe is a firm favourite here and we are delighted to welcome him back in 2020. His show will be a highlight of the prestigious Armed Forces Day National Event in Scarborough and a wonderful musical celebration dedicated to our Armed Forces.”

Tickets will go on general sale on Friday (February 21) at 9am at scarboroughopenairtheatre.com; on 01723 818111 and 01723 383636, or in person from the Scarborough OAT box office, in Burniston Road, or the Discover Yorkshire Coast Tourism Bureau, at Scarborough Town Hall, St Nicholas Street.

For more information and a full list of Armed Forces Day 2020 events in Scarborough, go to scarborougharmedforcesday.co.uk.

Alfie Boe: lighting up Scarborough Open Air Theatre on June 27

SCARBOROUGH OPEN AIR THEATRE’s 2020 LINE-UP

Tuesday, June 9, Lionel Richie

Wednesday, June 17, Westlife

Saturday, June 20, Supergrass

Saturday, June 27, Alfie Boe 

Saturday, July 4,Snow Patrol

Friday, July 10,Mixtape, starring Marc Almond, Heaven 17 and Living In A Box featuring Kenny Thomas

Friday, July 17, Keane

Tuesday, July 21,  Little Mix

Friday, August 14,McFly

Saturday, August 15, Louis Tomlinson

More artists are to be announced.