Folk Dancing with an Exotic Touch

400 Roses Folk Dancing

Folk festivals bring out a growing diversity of dancing teams and styles and none are more exotic than the Four Hundred Roses.
‘Four Hundred Roses’ is a group of belly dancers from Leeds, Bradford, Keighley, their current base. They have been around for 7 years and it probably took that long to make all the dresses and collect 400 roses. Their form of folk dancing combines UK folk music and dance with Tribal style bellydance. This creates a feel of an ethnic dance form without belonging to any real-world ethnic grouping.

The unique UK Tribal music is created in Hebden Bridge renown for its arts and music. Stephen Wood (aka “Woody”) creates a fusion of Arabic rhythms and traditional UK instruments and tunes. There may be some assistance from the latest computer technology and musicians on the street during outdoor performances. Four Hundred Roses were lucky to be granted funding by the Arts Council and are now bringing a touch of the exotic dancing to Yorkshire.

400 Roses Folk Dancing

This Folk Dancing with an Exotic Touch has some origins in the USA but it is not hard to see the Armenian or Arabic influences nor those of Yorkshires own Morris dancing.
If you are quick you may catch them at the Masham sheep fair or Sowerby Rushbearing. We saw them perform at the 21st Otley folk festival which accounts for the Maypole growing out of one of the dancers heads in the photograph above.

Should you wish to join in or find out more look on the 400 roses web site. Rather confusingly I have found a second web site for 400 roses so may be their are 400 red and 400 white roses of our county and that other one over the hills.

The Grand Steve Earl

Book Cover

Leeds Grand Theater is hosting a Steve Earl concert on Tuesday 3rd November 2009 and it sounds as though it will be a great event. After an outstanding performance at The End of the Road Festival this last weekend Steve is continuing his tour with songs penned by his late friend and song writer Townes Van Zandt. Mixing songs from the album ‘Townes’ with some of Steve’s more raunchy rock numbers worked at the festival and we can expect more of the same when he comes to ‘The Grand’.

Buy ‘Townes’ which ‘is essentially a country album and if you know Steve Earle’s other stuff don’t expect too much rock but do expect some great ballads – there are no duff songs here’ according to Pete Williams, record reviewer. Steve has a reputation for his political views, trouble with the law, drug addiction and his uncompromising viewpoints, so a bit like other Country stars from the old mould then!

If you miss Steve Earl at the Leeds Grand he moves on to the Barbican in London and you could catch him there but I recommend you get your Leeds ticket now. See you at The Grand.

Book Cover Other Steve Earl recordings from Amazon

Hurry, York Art Gallery Closes Until 2015


York has lots to offer the resident, day trippers or tourists. It is easy to take facilities for granted and not make use of them when they are free and available particularly when there is so much choice.
Beware one such choice will be lost when York Art Gallery in Exhibition Square closes at the end of 2012 for a major redevelopment.

Hurry Down to Art & Music

The last major exhibition will be ‘Art & Music’ the display that brings together the humanities of visual art and it’s historic relationships to the symbolism of music.
See Bridget Riley, LS Lowry and contemporary works before the enforced shut down.
The Art Gallery is free to visit and is part of the York Museums Trust. The Trust is an independent charitable trust which manages York Castle Museum, Yorkshire Museum and Gardens, York Art Gallery and York St Mary’s.
The Friends of York Art Gallery have around 600 members, and are keen to increase this number. They say ‘You’ll find our membership subscription simple and great value for money!’

Redevelopments Can Take Longer Than Anticipated

York has a tradition of reinventing spaces and bringing them into modern, current day use.
On a project that will last until at least Easter 2015 refurbishment and redevelopment will take place after the gallery closes at 2pm on 31st December 2012.
The Little Gallery is currently explaining the plans that include opening up hidden spaces and increasing display areas.This involves creating a new first-floor gallery in the space above the Main Gallery and expanding into the rooms next door.
The City Archives will be moving to new premises in Explore at the City Library.
Two of the new galleries will showcase the internationally significant collections of British studio ceramics.
The garden space at the back of the gallery is likely to become the new entrance as efforts are focused on making the new facility even more visitor friendly.

You do not need an excuse to visit York but if you wish to see the Art Gallery in it’s current pomp then hurry on down soon.
See our other articles on ‘Contemporary Art from New School House Gallery York’ and ‘Quilts Museum and Gallery for Quilters’.

Room at The Top for Billy Liar

Two of the greatest kitchen sink films were filmed in Yorkshire!

1. Room at The Top starred Laurence Harvey, Donald Wolfit, Simone Signoret and Heather Sears in the 1959 film of John Braine’s novel of lust and sex.
Set in fictional Warnley, Joe Lampton is set on making something of himself with the daughter of a rich industrialist.
Joe Lampton rises swiftly from the petty bureaucracy of local government into the unfamiliar world of inherited wealth, fast cars and glamorous women until he falls for a married woman, Alice Aisgil.
The film was shot in Bradford and made use of the industrial heritage in the local buildings and the pubs in the city centre.

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DVD or Paperback Book from Amazon.

2. Billy Liar starred Tom Courtney, Julie Christe, Rodney Bewes and Wilfed Pickles in the seminal 1962 film set in a North Country industrial town.
Working in a drab undertakers called Shadrack & Duxbury, Billy Liar escapes, Walter Mitty like, into a world of fantasy. Keith Waterhouse’s 1957 tale tells the story of Billy Fisher a teenager anti-hero who is unable to stop lying especially to his girl friends.
The film was shot on Bradford most notably using the Victorian cemetery at Undercliffe and the city’s war memorial.

Kindle Edition

Keith Waterhouse was born in Leeds in 1929 and died 2009
John Braine was born in Bradford in 1922, worked in Bingley and died in 1986

Other films with a similar appeal include A Place in the Sun, Look Back in Anger, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, and A Taste of Honey. Regrettably they have less obvious Yorkshire connections. They were created by group of young British writers were referred to as “angry young men”. They focused on their view that society was dominated by materialistic values (seems familiar).

Ampleforth Church, Abbey and Stained Glass

Ampleforth Abbey & Church
Ampleforth village is home to an abbey, college, school and the parish church.
The Saxon church of St Hilda at Ampleforth is believed to contain Medieval stained glass windows. Certainly the C.of E. church dates back to 1390 although the stained glass is said by some to be of a more modern design.

Ampleforth Gnadenstuhl

The Benedictine monastery or abbey and its church of Our Lady and St Laurence contains modern stained glass created by Patrick Reyntiens a former pupil of the catholic school.
‘The Lady Chapel is now a very intimate, reflective place in contrast to the Abbey Church which has very plain windows.’ see more from Christina White and the Catholic Herald

The Lamb is our Light

Reyntiens Family – Stained Glass Artists

Patrick Reyntiens is a former pupil of Ampleforth College. Patrick is a worldwide figure known for hand-painted stained glass that he has been designing and making work for over 50 years.
He is renown for his work in Churches and Cathedrals in the UK and Internationally. This includes the Baptistery Window of Coventry Cathedral where he collaborated with John Piper. His other famous works include windows at Liverpool’s Catholic Cathedral of Christ the King.
For Ampleforth he designed the new windows with his son, John, also an accomplished stained glass craftsman.
John Reyntiens designed and replaced many of the windows at St George’s Chapel Windsor after the destructive fire of 1992.

Stained Glass Windows

Ampleforth Abbey is only 1 mile away from the village. You can discover the Abbey as visitors are encouraged to attend church services or visit the grounds, lakes and woodlands. In these modern times there is now tea rooms, a shop and a visitors centre. You can even play a round of golf on the Monks course.

Our Lady and St Benedict’s church is served by the monks of Ampleforth and has been the parish church for the village’s Catholic population for many decades, often being considered a chapel-of-ease to the farmers of the area. Attached to the Roman Catholic parish is the co-educational primary school, St Benedict’s, which is run by the Diocese of Middlesbrough.

The Church of England parish church is dedicated to St Hilda, an English abbess who founded Whitby Abbey. The church dates back to Saxon times, with elements from the 13th century. Attached to the church is a primary school run jointly by the Church of England and the North Yorkshire County Council Education service.

Ampleforth Abbey & Church by Lawrence OP Completed in 1898, the Benedictine monastery of Ampleforth with its church which dates to 1925.
“Let the oratory be what it is called, a place of prayer;
and let nothing else be done there or kept there.
When the Work of God is ended,
let all go out in perfect silence,
and let reverence for God be observed…”
– from the Rule of St Benedict.
Ampleforth Gnadenstuhl also by Lawrence OP
The Lamb is our Light by Lawrence OP all CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Stained Glass Windows by Jo Jakeman CC BY 2.0

Patricia Rogers’ weblog on Stained Glass

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A Stained-glass Christmas by Patrick Reyntiens tells the Christmas story illustrated with a collection of stained-glass images dating from the 12th to 15th centuries. Each is reproduced as an acetate window which can be used as a christmas decoration.

From Hull and Halifax and Hell

The traditional song of a Dalesman forced to flee to industrial towns the ‘three ridings round’.

The Dalesman’s Litany – Tim Hart & Maddy Prior

Maddy Prior is one of folk music’s heroes and still tours with The Carnival Band in a pre Christmas show featuring carols and seasonal music. Well worth looking out for a performance in Hull, Halifax or other local venues.
Maddy with Tim Hart and Ashley Hutchings were original members of the highly successful folk-rock band Steeleye Span. Sadly Tim Hart Died at the age of 61 in 2009.

The Dalesman’s Litany is a poem written around 1900. It is one of the best known works of Frederick William Moorman.
Moorman was a professor of English at Leeds University and compiled several books of traditional Yorkshire stories and poems and scholarly works such as The Place-Names of the West Riding of Yorkshire.
Sadly Moorman drowned in 1920 at the age of 46. He was succeeded at Leeds by J. R. R. Tolkien. Much of his poetry is available on Poetry Cat including A Song Of the Yorkshire Dales.

The Dalesman’s Litany

It’s hard when fowks can’t finnd their wark
Wheer they’ve bin bred an’ born;
When I were young I awlus thowt
I’d bide ‘mong t’ roots an’ corn.
But I’ve bin forced to work i’ towns,
So here’s my litany:
Frae Hull, an’ Halifax, an’ Hell,
Gooid Lord, deliver me!

When I were courtin’ Mary Ann,
T’ owd squire, he says one day:
“I’ve got no bield for wedded fowks;
Choose, wilt ta wed or stay?”
I couldn’t gie up t’ lass I loved,
To t’ town we had to flee:
Frae Hull, an’ Halifax, an’ Hell,
Gooid Lord, deliver me!

I’ve wrowt i’ Leeds an’ Huthersfel’,
An’ addled honest brass;
I’ Bradforth, Keighley, Rotherham,
I’ve kept my barns an’ lass.
I’ve travelled all three Ridin’s round,
And once I went to sea:
Frae forges, mills, an’ coalin’ boats,
Gooid Lord, deliver me!

I’ve walked at neet through Sheffield loans,
‘T were same as bein’ i’ Hell:
Furnaces thrast out tongues o’ fire,
An’ roared like t’ wind on t’ fell.
I’ve sammed up coals i’ Barnsley pits,
Wi’ muck up to my knee:
Frae Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham,
Gooid Lord, deliver me!

I’ve seen grey fog creep ower Leeds Brig
As thick as bastile soup;
I’ve lived wheer fowks were stowed away
Like rabbits in a coop.
I’ve watched snow float down Bradforth Beck
As black as ebiny:
Frae Hunslet, Holbeck, Wibsey Slack,
Gooid Lord, deliver me!

But now, when all wer childer’s fligged,
To t’ coontry we’ve coom back.
There’s fotty mile o’ heathery moor
Twix’ us an’ t’ coal-pit slack.
And when I sit ower t’ fire at neet,
I laugh an’ shout wi’ glee:
Frae Bradforth, Leeds, an Huthersfel’,
Frae Hull, an’ Halifax, an’ Hell,
T’ gooid Lord’s delivered me!

Song for The Yorkshire Born and Bred

Here is a rollicking good tune with evocative words for those unfortunate expats who are reluctantly separated from God’s Own County.

Yorkshire born and bred, words and music by Steve Saville.

1985 seems like yesterday but ‘Yorkshire born and bred’ was written 27 years ago by Steve Saville. The words and music are copyright 1985 and we are pleased to thank Steve and You Tube for access.
This Brass Band performance is going strong in a new century and lets hope that we can still say that in another 88 years.

You can’t please all of the people all of the time.
There are some folk you probably never get to please – these are a couple of YouTube comments on ‘Yorkshire born and bred’ :-
‘Brilliant. From Yorkshireman living in Texas. Chuffin Brilliant.’

Prial of Great Yorkshire Actresses

Lovely Judi

Dame Judi Dench, CH, DBE, FRSA

Judith Olivia Dench was born in York in 1934 (sorry to give away a Ladies age!)
Is she Lady Macbeth, M or Queen Victoria? Well that depends on how she is cast as all challenges seem to accepted and dealt with. Versatile and hardworking should be her middle names.
In 1989, she was cast as Pru Forrest, the long-time silent wife of Tom Forrest, in the BBC soap opera The Archers on its 10,000th edition. A strange role for the lead in the west-end musical Cabaret and a member of the RSC.
Her TV comedy As Time Goes By is regularly repeated on TV as a tribute to Judi’s timeless appeal that is enhanced by her more recent role in Cranford.
Iris, the film in which she took the lead role of Iris Murdoch is my personal favourite from a large list of film credits, closely followed by The Last of the Blonde Bombshells.

Book Cover

Stephanie Turner

Fascinated from the age of 10 by visits to the pantomime at the Alhambra Bradford, Stephanie was always intent on becoming an actress (‘Oh! no she wasn’t’ ‘Oh! yes she was’).
Best known for her appearances on TV as Inspector Jean Darblay in the police series Juliet Bravo which won her BBC personality of the year. Stephanie Turner also featured in other cop shows including The Sweeney, A Touch of Frost and Z Cars.
Stephanie has played leading roles in most repertory companies and worked closely with Alan Ayckbourn. She played Terry in ‘How the Other Half Loves’, Blanche in ‘Streetcar Named Desire’ and the lead in the west-end ‘Say Goodnight to Grandma’ back in 1973.

Happy Days (In Performance)

Billie Whitelaw CBE

Arriving in Bradford during the war Billie had to over come her stutter through amateur theatricals. (Working at Busbys department store also helped).
It was at Bradford Playhouse, run at the time by J B Priestley and Esme Church, that she was spotted by the BBC. She featured in the TV dramatisation of The Secret Garden back in 1950 and has numerous film credits to her name.
She won a BFA award for her portrayal of a disgruntled ex-wife in Albert Finney’s Charlie Bubbles. Billie Whitelaw’s next screen assignment was as the smothering “monster mommy” of vicious mob leaders in The Krays and the ill fated nanny in The Omen.
As a stage actress, Billie Whitelaw was acclaimed for performances in Samuel Beckett plays with whom she worked for 25 years.

Photo and other Credits
Lovely Judi by lewishamdreamer CC BY-NC 2.0
Happy Days (In Performance) by BBC Radio 4 CC BY-NC 2.0 ‘Happy Days (In Performance)
06/07/1979 © BBC
Picture shows – Billie Whitelaw who stars as Winnie, buried to her waist in a sandy mound, struggling to get through her day, in ‘Happy Days’, Samuel Becketts classic of modern theatre. This television presentation, specially produced for ‘In Performance’ can be seen on BBC2, Saturday October 1979.

A prial is a term for three of a kind. Here are 3 different actresses that are each great in their own way, with links to Yorkshire God’s Own County.

Gareth Gates Doin’ the Manch

Dartford festival programme

Welcome to Loserville the new musical at the West Yorkshire playhouse. According to the Yorkshire Post it is “Grease for the 21st Century!”
It is set in 1971 and is a boy meets (or more accurately wants to meet) girl but their are 4 of them in this musical triangle.
Gareth Gates, Bradford lad made pop idol, stars along with Lil’ Chris from Rock School and Charlotte Harwood from Legally Blonde.

Unfortunately and despite coming from Bradford Gareth is unlikely to sing ‘Doin’ the Manch’ which is a Keith Marsden – Cockersdale song about the Bradford pubs up Manchester Road out and back into the city centre.
Listen to Cockerdale and read more on Doin’ the Manch

Book Cover
Go Your Own Way (Double CD) by Gareth Gates

Pic Credit
Dartford festival programme by Abi Skipp CC BY 2.0

Yorkshire 3 – Saw Doctors 1

Saw Doctors - Boston House of Blues

The Saw Doctors that great live band were in Yorkshire at the inaugural Kilnsey rock fest. They have 3 more dates in 2012 including Holmefirth Picturedrome and York Opera House.

Holmefirth Picturedrome
With such a remarkable intimate venue and outstanding sound system, The Picturedrome is a perfect place to see your favourite artists up-close and personal. It has a built in stage, a sizable dance floor and a state-of-the-art sound system. The stage is well lit with spot lights which creates a perfect atmosphere as all Saw Doctors fans will know.

Other Yorkshire Dates 2012

Sat 7th Jul Garforth Arts Festival:
Saw Doctors + Nitin Sawhney + Shlomo & The Lip Factory + Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers + Mzuvele High School Choir + Garforth Jazz Rock Band (GJRB) + Phoenix Dance Theatre + Gary Stewart + A.M.P. + Garforth Academy Singers

Thu 9th Aug Saw Doctors Holmfirth Picturedrome

Tue 27th Nov Saw Doctors Grand Opera House York

Royal Hall Harrogate

Restored to its original magnificence and now a glittering jewel in Harrogate’s crown, this 1000 seat concert hall has to be the ultimate backdrop as the “Palace of Glittering Gold”. Turning up for the Saw Doctors some of the audience told me ‘they didn’t expect to be in a seated concert venue for this band but as soon as the first tune, Macnas Parade, started they were dancing and swaying down at the front of the stage like all good Saw Doctors concerts.

Folk-rock band Levellers who release their tenth studio album, Static On The Airwaves, on 25 June 2012 will appear at Harrogate on 29th September 2012

The Saw Doctors

Out of many great tunes I have selected I Useta Lov’er Once

I have fallen for another she can make her own way home
And even if she asked me now i’d let her go alone
I useta see her up the chapel when she went to sunday mass
And when she’d go to receive, i’d kneel down there
And watch her pass
The glory of her ass
I useta to love her, I useta love her once
A long, long time ago
I useta to love her, I useta love her once
A long long time ago
It’s gone , all my lovin’ is gone
It’s gone , all my lovin’ is gone
D’you remember her collecting for concern on christmas eve
She was on a forty eight hour fast just water and black tea
I walked right up and made an ostentatious
And I winked at her to tell her i’d seduce her in the future
When she’s feelin looser
So now you know the truth of it she’s no longer my obsession
Though the thoughts and dreams I had of her would take six months in confession
See I met this young one thursday night and she’s inta free expression
And her mission is to rid the world of this sinful repression
Then we had a session
It’s gone , long , long gone
I have fallen for another and she can make her own way home

Copyright: p.cunniffe/d.carton/l.moran/p.stevens

Saw Doctors – Boston House of Blues by streamingmeemee (Tim Carter), CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
CIMG7891 by mary_mac_82 CC BY-NC-ND 2.0