Johnny Handle

Johnny Handle has been performing since 1953. He plays piano, banjo, bass, guitar, trumpet, Northumbrian pipes and Accordion. Moving from jazz and
popular music to folk in 1958 he founded the first folk song club on Tyneside, and has an interest in local material ever since. His research into North East
collections has enabled him to revive many old songs and inspired him to compose new ones. With the Piano Accordion as his main instrument, he has
encouraged many younger performers, who perform his tunes and songs.
He was a member of the High Level Ranters folk band from 1964, playing at venues throughout Britain, Europe, America and Australia.
With numerous CDs, and Radio and TV broadcasts to his credit, Johnny has gained a reputation as an outstanding entertainer, with his talented playing,
songs, recitations and patter. He has done much work in schools, passing on songs and dances to the next generation. The FARNE website has been brought
about due to his wide ranging study of North East Archives.

Janet Russell

Janet Russell first made a name for herself on the folk circuit in the ‘80’s as a young singer songwriter writing with hard-edged humour about issues affecting women. Her “Secretary’s Song” was the most requested song on “Folk on 2” in 1987/8.

Janet toured with Christine Kydd in the 80s and 90s, nationally and in Europe and the US. She worked with Sisters Unlimited (Sandra Kerr, Peta Webb, and Rosie Davis) from the 1990s until 2018. Continuing to perform solo, she also became a well respected harmony workshop and community choir leader. With Jim Woodland, her long term partner and father of her two sons, she has worked for Mikron Theatre, and with such national treasurers as Leon Rosselson, Robb Johnson, Frankie Armstrong, Reem Kelani, Sandra Kerr, Peggy Seeger and the much missed Roy Bailey in the Anti Capitalist Roadshow. Janet also formed a quartet with Frances Watt, Rosie Davis, and Kerry Fletcher which specialized in singing for dancing and made one album in 2013 called “doodle i doe”.

It must be more than 20 years since Janet’s first booking at Whitby Folk Week, and although we can’t be in the same room together this year, it is an honour and a pleasure to be invited to participate in Whitby@home this year.

Jim Woodland

Hit & Run Street Theatre in the 1980’s, Punk Band Red Rinse in the 90’s, Fabulous Salami Brothers, Songwriter for Mikron Theatre and Blaize for 20 years, performing solo, and with the Anti-Capitalist Roadshow. Political, social, emotional songs and plays. Watch this space. New Album, ‘The Best of Times’, downloadable on Band Camp, or email Jim directly at jimwoodland30@gmail

Ian Russell

Seven of the Best!

Awake, Arise, Good Christians!
Hark, Hark! Hark, Hark!
Old Foster      
Jacob’s Well
Joy to the World
Rolling Downwards

Carols in August! Join us for a virtual workshop in which you can be accompanied by whatever you fancy.

Here’s the chance to sing/play your heart out and no-one to mind. The carols are for all voices/instruments, whether or not you can read music.

We’ll be sharing seven of the best-liked carols from South Yorkshire and Derbyshire. All the carols will be taken from either The Sheffield Book of Village Carols or The Derbyshire Book of Village Carols. The words to the carols will be on the screen:

If you need the music, please let me know in advance when booking. There is a request for a donation of £2.00.

Whether you’re on your own, in a twosome, with the family, in a bubble, or part of a ‘wandering circus’, this is just the place to be.

So stoke up the fire, decant the wine, un-jug the beer, mash the tea, brew the coffee and join us in chorus! Let’s be transported to a very special time of music and celebration!


Melrose Quartet

Whitby Folk Week patrons Melrose Quartet are Nancy Kerr, James Fagan, Jess & Richard Arrowsmith. Their rich repertoire combines traditional songs and tunes with more recent material that merges seamlessly into the folk canon. They deliver a capella and accompanied song in their strong and inimitable style, alongside dance-informed instrumental sets that both define and re-invigorate social dance rhythms from Britain and beyond. Bouzouki, box, two fiddles and four voices in sublime conjunction.

Martyn Wyndham-Read

Martyn Wyndham-Read has been involved with folk music for over fifty five years.
In his late teens he left his mother’s farm in Sussex, England and headed off, with his guitar, to Australia where he worked on a sheep and cattle station, Emu Springs, in South Australia. It was while he was there that he first heard the old songs sung by some of the station hands and became captivated by the character and atmosphere of these songs and the need to know more of them and where they came from. He headed off to Melbourne and became part of the folk song revival there and throughout Australia during the early 1960’s.
Back to England in 1967 where he met up with the renowned singer and song collector Bert Lloyd, made some albums with him,who himself had spent time in Australia, also started recording for Bill Leader and later with Fellside Recordings he now has his own label Wynding Road Music.
During the Lockdown Martyn has been putting up a song video a week under the title of Songs from The Settle, these are on his Martyn Wyndham-Read Youtube Channel.

The Wilsons

The formidable five Wilson Brothers, Tom, Chris, Steve, Ken & Mike are the accepted benchmark for powerhouse unaccompanied singing. Tom, Chris and Steve celebrated 40 continuous years of singing together during 2015, Ken and Mike joining them in the late 1970’s:

Sting has recently said of them: “They have a family sound and a natural, bone-deep understanding of music and harmony. And it’s quite something.”

Their influences have said of them:

“There`s a musical honesty about them that links past and present together. They are among the people who go about singing traditional songs that move me – which I really love, because that’s what I try to do. But what appeals to me about them, apart from their musical skill, is their honesty. They are what they are and do what they do and say what they say and it’s very direct and I love that. Theyre not pretenders.” – Dick Gaughan

“The Northern Wilsonia – a vocal orchestra!” – Peter Bellamy

“They have synthesised the qualities of all their major influences, which sets them apart as one of the foremost harmony groups entertaining folk audiences today”- Roy Harris

“Singing with the Wilson Family makes life a whole lot easier” – Louis Killen

Pete Morton

Pete Morton began his musical journey after he came across a Buffy St Marie record. It was from that moment on he decided to become a folk singer. Discovering the songs of the early sixties protest movement, it inspired him to write and take his songs to folk clubs and beyond.

For thirty years, Pete has been performing to audiences all over the world. Throughout that time he has been regarded as one of the best on the contemporary roots music scene. His latest album ‘A Golden Thread’ has received rave reviews with eight self penned songs, a Pete Seeger classic ‘Oh Had I A Golden Thread’, and versions of the traditional gems ‘Barbry Allen’ and ‘The Farmers Boy’.

Often referred to as an old time troubadour, he has a compelling stage presence and approachable style that delivers an unruly mix of humanism, politics, love, social commentary and humour, all wrapping their way around the folk tradition.

Sandra Kerr

Sandra Kerr has been described as having ‘a long and distinguished career’ in Folk music. Trained by MacColl and Seeger in the controversial Critics Group, co- writer of the music for the much-loved cult TV series, Bagpuss, multi- instrumentalist, choir director, long time member of Sisters Unlimited, and much respected lecturer and tutor on the Newcastle degree course in Folk and Traditional Music, Sandra was recently awarded their highest accolade by EFDSS – the gold badge for ‘outstanding and unique contribution to the art of folk song.’

Jim Mageean & Graeme Knights

Jim has been running the Shanty Sessions at Whitby Folk Week for nearly 50 years since first visiting the Festival in 1973. Having moved all around the town the sessions have found their home in The Endeavour on Church Street where they serve great beer and welcome everyone. Ably assisted by Graeme Knights the sessions run on a ‘come all ye’ basis where everyone gets a song (maritime of course) and the aim is to raise as much as possible towards the Whitby Lifeboat over the course of the week by voluntary donations, raffles etc. Over £30,000 has been raised in the last few years by session regulars and we hope the good work will continue this year. With ‘Outward Bounders’ at the beginning and ‘Homeward Bounders’ at the end of the week the theme changes daily as do the ‘surprise guests’. Come and join Jim and Graeme for a pint and a shanty or two and help raise money for a very deserving cause.

John Kirkpatrick

John joined The Hammersmith Morris Men as a twelve-year-old in 1959, and has been dancing, singing, and playing his way round every aspect of the English Folk Scene ever since. He’s worked in all kinds of groups, bands, and duos, squeezing his boxes, singing his socks off, and creating songs, tunes, and The Shropshire Bedlams. Awarded lifetime membership of The International Concertina Association in 2002, the EFDSS Gold Badge in 2003, and now Her Majesty The Queen – always a fan – has appointed John an MBE in this year’s New Year’s Honours List, for his contribution to English Folk Music.

Carol Dawson & Steve le Voguer

Carol and Steve are experienced teachers, workshop leaders and performers based in North Lincolnshire. They are both involved in running Folklincs, a folk heritage project in North Lincolnshire, and the North Lincolnshire Youth Folk Ensemble.

Carol has been directing the Whitby Folk Week Orchestra for about 10 years, Steve was always there to help but took over officially from Robin Garside when he stepped down from the orchestra a few years ago.

Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer

Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer recently changed jobs and moved into Cyber. They have worked tirelessly since the start of the pandemic performing all over the world giving concerts and dances. The car might only have had a couple of hundred miles put on the clock – but their internet mileage is massive. The only part of the house not being used for their virtual existence is the cupboard under the stairs where they huddle of an evening after the long walk back home from either Studio 1 or Studio 2.

Their prior years of experience on the Playford, Contra and Ceilidh scenes has stood them in good stead for their transition to virtually playing for Zoom dances in 2021. Jonny plays a range of instruments including cowhorn, harpsichord, carnyx and näverlur – none of which will be played at the Whitby ceilidh. He will however play his accordion. Vicki plays nyckelharpa – the magical keyed fiddle from Sweden, as far as Vicki is concerned, no other instruments matter (there is the outside chance of flute, but probably not bagpipes).

Mossy Christian

Award winning professional musician, singer, and dancer, Mossy Christian specialises in the musical traditions of Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. Drawing on a rich and diverse repertoire of traditional dance tunes and folk songs, charting the lives of everyday people, in their work and recreation, from the 1700s to the present day. Delighting audiences across the UK, with performances at festivals and folk clubs from Whitby to Sidmouth, Morpeth to Nottingham, his shows are a treat not to be missed.

Jerry O’Reilly & Rosie Davis

Jerry O’Reilly and Rosie Davis are much in demand as singers and céilí dance leaders and are known for encouraging new dancers and harnessing the enthusiasm and expertise of experienced dancers and singers to recreate the lively atmosphere of the traditional ‘Hoolie’ and dances at the crossroads.

Damien Barber

Raised in Norfolk and heavily influenced by earlier Norfolk singers such as Walter Pardon, and Peter Bellamy, Damien is a stylish and distinctive singer, either a capella or accompanied on guitar or concertina. Best known in recent years for his critically acclaimed stage shows ‘The Demon Barbers XL’ and ‘The Lock In’, Damien is now returning to the traditional songs of East Anglia that ignited his passion in folk music. He is the epitome of a traditional folk singer, having learnt his trade directly from some most respected singers in the UK, and brings real authenticity to his performances.

Bryony Griffith & Will Hampson

English fiddler and singer Bryony Griffith and melodeon player Will Hampson began performing together in their early teens in the ceilidh band Bedlam and were both members of the BBC folk award-winning ‘Demon Barbers’. Much of their experience comes from their involvement in the English traditional dance scene as members of Dogrose Morris and The Newcastle Kingsmen.

With a repertoire of spine-tinglingly dark ballads, jovial chorus songs and storming tune sets, all delivered with good-humoured Yorkshire banter, they are considered to be two of England’s finest interpreters of traditional English music.