Tyne Folk

tynefolk Singers
at Ye Olde Cross, Ryton, NE40 3QP

Ye Olde Cross

First and Third (and Fifth) Wednesdays.

(Zoom Second and Fourth Wednesdays)

See full diary here

  • Ye Olde Cross Inn is community owned.
  • Superb facilities with a good choice of real ales.
  • Available is a lift to the upstairs room, and a toilet for the disabled

Next Guest: Chris Miles and Gearaidh Matthews

Wednesday, June 19th 2024

Chris Miles and Gearaidh Matthews

Chris Miles has been singing solo for almost forty years, alongside twenty years singing in a duo with Gordeanna McCulloch. and in the highly regarded acapella group Palaver. For the past eight years she has been in partnership with Gearaidh Matthews, a wonderful guitar player from Drogheda in Ireland, with a history of delighting listeners and fellow players for many years without any impact on his bank account whatsoever. They perform mostly traditional songs, but actually any song they like enough to learn. They are out and about here there and everywhere these days, including a five week tour of America in 2022.

Sea Shanties - The North Shields Connection

Sea Shanties - The North Shields Connection

Before the 1830’s there is little evidence of shanties being sung at sea by European or American sailors. There are no shanties collected during the entire Eighteenth Century and few from previous centuries where songs of piracy and shipwreck seemed to dominate. Read more...

Cullercoats Watch House and Life Brigade

Cullercoats Watch House and Life Brigade

The Grade 2 Listed Cullercoats Watch House was built in 1879 for the use of the Cullercoats Volunteer Life Brigade which had been formed on Dec. 8th 1864, three days after the Formation of the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade. Read more...

The Geordie Revival

Wot Cheor Geordie

'Wot Cheor Geordie' occurred before the Folk Revival. Pete Wood makes the case.


Sea Shanties - Black Origins

A look into the origins of these wonderful songs is long overdue.


Di Henderson

Wednesday 15th May, 2024

Di Henderson

There was a lot of love when Di Henderson was guest at Tynefolk, starting off with Strange Lover is a Coal Mine by Ed Pickford which immediately struck a chord with me, as a granddaughter of a miner.

It was a joy to find a night full of songs and references to places of personal significance. Areas of Scotland were prominent in songs like Gan to the Hills o' Galloway, mention of the Glens and then 'Glenisla' in Busk Busk Bonnie Lassie..." I’ll take you to Glenisla near bonnie Glenshe” made me feel so happy, and 'Glenisla' just happens to be the name of our house. Sounds like she was just singing for me! And then more, references to the Isle of Barra, kishmul's Galley and talk about Kishmul Castle brought back memories of various holidays, and a love of the place. No doubt many of those present had similar memories evoked and surely that is a sign of a good songs sung well.

Overall, it was a wonderful night and while I note my own personal response here, it was clear by the chorus singing that everyone thoroughly enjoyed Di Henderson's singing.

Christine Armstrong

Jim Mageean and Graeme Knights

Wednesday 7th February, 2024

Jim Mageean and Graeme Knights

Another great night of songs at tynefolk,this time with Jim Mcgeean and Graeme knights.

On the night they sang a collection of

  • Sea shanties
  • Union songs
  • Working songs
  • and Music Hall songs

Jim and Graeme first sang together back in 1999 at the Endeavour ( Whitby )

Since then they have run a shanty session and raised over £50.000 for the Whitby life boat.

A good night was had by one and all

Tommy Hutton

Marie Little - at Tynefolk

Wednesday 6th September, 2023

Marie Little

On Wed 6th September 2023 Tynefolk played host to the incomparable Marie Little as she entertained us with her wonderful singing. Her wide repertoire included a set of moving songs from a woman's perspective. These covered issues including the support of a striking miner's wife for her husband, the sad tale of a battered wife leaving home and also a very moving song related to dementia and its facets.

But we also enjoyed happy love songs, thoughtful songs, light-hearted songs and even a monologue - told by a new-born baby! Of course, we had to call for "Captain Bloody Valliant" - because nobody does it better! The variety of light and shade ensured there was never a moment when the whole room was not engaged with her performance.

Marie Little has been around long enough to be well known by so many of us and hopefully she will continue to "Wow" us for many more years to come. She is a legend and is still a Bloody Good Turn.

Joyce Dickinson

Louise and Chris Rogan - at Tynefolk

Wednesday 16th August, 2023

Louise and Chris Rogan

Chris Louise and Chris Rogan performed a range of traditional, contemporary and original songs - many of them sung in a gentle and reflective style.

Their excellent accompaniments were sympathetic and allowed the voices to come through clearly. Towards the end they were joined by Louise's 5 year old daughter Evelyn for a rendition of Botany Bay. Three generations singing together - the future of folk music is in good hands.

Ann Howdon

Featuring Johnny Handle & Chris Hendry

Wednesday, June 7th 2023

Johnny Handle & Chris Hendry

'A Grand Neet' was had by all in attendance who were there to hear the singing and playing of two of Tyneside's finest folk performers!

They decided to focus the first set on Chris's early Scottish songs, like 'The Ploomin' Laddie' and 'I'll Lay Ye Doon' which gave the audience a chance to respond to the quality singing, with a good chorus. Johnny then gave us some 'border' tales and tunes in his own inimitable style. Both then combined to give us their own fine, unique arrangement of the ballad 'Mary Hamilton'. The set was concluded with the fine Hamish Henderson song 'Freedom Come All Ye'. We could easily go on to listing each song or tune such was the quality on show, but it is suffice to say that the second set was greatly anticipated.

We were not to be disappointed!...

This set featured more 'Border' songs, as well as Johnny's fine interpretations of some of his great Northumberland and Tyneside material. Johnny's versions of 'Elsie Marley' and ‘Felton Lonnen' with the addition of a 'happy ending' were fine examples of his many contributions to our ‘local’ repertoire, that he has made over the years. We also had Chris with her rendition of 'Superstishus Sally' which would have even had Joe Wilson smiling too!

This was a wonderful evening of entertainment from performers of the highest quality. Two singers and musicians rightly recognised as Tyneside’s best! Their contributions to our 'local' folk history and encouragement to others (including ourselves!) are truly immense and like their finale ‘Banner’ song said, “they will linger till the end of time”.

Barrie & Ingrid Temple

Nick Caffrey, Ed McGurk, Robin Madge

Wednesday, May 17th 2023

Caffrey McGurk Madge

The trio got off to a splendid start by singing a great traditional hunting the hare chorus song to gladden our hearts ( especially as they happened to mentioned that no hares were harmed ) and warm up our voices, then segued effortlessly into an instrumental piece.

Their repertoire of course included songs about Lancashire which were equally as enjoyable. We were transported from Whitby to Greenland in songs and ballads and soothed by a maritime lullaby.

Their mixture of lively and and contemplative pieces, introduced by a knowledgeable and entertaining explanation of their origins made the evening a memorable one. A fine blend of voices and playing guitar and concertina make the trio one to look out for in the future.

Ron and Sue Bright

Brian Peters at Tynefolk

Wednesday, April 5th 2023


I'm not quite sure how he manages it, but Brian is equally at ease with his melodion, his concertina, his banjo and his guitar - or, for that matter, singing unaccompanied. His repertoire stretches from the dim-and-distant past to all points forward, from the deadly serious to the comic, and his knowledge of his sources is encyclopaedic. He's also entirely at ease with his audience & wears all of that skill and knowledge so lightly that, for all he upbraids himself for giving 'lectures' as he introduces his songs, what he really does is take you on an easy-going journey when he delves into his sources.

That all makes for the kind of night folk clubs in general and Tynefolk in particular are there for. Songs of the Appalachian backwoods rubbed shoulders with Lancastrian music hall, Child ballads with jigs, rousing chorus songs (plenty of these to suit an audience of singers) with songs of sorrow. A night to live long in the memory, to send you off to dig out the songs to learn yourself & to look forward to hearing from the man himself again in the not- too-distant future.

Peter Armstrong

Anne Alderson at Tynefolk

Wednesday, March 1st 2023


There is something very special about a singer who has a tremendous involvement with and commitment to the songs that he or she performs. For singers like this, it is not just a matter of memorisation and re-performance but goes much deeper, it is about internalisation, acquiring and living with the material. The song, the person and their life history become inextricably linked. Anne Alderson's performance at Tynefolk demonstrated this to a high degree, not in an overt way but through sheer integrity and honesty.

Anne's singing has been described in ways that emphasise its clarity and sweetness, which is true, but there is much more going on here than that sort of description suggests. Anne's voice is very tuneful but it has an underlying strength and her singing makes use of subtle decoration which greatly enhance her songs without getting in the way. At Tynefolk she performed an interesting and varied programme of British and Irish songs which centred on the melodic and lyrical but also demonstrated an ability to cope with more rhythmic and extrovert material.

To me, there is something very appealing about the modesty and understated nature of Anne's presentation. The high quality of what was performed was attested to by the attention and involvement of the audience. It was excellent to hear someone, who previously I had only heard sing one or two songs in a session, do a sustained programme. It was a memorable and very satisfying evening.

Vic Gammon

Tony Wilson at Tynefolk

Tony Wilson

TONY WILSON - was our guest at Tynefolk in Ryton on 19th October, and he delivered a splendid night. He is such an accomplished musician on concertina, guitar and mandola, and comes armed with a wealth of traditional and contemporary songs.

Tony sang 'The Servant Girl' - a poem found by Eileen Richardson in a magazine ... to which she composed a tune. The song's theme is of a dismissive attitude towards servants ... 'she's only a servant girl'. This leads us to ask ourselves, 'Is this still happening today in 2022' ??

He also sang a very powerful song about the transportation of severn striking miners in 1834, who were never to see Jarrow again, or their loved ones. Written by Tom Kelly and entitled, 'Seven lads of Jarrow'

Tony finished the night with a song of his own, entitled, 'The Singer and the Song' ... about how folk covers so many genres and so many styles.

Ann Howdon commented, 'It was so refreshing to hear new songs. Tony performed with enthusiasm and enjoyment'

Everyone responded to Tony's enthusiasm by singing a superb range of songs. A great night all round.

George Welch & Christine Jeans at Tynefolk

George Welch & Christine Jeans

The first time I encountered George Welch was in 1996. It was on the occasion of the Gateshead Garden Festival and after having had enough of viewing flowers I decided to find somewhere to take a break.

The Entertainments tent beckoned.

The tent was empty. That is to say it was devoid of people. Dozens and dozens of chairs but no punters. However their absence made what came next all the more special.

Onto the stage came George who proceeded to perform a wealth of songs both local and traditional as if he were playing to a packed City Hall.

Fast forward twenty five years and here is the same George Welch. Larger than life but with the same mellow baritone voice.

Accompanied on banjo by the fabulous Christine Jeans they regaled the Tynefolk audience with a range of songs and tunes, peppered with "George Welch isms". The list is too large to expand but Man of the Earth, Creole Girl, Working Man etc etc. were all gratefully received.
Lindsey Thornton

Rachel Hamer at Tynefolk

Rachel Hamer

A breath of fresh air circulated around Tyne Folk, on Wednesday evening, in the form of the delightful guest, Rachel Hamer.

Although her undoubted talent has been honed on the Folk Degree Course, her real musical education has been in the company of good club and festival singers, starting with Dad Ken, himself a talented performer.

The passion she feels for her material is evident in her delivery. Her voice has both sweetness and power - from the wistful "Pitman's Courtship", to the poignant "Bonny Susie Clelland". She is able to deliver a song such as "Alice White" in her own style, without destroying the integrity of the song.

I have watched Rachel progress throughout her life with both pride and interest. She offered us all beautiful singing, friendly enthusiasm and most importantly hope for our beloved genre of music for the future.
Catherine I'Anson-Clough

Benny Graham at Tynefolk

Benny was in full flow last Wednesday night.

Songs come easily to his lips, as do words.

Entertaining introductions of anecdotes that lead into songs of passion, of humour or tragedy.


With the applause, just enough time to gulp a few breaths to gather himself for the next.

His warmth and love of singing, sharing with friends invited to join in with the choruses.

A joyous experience for us all.

Thank you Benny for a memorable evening. Look out for Benny singing the Pitmen Poets!

Wilsons Concert at Tynefolk

Tynefolk are back in action Post-Pandemic and now meet for "live" sessions on a fortnightly 1st & 3rd Wednesdays of the month basis at Ye Olde Cross, Ryton (zoom sessions are retained on 2nd & 4th).

And, to get this plan off to a roaring success who better than The Wilsons?

The Wilsons

This amazing family of brothers gave the audience an example of their fantastic sound with songs covering all aspects of life and death, joy and sorrow. The mixture was especially poignant as the funeral of Doreen Elliot had been attended earlier in the day by many of those present, including the Wilsons themselves.

Emotions were roused on all fronts from beginning to end, as they started off with a Si Khan plea for peace dedicated to the people of Ukraine and followed up with a classic example of their heady mix of strong singing and family anecdotes and banter which could be said to be "always the same and always different " as in quality of singing and family tales. You can depend on the Wilsons. The craic is as good to listen to as is the singing itself. This was an evening never to be forgotten.
Joyce Dickinson