• Want to know more about Laurel Swift, composer, performer?

    Click to her main website: Laurel Swift
  • Come to West London Folk workshop

    Laurel Swift founded this in Year 2000, and it goes from strength to strength, regularly playing concerts and ceilidhs as the West London Folk Band.
    It all starts with tunes which she teaches in West London.
    It is held upstairs at West London Trade Union Club
    33-35 High Street, Acton, London, W3 6ND. Parking in nearby streets is fairly simple, lots of buses pass the door and Acton Central Overground station is 5mins walk.
    Monday evening term-times: 7:15pm - 9:15pm.
    Cost: £7.50 per night.
    Who comes? Bedroom musicians, beginner musicians, starting-again musicians, younger musicians, late bloomers, musicians that think they can only read the dots, musicians who worry that they can’t read the dots – you are all welcome.
    Use the Contact Form or email swiftlj (At) gmail.com to find out more (copy this email address and replace the (At) with @ and remove spaces).

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West London folk news

Further Update for March 2017:

From Frieda d’Souza: Back by popular demand – the best barn dance in town! You were all fantastic at supporting our efforts last year and with your help we managed to raise an amazing £1800, so we definitely thought it was worth another go!

Saturday 25th March
Northfields Community Centre
71A Northcroft Rd, W13 9SS

Barn Dance
Adults £12, Under 18/Students £6

All proceeds are going to the charity Hand in Hand for Syria. To find out more about their amazing work, please visit their website Hand in Hand for Syria. Not only can you “do-si-do” the night away, you can drink, eat snacks and win one of our wonderful raffle prizes. Many local businesses have offered meals, coffee, cake, and lots of other lovely giveaways!

Email: fredadsouza@aol.com for tickets and more info.

Update for March 2017

Laurel Swift’s Monday evening, term-time, English Tunes class enters its 16th successful year (details left). The group plays ‘out’ regularly (see below for a taster) as the West London Folk Band. Join the weekly group and you’re in the band.

‘Last Wednesdays’, the monthly English Tunes session,  held on the last Wednesday every month, is still going strong at The Grange Pub, Ealing, W5. Here is the latest tune book, useful for the session.

Additionally, the Ealing Folk Club on the first Wednesday of the month, has now moved from the Drayton in West Ealing to The Grange Pub. As follows, from Bob Little:

‘Ealing Folk Club normally on the first Wednesday of the month at 8pm till 11pm is now relocated to the Reading room, upstairs at The Grange, Warwick Rd, Ealing, London W5 3XH. Tel. 020 8567 7617

Listeners, singers, players, all welcome – as long as it’s unplugged, anything goes.’

Here is the latest song book, useful for the folk club.

Update for November/December 2016

Session on Wed 30th Nov at The Grange Pub

Monday 5 December 2016 Ealing Country Dance Club
from 8pm to 10pm at St Barnabas´s Church Hall, Pitshanger Lane, Ealing W5 1QG

Ealing Folk Club Wednesday Dec 7th at 8pm at The Drayton Court Hotel from 8 to 11 in the function room at the
Drayton Court Hotel, 2 The Avenue, W13 8PH. Listeners, singers, players, all welcome – as long as it’s unplugged, anything goes

Sun 11 Dec 2016
7:45 pm BEN MOSS & LAUREL SWIFT: 3 fiddles, 2 voices, 1 melodeon and a pair of clogs + The West London Folk Band. https://www.twickfolk.co.uk/events/. TwickFolk’s guest is Laurel’s duo and Ben Moss….they’ll be playing 2 x 45 min sets c 8.45 and 9.45. Laurel’s Monday-night class will be playing for approx 30 mins from 8pm.

A concert at Gunnersbury House on Sat 17th Dec, 2-4pm
Join us for a free Christmas concert Whether you want to bring your dancing shoes and join in with reels and jigs, sing carols, or just sit and listen to the wonderful West London Folk Band – everyone is welcome however booking is essential! Tea/coffee and mince pies will be served during the interval. Please note seats will be allocated on a first come first served basis.
For further information please call 020 8993 8809 or email: gunnersburylearning@ealing.gov.uk

The Northfields Morris Group http://www.northfieldsmorris.com/ meet on Saturday afternoons at Northfields Community Centre (Sophie and Nigel)

There’s also a group which meets on most Sundays to play a few tunes “Granny’s in the mangle” run by Geoff Prive from the uke group https://www.facebook.com/groups/1739248066309552/. It’s at the Hobbayne Centre – it doesn’t run every week so if people are interested need to join Facebook Group.

Just to show that we travel – Laurel’s West London Folk Band (you can sample the tunes they learn weekly term-time on the main part of this very website) went on tour to Saltdean in Sussex and played to a packed-out/sold-out ceilidh by the sea, in October 2016.

The weekly term-time teaching venue has moved to Acton, trade union hall, which is working out well.

Details on all this and more from Laurel herself via email: swiftlj (At) gmail.com.

Update for December 2015

Played for the Pitshanger Dance group in November, and will play for Gunnersbury House (again) just before Christmas.

Update for July 2015

Too many gigs to mention! Especially lovely was the 15th anniversary this summer of the West London Folk Band/Orchestra, which coincided with a concert at Gunnersbury House small mansion. The concert concluded with a surprise tune (composed by members of the band, performed by the band in what was a world premiere, much to Laurel’s surprise), called: Laurel’s Crystal Fiddle Cake! Ahhhh, lovely….

Update for May 2015:

Charity barn dance at the Drayton completed to rousing success! Well done, West Ealing Folk Band (again).

Monthly (last Wednesday) sessions at Inn on the Green, Hanwell, W7, still going strong – next one May 27th, 8pm. More info https://ealingsessions.wordpress.com/last-wednesdays-folk-session-in-hanwell-london-w7/ .

Update for January 2015:

Best gig ever at Gunnersbury Museum, video evidence below. More barn dances booked end Jan and Feb. Monday workshops return January 12th (see left for details).

Subscribe to this blog (fill in your email on the right here) if you want to get updates.

Next Inn on the Green session, January 28th (last Weds, usually).

Videos from Gunnersbury:

Polska from Delsbo

Season’s promise plus Kitchen Girls

Toss the Feathers

Update for September 2014:

We are booked for December 21st 2014 for Gunnersbury House. This will be our third outing to the old mansion. More news of time, etc, when we have it.

Update for March 2014:

We’ve done a couple of ceilis already this year, for a resident’s association in Hammersmith and a charity at St James’s in West Ealing.

Update for September 2013:

We’re back  – still at the Drayton Monday nights, come along and pluck, strum , blow, twangle, squeeze – it’s all good.

Concert We’re at Gunnersbury House, giving a concert on Dec 1st 2013, pm, hence learning the tunes Gunnersbury House and Turnham Green Frolick. Come and listen and enjoy the old mansion.

Update for January 2013:

Monday workshops: We’re back at the Drayton court pub, West Ealing, for the Monday night workshop band workshop, 7-9pm, term-times with Laurel Swift teaching some jolly tunes to mixed instruments.

Session: We’ve got a session in the downstairs bar at the Rocket pub, Acton, 7-9pm Sunday, Jan 13th, 2013. All welcome to play along or listen.

Barn dance: Saturday 16th March, at St James’s Church, West Ealing. All welcome. More here.

Update for December, 2012:

Our workshop band sessions are moving temporarily as follows:

‘The Rocket pub on the corner of Birkbeck and Churchfield Road, W3, is hosting two sessions of instrumental folk music on Mondays, Dec 3 and 10, 7-9pm. These informal sessions will be in the function room and will be very relaxed – about 10 musicians on a variety of unplugged instruments (eg, squeezebox, banjo, lots of fiddles, guitar, whistles, etc). These sessions will be led by folk professional Laurel Swift who runs a traditional workshop band weekly in West Ealing. You can bring your drinks upstairs and relax and chat with the musicians between tunes, or after 9pm, and find out more, if interested, in the participative folk scene in Ealing. Tunes are from old English manuscripts, or modern compositions ‘in the tradition’, and some are from Ireland and Scotland. More on the weekly workshop here: https://ealingsessions.wordpress.com ‘

Update 17 Sept 2012, from Gill:

We had a great spring/summer – playing ‘out’ at a school barn dance, Pitzhanger Country Dance club and at Jubilee street parties.

Autumn term workshop class starts back tonight, Monday 17 September, 7-9pm at the Drayton (see left for details). Come along – we dare you!!

Next outing for the workshop band is a barn dance on Friday, 21 September 2012 at the Drayton a fundraiser for a good cause – come and strut your stuff.

The monthly folk club at the Drayton is brilliant – gets better and better. Just come and see…it’s free fun.

Barn dance on Feb 4 2012 was brilliant – snow and all:

BARN DANCE ALERT Barn Dance/Ceilidh in the heart of West Ealing – easy steps, lots of people – come alone, come with family, come with friends. Steps called from the front. Get it right, get it wrong, bring all your left feet. Nibbles included in £8 adult ticket (advance booking) – bring your own beer/wine. Kids of all ages welcome – admission free/donation up to age 16. Local Ealing ‘live’  folk band will be out in full force, wrangled by folk professional Laurel Swift. Sat 4th Feb 2012, 7.30-10.30. St James’s Church (behind Sainsbury’s in W Ealing), St James’s Ave, London W13 9DL. Book in advance Gill Witcomb, 020 8568 4276/gillroy66@tiscali.co.uk.   Adults £8 if booked in advance, £9 on the door, kids (up to age 18) voluntary donation Please forward this to anyone/any organisations you think might be interested.

UPDATE: Sept 2011 Laurel’s Monday workshop class returns Sept 12, 2011, at the Drayton Pub (see left). A selection of West Ealing folk people are playing at the following venues: West Ealing Family Day, St James’s Church, Sat 24 September (pm) Osterley House, 12-4pm, Sun 25 September in the servants’ hall (with optional dancing) West Ealing OPEN Friday lunchtime concert – Oct 7, 2011, 1-2pm. UPDATE: May 2011 Temporary venue change for Laurel’s class on May 16 only: The Drayton is closed for refurb for one week and we’re meeting on Monday May 16th at 113 Uxbridge Rd, W13, corner Culmington Rd, opposite the fire station. Then back to the Drayton Court as normal on Monday nights. UPDATE: May 2011 Laurel’s Monday class restarts May 16. Email Laurel for details (see left). Still no session venue but we’re having house sessions locally so if anyone wants to know more, drop gilladams2011(at)gmail.com an email. As a community band, we played for dancing in Pitshanger in December, played for the opening of Open Ealing in March (113 Uxbridge Rd)  and now play routinely at a psychiatric ward.  The Oddfellas go from strength to strength and run the excellent monthly folk club in West Ealing. Approximately 50 turn up there monthly and it’s a great atmosphere. Folk is right here – in West Ealing. UPDATE November 2010 The Drayton is being renovated so we can’t use their upstairs room at the moment, but do try the first Weds in the month folk club there – it’s full of lovely people doing their thing. And don’t forget Laurel’s term-time workshop for all-comers on Monday evens term-time, same location. Address for folk club and workshops: Drayton Court Hotel, 2 The Avenue, London, W13 8PH – close by West Ealing overground station. UPDATE JUNE 2010 Summer frolics are taking us out of town. Keep watching and we’ll tell you when our next session is. Our sessions are very homely. Just a few people sitting around in a quiet roomy sunny top room of a London pub; we take it in turns (ceilidh style) to tell a story, sing a song, play a tune, try-out a tune!, ask for something (tune or whatever) from someone else. Others join in or not as they choose. It’s not in a public bar. Find us at The Drayton Court Hotel from Sunday, June 21, fortnightly. It’s at the top of the stairs, straight ahead and follow your ears (thanks, Dave). Address is same as for workshop and club: Drayton Court Hotel, 2 The Avenue, London, W13 8PH – close by West Ealing overground station (where trains don’t stop on a Sunday). Plenty of buses, though, from Ealing Broadway station (5 mins). Time: 4-6pm. NEWSFLASH, 07 March, 10: Barn dance was enormously successful in a variety of ways – particularly so, if you count smiling faces on the dance floor and amongst the band. Nearly £1,000 was raised  for Marie Curie Cancer Care nurses. Thanks for all who came and danced their socks off and played their fingers to the bone. Here’s a picture:

laurel and dancers at st james's

laurel calling for barn dance at st james

NEWSFLASH, 26 January, 10: Some of us are playing for a fund-raising ceilidh (for the Marie Curie Cancer Care nurses) at St James’s Church, West Ealing, (nr Sainsbury’s), W13 9DL, on Sat Feb 27, 2010. All welcome. Laurel is calling and playing – the church is a great big, lovely, barn-like venue, very handy for West Ealing Broadway and the late-night shopping at Sainsbury’s! NEWSFLASH, 12 August, 09: Summer break: no sessions now till Sunday Sept 13, 09, then fortnightly on Sundays as before. 4-6pm at Drayton Court Hotel, 2 The Avenue, London, W13 8PH. NEWSFLASH 17 June, 09: We’re no longer at The Dolphin on Sundays (apparently it’s quite usual for sessions to hop from pub to pub) – but the very good news is that we are at The Drayton Court Hotel from Sunday, June 21, fortnightly. It’s at the top of the stairs, straight ahead and follow your ears (thanks, Dave). Address is same as for workshop and club: Drayton Court Hotel, 2 The Avenue, London, W13 8PH – close by West Ealing overground station (where trains don’t stop on a Sunday). Plenty of buses, though, from Ealing Broadway station (5 mins). Time: 4-6pm. Stay up to date by bookmarking this site or taking the RSS feed from it. About Ealing Sessions This blog is to help promote traditional music sessions in and around Ealing. This is the ‘intro’ page. Click here or on the home tab above and you’ll see some posts. You can make comments on the posts. This is what we mean by a session (by no means definitive): Traditional music session? An opportunity for mainly acoustic instrumentalists to listen and play together in a relaxed setting. People take it in turns to start tunes. No one dominates, although some might gently lead. Types of tune? Mainly instrumental/dance tunes with the occasional song. Mainly traditional tunes from British Isles, but also America and Europe, and newly composed tunes. (‘All music is “folk” – when did you last see a horse play a banjo?’ – unattributed quote). Encouraging new players: everyone is invited, player, singer or listener. If you’re a beginner, listening is a good place to start. We hope to list tunes and maybe even sheet music or ‘abc’ notation, or videos,  if anyone sends us links, so that people get a chance to learn one or two tunes before (or after) they come to a session. Who are ‘we’? Some trad musicians local to Ealing, who (mostly) go to a Monday workshop at the Drayton Court Hotel, 2 The Avenue, W13 8PH led by professional folk musician and dance choreographer Laurel Swift. Some of these Monday workshop musicians have coalesced to become the Oddfellas. The Oddfellas run a Folk Club at the Drayton on the first Wednesday of the month. The author (gillma) has been going to Laurel’s  Monday Workshop for many years.

2 Responses

  1. […] If you’re a late bloomer, returner, beginner or just curious – and you have some kind of musical instrument (guitars, ukes, whistles, harmonicas, fiddles, accordions, flutes, and anything else you can think of, all welcome) – consider coming to learn some lovely simple old trad tunes at your local pub/hotel on Monday nights. You don’t need to be able to read music. These term-time classes restart on Mon Sept 12, 7-9pm but you can join any time. We learn new tunes every week. More here: https://ealingsessions.wordpress.com/about/ […]

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