Big names in music set to play Swaledale Festival

Highly regarded jazz musician Claire Martin will be among the acts performing at Swaledale Festival. (s)
Highly regarded jazz musician Claire Martin will be among the acts performing at Swaledale Festival. (s)

Claire Martin, Britain’s first lady of jazz, and Richard Rodney Bennett appear together in Out of This World – Songs of Harold Arlen, at the Swaledale Festival on May 28, in Middleham.

Inspired by Ella Fitzgerald’s to become a jazz singer, Claire Martin formed her own quartet at the age of 21, and has since won worldwide recognition, including the BBC Jazz Award for Best Vocalist, and six wins at the British Jazz Awards. The Jazz Times called her: “Not only the finest female British jazz singer of her generation but possibly of all time.” In 2011 she was appointed OBE for services to music.

Among present-day musicians, there can be few more versatile than Sir Richard Rodney Bennett: composing for concerts and films, playing the piano in contemporary music and in jazz idioms, singing and accompanying classic show tunes in cabaret.

s the Swaledale Festival’s Artist in Residence he will also attend the première of his Dance to the Music of Time, performed by the Royal Holloway Choir and Acoustic Triangle on Saturday May 26, and speak at an evening of The Art and Film Music of Richard Rodney Bennett on Sunday 27 May (both in Richmond).

Also appearing at the Swaledale Festival is Dutch violinist Tim Kliphuis, widely regarded as the inheritor of the Stéphane Grappelli crown.

He first made his name playing with the fiery European gypsy guitarists but soon developed a crossover style taking him to classical, jazz and folk venues across the world.

The Tim Kliphuis Trio appears in Grinton on Tuesday May 22. The Trio’s infectious music is a firm favourite on the festival scene. Time Out described the trip as “Fearsomely fast and fun”.

Outstanding vocalist Kyla Brox sings tender soul ballads and earthy Bessie Smith-style blues numbers, partnered by dynamic guitarist Danny Blomeley at a late-night session at the Buck Hotel, Reeth on Friday June 1. She can be heard beforehand in the Paul Jones 25th Anniversary Show on BBC Radio 2 on April 25.

City Life described Kyla as: “An authentic soul diva... sensitive, sexy, and with infinite reserves of sassiness.”

The Swaledale Festival runs from May 19 to June 3, and packs nearly 60 events into a summer fortnight, including classical, folk, jazz and brass-band music, poetry, drama, art exhibitions and guided walks.

Events take place in churches, chapels and intimate venues throughout the North Yorkshire dales of Swaledale, Wensleydale and Arkengarthdale - and this beautiful scenery is also explored in a programme of guided walks.

Programme details are at, or a brochure can be requested at 01748 880018. Postal bookings are now open, and online and phone bookings will open on 23 April.