VIDEO PREVIEW: Folk group Broomdasher return to roots for Yorkshire debut with Ray Hearne

Acapella six-piece folk group Broomdasher are to return to their Yorkshire roots for a special homecoming debut featuring local balladeer Ray Hearne.

By Graham Walker
Wednesday, 13 March, 2019, 04:50

The London based harmonies outfit - including five members who were born or lived in the white rose county - will unite with local star Ray for a Singing In Unity show at Doncaster Little Theatre on Saturday, March 30.

It aims to bridge the North-South divide, bringing together Broomdasher's traditional songs from the South with Ray’s contemporary tales of the North – with lots of join-in choruses.

The show promises 'much joining in and singing along'.

BUY TICKETS: Tickets for the Singing In Unity concert are £8 - booking fees may apply - available in person from the venue in King Street, Off East Laith Gate, call the box office on 01302 340422, visit or

Broomdasher sing traditional English folk songs of love and loss, work and play, revenge - and murder. They will showcase their debut CD, Nothing To Do With Me, which was recorded n the same studios used by the Arctic Monkeys and was produced by another Yorkshireman, Andy Seward, best known for producing the likes of Kate Rusby, Coope, Boyes and Simpson and The Radio Ballads.

BUY THE CD:The new Nothing To Do With Me CD is £5 plus postage and can also be downloaded from


Their debut shows in 2018 produced astonishing responses - they were immediately rebooked by every venue they played. Some of the country’s most respected folk artistes have also been guiding their progress and gifting them songs to perform in their own style.

They’ve sung solo and been part of other groups, supported Coope, Boyes and Simpson at their farewell gig and the trio gave Broomdasher all their songs to arrange for six voices.

Barry Coope arranged Rufford Park Poachers for the CD and John Tams, when they supported him, gave them How High The Price/All Clouds The Sky.

The Young ‘Uns; Chris While, Julie Matthews and Jess Arrowsmith have also gifted them songs.

Ray Hearne

Singer songwriter Ray is widely known as a South Yorkshire ‘voice’, a writer and performer of songs and poems.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

His songs have been performed and recorded by artists as diverse as Roy Bailey, Bob Fox; Kate Rusby, Coope, Boyes and Simpson, Maggie Boyle, Grace Notes, Heidi Talbot, Bernard Wrigley, Sam Kelly and Greg Russell.

He was Rony Robinson’s co-presenter for many years on BBC Radio Sheffield’s poetry programme, Write On.

Ray is also a contributing writer to BBC Radio 2’s Radio Ballads series including the prize-winning Song of Steel and Miners’ Strike programmes, as well as the current Ballads of the Great War series.

Singing in Unity at Doncaster Little Theatre on Saturday, March 30

He was Musical Director of Rotherham’s 2011 Hearts of Steel project and performed at a charity folk concert at Sheffield Cathedral which raised funds for a Women of Steel statue outside the City Hall.

Broomdasher's own Jo Swinhoe was in the audience at that charity gig and says Ray was her inspiration to start singing again. She joined the Cecil Sharp House Choir and from there Broomdasher was born.

Jo was taught by revered baritone John Carol Case, who worked with Vaughan Williams, and has sung in major venues including Edinburgh’s Usher Hall.

Other members of Broomdasher include Deena, born in Leeds, who was taught by Leon Rosselson and sang with him in Paris.

She, Chris and Margaret, who lived in Huddersfield, were original members of the Cecil Sharpe House Choir – Huw who lived in Hull, and Jo from Sheffield joined later.

Richard, from Bolsover, is with Dorten Yonder and was half of Radio Derby regulars The Moonshine Duo. Chris is a founder of Sea Shanty Festival favourites Hog Eye Men, London Lubbers with Matthew Crampton and also worked with Skinny Lister.

Broomdasher debut album, Nothing to Do With Me