Cumberland Arms

James Place Street, Byker, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, England

Seventy-four comments

Recomended by Folkworks undergrads!!

Quite an ancient ITM session now.
Spent a year working in the North-East and used to get booed for purposefully going in there and trying to get them to play either Scottish or Northumbrian music as I found their ITM a bit tame. This was last century and long before the internet was invented - I would have probably featured on this site if I had done it nowadays.
My favorite tune at the time was Bonny Woodside which they were intent on turning into Tripping Upstairs.
I am told the Folkworks undergraduates go there nowadays so the standard should be excellent.

Still going strong

I visited the Cumberland 2nd week in April. It is still going strong - excellent musicians, some on folkworks course.
Wednesday night is ITM only.
Tuesday night is anything but ITM.
See Colpitts in Durham on a Monday

Cumberland still going

Just to update this to let people know that this session is still alive and well and worth visiting. Friendly and welcoming.

Cumberland wednesday night

This session has gone through something of a nadir. There were some weeks when it barely took place at all. It seems to be slowly coming out of it now -the sword dance practices are still strong and remain upstairs (castleside early, kingsmen later)- so there does tend to be a number of people about. There seems to have been something of a change of personnel in the session (ahem!).

The friday night is still going, as is the tuesday night (mainly scottish and scandinavian through there are moves afoot to play english music on the last tuesday of the month I gather).

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Irish Music at Cumberland on Wednesday nights

Now living 45 minutes away I’ve stopped going. The last time I went - 6 months ago - there was one visiting fiddle player and the time previous to that no one had turned up by 10. If there are players out there - preferably of melody instrumests - who are willing to come along and get there at 8.30 or so please post a comment and I will try top raise a quorum. It would be a shame if this old established session was to disappear entirely. It’s a great bar for tunes with a piano and a distinguished history and the Tuesday night people don’t accommodate ITM.

this session has now been taken over by guitar wielding blues singers playing pop songs and blues songs

after having pointed out to them that this place was known for its Wednesday night ITM session they replied saying that they had been there for 9 months and so are staying.

me, along with a few other ITM playing students have decided to turn up early at around 7 o clock giving us time to play proper music for a bit but once the singers arrive with their 59 guitars then it turns into something of a duel where one side will complete their set and the other one starting up straight away.

oh and you might think, surely these guitar players can accompany the tunes? the answer is no, because they only know three chords (I, IV and V) with them using a capo to play in another key signature

a real shame.

Posted .

Call To Arms

This means War.

Irish musicians (singers Dan mentioned above, y’all can log off right now), come to the Cumberland Arms every and any Wednesday night you can, armed with fiddles, pipes, harps, flutes, whistles and all else, to resurrect this great session, to save it from the dry, dead books of History.

Dan and I, at the very least, will be there from 7pm, and will stay until the end of the night, come what may, playing tunes, tunes, TUUUUNES!

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our ITM dead!
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of BlooZ blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favoured rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect.

Many of the wednesday players now go on fridays instead .
In fact will be there next friday myself

Yeah but I’m Jewish!

This Session Is Back

Last night, there was a brilliant session here, mostly students, but also with about 5 older locals, who apparently used to come before the Irish session fizzled out a couple of years ago. The atmosphere was brilliant, the tunes were flowing, the barstaff and punters were, they said, much happier that Wednesday had tunes again instead of the singers that had been coming the past 9 months or so.

Due to, I assume, some words between them and the owner of the pub that must have taken place in the past week, the singers did not turn up last night, and I suspect this means that we will not run into each other again, at least at the Cumberland on a Wednesday night!

It’s quite a long session — 6:30-7:00 till about midnight. I think what’ll be is that it starts off small, just 4 or 5 people sharing tunes in quite a quiet pub, until 9ish, when more people start coming, and it turns into a bigger, noisier session.

Come along!

Irish Music Session Going Strong

The last 6 sessions have gone really well. More than 5, and some weeks more than 10, musicians and cracking tunes. Start time has been 8.30. There is no ITM session on the first Wednesday of the month - a singalong instead.

Still going Strong

Despite fluctuating numbers particularly among student members the session has continued to flourish. We’ve had some really good nights and the appetite for tunes is undiminished. If you are visiting and have your fiddle, flute etc with you come on down from 8 on wards for a cheery welcome. There’s a singaround on the first Wed in the month however.

Cracking Session Last Night

Splendid session last night. Thanks guys – really enjoyed it.
Dan, Emma and I kicked things off round 8.15. We were then joined by Kevin and Ros Doonan and the session was still going strong at 11.15 when Dan and I left. Emily (piper and erstwhile regular) and her husband Dan (fiddle) came down from Glasgow arriving at 10.25. Joe joined us at 10.35 and for a while we had a well balanced session that featured 3 fiddles, pipes and melodeon - George White’s Favourite has never sounded better!

Tuesday or Wednesday?

I haven’t been to play at the Cumberland for ages. I went to the Tuesday session a few times but they never seemed to play any tunes I knew. The only time I went on Wednesday it was just just Joe and me and I felt that I let the side down a bit due to my lack of skill/experience. Is there a sufficient quorum now for those of us who are less confident to join in?

Tues ABI session - 1st and 3rd Tuesdays

Jeremy’s just told me two mins ago that he thinks there will be no confusion in having comments about any or all of the three sessions continuing under this one heading so I’ll have to explain that the following is not supposed to be a response to jsheerin recent comment(contact Peter. He’ll sort you fine for Wed).

The ABI session has been great recently. An eclectic mix of Northumbrian, Scottish, English, Scandinavian, Eastern European and virtually anything else you care to throw in …. with players up to professional level (and still prepared to tolerate the likes of me trying to keep up). Well worth hanging in … I ran away with my tail between my legs the first time I went in. Came back a year or so later and managed to attempt two or three of the tunes and listen to lots. Now I can take a shot at more than half. Great fun with some great players. Good room to play in with usually appreciative non-players.

2nd and 4th Tuesdays did for a while run as "English Sessions" with any 5th Tue being Scandinavian but the main supporters of these have moved on so these weeks only happen if three or more players turn up and play what ever they like.

Confusion over Nights

Just be entirely clear. The Irish Music session is on every Wednesday except for the first of the month. On 21st November Dan and I were there from 8 p.m. but when no one had joined us by 9.30 we decided to call it a day. The last two sessions (28th Nov and 12th Dec) have been stonkingly good. I have a contacts list consisting of 49 musicians who have attended the session in recent years and I use this to send out reminders. Anyone who would like to receive emails about the session is welcome to send me their email address.

To keep you updated

A vigorous session last night featuring 5 fiddles, flute (James M), accordion and piano – perfect balance in my opinion which of course is not entirely unbiased. The tunes got going at 8.15 and were still in progress at 11 when I left. The reel count was pretty high but the odd jig and hornpipe got an airing. Welcome variation was there in the form of some beautifully executed harp items from Ros. A shifting audience seemed at times appreciative – one patron was moved to give us a standing ovation! (I think he was in the process of leaving!! - Em)
The session will be on next week (16th Jan) when Bernie and I at least are hoping to give a going over to (from the “As it Happened” CD) Floating Crowbar, Garret Barry and Collier’s Reel.

Thanks for a great evening!

We really enjoyed playing with you all last Wednesday. What a great session in a great pub!. Thanks Peter and all for making us so welcomed. We’ll be back! Keith & Val

Tues ABI session - 1st and 3rd Tuesdays

Some great ABI sessions been happening so far this year with some of the "old guard" ex-degreecourse players returning when they’re not pounding round the Country and abroad playing gigs .. plus vacillating quantities of current students, locals and visitors from UK and elsewhere. Never quite know what’s going to happen but it’s more often been good than not.

Wednesday Session

My son and I were visiting Whitley bay last week and found the Cumberland ITM session on-line. We found the session very welcoming in spite of not having a massive repertoire of Irish Tunes ourselves. The tunes went a great pace and the sets barely stopped all night. I’m sure we’ll be calling in next time were up there. Thanks guys.

Simon and Hugo

Tues ABI session - 1st and 3rd Tuesdays ..Yesterday continued the trend

Rocking session last night including double base, piano and comparable talent on other instruments. Tunes from global north, east and west. Not sure if we went south of the equator. Dozen+ players and appreciative listeners.
There was talk of the fifth Tue this month being an AAA session (my term .. Anything At All) so some Irish stuff could mix in and get the same great treatment.

Tues ABI session - 1st and 3rd Tuesdays

Seems the "AAA" session IS going to happen tomorrow…. Yummy.

Irish Session, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th Wednsedays

The session last week was a sumptuous affair with no fewer than 6 fiddles (Bernie, Ethan, Dan F, Dan G, Kevin and Joe) mandolin (Tom) keyboard (Emma) and button accordion (me). I think I am right in saying there was no hornpipe played all night. Maybe we’ll redress the balance this week. Yes it’s on tomorrow (Wednesday 22nd May, also 29th) and with any luck we’ll get a flute player or two to put in an appearance. You listening James, Matthew?!
See you from 8 p.m.

Tues ABI session - 1st and 3rd Tuesdays

Another great night this week. 2 melodians, 4 fiddles, piano and someone blowing something.
Great tunes and variety. Great players. Appreciative listeners. Had to be shooed out at 11.30.

Tues ABI session - 1st and 3rd Tuesdays . 2nd July

Another good one with some quality players.
Next ABI Tue 16th July

Tues ABI session - 1st and 3rd (and 5th?)Tuesdays . 16th July

Aahhh …… bliss
Cracking session again. Thanks guys.
5th Tuesdays also sometimes get an ABIish session.
I’ll see if I can locate a quorum for the 30th.

21/08/13 Irish session

I attended the session at Cumberland Arms tonight for the first time and the 2fiddlers and piper were nice enough to let me play along for a couple tunes (never played a session before). It was fairy quiet but I guess that was down to the bank holiday weekend coming up? I hear there is trad Irish at the pub next to Haymarket, anyone know what night?

Wednesday Irish Session

Have been a bit short on numbers since the Summer. Where are the enthusiastic youngsters who have come along in previous years?

Tues ABI session - 1st and 3rd and 5th Tuesdays

Tue Sessions seem to be settling to two things :

1. They’re happening on each "odd" Tue. ie 1st , 3rd and 5th if there is a 5th.

2. They’re great !

Last Tue started a bit slow with four or five players but filled in within the hour with regular and "fresh" locals and a sprinkling of students from UK and across the (North) Sea. Great mix of instruments, tune sources and players plus a few drinkers looking amazed at the quality of the music happening and trying not to applaud too much.
Ended with a dozen or so players being shooed out the door about 11.20
Roll on next Tue.

Great Way to end the year on 18th December

7 fiddles (Joe, Bernie, Gerry, Ethan, Kevin, Lucy and Chloe) not all at the same time – you can never have too many fiddles opined Ethan, unlike accordions added GPH – plus mandolin (Tom), Piano (Emma), Guitar (Alan), whistle (Steve) and accordion (GPH) all combined to create a high octane, turbo charged session to end 2013 last night at the Cumberland. Thanks to all who took part. Commiserations to those who wanted to and couldn’t get. See as many as can get for the first Irish Session of 2014 on Wednesday 15th January – can’t wait! Peter.


I’ve been hearing that there’s some sort of session on a Thursday night at the Cumberland now.

Does anyone on here have any details of what styles, instruments, etc this covers?

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The local ukulele Group which is very strong meet early evening and have a great time I understand.

"Not quite so Irish" Music Session on 5th Wednesday of the Month

Great night Wednesday (April 30th) with guest appearance from Jeff Warner (visiting Degree Course tutor American singer, concertina and banjo) who was brought along by Sandra Kerr(concertina). Ronnie Dodds and Phil Tyler (both fiddles) were happy to showcase their American music tendencies. Tom (mandolin), Mick (flute) Bernie, Joe and Kevin (fiddles) made sure the Jigs and Reels were well represented and Dan (fiddle) gave us a preview of his Final Degree Course Recital by playing with tremendous style and considerable volume. Next session Wednesday 14th May.

Tues session - 1st and 3rd and 5th Tuesdays

Still a great mix of tunes and players.
Suppose I’d have to infiltrate someone’s Facebook acc. to see if there were takers for using the using the other Tuesday s again ….. or even talk to people at the session! But we’re usually too busy playing tunes.

Super Little Session

Brilliant night on Wed 28th May. Desi Wilkinson (flute/fiddle), Aoife Granville (flute, newly arrived from SW Ireland), Ewan Porter (fiddle), Bernie (fiddle) and myself (button Accordion) played though a good selection of jigs, reels, hornpipes and barn dances (even) to such good effect that the sound of people in the bar actually listening could be detected and the time from 8.15 to 11 p.m. simply flew by.

"You can never have too many fiddles at a session"

Great session last Wednesday (27th August). Six fiddles (regulars Bernie, Ethan, Lucy and Friend, sadly now occasional visitor Dan and very welcome first time attender Brian Kilbride from Wales) plus Emma on piano and myself on accordion. There were times in the night when the tunes touched the celestial ceiling!!

Warm Welcome, Great Tunes, Lovely People

I was in Newcastle for work recently, stopping over, so packed the fiddle and found out about the Cumberland Arms session (thanks peterh2009). Great pub, good beer, warm welcome, lovely people, great tunes. Here’s hoping for some more work up North again!

Invaders from the North

Really nice session this week with a great blend of instruments. We were joined by Martin and Liz Marroni (flute and banjo/piano respectively) plus Alan Green (fiddle) and Mark Mawby (fiddle and mandolin) all of whom are Thursday session regulars at The Pilot in Berwick. It was good also to see Ewan Porter (fiddle), McLaughlin (flute) able to make their shorter journeys.

Invaders from the North Part 2

Thanks all who made it to last night’s session at the CA. It’s evenings like this that make it all worthwhile. 16 musicians, 10 of whom were very occasional or first time visitors, joined together to crack through a great range of tunes. It was good to meet Sean, friend of Amanda and Julian, and here from Ireland with his BC button box. Though based temporarily in Middlesbrough, he is planning to come back next week earlier than the 10 o’clock he managed this week – he’d expected the session to be on till 1am like at home!!
See you next week – can’t wait.

Session at the Cumberland.

I have only been a few times over the past three years but I’m always made welcome to this class session. It is also very rewarding to get an e mail after each visit from Peter.
Thanks to all the Wednesday nighters.

Mick Bramich

You just never know…

No two sessions are the same! There I was at 8pm sitting in the bar on my own wondering if anyone or no-one would turn up this week. Then Bernadette (fiddle and piano) and Ekhart (tenor banjo and guitar) Topp on holiday from Rosbach near Frankfurt ask me if it would be alright if they join in with some tunes - preferably Irish ones! By the time Gerry, Joe, Emma, Steve and Alan joined us the tunes (mainly reels it has to be said) were flowing very nicely. 11 pm came all to quickly and reluctantly I took my leave thinking meeting new people is one of the nicest things about playing informal tunes in a bar.

Something a bit Special

Folk Degree graduates Tom Oakes and Ross Couper - in Newcastle from Edinburgh to record a CD see - added there considerable skills on flute and fiddle respectively to the session last week (10th June). Julian came along as well and needless to say the tunes flowed pretty freely all evening.

Wed 11th Nov

Brilliant session last night. At times discordant, rough, bewildering, but usually energetic, occasionally wistful and always interesting. Thanks for your contribution and see you again next week for more of the same please.

It was a Family Thing!

Last week’s Irish Session turned out to be a real family event with George Unthank being joined by son Matthew on fiddle, Mary and Emma Hollins making a rare joint appearance, Joe Tait with his wife and Joe Crane bringing daughter Roisin to duet with him on some lovely - some may say quirky(!) - tunes from Donegal. Geoff and Jim (button Accordions) making welcome visits from Woodbridge and Greenock respectively got the session off to a lively, muscular start in company with Tom, Joe T and I. The overall sound took a turn for the better, however, once we were joined by fiddles Anna, Gillian and Ethan. All-in-all a very sociable and musically stimulating night out.

A Fiddles Bonanza

A fiddle powerhouse in the form of Tom McConville, Malcolm Bushby and Gordon Gunn from Wick, Caithness alighted at the Irish session last night and in company with Emma, Kevin and Rosaleen and (eventually Gillian and Joe) turned it into a high octane experience for all – Great Night.

Tues ABI session - 1st and 3rd and 5th Tuesdays

Has been going well again through the winter after the usual summer lull.
Often a core (or more) of "old faithfuls" , a good showing of new and established players from The Course, plus a variety of local and more distant visitors. This continuous flux always gives variety of tunes and gels to fine and often "stonking" session.

Irish Session - 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th Wednesday Nights

Some splendid sessions in January getting the 2016 off to a great start.

Re: Cumberland Arms

So, is it only on those *Wednesday* nights that the CA has Irish sessions? No other week nights? I’m currently in Alnwick for the week 13th - 19th Feb. Apparently there’s a session in Alnwick on this Wed, but may be more Northumbrian tunes hardly any of which I know (that’s not to say I don’t like them as I do, just don’t know any except a few James Hill ones.) BTW, I play wooden Boehm flute, whistle and DG box (I didn’t bring the box though.)

Re: Cumberland Arms

Sorry for late response Lazy. You’d have been better sending a message. I don’t check the website weekly! Peter

3 accordions can’t be bad!

Great sociable session last night (Wed 16th). Amanda persuaded brilliant box players Julian and their friend Sean from Ireland (temporarily in Middlesbrough) to come back to the Cumberland again and some of the music was sumptuous. More please!

Session on 27th April

Thanks to all who came and helped make it such a good night. It was nice to be able to welcome back Mick Bramitch from Devon on his annual visit. Next session on Wed 11th May.

Last Night’s Session

A very enjoyable, sometime cacophonous, gathering last evening. Thanks to all who came. Next week - being the first - is a singaround and I’ll be away the week after so see you again on the 14th June. All the best, Peter

A Real Irish Music Get Together

Enthusiasts from all corners of the region - Martin, Liz, Mark and Alan from the Borders, Mick and Ronnie from the coast, Bob from the north-east, Kevin and Rosaleen from the south-west, Tom and Joe T from the deep south, Gillian, Gerry and Joe C from round the corner - joined together for a splendid 3 hour session last week. Let’s hope this week’s (22nd June) is half as good. See you from 8.

Last Night’s Session

Thanks all who came and helped make it an enjoyable session. The July Wednesdays have been really good and varied. Let’s hope for more in August. The first one is on the 10th and then there are three more.

Old Friends

Really nice session last week with erstwhile regular Paul Newman (guitar and song) visiting from Edinburgh.

Session Update

The last session (28th Sept), when Andy Seagroatt made a rare appearance and we were also favoured with a visit from Martin and Liz from the far north, was a joyous occasion. I’m sure this week’s (Wed 12th October) will be equally good. See you there from 8pm. Peter

Tues session - 1st and 3rd and 5th Tuesdays

Has continued well through the summer and is now beginning to fill out again as players return from touring the summer festivals as punters and/or performers. Great to see Pete Challoner beginning to enjoy the sessions with some of the time released to him after the the New Rope String bands’ swan song not quite a year ago. From the far extremities of the country, a sprinkling of new students to The Course are starting to explore the local session scene. What are they going to be like at the end of the course ? They’re petty impressive now.
Roll on the next Tue session ! 18th Oct.

New Blood!!

Great to have Mick Bramich on anglo concertina back at the session on one of his semi regular visits from Devon. There were no shortage of tunes played as a result and many with interesting variations. Another tremendous feature of last night’s session was the appearance in force of talented musicians from the Degree course. Let’s hope some at least come again next week (26th October).

Tues session - 1st and 3rd and 5th Tuesdays

Back to solid tunout 🙂
Still looking for session that matches this.

Wednesday Irish Session

Last week’s was a pleasant affair with semi rare appearances of Maurice C, Andy S and Steven H joining Kevin D, Bob M, Gillian T. Gerry M, Joe C and me to knock off a fair range of tunes though Gerry seemed to think there was a preponderance of reels. It was nice to be able to welcome music student from York, Penny, who joined in well on the fiddle.

Last Night’s Session

Thanks to all who came to the Irish Session last night. A really nice convivial get-together I thought.
It was good to see again the Durham Elm Tree squad of Tim, James and Dick especially as they got Amanda and Cyril to join us, if only briefly, and separately.
Next session will be on Wednesday 8th March. See you then.

A Bit Like Old Times

Thanks all who came to the Cumberland last night. Good that visitor from Norwich Darren found us and was able to join forces with Maurice on guitar. Early on it was briefly a bit like old times when I as the only tune player was being accompanied by two guitars and a bodhran. Unlike old times however, the guitar players recognised key changes and the bodhran was Bob. Welcome reinforcements soon arrived though in the forms of Gillian,Gerry, George, Matthew, Steve and eventually Joe. A late arrival was Any May who with his pipe-playing mate from Glasgow led off some juicy slip jigs. The night ended too soon. See you next week (19th April).

Invasion by Multi Talented Youngsters

Last night’s Irish Session was taken over by the children of Steve Quilley (on holiday from Canada), his NE based sisters and Ewan Porter. Till they decided to retire to bed at about 9.30 they filled the room with bouncy jigs, reels and polkas and brought an energetic enthusiasm that had a rejuvenating effect on all of us, even a bemused Stephen Hoyes!! We caught a glimpse of the future of session playing and it looked very good. Thanks to the parents for bringing them along. Bumper month coming up in May with sessions on 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st.

Tues session - 1st and 3rd and 5th Tuesdays

Great bunch of good players last Tue .. regulars, occasionals, locals and distance visitors. 12-20 .. didn’t count. Previous Session was also good with less than 12 I think. Bodes well for the winter season. 🙂

Re: Cumberland Arms

Weds Irish evening: Lovely friendly atmosphere, two stouts on (+ Guinness), enjoyed playing tunes with friends old and new.
[Loads of boxes also walked through to play with rapper dancers upstairs]

Thanks Olivier

Last night’s session was a bit out of the ordinary to say the least. French Canadian fiddler Olivier has been on the Folk Degree Course for a few months on secondment from Montreal and it was his last night in Newcastle for a while at least. He had a plan to come to the Irish Session which he has never attended before, to drink copious quantities of Laphroaig whisky, to invite all his mates from the course to come along to say goodbye and to then take the overnight Megabus to London before flying back to Canada the next day. This plan, despite squashed circumstances, gave us an evening to remember with some great tunes, not least from Olivier himself, and some brilliant entertainment. Thanks to all who came "et bon chance" to the man of the night!

Tues session - 1st and 3rd and 5th Tuesdays

This eclectic session is pressing on well with plus/minus 15 last session about the norm. Still a good mix of regulars, first or sometime visitors and a few degree course students. See you tomorrow ? 🙂

Re: Cumberland Arms

Thanks Peter, Bob and all the other players for giving a visiting whistle from Manchester a night to remember on Wednesday. It’d be difficult to find a more friendly and welcoming session anywhere, with great people, and it’ll be on my list of places to return to if I get the chance. Lovely playing and great tunes! Slainte!

Tues session - 1st and 3rd and 5th Tuesdays

Good to have a few more students than last year.
Less last night as they’re away for Easter but that made more room for the visiting ex-students and the couple of pre-student youngsters who turned up playing very well. Great to have more mix in the melting pot.

Re: Cumberland Arms

This is a lovely venue with a great atmosphere. It was a little quiet the last couple of times agroup of us went up but a good night all the same.

Re: Cumberland Arms

What night is the Irish session and what time does it start? Regards, Pat

Tues session - 1st and 3rd and 5th Tuesdays

Great session this week. About a dozen players… old guard and new. Very promising for the future. Re-dubbed as Global Session…. fair enough.
Pub has it flagged for 1st +3rd Tuesdays
but maybe would reinstate 5th as before.

Re: Tues Global session - 1st and 3rd and 5th Tuesdays

Oooooo! … From good to gooder😊
15+ this week…. 1st timers, old timers and all in between. Visiters, locals including a good bunch of youngsters.
Can’t think of much more to wish for…. apart from not missing them.