Ceilidh Band

Ceilidh Band

Ceilidh Band, barn dance, square dance hire in London, Kent, Surrey and Essex. 

Many barn dance bands are semi-professionals, for whom playing barn dances is their only musical experience.  Ask them to slip in latin jazz, Italian Tarantella or your favourite klezmer hora and you’ll be met by a sharp intake of breath. Other  bands are very professional, but take the whole barn dance thing rather seriously. They might sulk if you accidentally hoe-up instead of hoe-down, or do-so-don’t instead of do-si-do.

Our Ceilidh Band is a bit different! They have a lot of fun with the music, sometimes taking it in all sorts of unexpected directions, and we expect our audiences to have a lot of fun as well.

Our callers select from hundreds of dances and will always take the expertise, energy and enthusiasm of the dancers into account at your event. It may be that you’re looking for nothing more than a general barn dance and are happy to leave all the choices to the band. However, if you have a particular theme in mind – be it English, Scottish, American or whatever, just let them know!

One of their unique points as a ceilidh band is that, in a wedding situation, they are able to cater for the unusual combinations of music and dance. This is sometimes called for when bride and groom are from different countries or cultures. If you’re looking for a band for a Scottish/Jewish wedding, Irish/Russian wedding, or an English/French wedding, they have the experience and repertoire to keep everybody happy!

The Ceilidh Band has a large and varied repertoire of dances ranging in origin through English, Scottish, Irish and American.  We also go Welsh, Israeli, Balkan or Scandinavian. They may be very easy (the Circassian Circle, for example, is not unlike the hokey kokey) or quite challenging (such as the Strip the Willow or Eightsome Reel. If you already know a bit about this kind of dancing, feel free to request anything you like. Though if it’s a bit obscure, be sure to give the band sufficient notice.

For each dance the Ceilidh Band has a different set of tunes, matched to the rhythm of the steps. These may be reels, jigs, hornpipes, slip jigs, polkas or waltzes depending on the dance. They usually run three or four tunes together. Our Ceilidh Band is distinctly adventurous in their approach to the music. They tend to improvise and take liberties with the original tune.

So a polka might turn into swing jazz, a hornpipe into reggae, or a slip jig into heavy rock! In between dances, when the audience needs a short break, they’ll play one or two tunes. This might include Western Swing, bluegrass, Italian, French, klezmer or jazz depending on what seems suitable inappropriate. One of our specialities is “Turkey in the Borscht”. This is a re-working of Turkey in the Straw which alternates in style between Russian and Down Home American, gradually accelerating to a dizzying climax.

All in all, they like to have fun!

The Ceilidh band members realise that not everyone shares their eclectic and sometimes anarchic tastes. If what you’re looking for is a straight-down the line Scottish Ceilidh or American hoedown, that’s what you’ll get. Both the dances and in-between tunes will reflect that. They will also be sure to dress appropriately.