Florida's sound is unique: a brassy collision of traditional English country dance and good time jazz, underpinned by muscular dance rhythms, generating hair-raising harmonies from a melting pot of roots and rock influences. Or, put more simply, this is a brassy band with a spectacularly original lineup, 10 years of experience and a huge following. The tunes are mainly English, but the band also draws on other European traditions and the compositions of fiddler/guitarist Gavin Atkin.
Lineup: Gavin Atkin (fiddle, guitars, vocals), Tim Bull (melodeons, vocals), Richard Goodwin (soprano and tenor sax, taragot, wind synth, chalumeau, clarinet, flute, whistles), Charlie Handley (trumpet, flugelhorn, cornet, vocals), Chris Warner (bass, vocals).
Caller Gordon Potts is one of the lynchpins of English ceilidh. He breeds enthusiasm and is at all the major festivals, even on the rare occasions that one hasn't booked him. Plays guitar for the Committee Band, dances with Hammersmith Morris (as seen on the Generation Game on more than one occasion) and is the author of many dances, including Rosza, called at just about every ceilidh you go to.
The unique sound of Xim has been sending waves of excitement through the UK folk festival and club scene for the past two years. The original tunes make up a vibrant range of brand new material that broadens the span of contemporary folk music. European trad. dance rhythms, new melodies, fascinating instrumentation and compelling musicianship make this band unmissable.
Versatile and more than capable of ceilidhs and concerts, we're going to ask Xim to do what they do best: French dance music. Even if you've never done any of this stuff before, they'll have you dancing into the small hours.
Lineup: Nick Carpenter (melodeon, darabuka and tambourine), Kate Ross (flute, whistle, bass and djembe), Paddy Shaw (bagpipes and bass), Frank Vickers (hurdy-gurdy and bodhran)
Andrew Swaine has a background (both as a dancer and a caller) in English ceilidh, however also has a strong interest in French dancing. Andrew has become a regular caller with Xim, and will ensure that this dance is open to all, whether or not you've done French dancing before.
Hekety are the band everyone's talking about: the cream of the huge number of talented musicians at Sheffield University's CeilidhSoc. Their improvisation, driving energy, strong rhythm and wide-ranging mix of individual musical influences have propelled them well on the way to national ceilidh stardom. They've all been playing from a young age, and dancing is a passion for every one of them.
Lineup: Jess Gleaves (fiddle), Richard Arrowsmith (melodeons), Gav Davenport (cittern and guitar), Nigel Holmes (4 and 5 string bass guitars), Jo Veal (clarinet), Paul Baker: (guitars).
Rachel Bearon is a highly experienced caller who cut her teeth on Cambridge students and is now in demand across the country. A keen and knowledgeable dancer in many styles, she's back on her home turf for a night to remember.
This event has got regular IVFDF-goers excited in a big way. Fiddlin' Around is lead by mega-fiddler Brian Stone of Junction 24 fame (who were a massive hit when IVFDF was last in Cambridge). Bob's fiddle playing is equally impressive, and together their energy, improvisation and communication ensure that "taking the next dance easy" just isn't an option. Andrew and Malcolm complement them perfectly. In the words of Richard Mason, who's headed the organisation of more IVFDFs than anyone else, the event "is going to be something special".
Lineup: Brian Stone (fiddle), Bob Tracey (fiddle), Andrew King (bass), Malcom Cole (guitar).
Michael Catovsky is just unstoppable. In the few years he's been on the scene he's established himself as one of the country's top callers, whose versatility and perfect understanding of the right dance for a tune have given him a strong following. Last year he called with the world's best contra band, Wild Asparagus.
Scottish fiddle wizard Keith Smith is in regular demand at home and abroad for dances, concerts, recording and teaching. He is best known for his interpretation of Scottish music and his performances have taken him throughout Europe and North America. His home is in Ardnamurchan on the West coast of Scotland. Keith's ability is clear from his busy concert schedule and prolific involvement as an artiste and producer of many recordings in particular for Scottish Country Dancing. Acclaimed albums with his Scottish band Hoogie (with whom he also plays bagpipes) and with Irish singer/songwriter John Barden were released last year.
He is joined by young virtuoso pianist James Gray from Edinburgh who is a rising star of the Scottish music scene and whose multiple talents have taken him to play in Europe and North America. Together this duo creates a dance force to be reckoned with!
Andrew Kellett has a wealth of experience teaching beginners, and is well known for his ability to explain dances to newcomers without lessening the enjoyment of the evening for more experienced dancers.
A programme for this event is available.
The Round Band sprang out of Cambridge University's English folk dance society, the Round, several years ago, and have been in constant demand ever since, appearing at major ceilidh series. They feature several members of this year's committee!
Paul Bains is another Round graduate, whose enthusiasm and love of the dances can't fail to impress. A no-nonsense caller from the "stop trying to look elegant and put some welly into it" school of ceilidh dancing.
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