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Ceilidh Bands, Barn Dances & Folk

People have been dancing to the infectious tunes of traditional music for centuries. Their beats and rhythms are in our DNA, so book a Ceilidh or Barn Dance band and get the folk dancing! Not sure if it will suit you and your guests? Read on…

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Ceilidh Rhymes with Bailey!

Before we get to the music, let’s look at the words. And the first surprise is that ‘Ceilidh’ rhymes with ‘Bailey’. Nah! Honest … It really does. It’s the traditional Gaelic word for having a great time with Music and Dancing. It’s spelt ‘Ceili’ in Irish and ‘Ceilidh’ in Scottish, which is the spelling now used all over the world. … So it’s like a Barn Dance? You’ve got it.

As you can see and hear from the picture and clip, these bands play a mixture of traditional instruments such as Fiddle, Accordion, Acoustic Guitar and String Bass. Other instruments include Flute, Banjo, Electric Guitar & Bass, Keyboard or Piano, and Drums or Percussion. And sometimes the Irish drum [or Bodhrán, pronounced boar_anne] is used to drive the music along with its deep rhythmic beat. The reason why these instruments are used for folk music is that they blend together, making that characteristic foot-tapping can't-be-ignored Ceilidh Band sound. And because all the instruments not just drums are played in a percussive way, the musicians striking the strings & keys to add to the beat, the whole effect makes it impossible to sit still. You just have to get up and dance!

What Happens if You Don't Know The Dances?

Don’t know Cumberland Square, the Dashing White Sergeant or the Gay Gordons? Have no idea how to Strip the Willow, Haste to the Wedding or do the Winster Gallop? Don’t Worry!!

DG Music's Ceilidh Bands are selected for their skill in making sure everyone has a good time. They do this by bringing along an experienced dance Caller whose job it is to guide the dancers through the evening. No previous experience or knowledge is needed to join in - in fact getting it wrong and trying to catch up is all part of the fun. And because the steps are taught in a relaxed and friendly way, no-one’s left out.

Don’t forget, a Barn Dance or Ceilidh has huge appeal across all age groups. And because our experienced callers select dances that fit your guests' age profile, everyone can get involved. That’s why many of our clients choose a Ceilidh format for their event - guests of all ages can enjoy themselves getting it wrong, getting it right, and laughing about it. Check out the band Feedback sections on the website if you don’t believe us.

What Will The Music Be Like?

Ceilidh and Barn Dance bands vary in size from two to five, including the Caller. Their music is usually a combination of Irish, Scottish, Gaelic and American folk music selected for dancing. Having said that, there’s another side to Folk Music, and our bands also have more delicate slow airs in their repertoire to create a bit of chilling and down-time while dancers eat, drink or just get their breath back.

This variety makes it possible for you to consider folk music if you need a quieter mood. Listen, for example to the audio on the website of Tin Pigeon singing ‘The Storm’, or Dai & The Ramblers playing ‘Little Sunflower’. Our folk musicians are experts who can help you deliver the right ambiance for your reception, dinner, or party. In fact sometimes, they’re booked not for dancing at all, but to provide fresh and different background music to a meal or drinks reception. And because these are acoustic groups who can sometimes offer variations as a duo or solo musician as well as a group, their sound, when not pushed out through a PA for dancing, isn’t overpowering.

And don't forget that you've got the whole world of western folk music to choose from. How about a Themed Party Night? For example, book Govannen to play Louisiana Cajun Music to give your guests that genuine Southern Crayfish & Gumbo Experience. Or maybe a Western Hoe Down is more your thing. Fancy dressing up cowboy style, getting booted and waving your Stetson in the air? No probs! Just ask, and DG Music's Leicester Ceilidh Band will be there to help you create that special Way Out West evening. Leicester Ceilidh Band? Cowboys!? Yes, we know its 5000 miles to the Alamo, but these guys from Leicester can take you straight to Texas - from wherever you are; without the long haul flight.

As for specialist ethnic styles, Please ask. Klez, for example, take a fresh and invigorating approach to Jewish traditional music, borrowing from many styles to make it as interesting, lively and enjoyable as possible. And if required, the band can be augmented by clarinet, drums, guitar, a singer specialising in Jewish, jazz & covers, and a caller to lead Jewish dancing. The band can also combine Jewish dancing and music with Scottish or Irish Ceilidh music, and have a caller who can lead dances in all styles, making them a natural choice for all aspects of your special celebration: ceremony, reception, dinner and dancing.

[audio: Klez - Khosid Wedding Dances]

So whatever mood you want: Kick Up a Storm, Yee Hah Hoe Down, Klezmer or Mellow Mood, we’ve got the musicians for you. And all of this will be delivered in a friendly way with that easy going good-natured humour which puts everyone in the right mood to have a great time.

And When You've Had Enough Ceilidh Dancing ... ?

Quite a few of our bands can offer some variation in the evening.

For example, Govannen are renowned for their end of the evening session when, if asked, they’ll play a range of Celtic and Popular Songs for everyone to have a bop. Or check out the extensive repertoire from Dai & The Ramblers which takes in music from Hank Williams, Johnny Clash, Elvis and Big Joe Turner through Ray Charles and Chicken Shack to Nick Drake and Paul Weller.

These bands and others from our stable, can provide a range of interesting, different and exciting music which will make your event memorable for all your guests.

Practical Matters

Suppose you’ve chosen to book some folk musicians, what now?

Well the first thing to think about is your timing. Most of our Ceilidh and Barn Dance bands have a standard set of arrangements for gigs. Typical set times might be 2 x 60 or 3 x 40 minute sets, with a set up time of around an hour, arriving at 18:00 and finishing the event at 11:30, although this finishing time can usually be negotiated with the band. Most of our bands are happy to provide the use of their PA for music between sets and will provide a play list of suitable music if asked. As for space, it depends on the size of the band. Four piece band might need an area of 3m x 3m, while a larger band of, say, five musicians, will require a 4m x 3m space.

Beforehand, the agency will let you know what the band need onstage and backstage to make their performance great. For example, they may request some simple food and soft drink backstage and parking for, say two vehicles.

And that’s it. These musicians are low maintenance, high fun factor and popular.

Book Your Band Now

Booking a band is something that most people don’t do very often. And that’s why we’re here. We can make sure that practical matters such as electricity supply and facilities for the band at the venue are taken care of. In fact, there’s a good chance that we already know your venue because our bands have probably played there before. So we’ll be able to work with you and the venue to make sure that your party goes exactly as you would like it to.

All you’ve got to do is give us a call. DG Music is a Professional Music Agency, family run by musicians and with long experience of providing live and exciting music for all kinds of parties all over the country.

The DG Music 'Instant Quote' system is currently the only system available that allows you to obtain a price for musicians by the hour for any desired line up option. So, if you want a price now then simply fill out the main search form at the top of this page and then click on the quartets that catch your eye. From there you can obtain an instant quote for any option you choose.

If you would prefer to speak to someone then please to call us for some friendly advice on 01572 756386.

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Based in Leicestershire

Govannen is an Celtic Ceilidh Band based in Leicester and one of the best Barn Dance bands in the ...

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Add To FavouritesGovannen
from £875
Dai & The Ramblers

Dai & The Ramblers

Based in London

Dai & The Ramblers are an exciting London-based act performing unique acoustic arrangements of honky tonk, 1950s R&B and ...

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Add To FavouritesDai & The Ramblers
from £1230


Based in London

Formed in 1999, Klez are Chris Haigh (fiddle), Philip Clouts (piano/accordion) and Alex Keen (double bass). They are all ...

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Add To FavouritesKlez
from £750


Based in London

Mercury is a professional Ceilidh and Barn Dance Band based in London, who have a wide musical experience and ...

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Add To FavouritesMercury
from £815
Accordionist Mike

Accordionist Mike

Based in Hertfordshire

Mike is a Hertfordshire-based accordion player who can turn his hand to all styles of music, from sea shanties ...

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Add To FavouritesAccordionist Mike
from £215