Playing for birthday ceilidhs is great fun – everyone is there to enjoy themselves, especially the birthday girl or boy.
Tonight’s ceilidh was no exception, a lovely smiley birthday girl who had lots of nice friends – all determined to have a good time. Held in the village hall in Goostrey, not far from Holmes Chapel.
Playing with the Midgebite Ceildh Band is always a pleasure – we just have lots of fun, and I like to think that if the band is enjoying themselves then our enthusiasm infects our audience. Fun escalates: we enjoy ourselves > the audience enjoy themselves > we get positive feedback and so enjoy ourselves all the more….etc. Not that this audience needed any more enthusiasm – they were seriously up for it!
I often worry about the future of folk music and dance, our modern ways of life seem to almost obliterate these traditions. It is something of a relief to see younger dancers enjoying themselves so much. I don’t know whether these youngsters had been previously exposed to e-ceilidh (English Ceilidh) but they really threw themselves into the evenings activities with energy that embarrassed much of the adult audience!
Our audience having a ball
John (JW), plays things with strings
Emma, our demon fiddler, giving it some stick
Bill, our rather excellent drummer
The Midgies in action…with some bloke on a melodeon
Our caller, Brian, with a smiley, happy….and rather tired birthday girl!
The Marmaladies have done this ceilidh before and reported back that it was fun. Held in the Friend’s Meeting House in Manchester city centre and run by the Quakers. The building is adjacent to Petersfield, site of the Peterloo massacre of 1819. The event promised to cheerful and gay. I’m not a religious type at all, but I’ve got a lot of time for the Quakers. The event was certainly gay. The Marmaladies were operating with extras at this event. In addition to Clur on whistles and flute, and Marian on fiddle, we had Kathy on flute – she’s a long-time member of the band but has been in Glasgow for the last 4 years, John on guitar, Mike on Cajon (and a very excellent sound man), Brian as caller, and me on melodeon. It was a lively musical mix, with and excellent caller and a tremendously enthusiastic, and sometimes colourful audience: An early finish (10pm) left us enough time to pile all the gear into Mike’s Tardis of a Landrover, squeeze the band in too, and then head to the Beech in Chorlton for rehydration.
L-R: A Beech Boozer, Mike, Clur, Marian, John. Centre: beer.
It was a brilliant evening, enjoyed by everyone. I really hope we get the chance to play this one next year.
Saturday 18th August
A different band for this one – Midgebites. We were one down for this one – Bill, our very excellent percussionist, has moved up to Morecambe to look after his poorly lady. The band insisted he stay with Gina, whilst she’s under the weather. Fingers crossed for her full recovery!
We were down to John W on guitar, Emma on fiddle, me on melodeon, and Brian as caller….. but no drum. This could be a problem.
We decided some time ago that if Bill couldn’t play with us for some reason, we would turn the booking down. What to do?
A couple of hours of messing about with bits of wood came up with a stompbox. It’s simply a box that has a microphone inside. I tend to stamp my feet in time with the music – so why not capitalise on my footwork. The box worked a treat. Okay, it didn’t have the fiddly, frilly drum sound that Bill produces so well, but we had a beat for the band to ‘lock’ on to – and it seemed to help the audience too.
The ceilidh was an Anglo-Chinese wedding…well he was British, she was Chinese. The reception was at a small church hall in Hale, not far from JJ Towers. As is often the case with weddings, it was a late start. We were booked from 8pm until 11.30pm, but the speeches etc delayed kick-off until 9.30pm. It was curious to see one half of our audience dressed in sober, western attire, whilst t’other half were dressed very brightly indeed.
Not all western attire is sober!
The Bride’s brother…I think
The bride and a very proud mother
Brian, our caller, doing his very best to explain a dance in English to our audience, many of whom only understood Chinese. It worked!
The evening went well. It was extremely hot and our little band were rather pooped by the time we left for home.
No more ceilidhs for a week or two now, there are backpacking trips on the horizon.