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Author Topic: North Wilts/ West Berks barn dance/english country dancing band  (Read 695 times)

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JonathanC

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North Wilts/ West Berks barn dance/english country dancing band
« on: December 05, 2014, 10:10:47 AM »

Hi, 
I have been playing melodeon for 5 (ish) years now and play in many sessions as well as playing for our local morris side.  I would be really interested in playing with a barn dance/english country dancing band but as yet have not found one to join.   The obvious solution would be to start my own, which is a possibility but would rather play with a more established one first.  So, to get to the point, if there is anyone out there in melnet land that knows of or hears of something in the north wilts/west berks area that may be of interest, it would be great to hear from you.  (Even if you stumble across this post a few years after I have posted it!  ;) )
Cheers
Jonathan
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Andy Next Tune

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Re: North Wilts/ West Berks barn dance/english country dancing band
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2014, 11:30:35 AM »

Most established ceilidh bands don't openly advertise for new/replacement musicians, but recruit people who have subbed with them in the past, or they know already.

Talk to your fellow morris and session musicians. Some of those are probably in bands already, or will know the local ones.

If you openly talk about starting a band, you will find there are a number of other people on the same quest as you. Also people already in bands often want to join another one playing a different style of music. So have a clear vision of what you want to play, before you start.

First gig? - organise it yourself e.g. morris ceilidh. 

The band I'm in was formed just over a year ago when one of our morris musicians was asked to orgainse a ceilidh as a Christmas party for a choir. That one event gave us the focus to put the band together,  build a tune repertoire, rehearse regularly, find a 'supportive' caller, and generally make it happen. Only one of the four plays in another band, but his knowledge was valuable.

From a standing start in Oct 2013, we ended up doing 8 gigs in 2014 and already have a number confirmed for 2015.

Make you own luck!!!

Cheers, Andy
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JonathanC

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Re: North Wilts/ West Berks barn dance/english country dancing band
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2014, 11:58:07 AM »

Hi Andy,   
Thanks for your post and all very good points.   
I am indeed speaking with people locally about both staring or joining just nothing has happened yet,  I guess this post was just intended to be an extension of that conversation.  I am in a local folk band and we reguarly gig and we have done a barn dance in the past, but at the moment our strengths collectively as a band are songs with the occasional tunes.  I would quite like the experience of playing with a existing barn dance band to lean new tunes,styles and understand the difference between that and morris.

So,  would be happy to 'fill in', potentially join or start a barn dance band, if anyone is interested :-).

Cheers
Jonathan



 
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Rob2Hook

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Re: North Wilts/ West Berks barn dance/english country dancing band
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2014, 12:38:56 PM »

Playing for a dance has a lot in common with playing for a particularly incompetent morris side!  The thing that continues to confound and confuse me is that a bunch of tyro drunks can walk through a dance once and then do it, often to a reasonable standard.  Why does a morris side practice all winter and still get it wrong - that and the incomprehensible "I can omly dance as number three..."

It is, of course worth doing a little meditation to encourage that happy mindset that adds bounce to the music (and slows down the drinking process).  It's not hard as there's plenty of time whilst the caller cajoles the dancers back onto the floor and walks them through the dance.  Added bonus is that a caller declares which dance and therefore which tunes in good time, unlike many morris sides whose foremen assume some telepathic link to the musos!  In building up a repertoire, our band often find that our preferred tune is not of the type specified in the caller's notes, but we're lucky enough that the callers are family members and we confirm the match of tunes and dances at practice.  In fact, we've only once played for an independant caller which was a rewarding experience but we were starting to run short of tunes toward the end of the evening.  48 bar tunes are at a premium, learn all you can!

The band are expected to suypply the amplification they need and this is not an inconsiderable expense.  We started by borrowing a system (which we didn't like) from a disbanded band and running fund raiser dances until we could buy our own.  In the interim, we were given a nice, clean 100W amp which with a slightly crackly mixing desk seemed to cover our needs.  On the first gig, the amp simply stopped working after half an hour and wouldn't restart for another half hour!  We later found that it had been used to test the effects of EMP on different types of circuitry - well, now we know.

Last problem is that a conversation on melnet is only seen by other box players, and it's all the other instrumentalists you need to talk to!  But despite the problems, it is a fun thing to do, eve if it doesn't make you as much money as the talentless moron doing a disco!

Rob.
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