Irish Ceilis

For a Traditional All Irish Ceilidh, SELECT:

For an Irish emphasis, but with a mixture of other music (Scottish, English, American), for variety, SELECT:

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OUR IRISH CEILIDH BAND & OUR IRISH FLAVOURED CEILIDH & BARN DANCE BAND?

 

The simple difference is that the Irish Ceilidh Band plays just Irish music to do the dancing to, and the Irish ‘Flavoured’ Ceilidh and Barn Dance Band will give you an evening with perhaps two thirds Irish music and one third other kinds of music i.e. will throw in an odd American Yee Ha tune, and one of the precise and exciting Scottish tunes. But how do you decide which is for you? Read on for some typical reasons and choices:-

 

REASON 1: you are an expert Irish dancer

REASON 2: you are Irish or have been to some Irish Ceilidhs on holiday in Ireland or seen Riverdance on TV

REASON 3: you think a Ceilidh has to be Irish

REASON 4: you really enjoy the flow and feel of Irish Folk Music, but like other music too

 

So, which ceilidh band is suitable for each of these categories?

 

REASON 1: you are an expert Irish dancer

Perhaps you and many of your guest are Irish or of Irish descent and have learned to do Irish Step Dancing at dance class. If this is the case, and you want an evening of Irish step dancing, then you want  the Coulan Sona Irish Ceilidh Band, and we will be delighted to play for you. We wouldn’t call the dances, as you would already know them well and it is a kind of dancing that can’t be called or taught on the night (it takes years of dedication to perfect). We would play the music for you. It would be useful to know what specific tunes you may want, well before the Ceilidh, so that we can  make sure we have them included in the sets we play for you.

 

But, be very sure that this is what you really want. There are not many people outside of Ireland who can do this kind of dancing, and it is even less common to have all the guests at an event who know and can do the same dances. At least, that is the case in the counties of Worcestershire, Herefordshire & Gloucestershire), West Midlands, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, North Somerset and South and Central Wales, where we perform, though it is doubtlessly different in Liverpool and Glasgow, and indeed in London, where I once used to play for the Tony O’Sullivan Irish Dance Team.

 

Even if you and some of your guests can do Irish Step Dancing, be mindful of other guests who cannot. They need to be included to, and so would need to do other kinds of dances to the Irish Ceilidh music, with a caller teaching the dances in just a few minutes, on the night.

 

REASON 2: you are Irish or have been to some Irish Ceilidhs on holiday in Ireland or seen Riverdance on TV

 

You will have gathered from REASON 1: above, that the incidence of a group of experts in Irish Step Dancing is rare, and that unless you have had some years of lessons, then there is no hope for you. BUT DON’T DISPAIR! An Irish Ceilidh, or at least an Irish Ceilidh in England, CAN have dancing that everyone can enjoy, even if you have never done any Ceilidh dancing in your life! So how is that?

 

If you were to book the Coulan Sona Irish Ceilidh Band, you would get an evening of wonderful Irish ceilidh music, plus other Irish traditional music to listen to between dances, but you would dance easy to learn set dances that even the beginner can do. These dances don’t have intricate footwork, but are ceilidh dances where people promenade, swing their partners, dosey doe etc. ie the moves that are common to all kinds of ceilidh dancing, whether Irish, Scottish, English or American (though the Americans and to an extent the English call these dances Barn Dances, but they are much the same, save for the music and some of the dances that are nationality specific.)

 

So, what makes a Ceilidh in to and Irish Ceilidh is very much the music. Irish music is very different from Scottish or English, and most people know when they are hearing Irish Ceilidh music, as it has a form, flow and lyricism that is quite unique. But that doesn’t mean that the tunes are necessarily only Irish. Some are, but many are claimed by many nationalities, especially so with west coast Scottish and American folk tunes, where there was historic ethnic mixing and influences. But even if the same tune is claimed to be originally Irish or Scots or American, it will sound quite different when played in the appropriate national style. This was illustrated beautifully, some years ago, when I went to a concert by a famous folk fiddler. It was very informal, with plenty of chat from the fiddler, who demonstrated on a number of well know tunes, how they were played for each nationality who claimed them as their own ceilidh or barn dance tune. It is all about bowing, emphasis, accompaniment, speed, double stopping and technical things like that, but it makes them very different pieces of music.

 

To conclude then, if you want a very Irishy Irish Ceilidh, book the Irish Ceilidh Band , but understand that you don’t have to be expert dancers, and that we will call (teach and lead) dances that everyone can enjoy. Of course, if there are some Irish Step Dance experts at the evening, we would be thrilled to play for them to do a demonstration dance or two for everyone else. In fact, this is something we often do when there are a lot of Irish at an event, and we find that some are experienced dancers. It adds to the evening for everyone, without detracting from the enjoyment for all the non-expert dancers, and gives everyone something to aspire to if they have the inclination. Note, that Coulan Sona Irish Ceilidh Band is a purely instrumental band. We do not do vocals and we don’t play for audience singing. If you want this kind of thing, which is also very popular, you need to book a different band. We are purely and Irish Ceilidh Dancing band.

 

REASON 3: you think a Ceilidh has to be Irish

 

A ceilidh isn’t necessarily Irish. It is the general Celtic word for folk dance or country dance. There are Irish Ceilidhs and Scottish Ceilidhs (and sometimes people use the term ceilidh for a dance to English tunes, but that would more properly be called a Barn Dance or Country Dance.) To further confuse things, there are various forms of spelling of this already difficult word. Ceilidh is the most generally accepted form, but often Ceili and Celidhe and Ceile is used for the Irish, and Kayleigh, Keighley, Kaylee, etc are other spellings in occasional use. All very confusing, so best stick to Ceilidh!

 

So, if this was your reason for asking for an Irish Ceilidh, it is probable that you really like Irish Music, but would like some other kinds of music (Scottish and America for example), included too. If this is so, then you would be best going for the Irish flavoured Ceilidh & Barn Dance Band,  rather than the pure Irish Ceilidh Band , giving a wider variety of musical sounds and dances.

 

BUT when you book, make sure you let us know you want an Irish Flavoured Ceilidh, otherwise will do an equal amount of every style instead of leaning towards the Irish!

 

REASON 4: you really enjoy the flow and feel of Irish Folk Music, but like other music too

Here the choice is obvious, you should book the Irish flavoured Ceilidh & Barn Dance Band,  Again, when you book it is Vital that you make sure you let us know you want an Irish Flavoured Ceilidh, otherwise will do an equal amount of every style instead of leaning towards the Irish!

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