Multiple BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winners Nancy Kerr and James Fagan join forces with legendary Sheffield duo Richard and Jess Arrowsmith (Crucible, Hekety, Pecsaetan) form the Melrose Quartet, capturing imaginations with their bold take on old and new English songs and tunes. Glorious four-part harmony singing combines with crunchy twin fiddles, full-bodied melodeon and powerful bouzouki in a set that will leave your heart singing and your feet tapping. They are joined by Nigel Holmes on bass to offer a ceilidh with a difference, as the band use singing as well as instruments for the dance music, to great effect.
John is an established ceilidh caller, working out of Sheffield. He got into calling through Sheffield CeilidhSoc and has been calling for Ceilidhsoc and for others ever since. These days he calls at a variety of events, from small private functions, to regular ceilidh Series and folk festivals. He has had the pleasure of working with a number of great bands over the last few years, including Blackbeard’s Tea Party, Hekety, Monster Ceilidh, Ceilidhography, Jabadaw, Gloworms, Trinculo, Derwenna, Pepper in the Brandy, This Way Up, Whapweasel, Random, Mawkin, Boldwood, Monsieur Pantin, The John Dipper Band.
For over 20 years, Steamchicken have been delighting audiences with their own brand of fun. In Ceilidhs, concerts, bar sets and workshops, the 7 talented and versatile musicians bring musical genres together in a way that shouldn’t work but does. Piano, melodeon, harmonica, vocals and percussion combine with a tightly knit horn section to provide entertainment that goes way beyond a dance or a song. This band don’t take themselves too seriously – just don’t let Andrew tell the sausage joke!
Rhianwen is a maths undergraduate at the University of Exeter and at the age of 21 this is her 21st IVFDF. What a way to celebrate! She originally hails from just across the Pennines in Manchester, and is known to attend dances in Sheffild when she can. Her previous calling festival credits include Chippenham Folk Festival and Sidmouth FolkWeek. Come along to experience lots of lively ceilidh dances, and a couple of different IVFDF favourites, from this exciting new caller.
Sheffield Ceilidh Society
CeilidhSoc are a student-run society at the University of Sheffield. Under the careful guidance of Rustle and Ruslet, who are aided by the committee, CeilidhSoc runs regular ceilidhs and weekly music sessions during the University semesters. CeilidhSoc runs under the University of Sheffield Student’s Union, and has been going since 1944 (even longer than IVFDF!). It remains at the centre of the university folk scene in Sheffield, a city already brimming with folk music and dance. CeilidhSoc, like IVFDF, has been the starting ground for a great many of some of the best callers and musicians on the circuit, and we always welcome new musicians, callers, and dancers.
Sol lives in Sheffield and has been involved in Sheffield CeilidhSoc since 2015. She regularly calls for CeilidhSoc, has worked with Sheffield’s Well Dressed Band at their Home-Grown Ceilidh series, and runs a ceilidh for families with her band Sharpish at AEFES, an annual alternative education festival. She also calls dances at Sheffield’s Playford in the Pub, has played with local band Jack’s Rake, and regularly dances ceilidh, contra, balfolk, Playford, and clog. Sol is also our workshops co-ordinator for IVFDF 2018.
Patrick Rose is a Sheffield bred (though Manchester born) ceilidh caller whose collection of dances range from the sublime to the ridiculous, and while he insists his jokes are excellent, this is far from a unanimous opinion. He’s also well known as a singer and guitarist on the Sheffield folk scene when he’s not calling for ceilidhs. Patrick joined Sheffield Ceilidhsoc as a bare-faced young lad in 2012. Half a decade later, he’s still unable to grow a proper beard but is regularly seen in the scratch band driving the rhythm section with his percussive guitar style, as well as a regular caller for the society.
Playford in the Pub
Playford in the Pub runs monthly Playford sessions in Sheffield, providing a place for musicians, dancers, and callers to enjoy English dances with exuberance, friendliness, and, if you’re very unlucky, the occasional bassoon. This is a chance to learn to dance, play and call a range of exciting dances dating from the 1600s onwards. All are welcome to play, dance, and call, beginners especially! Andrew and Daisy will be running the evening, ensuring that everyone can take part as they wish.
Daisy is a medievalist, storyteller, director, dancer and caller. She runs popular monthly ‘Playford in the Pub’ sessions for Sheffield Playford, which she set up with Andrew Swaine, and can be found calling ceilidhs and telling tall tales around the UK. She also lectures at the University of Wolverhampton, specialising in medieval and early modern performance.
Andrew has been calling and teaching workshops since he started university in 1996, and aims to pass some of that enjoyment on. He calls for all levels of dance, which means that whatever may happen he can adjust the programme of the evening to suit, ensuring that everyone has an enjoyable evening. The Round, the university group where he learned to call, was started as a Playford group. In his calling he hopes to pass on some of what attracted him to the dances, such as their great variety of speed, complexity, vigour, shape, etc. (Which means if you want an evening of dances which are walked, he’s the wrong caller for you!)