Category Archives: Ceilidh wedding

The Pastiche ceilidh band in action

Music for an Irish Wedding

One Saturday in July Pastiche Band were hired to play music for an Irish wedding.  The wedding was held at the rather excellent Clayton Crown Hotel in Cricklewood, North London.

Pastiche Band are often hired to play a mix of ceilidh and party music. On this occasion no ceilidh was required. Many of the guests already know how to ceilidh dance, and didn’t need the help of our expert caller.

The band line-up was female vocal, guitar/vocal, keyboard, bass, drums and, of course, a fiddle player.

The first dance was a jazzy Unforgettable – a song made famous by Nat King Cole, – the newly weds danced together beautifully.

The couple had requested a mix of party songs and traditional Irish songs. The party songs included the likes of Amy Winehouse – Valerie and Rehab; Dean Martin – Sway and Mambo Italiano, Adele – Rolling in the Deep; Pharrell Williams – Happy and Get Lucky.

The Irish songs that were requested were:

The Fields of Athenry – a song by Pete St. John popular with a rugby crowd.

The Star of County Down

The Leaving of Liverpool

The Wild Rover

Whisky in the Jar

Black Velvet Band

The Irish Rover

Galway Girl – A song written by the US songwriter Steve Earle – a big hit in Ireland for Mundy.

Dirty Old Town

Spancil Hill

Foggy Dew

The Auld Triangle

Danny Boy

We also played a set of fiddle tunes – Mairi’s Wedding, I’ll Tell Me Ma, The Maids of Ardagh, The Siege of Ennis.

The Irish contingent sang and danced all night long. The band were impressed that many of the guests knew all of the words to the Irish songs – even the lengthy The Irish Rover with it’s six long verses.

The evening finished with a rousing and emotional Danny Boy and the party was over. A happy client makes a happy band.

Teaching a ceilidh dance at a London wedding

ceilidh-party mix for a London wedding

A rainy day in October – grey clouds and drizzle washing down on the ‘wobbly bridge’ and into the River Thames. Pastiche Band had again been hired to play a ceilidh-party mix for a London wedding.

Today’s central London venue is the rather fabulous The Swan at The Globe, a bar alongside Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in the South Bank – http://www.swanlondon.co.uk

Playing central London engagements frequently has its problems these days – driving in, parking, access. Access to The Swan is a little problematic, but the staff are unusually friendly and very helpful. They also worked tirelessly throughout the day to ensure that all ran smoothly for the clients.

With the groom being Scottish the couple had requested a mix of three or four ceilidh dances, and a good mix of party music.

ceilidh-party mix for a London wedding

Dancers learning ceilidh steps

Pastiche Band were a five piece band for the occasion comprising female vocalist/ceilidh caller; female fiddler/backing vocalist; guitar/vocals, bass and drums.

The band started the evening with the ceilidh dance Dashing White Sergeant. The couple didn’t want a first dance but had requested that we play Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud – we played this as an ‘unofficial’ first dance. All the guests joined in.

Being a half-Scottish wedding there were many kilts in evidence, whilst one man was wearing a fez!

The Caller teaching Dashing White Sergeant

Throughout the evening we played three sets, each starting with a ceilidh. During the evening we played Gay Gordons, Circassian Circle and Heel and Toe Polka. We also played a wide variety of party songs requested by the couple, songs such as Brown Eyed Girl, American Boy, Nine to Five, Tainted Love, Firework, and a Michael Jackson medley of Blame it on the Boogie, I Want You Back and Billie Jean.

As there was a Scottish contingent we chose to finish with an inevitable The Proclaimers 500 Miles. Everyone sang along. The guests still wanted one last song so we closed with the fabulous Bob Dylan song Make You Feel My Love (popularised recently by Adele). The couples had a slow dance together, and the evening was done. As the guests left, the band packed up and loaded cars in the rain to head off into the night.

Dancing at a ceilidh wedding

Another Saturday night – another ceilidh wedding.

The end of the summer – a fine time for a ceilidh wedding!

At a wedding a couple may like to have a ceilidh dance to break the ice when there may be some guests who may not know each other so well. This past Saturday was just such an occasion.

The venue was the atmospheric barn setting of The Priory, Little Wymondley http://www.thepriory.net

Pastiche ceilidh caller teaches the steps to Strip the Willow

Pastiche ceilidh caller teaches the steps to Strip the Willow

After the first dance (the appropriate Happy Together by the Turtles) Pastiche opened the ceilidh dancing with the Circassian Circle – a country dance traditionally the first dance of the evening. After a brief teaching session from our caller the dancers were whirling around the dance floor. We followed this up with Strip the Willow, another popular country dance, where the couple link arms and spin each other around.

We gave the dancers a break while we played a few traditional folk songs – Step it Out Mary, Star of the County Down, The Wild Rover.

Ceilidh wedding - fiddle and flute

Ceilidh wedding – fiddle and flute

We then went into another ceilidh set, the classic Gay Gordons, (where couples dance in a circle around the room) then the Dashing White Sergeant (with the dancers in groups of six). After another short break, while the dancers recuperated, we play one final ceilidh dance – The Heel and Toe Polka.

Ceilidh wedding - fiddle and flute

Ceilidh wedding – fiddle and flute

On Saturday Pastiche had a seven-piece line up comprising female vocal; guitar/vocal; keyboards; bass; drums; saxophone/flute; fiddle/vocals. This gave us the flexibility to play a couple of party music sets after the ceilidh.

Pastiche played a variety of well-known party songs such as –

Valerie

American Boy

Crazy (Gnarls Barclay)

Nine to Five

Michael Jackson medley Blame it on the Boogie, I Want You Back and Billie Jean,

Ain’t Nobody (originally by Chaka Khan currently in the charts by Felix Jaehn),

Get Lucky

Price Tag

Moves Like Jagger

You Got the Love

At midnight we fished off getting everyone to sing along to The Proclaimers 500 Miles and Bon Jovi’s Livin’ On a Prayer. The lights went up and the evening was over. The happy couple drove off in to the moonlit evening.