JIGABIT - MIDLANDS-BASED CEILIDH AND BARN DANCE BAND
Please note: if your event is not in the East Midlands area, CLICK HERE to visit Fiona's agency website. She will be able to offer excellent bands in most areas of the country!
We're a popular and much sought-after Midlands-based Ceilidh and Barn Dance Band. With a truly multi-instrumental line-up, JIGABIT features Fiona Maurice-Smith on piano accordion, Al Harris on bass guitar and vocals, John Humphreys on mandolin, banjo and electric guitar, and Bob Ballard, our fantastic ace Caller, who also plays acoustic rhythm guitar, occasionally percussion, and sings lead vocals for the songs we perform in addition to the dance tunes. Whenever possible, we work as a 5-piece Band with full-kit drummer Simon Evans, but we work most frequently as the 4-piece band which is powerful and punchy. Between the five of us, we have about 200 years experience, each of us having played in numerous band line-ups in the past. So if you book JIGABIT, you can be assured of a cracking good night of music and dance, whatever the occasion.
Although we work mostly in the East and West Midlands we're quite willing to travel further afield, but if that's not feasible, or if we are already booked on the date of your party, Fiona will offer you another great Ceilidh or Barn Dance Band and Caller from the area where your party and ceilidh or barn dance is taking place.
We have full Public Liability Insurance and all our electrical equipment is PAT Tested annually. Our current Certificates are available on request.
DOES JIGABIT HAVE A CALLER?
YES! And he's fab! We know full well that the key to a brilliant Ceilidh or Barn Dance is a darned good Caller and Bob Ballard hits the mark every time. He truly is a total GEM! He really is the best there is for combining clear guidance with friendly wit and good humoured encouragement. He's more of an entertainer than a teacher and his easy-going friendly manner puts people at ease from the very start of the evening. Bob does a grand job of getting even the most reluctant or dance-phobic people involved in the dancing and enjoying the fun. He always talks and walks you through all the moves for each dance before JIGABIT is let loose on you, so that no one is left wondering what to do next. We're well experienced at playing for ceilidhs and barn dances where there are various abilities of dancers so it's no problem if there are going to be lots of novice dancers at your party. Absolutely no previous dancing experience is necessary and Bob makes sure the emphasis is on having fun rather than getting it 100% right.
CAN WE LISTEN TO JIGABIT AND WATCH BOB IN ACTION?
You can have a listen to the band with Bob calling the steps and walking people through the dances on many of our sound samples and we also have a range of video clips for you to watch. Just click on the ICON at the top of this page.
WHAT STYLE OF MUSIC DOES JIGABIT PLAY?
JIGABIT plays loads of great traditional dance tunes from Scotland, Ireland, England, USA, Quebec and other continents, plus some tunes written recently by other musician friends – all with the vibrant enthusiasm of musicians who obviously enjoy what we're doing and who want you to have a share of that "buzz" at your Ceilidh or Barn Dance. We play reels, jigs, slip jigs, polkas, rants, marches, hornpipes, strathspeys, schottisches, waltzes and select the most appropriate tunes for each of the dances Bob calls.
WHAT DANCES DOES JIGABIT DO?
The various dance formats we offer are circle mixers, dances done in lines of 3, 4 or 5 people facing one another, couple dances and squares – some where you stay with your partner, and others which are progressive so you move on to dance with other people. With JIGABIT, you really get a good mixture of all types of dances throughout the evening.
One of the best things about a ceilidh or barn dance is that you get to meet friends and family on the dance floor as well as people you didn't know before – it's VERY sociable!
Some of our favourite traditional dances include The Gay Gordons, Dashing White Sergeant, Strip the Willow, Cumberland Square Eight, Military Two-Step, St Bernard's Waltz, Canadian Progressive Reel, Bridge of Athlone, Canadian Barn Dance, Ninepins, The Chase, Virginia Reel, Pat-a-cake Polka, Grandfather's Clock and plenty more good-fun straightforward dances. We avoid very long and complicated dances, which take ages to walk through and explain, as they slow down the pace too much. However, if there are some keen, experienced dancers present who wish to dance, say, an Eightsome Reel or even a Quickstep or an old-fashioned Waltz, JIGABIT can of course provide suitable music for these dances.
WHAT MAKES JIGABIT STAND OUT AS A PARTICULARLY SPECIAL AND POPULAR BAND?
In addition to the traditional dance tunes, we do a wide range of songs as incidental music in between the called dances - all well-known favourite classic songs from the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s, including some country style and rock & roll numbers. We also do some of the best known traditional Irish and Scottish folk style songs. You can see the list of songs on the page where you listen to the sound samples. Click on the ICON at the top of this page.
This additional element of songs gives a terrific contrast and adds variety to the evening. It means people can dance on their own or in an informal group, in between the more structured Ceilidh and Barn dances. Having a song interlude also gives people a chance to chat to friends, have a breather, nip to the loo or get a drink!
Offering songs as well as the dances works well at all the parties we play for, particularly for weddings, birthdays and anniversary parties, where you have a really mixed crowd of guests. This is what makes JIGABIT that extra bit special and different from other Barn Dance and Ceilidh Bands.
We don't do any very modern covers so if you want anything very contemporary for later on in the evening, we encourage you to hire a DJ or prepare an Ipod of your own music for after the ceilidh or barn dance ends.
HOW MUCH DOES JIGABIT CHARGE?
The cost of booking JIGABIT (or any other Ceilidh or Barn Dance band) is dependent on the day and time of the week, location and travel costs, and whether we're playing in our Quartet or Quintet line-up.
See the Top 20 FAQs for a general guide to costs for bands and callers.
AMPLIFICATION, BACKGROUND MUSIC FOR BREAKS, DISCOS
JIGABIT uses a professional compact PA system, which can be set up quickly and quietly immediately prior to the start of the Ceilidh or Barn Dance. We allow an hour for a relaxed unrushed set up but we can do the set up in half this time if necessary.
We always bring a portable CD player and an Ipod with us, for playing suitable recorded background music during the mid-way break, or for playing a First Dance for newly weds at their wedding Ceilidh or Barn Dance.
If you want other music played after the ceilidh or barn dance has finished, we ask you to book a DJ or provide your own Ipod or laptop and speakers for this as our PA isn't available after we finish.
We're quite happy and willing to share the evening with a Disco as long as the Ceilidh is the first half of the evening and the DJ takes over entirely afterwards, which works very well indeed. Just ensure that there is sufficient space for band and for the DJ - ask Fiona for the required dimensions.
WHAT AREAS DOES JIGABIT COVER?
Generally speaking, the East and West Midlands and nearby areas, but we do accept bookings further afield if you're prepared to pay for the additional time involved and the travel costs. So we travel mostly around Leicestershire and Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and the Peak District, Lincolnshire, Stoke On Trent area and Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, West midlands / Birmingham areas.
THANK YOU LETTERS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
See our THANK YOU LETTERS page for loads of good recommendations from our satisfied, happy customers who have danced to JIGABIT!
WOULD YOU LIKE TO CHECK AVAILABILITY OR MAKE A PROVISIONAL BOOKING?
Please go to the CONTACT PAGE which tells you what information Fiona needs when you contact her by ‘phone or email.
If your venue is much further afield than the East or West midlands, or if JIGABIT is already booked for the date you have in mind, Fiona will offer you another excellent Ceilidh or Barn Dance Band and Caller. See www.bandsandmusicians.co.uk
IF YOU'VE NEVER ARRANGED A BARN DANCE OR CEILIDH BEFORE.....
If you haven't booked a Ceilidh or Barn Dance Band and Caller before, or if you're not sure yet that this style of entertainment is what you want, you're bound to have some questions.
Please browse through the Top 20 Frequently Asked Questions about Barn Dances and Ceilidhs.
THANK YOU for showing an interest in JIGABIT