Philippe Callens, David & Kathryn Wright, Madeleine Smith,Mark Elvins, Colin Hume, Andrew Shaw.
(In order of appearance)
The WRIGHTS of LICHFIELD
DAVID & KATHRYN WRIGHT are "The Wrights of Lichfield" in the title of one of Gary Roodman's dances, and have been calling as a duo for over 30 years and run a popular series of dance workshops in Lichfield. They will kick-off the festival in style with a “Wright Welcome” – a feast of dances in all styles. They have been booked at all major dance events such as Sidmouth, Eastbourne, Southam, Morland, Casterton, Chippenham, Whitby and weekend AADS courses in Belgium.
They have published some their own researched and original dances in "Wrights' Humours" and "The Vesey Collection" and their dance "Freeford Gardens" seems to crop up in programmes all over the world. Their tastes in social dance are wide, from Playford to New England squares and contras, old and new, simple and complex. They enjoy the challenge of making a difficult dance accessible and also like to encourage the integration of good dance technique with dancers’ enjoyment of the dance figures.
Madeleine has been a famous caller for many years, mostly specialising in the Playford-style genre. She made her pure-American debut at the Alcester Contra last year, however, and whilst her workshops will focus on her first love, Playford-style, she is delighted to be leading the Saturday Early Evening Contra, with exciting young new band, The Night Before.
Madeleine has deep roots in folk, masterminding the dance side of Broadstairs Folk Festival. She also performs and teaches clog as well as folk dancing, and her two sons, Vic and Ed, form the core of Melodic Evil band.
Her workshops include one to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice, and the other bringing out how Pat was steeped in the dance tradition, and used it as a springboard to create innovative choreography.
WESTON COUNTRY DANCE BAND
John and Mary are the Weston Country Dance Band noted for its original arrangements totally focused on making dancers dance, whether in English or American style, seventeenth to twenty-first century, using their unique collection of tunes.
Weston CDB is long established as one of the leading folk dance bands in the country, and continues to be in constant demand for dances, weekends and festivals playing across the length and breadth of the country as well as in Europe and the USA.
John was introduced to folk dance by his father who had danced in his youth with the Cornish Folk Dance Team directed by Lady Mary Trefusis. Peter Boyce started John playing for folk dancing in Weston-super-Mare where he remembers a visit by American caller Otto Woods specialising in singing calls. A move to Essex gave John the opportunity to play with Brian Conner.
Mary then joined him in Plymouth to form a band playing for Dave Evans on Dartmoor every Saturday night. Dennis Darke gave a lot of help with tunes at that time. They both returned to Weston to start the Weston Country Dance Band and since then there have been few personnel changes. Mary has moved from accordion to piano and now keyboard,
and composes tunes as well. Their daughter Christina is sometimes able to join them with sparkling violin overtones.
They have worked with many callers and Mc's playing for dances and barn dances. Great times were had with the unique Dick Witt and the great John Chapman leading dances that are still remembered even now.
The Band, long established in the West Country, travels widely providing music for all styles of English dance and especially enjoys American contra and square dance tunes. The Band has first hand experience of playing for dancing in Kentucky, Colorado and Wyoming as well as dancing in Florida and New England.
It also has a long history of playing for visiting American callers to this country including Ralph Page, Don Armstrong and Fried de Metz Herman and more recently Cis Hinkle, Lisa Greenleaf, and Kathy Anderson.
Influences on their style of playing have been the McLain Family Band including Al and Alice White from Kentucky and Raymond McLain himself. Choosing an appropriate tune where there is a choice, playing it both in the style that matches the dance and in a way that reflects what the dancers are actually doing is what makes their music so danceable. Their lively mix of music with constantly changing textures sets feet tapping and carries the dancing along. You just have to dance when Weston plays.
STRADIVARIOUS gains in popularity with each passing year. Their engagements range from festivals to trips abroad and music workshop weekends. Rod and Frances Stradling from Lichfield are joined by Poppy Wetherall from Bury, and the band features accordion, violin and percussion. This year the band is performing at several of the top festivals:, Broadstairs and Eastbourne as well as Lichfield – and of course they have featured at all the festivals over the past few years as well as being popular choices at Saturday dances and dance weekends.
The band’s recent CD, Stradivarious Celebrates, has been a big hit, with some fantastic arrangements, celebrating not only the country’s big events but also Poppy’s first wedding anniversary and the Stradlings Ruby anniversary.
PHILIPPE CALLENS is known internationally as a leader of English country dance, and also of square dance and contra dance. He started dancing in Antwerp, Belgium, in 1975, at the age of thirteen and has been calling for nearly 35 years. In that period he has steadily gained a reputation as a leader of country dance who can easily combine high quality dancing with the dancers’ personal enjoyment.
In Belgium he was one of the founding members of the Anglo-Ameri¬can Dance Service (AADS). Over the past 25 years he has also frequently called at festivals and dance weekends in the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, and especially the USA.
In England, he has appeared at Eastbourne, Broadstairs, Lichfield and Southam festivals and at the Morland Dance Week, and has led weekends at Dartington Hall, Halsway Manor, Casterton, Bournemouth, Great Malvern, Dawlish and Symonds Yat.
Other fields of his dance interests include dance history and reconstruction, callers’ training, and publishing. Philippe is also an active choreographer: From A Belgian Yankee Caller (1996) is a collection of 45 of his New England style squares and contras, while Continental Capers (1999), Belgian Boutades (2002), Antwerp Antics
(2004) and Seasons of Invention (2011) include several of his modern English country dances. Red Star Line and Seasons of Invention CDs accompany several dances of these books.
It is great to see Mark back on the stage after a few years absence while his family were growing up. He is a deservedly famous caller, largely of contras and squares, and has also published several volumes of his own compositions “In With Both Feet”
As a second generation folkie Mark started calling at his local folk dance club at the age of 17. This is rather longer ago than he wishes to remember! Over the years Mark has called dances and workshops for numerous clubs in the southern half of the country and beyond. He has called at most of the major folk dance festivals: Sidmouth, Chippenham, Lichfield, Whitby and various weekends including Halsway ‘Zesty Contras’. While being most at home calling contras and squares he is happy across most of the folk dance spectrum and has even been known to MC Playford balls.! Mark stepped back from calling for a number years but has been back on the circuit since 2006 and is looking forward to returning to Lichfield.
Mark is the author of three books of contemporary dances “In With Both Feet”, “Both Feet Again” and “Both Feet plus One”.
His workshop on Saturday will feature dances from these collections along with some of his latest contras.
Folkus Pocus (Caroline and Dan Hollingshurst) are well known for their inspirational dance music, blending exciting American contra tunes with lyrical Playford-style music. They have been playing together for nearly a decade and are widely regarded as one of the best folk dance bands in the UK. Their violin/piano (and flute/recorder) combination has won them many fans, including the Country Dance and Song Society of America, who said their first CD 'Under No Illusion', contained "Some of the finest dance music you have ever heard". Come and hear them play and we think you’ll understand why! You can also visit their website at: www.folkuspocus.com
Colin comes to the Festival as one of the top social dance callers on the scene, who can present programmes in all styles with great panache. He is much in demand as such in the States, where his mastery of the Playford-style dances is as much appreciated as here in the UK, and he is also famed for his intricate American square and contra compositions.
Colin is known throughout the land as one of our leading dancing masters, having published many books of dances, mostly under the title 'Dances with a Difference'. He has composed many memorable tunes, and his interpretations of historical dances open up new horizons. Come to his ‘Raffle dance’ on Saturday night and be impressed with his ability to cope with any situation. All the dancers and musicians are given a raffle ticket. If your number is drawn, you choose the next dance and Colin will call it! He and the band reserve the right to veto any unreasonable choices, such as ones which would simply take too long to get through, or if the band does not have the music, but that is unlikely to happen. Colin is famed for his raffle dances at weekend house parties, and you can be sure of an excellent atmosphere – don’t forget to bring your requests.
Andrew was dragged kicking and screaming to his first country dance as a teenager in the 60s. Initial reluctance overcome, he was quickly attracted to the dances and their music, went on to gain a basic grounding from some of the more fearsome instructors of the day and, under the influence of his friend and mentor Tom Cook, to develop an enthralling interest in and enthusiasm for the history and performance of the English Country Dance. As an interpreter and exponent of these dances he teaches at weekends, festivals and other courses at home and abroad, including three visits each to Pinewoods and Mendocino dance weeks in the USA. His own annual dance weekend at Halsway Manor in Somerset was inaugurated in 2001; featuring the musicians Paul Hutchinson and John Hymas, it draws dancers from far and wide.
Andrew's interest in the dances of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, especially those composed by Nathaniel Kynaston, has resulted in the publication of four dance collections to date:- Mr. Kynaston's Famous Dance in 2000, The She Favourite in 2002, Emperor of the Moon in 2006 and Farnicle Huggy in 2009. The She Favourite also throws light on the activities of the little-known dancing-master Richard Motley, whilst Farnicle Huggy features dances "Compos'd by a Person of Quality Recommended to Mr. Nathaniel Kynaston". The recordings accompanying the first three collections all feature Paul Hutchinson on accordion: some with Paul Sartin as Belshazzar's Feast, and the third with John Hymas. The most recent was recorded in California by the multi-instrumentalists Rebecca King, Jon Berger and Jim Oakden. In-between times, in 2004, Andrew also edited The Dances Of Brian Wedgbury, in memory of this fine dance composer and near-neighbour, with an accompanying CD by John and Sue Stapledon.
Andrew lives near Altrincham in Cheshire where he runs the Lemmings Reprieve dance club - a name which oddly but neatly sums up his belief in the life-enhancing qualities of this dance form.
From a recent review: "Andrew Shaw reminds me of a good parent or teacher when he presents his workshops. He has 'nurtured' his dances and watched them grow with affection so that he knows and understands them well and can teach with that intimate knowledge. Andrew's use of short demonstrations is also most effective and illustrative especially when delivered with the style and panache that we have now come to expect from his teaching."(Set & Turn Single,No. 48)
THE PICK ‘n’ MIX CONTRA BAND
Who is this new contra dance band? It is the brain-child of Chris Dewhurst, and whilst its name harks back to previous Dewhurst musical combinations there is nothing “old” about this ensemble. Inspired by the swinging sounds of some of the current American dance bands, the Pick ‘n’ Mix Contra Band has a jazzy vibe with driving rhythm, featuring Nick Dewhurst on trumpet and guitar, fellow jazz musician Hamish Livingstone on double bass, theatre and dance band percussionist Glyn Varney, and Julie & Chris Dewhurst on accordions. If you like your contras with zest, this is the event for you.
The Dewhursts will also play in different combinations at Festival workshops, and callers, dancers and musicians alike will all be delighted to hear that Chris is leading the band for the Callaround, together with the preparatory workshop session for musicians. Last year the Festival Band, led by 3D, brought the Festival to a fantastic finale, so come to the Callaround to soak up the sound again
Gordon's violin lessons started when he was about six or seven in a garden shed in Northumberland with a retired coal miner – how traditional is that? He reminisces: “One of the first tunes I learnt was the Irish Washer Woman and it has haunted me ever since”. Playing with local orchestras the music ranged from light classical to symphonies, then, on moving down to Stafford in 1950 he played for what used to be called modern and old time dances.
After six or seven years of this Gordon joined Stafford Folk Dance club as well as the Morris Men. Since then he has played in a number of local bands and called at the club and for numerous barn dances. Gordon was encouraged to start running regular winter music workshops in the nineteen seventies and have seen many good musicians emerge from them. The workshops are still running and everyone is welcome, the first Sunday in the month from September to April. Give him a call on 01785 662398 for details. He quips: “I no longer dance but for better or worse I'm still on the fiddle.” - a worrying remark from the Festival treasurer we hear you cry, but, no, we can reassure you he is quite sound on that score.
THE NIGHT BEFORE.
Nicky, Alan and Adam form the core of this exciting new dance band who play for both ceilidh and contra. Their energetic and vibrant sound combines the lyrical tune, delicious harmonies and driving rhythm of fiddle, accordion and guitar. Inspired by an eclectic mix of folk dance music, they bring out the best in the tunes that they love to dance to.
ANITA ANDERSON & PAUL HUTCHINSON
Anita Anderson (piano) met Paul Hutchinson when they were both playing at the Northwest Passage dance weekend in Oregon, USA--and both immediately recognized their common musical tendencies. They have teamed up for a formidable sound, which will keep people guessing as well as dancing, as they will probably never play a tune the same way twice.
Anita Anderson is an extraordinary English country and contra dance pianist, playing with Tricky Brits, Bag o' Tricks and other bands. She is also a superb dancer, and this informs her playing to the dancers delight. She brings a large bag of tricks to her piano playing, with influences from ethnic, and vintage dance music—all in attentive service to the dancers. Her syncopated, harmonically complex use of the keyboard has transported many a listener to Dance Nirvana. Anita is also an excellent composer of contra and English country dance tunes.
Paul grew up in Bournemouth and studied piano and church organ. At the age of 17 his father persuaded him to take up the accordion and form a band, The Old Pull & Push, which rapidly became established, performing all over the UK, and appearing at many folk festivals. In 1995, Belshazzar's Feast band was born, Among their many highlights was a nomination for Best Duo at the BBC Folk Awards in 2010.
Students. Science. Swords. The perfect combination. The question is, what for? The answer – sword dancing! Warwick Rapper proudly announces itself as a set of sword dancing science students from the University of Warwick:
“We emerged from the laboratory several years ago in search of something not involving test tubes and since then have enthusiastically embraced the traditional short sword dance of the North East of England. In order to blend into our surroundings in Coventry we have Midlands-ified the tradition through a series of carefully controlled experiments. By which we mean we have changed the pronunciation of the word “dance”.
If you have never tried dancing with swords before, come along to our workshop and we’ll show you the ropes (well, blades). And if you are a closet swordsman why not see if you can learn something new.”
Who better to experiment with than a bunch of scientists!
A stalwart member of the Festival committee, June has been dancing for over 18 years and says she doesn’t know what her life would be like without dancing & calling at her three local clubs. She is our host for the Come All Ye, which is your last chance to see most of the callers we have had at Lichfield this year, and bump into people you may have not seen all weekend. So come all ye to this event.
THE FESTIVAL BAND
this year combines all the festival band musicians who are able to gather at the final afternoon session, this year under the leadership of Folkus Pocus, who will also be running a Sunday morning workshop to prepare for the afternoon. Would all musicians who wish to play in the band, please contact them first, via Gordon – see notes on programme pages.
Displays will be in various locations in the town and at the Festival Site
FOLK SONG & MUSIC
THE FOLK SHOP
Derek and Ann Appleing have run their Folk Shop for the past 30 years as a wayof saying thank you for the enjoyment they have had during 40 yeaars in folk activities. They started as one of several EFDSS sales points and worked as such for many years, but all were eventually declared non-viable by EFDSS and the links were cut. Despite this setback, Derek and Ann have continued as an independent supplier for the last dozen or so years, providing an uninterrupted sales service to the folk community. Now, we are proud to welcome them once again to Lichfied Folk Festival for their umpteenth visit, in the hope that you will spend some time this weekend, browsing and buying.
The shop will be sited, in the Sports Hall in the King Edwards School Leisure Centre . Please note that the shop stocks over 1,000 lines in books and dance CD's. The shop has over over 100 suppliers and imports from 3 countries. It supplies Folkies all over the country , including EFDSS by email, telephone and post. From the oldest to the most recent of publications the vast majority are available from this comprehensive stock. However, if you can't find what you are looking for on the shelves, it may be in stock at their base, so please enquire. Happy browsing, and please remember to tell Derek and Ann how much you appreciate their efforts. We don't know what we would do without them and hope that we never have to.
Mistress Shaw will be displaying her wonderful costumes again, during the Festival and will have a variety of accessories for sale, such as gloves, fans, hair ornaments, gentlemen's hose and shoe buckles. She will also be happy to give advice on costumes.