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 fiddle, 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 also very powerful and punchy. Between the five of us, we have far too many years playing history to count! Each of us having played in numerous band line-ups in the past, the formation of JIGABIT meant that each musician brought a wealth of playing experience to the band.
We know that the key to a brilliant Ceilidh or Barn Dance is a darned good Caller and Bob hits the mark every time – he is a total GEM! He really is the best there is for combining clear guidance with friendly wit and good humoured encouragement - and he takes no prisoners! He chivvies for England and gets even the most reluctant people involved in the dancing and enjoying the fun. Bob always talks and walks you through all the moves for each dance before the band is let loose on you. Have a listen to him calling the steps and walking people through the dance steps on many of our sound samples which you can hear on this website – just click on the ICON at the top of the page. We also have a range of recent video clips for you to watch.
Although we work mostly in the East and West Midlands we’re quite willing to travel further afield, but if that’s not feasible, Fiona will offer you another great Ceilidh or Barn Dance Band and Caller from the area where your ceilidh is taking place.
Photograph by Julie Humphreys
Photograph by Julie Humphreys
Photo ©2012 Philip Williams, PWConsultants.co.uk
THE MUSIC WE PLAY - Please click on the "Listen to
our Music / Watch a Video Clip" icon at the top of the page
JIGABIT plays loads of great traditional dance tunes from Scotland, Ireland, England, USA, Quebec and other continents – all with the vibrant enthusiasm of people who obviously enjoy what they’re doing and who want you to have a share of that "buzz" at your Ceilidh or Barn Dance. As well as a wide range of dance tunes, we play a few 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s standards and classics. The repertoire of songs is ideal played in between the dances, while you recover from the dancing, chat to friends and have a drink!
If you’re booking JIGABIT for a party where people haven’t done much Ceilidh or Barn Dancing before, it really doesn’t matter. No previous dancing experience is necessary – just willingness to join in and have a go!
Some of our favourite traditional dances include The Gay Gordons, Dashing White Sergeant, Canadian Progressive Reel, Strip the Willow, Bridge of Athlone, Canadian Barn Dance, Ninepins, The Chase, Cumberland Square Eight and plenty more good-fun straightforward dances. We avoid very long and complicated dances, which slow down the pace of a ceilidh too much. However, if there are some keen, experienced dancers present who wish to dance the Eightsome Reel or even a Quickstep or an old-fashioned Waltz, JIGABIT can of course provide suitable music for these dances as well.
The JIGABIT song repertoire includes:
I Usedta lover - 1990's - Saw Doctors
Big River - 1995 - Jimmy Nail
Achy Breaky Heart -Don Von Tress / 1992 -Billy RayCyrus
When you say Nothing at All - 1988 - Keith Whitley / Alison Krauss / Ronan Keating
Meet Me on the Corner - 1972 - Lindisfarne
Take It Easy - 1970's - Eagles
Peaceful Easy Feeling - 1970's - Eagles
Big Bad Leroy Brown -1973 -Jim Croce
500 Miles -1988 -Proclaimers
I’m a Believer-1966 - The Monkees
Sunny Afternoon -1966 - The Kinks
You Never Can Tell / TeenageWedding or C'est La Vie -1964 - ChuckBerry
Johnny B Goode – 1958 Chuck Berry
Crazy Love - 1969 - Van Morrison
Brown Eyed Girl - 1967 - Van Morrison
Sloop John B - 1966 - Beach Boys
Rocky Top - 1967 - Felice and Boudleaux Bryant / Osborne Bros / Lynn Anderson
Eight Days A Week - 1964 - Beatles
I Saw Her Standing There- 1963 - Beatles
I've Just Seen a Face- 1965 - Beatles
A Picture of You - 1962 - Joe Brown & The Bruvvers
When You Walk In The Room - 1964 - The Searchers
Pretty Woman - 1964 - Roy Orbison
Twenty Flight Rock - 1956 - Eddie Cochran
Folsom Prison Blues - 1959 - Johnny Cash
Don't Know Much About History (or Wonderful World) - 1959 - Sam Cooke
Route 66 - 1946 - Bobby Troup / Nat King Cole, Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Depeche Mode and others
Save the Last Dance For Me - 1960 - The Drifters
Tennessee Waltz - 1946 - Patti Page / Patsy Cline
Will The Circle Be Unbroken - 1935 - Carter Family / Johnny Cash / Willie Nelson / Gene Vincent etc
Lady is a Tramp / Red Roses For A Blue Lady - 1937 / 1948
More traditional styled songs include . . . .
Irish Rover - 1966 - Trad Irish song - Clancy Brothers / Dubliners / Pogues / Tramps
Black Velvet Band - Trad from 1900s but first recorded 1950s
Cockles and Mussels or Molly Malone - Trad from 1880s
Dirty Old Town - 1949 - Ewan MacColl / Spinners / Clancy Bros / Dubliners / Pogues
Goodnight Irene - 1932 - Lead Belly / Weavers / Sinatra / Jerry Lee Lewis / Johnny Cash / Jim Reeves etc
Star of the County Down - Trad Irish 1800's by McGarvey - Covered by Van Morrison / Chieftans
Leaving of Liverpool - 1880's - Trad song - recent covers by The Pogues, Dubliners / Clancy Brothers
Maggie May - Trad 1890's - then 1957 Lonnie Donegan and Vipers Skiffle Group / 1970 Beatles
Raggle Taggle Gipsy - 1720's - Scottish / Irish trad - 1970's - Planxty
Rose of Allendale - Trad English Northumbrian - Covered by Corries / Dubliners - 1980's
Spanish Lady - Trad Irish / English song - 1880's / Recent covers Dubliners / Gaelic Storm
Field of Athenry - Dubliners etc
Whiskey in the Jar - 1972 - Thin Lizzy / Dubliners / Metallica
Tell Me Ma - Clancy Brothers & O Connell / Dubliners / Sham Rock
Wild Rover - Clancy Brothers / Dubliners
Danny Boy or Londonderry Air - Traditional Irish
I'm a Rover Seldom Sober - Traditional Scottish / Irish origins
Come by the hills - Traditional Irish / Scottish origins - Corries / Celtic Thunder / The Furies
Rambling Rover - Traditional Irish / Scottish origins - Dubliners / Andy Stewart / Torridon / Bob Fox etc
Mountains of Mourne - 1896 - Percy French / Don Maclean / Brannigan
Wild Mountain Thyme - Traditional Scottish / Irish origins - Corries / Sandy Denny / Don Williams & Chieftains
Jock Stewart - Traditional Scottish - Tannahill Weavers / Pogues
Loch Lomond - Traditional Scottish - Deanna Durbin / Corries / Runrig
Marie's Wedding - Irish trad song - High Kings / Van Morrison / Irish Rovers
My love is like a Red Red Rose - Traditional Scottish - Robert Burns - Andy Stewart / Eva Cassidy
Ye Banks and Braes - Traditional Scottish - Robert Burns
Auld Lang Syne - Traditional Scottish - Robert Burns
AMPLIFICATION, BACKGROUND MUSIC FOR BREAKS, SHARING WITH A DISCO
JIGABIT uses a professional compact PA system, which can be set up quietly and discreetly within just 40 minutes, immediately prior to the start of the Ceilidh or Barn Dance.
We always bring a portable CD player to play suitable background music during any breaks. If recorded or other music is required after the ceilidh has finished, we ask you to book a DJ or provide your own equipment for this. 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 DJ - ask Fiona for the required dimensions.
The band has full Public Liability Insurance and all our electrical equipment is PAT Tested annually. All current Certificates are available on request.
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 the size of the Band booked. See Top 20 FAQs for a guide to costs
RECOMMENDATIONS & REFERENCES
See the "Thank You letters" section of this Web Site for loads of good recommendations from our satisfied, happy customers who have danced to JIGABIT! Personal references are available on request.
MAKING A PROVISIONAL BOOKING
When you get in touch with Fiona, please provide all the info requested on the Home Page.
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.
If you book JIGABIT, you can be assured of a cracking good night of music and dance. With about a century and a half of playing experience between the lot of us, you’ll find us more than equal to it, whatever the occasion.
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, you are bound to have some questions so please browse through the section of the site "Top 20 Frequently Asked Questions about Barn Dances and Ceilidhs."
*Some of the photographs on the Jigabit band pages are by David Walston - see www.pr-photography.org