Barley Mow Ceilidh band
Barley Mow was formed as a scratch band for a village fete in 2007. Following an enthusiastic response a Ceilidh band was created with Harry on accordion, Ian on bass, Antonella as caller/musician, Mark on violin and Peter and Joy on accordion. Our current line up retains Ian on bass and Mark on violin and we now welcome our other permanent members: Kevin on accordion, Gary on keyboards and violin and Alistair as Caller and guitarist. Barley Mow have a wealth of experience playing professionally for Weddings, Parties, Corporate Events, Functions and Special Occasions, offering the best in creating the perfect atmosphere for a fantastic evening’s dancing, or perhaps simply livening up a social occasion. If this sounds interesting, we look forward to hearing from you! Just Click Here or go to our Contact Page.
A night of dancing with the Barley Mow Dance Band involves classic ceilidh dances including:
- The Gay Gordons
- The Virginia Reel
- Highland Welcome
- Circassian Circle
- The Flying Scotsman
- Buffalo Girls
- The Patacake Polka
- Lucky Seven
- Cumberland Square
This is just a selection of some of our dances – there are lots more we may do! We also play tunes and songs to give dancers a breather!
We have played on Radio Norfolk (2009, 2010) and been on Look East (2010). We have played and take bookings for Burns Night, St Patrick’s night, festive events, weddings, birthdays, local and charity events and also special requests.
Barley Mow are a Norfolk based band.
“My first involvement with folk was when the chemistry mistress announced to the second formers at school that she was starting a morris and sword dancing club – you can imagine how 13 year old boys took that!! Well with a few others I went along and found I had an aptitude – I got on so well that I was invited to join the Mersey Morris Men – I must have been about 14-15.
From there I joined all the local country dance clubs – folk, country, Playford, sword, morris and travelled the north west going to dances. it was a natural progression that I wanted to play for dancing – when I was 16 mum and dad bought me a very small 12 bass accordion which I taught myself to play. I eventually graduated to a full sized 120 bass and when I was 19 and bought my first car I joined the West Kirby Band – a local folk/country dance band and under the leadership of the great John Stapledon and friendship of his daughter, Sue, I spent the next 10 years playing for dances all over the country – even representing the North West at Cecil Sharpe House. We also played for folk shows, folk festivals and gatherings – during this time I also played some Morris and carried on dancing.
In 1988 I came across to Norfolk – I didn’t pick up dance band playing although I maintained a link with the West Kirby Band (playing as a guest from time to time) – instead I joined the Norwich Accordion Band and then the Norvic Concordia – a quintet playing specially arranged music ranging from popular Edwardian tunes to Mozart and Bach.
I resurrected my interest in folk when the leader the Norvic Concordia mentioned that he played with Barleymow and he suggested i might like to “audition” – and the rest is history
So in summary – a “folkie” since 13 and a folk/dance musician since I was 19 – brought up on it and it’s in the blood”
Mark started playing music at the age of 9; he took private lessons and by 13 was playing in the Derbyshire Youth Orchestra. By 16, he was the leader of the youth orchestra and had also taken an interest in folk music. At the age of 20 Mark became president of Mattock Folk Music playing each Friday at the folk club and enjoyed meeting national and international folk artists who he had booked. In 1980 Mark qualified as a teacher and a year later was appointed Head of Music at the King Harrold School in Essex. Four years later he was appointed as Head of Music at Long Stratton High School where he remained until retiring in 2015. Mark moved to Wacton in 2008 and joined Barley Mow as lead fiddle player. He is now a firmly established, integral member of the band.
I started to learn the electric guitar by jamming with friends who played other instruments. Together we formed an informal group and regularly got together. I bought a drum kit and turned my attention to teaching myself becoming the resident drummer of the group. Seeing an advert in a local magazine for musicians needed for a Ceilidh Band (Barley Mow), I auditioned as a guitarist. At the audition it turned out that they were looking for a bass player rather than a guitarist! Coincidentally I had just purchased a bass guitar as I fancied learning it. With a bit of practice, I picked it up quickly, so became the bass player for Barley Mow and have continued to be so in the years since, also playing acoustic guitar when we do songs in between dances
I started playing guitar as a teenager and at college in Birmingham in the late 1970’s I helped run the folk club – it was a way to ensure I could actually get on stage!
In late 1989 I co-founded Assorted Nuts, a dance band who worked out of Southend on Sea. Assorted Nuts set the world record for the largest dance – 710 people dancing the Patacake Polka in one place, and mainly at the same time. The gig was one of many we did in aid of a cystic fibrosis charity, a cause dear to our hearts as one of the band’s friends had a daughter who suffered from the condition.
I’m excited to be back in a band, especially Barley Mow, and to be calling dances and playing guitar. I have always loved playing music and hope that you will enjoy the dance as much as I do – but just remember, it isn’t a spectator sport!
Gary is a long-time friend of Barley Mow and has played with the band for several years on a part-time basis. He is now a full member of the band and plays keyboards and violin. Gary is a musician and composer as well as being a teacher. He has brought an extra vibrancy to the band with his fiddle complimenting Mark’s, adding harmonies and playing lead for dances when Kevin is not available.
Additional Band Members:
Peter is an additional member of Barley Mow performing occasionally. He learnt the accordion at the age of eight from Frank Skilton, a founder member of the British College of Accordionists and, two years later with Percy Holland, an outstanding accordionist and recording artist. When fifteen he gained a silver medal from the National Accordion Organisation and was a finalist in the All Britain Solo Championship in 1958.