All hands around

Lively traditional music in an acoustic style

For barn dances and ceilidhs for weddings, birthday and anniversary celebrations, school, club and company social events, harvest suppers

and many other types of function. All hands around is a four piece band based in West Hertfordshire with over ten years of experience of playing for barn dances, or ceilidhs as some people call them. We work with a caller who explains the dances and acts as an MC for the evening. Unless you tell us otherwise, we assume that you and your guests have little or no previous experience and will want everything explained from scratch

What sort of dances are they? Most of the dances are simple English dances in square, circle or line formations. You may have learned some of them at school, but the music and atmosphere is very different at a barn dance. If you make mistakes, it doesn't matter. The main point is to enjoy yourselves.

Do you play music from other countries?A lot of the music we play while you catch your breath between dances is Irish and we can provide music for a few of the top favourite Irish ceili dances, such as the Siege of Ennis and the Bridge of Athlone. If you have Scottish guests, we can provide music for some Scottish standards, such as the Gay Gordons, the Dashing White Sergeant and the Eightsome Reel. If you have a special request, discuss it with us in advance and we will do our best to include it.

What instruments do you play? Our line-up is:

Alison Macfarlane  Melodeon/concertina/whistle

Ellie Barnett           Fiddle

Simon Barnett        Whistle/bodhran

Following the unexpected death in April 2019 of our tenor banjo player, Geoff Perrin, we have continued to play, inviting a fourth musician to play with us.

Although our music is basically acoustic, some amplification is needed as people tend to make a noise when they are enjoying themselves. We have our own pa, so you don't need to worry about providing it.

How far do you travel? Usually, we tend to play in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and North and West London, but we sometimes travel further afield, so don't hesitate to ask us.

Have you made any recordings? We have played on three CDs in the Country dance favourites for schools series.

Contact details: Alison Macfarlane Tel/fax/answerphone 01727 852111