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Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?

GUEST 26 Mar 10 - 03:43 PM
Will Fly 26 Mar 10 - 04:01 PM
Les from Hull 26 Mar 10 - 04:09 PM
alex s 26 Mar 10 - 04:11 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Mar 10 - 04:17 PM
GUEST,Chris P 26 Mar 10 - 04:38 PM
PoppaGator 26 Mar 10 - 05:00 PM
Will Fly 26 Mar 10 - 05:06 PM
Desert Dancer 26 Mar 10 - 05:24 PM
Will Fly 26 Mar 10 - 05:40 PM
Seamus Kennedy 26 Mar 10 - 05:41 PM
Will Fly 26 Mar 10 - 05:46 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Mar 10 - 07:19 PM
banjoman 27 Mar 10 - 07:50 AM
Howard Jones 27 Mar 10 - 09:20 AM
SteveMansfield 27 Mar 10 - 02:21 PM
GUEST,Ebor_fiddler 27 Mar 10 - 04:54 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Mar 10 - 05:24 PM
Mo the caller 27 Mar 10 - 06:25 PM
terrier 27 Mar 10 - 07:03 PM
Will Fly 28 Mar 10 - 06:17 AM
greg stephens 28 Mar 10 - 06:57 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 28 Mar 10 - 07:07 AM
GUEST,Steamin' Willie 28 Mar 10 - 10:59 AM
Fred McCormick 28 Mar 10 - 12:02 PM
Mo the caller 28 Mar 10 - 12:07 PM
Howard Jones 28 Mar 10 - 12:26 PM
MikeL2 28 Mar 10 - 02:03 PM
terrier 28 Mar 10 - 04:07 PM
greg stephens 28 Mar 10 - 05:40 PM
Dave MacKenzie 28 Mar 10 - 05:45 PM
Folknacious 28 Mar 10 - 05:57 PM
Stower 28 Mar 10 - 06:47 PM
Dave MacKenzie 28 Mar 10 - 06:59 PM
Stower 29 Mar 10 - 11:46 AM
terrier 29 Mar 10 - 12:06 PM
Dave MacKenzie 29 Mar 10 - 02:11 PM
alex s 29 Mar 10 - 03:39 PM
Howard Jones 30 Mar 10 - 06:06 AM
Dick The Box 30 Mar 10 - 06:37 AM
Bloke from Poole 30 Mar 10 - 07:14 AM
MikeL2 30 Mar 10 - 10:01 AM
bubblyrat 30 Mar 10 - 06:31 PM
alex s 31 Mar 10 - 05:00 AM
GUEST 31 Mar 10 - 05:13 PM
s&r 01 Apr 10 - 03:10 AM
Mr Red 01 Apr 10 - 09:49 AM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Apr 10 - 07:27 PM
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Subject: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 03:43 PM

What do you think looks best?


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: Will Fly
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 04:01 PM

Standing.


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 04:09 PM

Standing certainly looks best, but not all ceilidh band players are youngsters. If old 'uns want to sit down, let 'em.


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: alex s
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 04:11 PM

Sitting - the focus of attention should be the caller. Also it's tough standing for 3+ hours. Having played in ceilidh bands for some 30 years I am definitely convinced that the appearance of the musicians is of little or no importance.


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 04:17 PM

I always stood as a musician, but then concertinas aren't very heavy.
I wouldn't like to stand all night with a big accordeon, or handling a set of drums. As a caller all of my bands have been sitters and I've never made an issue out of it. I think it's horses for courses. Your standard general public village hall wedding do, sitting down is fine. Big lively festival ceilidh, I'd like to have as many standing and looking active as is practical.


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: GUEST,Chris P
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 04:38 PM

Which looks best? or which sounds best?
How about this - which looks best, standing still or jumping up and down swishing my flowing locks and wiggling my hips?
Impertinent question for a 62 year old bald headed man with a dodgy ankle.
I always used to stand up to play. Now I can't for any length of time, but I'm a better player now and it's nothing to do with sitting or standing.


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 05:00 PM

"Which looks best? or which sounds best?

Indeed ~ that's what matters. I am a strong advocate of standing when singing, because it definitely affects the sound of music resonating from within one's body.

For instrumentalists, I doubt that it matters much ~ although, perhaps, some intruments are played more effectively one way or the other: sitting is de rigeur for piano and drum kit, obviously, and standing might be marginally preferable for blowing through wind instruments.

For aging personnel playing through a long evening, I'm sure it's best to sit. The music will sound OK for a longer time than if the players become too exhausted too soon.


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: Will Fly
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 05:06 PM

I'm an aged personnel and, for most ceilidhs, I and the rest of the band stand up. We sit down between numbers, while the caller is getting the dancers to walk through the next dance pattern, and then we get up to play. I think we make more impact standing, and I also think standing helps to generate more energy for dance music.

Mind you, me feet don't half ache when I get into bed after the gig...


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 05:24 PM

Wow! The band standing for a whole dance? You English are tough...

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: Will Fly
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 05:40 PM

I know - but we have stiff upper lips to lean on when the going gets tough.


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 05:41 PM

I thought that the dancers were dancing to the sound of the music and not the appearance of the musicians.

Silly me.


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: Will Fly
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 05:46 PM

It's not the appearance - it's the extra energy that we put into playing while standing. Its also easier to catch eye signals for tune changes, endings, etc., while standing.

We also play tunes in between dances and we are then a visual act as well an an audible one.


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 07:19 PM

it's the extra energy that we put into playing while standing.

If that's how it is for you, fine. But it works the other way for a lot of us - less energy wasted on standing means more available for playing. And more accuracy too. And I'd dispute that about "easier to catch eye signals", especially if the musicians are moving around a lot.

Seated can be just as visual as standing. The Chieftains were always a treat to look at.


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: banjoman
Date: 27 Mar 10 - 07:50 AM

As a banjo player in a band and also having serious mobility problems, I have to sit down but that doesn;t effect the music. I blame a lot of my problems anyway on standing for hours on stage with a heavy banjo around my neck despite experimenting with all sorts of banjo straps.
Pete


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 27 Mar 10 - 09:20 AM

Is it significant that a lot of those arguing for sitting down are doing so on the grounds of age and infirmity? :)

I agree with Will - I think it's easier to put more energy into the music if you're standing. It's also a matter of presentation. Having said that, there are many excellent bands who perform sitting down, but for me a band that stands up looks more dynamic - and that usually feeds through into the music. Do the dancers notice? Well, I do, and think others do too, even if only subliminally.

When I first joined the Electropathics we all played sitting down. Then someone videoed us at a festival and we realised how static and unexciting it looked. We learned to play standing up and definitely noticed a difference in our playing.

However I do find it more difficult to play the melodeon and concertina standing up. Nowadays I compromise - I take a high stool to gigs so when necessary I can sit down to support the instrument on my knee but without losing much height. It's more like standing with a bit of support. However whenever I don't need to support the instrument I stand.


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 27 Mar 10 - 02:21 PM

However I do find it more difficult to play the melodeon and concertina standing up. Nowadays I compromise - I take a high stool to gigs so when necessary I can sit down to support the instrument on my knee but without losing much height. It's more like standing with a bit of support. However whenever I don't need to support the instrument I stand.

Hi Howard

We play standing up, but I've taken to carrying a folding stool for when I'm playing concertina. Left foot on the stool, concertina on the left thigh, job's a good 'un. I then put the stool behind me and stand up when I'm playing the woodwind: and in between dances I sit on it!


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: GUEST,Ebor_fiddler
Date: 27 Mar 10 - 04:54 PM

Several of our band members play sitting down, but I find that difficult, because I tend to use my whole body while playing, so I prefer to stand most of the time. Incidently, I am the oldest!


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Mar 10 - 05:24 PM

Age and infirmity? Or age and experience?


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 27 Mar 10 - 06:25 PM

I remember reading from one of the older EFDSS bands (maybe the Ranchers) of the change in their playing, when they decided to play standing. For a start they had to learn their sets without the dots.


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: terrier
Date: 27 Mar 10 - 07:03 PM

I've played in bands both standing and sitting. As I don't ever see the dancers scrutinising the band whilst they are dancing, I can't see it really matters. Some musicians can play better standing and some better sitting. In one band I played with I was criticised by the other musicians for standing up whilst playing the accordeon as they all wanted to sit down. I never saw the Ranchers stand whilst playing but I suppose they could have used bigger dots? What do you do, Mo? Stand or sit?


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: Will Fly
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 06:17 AM

Each to his/her own. I often play sitting when doing solo stuff in clubs, and I always sit at sessions, but I've always stood to play in all the bands I've played in over 40 years. I suppose that all of us in the ceilidh band have had previous lives playing other music - jazz, rock, funk, etc., and we would always have stood up in those bands - so it's just a continuation really.

I remember having to sit on a high stool some years ago when playing with the funk band - I'd pulled a knee ligament wading over rough ground to photograph a windmill - and weathered a storm of jokes and jeers from the other band members when I limped in with a stick!


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: greg stephens
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 06:57 AM

I stand when playing for cajun dancers, and sit for barn dances. This is undoubtedly due to the fact I play tunes more accurately sitting down, but can play G C and D7 chords fine while standing up.


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 07:07 AM

Sitting....Definitely!

Firstly, I can the actually play the bloody instrunent.
Secondly, It makes no difference to me as I'm still taller than the other musos on stage.
Thirdly....I can still "Shimmy like my sister Kate" (not that I've got a sister called Kate, you understand)
Sorted!!


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 10:59 AM

I have been in a few ceilidh bands over the years.

My view is standing for the first six pints, then sitting for the next few. Laying makes the guitar sound strange, hence only drink as much as you can sit.


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 12:02 PM

Having the band members playing while standing on their heads would make a pretty good visual impact.


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 12:07 PM

I think the caller should stand, but some (most) of the bands I work with sit, and who am I to argue.


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 12:26 PM

"I don't ever see the dancers scrutinising the band whilst they are dancing"

Perhaps not while they're actually dancing, but what about when they're sitting out?

Personally, I prefer to see bands standing - they appear to be more engaged with the audience, whereas bands which sit down can sometimes appear to be engaging more with themselves. Although whether this actually makes any difference to the music, I wouldn't like to say.


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: MikeL2
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 02:03 PM

Hi

Perhaps it depends on which instruments you play....??!!

I played guitar and have played in various bands of various musical styles eg skiffle,rock,pop, C&W, jazz etc.

I prefer to stand because that's the way we always performed.

My dad was a pianist (obviously he sat ....lol). He played in various dance bands (ballroom). His bands always played sitting down and they played for dancing.

He was a big band enthusiast and used to go to as many concerts as he could to see the top bands.

When I was old enough to understand the music I would sometimes go with him.

I saw most of the British big bands and a couple of American ones.

These bands without exception always played sitting down with the exception of the bandleader/conductor. The soloists however would usually stand for their solos.

The double base players though always stood. Did they get extra I wonder ??? lol

I have no objections to anyone who prefers to sit. Certainly if it helps the playing and perfromance then it is the right thing to do.

Cheers

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: terrier
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 04:07 PM

Come to think of it, I did play keyboard years ago in one band and I stood up to play, but only because it was more comfortable to do so as I could never find a chair or stool of the correct height.


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: greg stephens
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 05:40 PM

Jerry Lee Lewis could play piano standing up.


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 05:45 PM

As a guitarist, I almost always performed standing up. Various reasons, including the difficulty of finding a suitable chair, and being able to keep the front line in time by playing straight 4/4 in the front line's left ear if necessary.


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: Folknacious
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 05:57 PM

Standing.

Whapweasel.

QED


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: Stower
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 06:47 PM

I'm still trying to figure out why this matters. If I'm at a ceilidh, I'm dancing. I'm not watching the band.


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 06:59 PM

If you're in the band, it matters.


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: Stower
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 11:46 AM

I still don't understand, Dave. If I'm a dancer, I don't care if the band stand, sit or lie down as long as the music and the caller are good. I've seen sitting and standing from guitarists, bass players, players, accordionists, melodion players and even callers (though in the case of the sitting caller he was recovering from an operation, admittedly). Did I even give it a second thought? No. It never crossed my mind to question the judgement of the musicians.

If I'm a musician, I adopt the posture that best helps me play. I have seen (and been in) bands with a mixture of sitting and standing, all standing and, in one case only, all sitting. Again, it never crossed my mind to question the judgement of the musicians. If I'm in a band where the leader insists I sit if I am happier standing to play or vice versa, I conclude this person isn't interested in the quality of the music and join another band. Not that I have ever heard that this has happened. I don't know of anyone who has ever brought this up until I read this thread.


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: terrier
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 12:06 PM

Just enjoy the banter, Stower, never mind the content of the thread, Catters just gotta' have something to disagree with ;)
One of the most enjoyable callers we had was a lady who always called whilst perched on top of a high stool, it didn't make her less enjoyable to dance to or to play for. A caller in Cheshire would walk around the room introducing himself to all and sundry before the dance started, he never had any trouble getting people on the floor for the first dance. As a dance musician, my pet HATE..RADIO MIKES!


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 02:11 PM

Stower.

You obviously do understand and agree with me.


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: alex s
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 03:39 PM

Terrier, you are a kindred soul: I hate radio mikes too............(I feel a new thread coming on)


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 06:06 AM

No one's questioned the judgement of the musicians, whatever their choice, people are simply expressing their own preferences.

I think much of it has to do with stage presentation, which in turn has to do with the expectations of a particular genre. No one expects the London Philharmonic to play standing up. No one expects the Rolling Stones to play sitting down (although at their ages they have an excuse!)

The EFDSS-style dance bands invariably played sitting down, and usually read from music. The ceilidh scene which sprang up as a reaction to that (mostly from the younger folk club and morris scenes) wanted more energy and excitement. The musicians were mostly accustomed to standing to perform in clubs or for morris (and playing from memory), and it seemed natural to stand and move about to help to express that energy. I expect to see a ceilidh band standing (and while I'm not watching the band while I'm on the dance floor, I am when I'm not dancing)

However, there are plenty of good bands who sit down to play. Ultimately it's the music that matters. Standing or sitting won't turn a poor band into a good one, or vice versa.


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: Dick The Box
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 06:37 AM

If you are doing quick instrument changes then sitting down is easier. I play the melodeon so it is not so important but for the guy who plays the string things sitting down means that he can play without straps.

Another thought, if you are playing standing up then you need DI or radio mikes. If you don't have them then you are tied to a static mike and so might as well sit down.

I agree about reading the dots. Nothing makes a band more leaden than staring at music stands.

However, at the end of the day (spot the cliche), there is no definitive answer - just have to make a decision bearing in mind all the valid points given previously in the thread!

Richard Ashe


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: Bloke from Poole
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 07:14 AM

As a dancer I really don't care whether the band play standing or sitting.

I've danced to predominantly seated bands and predominantly standing bands, didn't notice any difference.

It's far more important that the rhythm is clear. Get that right and nobody's going to look at the band anyway!

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: MikeL2
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 10:01 AM

Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: greg stephens - PM
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 05:40 PM

< "Jerry Lee Lewis could play piano standing up." >

Jerry Lee Lewis could play standin ON the piano !!!!

Cheers

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 06:31 PM

Guitar or Harmonica,standing up ( I prefer it,and find both easier to play that way ) ; The Cajón,sitting down ! ( I haven't found a better way yet !).Useful things,Cajóns ; you always have a seat in a session !


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: alex s
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 05:00 AM

The late Dick Lett was a bodhran maker who developed a case which doubled as a seat - very handy at festivals and sessions


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 05:13 PM

Ravi Shankar sits cross legged on the floor. As long as you can have eye contact with the audience how else are you going to charm the ladies! Strummin' Steve (a stander & a sitter)


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: s&r
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 03:10 AM

Why do you hate radio mics Terrier?

Stu


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: Mr Red
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 09:49 AM

Jumping up and down.

A band that can dance happily at ceilidhs plays better for ceilidhs.

I know a few bands that don't have regular dancing members, now or in the past. And it shows.


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Subject: RE: Ceilidh Band - sitting or standing?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 07:27 PM

Maybe a rocking chair band...


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