When Lucy heard Jiggered Ceilidh Band at a large Gala Dinner in October 2011 she decided they were the band she wanted to play at her wedding to Roger. They were getting married at Lumley Castle (the tagline is "no ordinary venue" and we can vouch for that!).A roadtrip was in order!!
As ever, Jenny brought her own bit of drama to proceedings. While Ewan, Susan and I drove down to Lumley Castle (it's in Chester-le-Street, between Newcastle and Durham), Jenny decided at the last minute to take the train. Her bargain £20 train ticket would get her from Edinburgh to Chester-le-Street but she missed it and had to buy a £50 ticket for the next train. Then of course she didn't have any way of getting from the station to the Castle...so she hitched a lift!
Meanwhile, the rest of us made it to Chester-le-Street and visited a chippy for dinner (a place where the locals would treat themselves to a delicacy I'd never heard of: a bag of batter). We took the chips to the castle and the duty manager allowed us to use a cosy wee quaint conference room called The Bede...Then the fireworks started ;)
You never know exactly how a crowd down in England will respond to ceilidh but Lucy and Roger's guests were a great bunch and we never had to coax them onto the floor- they were keen to try all the dances.
At the break, guests tucked into the CHEESE wedding cake. I did not.
We also excahnged our Secret Santa gifts. I say "Secret" Santa...I've yet to take part in a Secret Santa arrangement which didn't end in everyone figuring out "who bought for who"! Ewan got Stick With Jesus drumsticks which led to a nonsense conversation where we branded our own Christian-themed musical accessories (Stick With Jesus Drumsticks, Jesus Picked Me Plectrums, Jesus is the Key Piano cover, Jesus: The Resin for the Season Violin Resin). Puns over it was time for a lively second half and the long drive home to Scotland.
Next up? Hogmanay @ Gleddoch tomorrow.
Posted at 10:41 on 30th December 2012 by Chris Smith
Jiggered's final ceilidh before Christmas was at the impressive Performing Arts Centre at Stewart's Melville College, Edinburgh. It was a joint birthday party for two sisters, Annie (16) and Jess (18). The hall was huge but we were really impressed that the dance floor filled up every time with super-enthusiastic, energetic friends and family! Definitely the BEST EVER Cumberland Basket from one set who would kneel as if starting a sprint and then launch themselves in the air, forming the basket while still in flight and then hurling each other around full pelt. Awesome.
It was a great event and we were delighted to be involved. Our next ceilidh's down in England on the 29th December followed by our Hogmanay gig at Gleddoch House Hotel, Langbank.
Have a brilliant Christmas everyone from the Jiggered team!
Posted at 9:24 on 15th December 2012 by Chris Smith
Lots to tell you after tonight's ceilidh. Going to have to settle for bullet points:
-Arrive at 6.25pm for early set up.
-Meet electrian Mark who is going to give our equipment the once over. Gear passes the PAT. (Note: it's not PAT Testing as that would be "Portable Appliance Testing Testing", the same reason it's not a PIN Number, ATM Machine, HIV Virus etc...).
-Band message to say there's a serious crash on the motorway. At one stage it looks like it might just be me. I try to recruit Mark, at least for moral support. He, understandably, is for none of it and leaves.
-The rest of the band arrive in the nick of time ready for a most pleasant first half. This crowd (here to raise money for Galston Church Fete) appreciated good music and ceilidh at a leisurely pace so that's exactly what they got. A couple of up tempo dances followed by a wee breather to enjoy Jenny's sweet vocals, accompanied by Susan's virtuoso violin harmonies.
-The break arrives and we're ushered in first to enjoy some of the best sandwiches we've ever had at a ceilidh, followed by some chewy meringues, truffles and good old Ayrshire festive tonic: ginger wine.
-A quick rendition of "Jingle Bells" brings Santa Claus out of the woodwork and he conducts the raffle (issuing the prizewinners with a lot more than just the prize their ticket earned them!).
-Ewan was back on raffle form, scooping an impressive Christmas wreath, put together by ex-servicemen with PTSD.
-I win a fetching china rooster mug. And as if that wasn't excitng enough, it came with matching coaster and tea-towel. The wife's Christmas sorted, then.
-The second half was great too with the ceilidh stuff, Scottish stuff and covers all big hits ("Dignity" sure got folk up for a boogie)-
Ooops. Almost forgot. The photo attached to the blog shows the artwork in the toilet. It's a cat/dog smoking. I'll leave you to figure out the hidden meaning in that one.
Posted at 23:42 on 8th December 2012 by Chris Smith
Kilsyth Church of God are celebrating being about for 50 years...their month of special events kicked off with a ceilidh and Jiggered were the obvious choice for them! We'd already played for some of this bunch at a birthday bash in a barn back in 2010.
Winter's here for sure- the car park was icy, the Christmas tree was up and the car radio was blasting out the tunes of the season! We performed 3 sets of about an hour each. In between the troops were enterained with some games and poem, specially penned for the occasion.
I think quote of the night goes to the older gentleman who introduced himself to Susan with the line "I fiddle a bit too, dear. I fiddle the taxes here and there".
If you're in the Kilsyth area, why not check out the events these guys have on this month and come along?
Posted at 12:45 on 2nd December 2012 by Chris Smith
I guess the litmus test for a successful band is to ask former clients "would you book this lot again?". Obviously after last year's fundraiser at Hurlford Bowling Club, the guys from Kilmarnock Portland FC were in no doubt: they wanted more of Jiggered Ceilidh Band and so booked us up again.This was a home gig for me and inveitably there were a few familiar faces hanging about...a colleague from work, parents of the pupils I've taught (including David the organiser, and his wife the birthday girl who loved having us sing happy birthday, Mark and Andrew's mum who insisted I embarrass Andrew on Monday morning, Jordan and Danny's mum whose knickers quote will haunt Ewan and I for years to come, Adam and Sara's mum whose expressive dance moves with David entertained the masses,the Moles- cheery as ever) and a sprinkling of former pupils (great catching up with Nicola, Mark and Ainsley!).
Same as last year, we were treated to fish and chips at the break. But in a stunning turn of events, Ewan's special raffling talent seems to have left him.
We've been asked this week about playing at Westminster Cathedral Halls, London...possible road trip coming up! Watch this space.
Posted at 9:48 on 1st December 2012 by Chris Smith
It's been a long time since Jiggered last performed at Houston House, near Edinburgh. We had a vague memory that we liked it as a venue and this was confirmed when we arrived last night- it was lovely.
The evening went really well: from the smooth set-up and sound check, to Louise and John's first dance, to the enthusiastic ceilidh dancing, to the yummy stovies at the break, to the big finish (Loch Lomond, an arch as the newlyweds left through an arch, Orchadian Strip the Willow and Auld Lang Syne).
A cautionary tale: if you're ever filling up at a petrol station when a bus-full of girls unload from a hen night get out as soon as you can. I survived just such an incident before last night's ceilidh (only just!).
Posted at 8:44 on 25th November 2012 by Chris Smith
The church was packed. Familiar faces were welcoming. The place was buzzing. The dance floor was jumping. The Irn Bru was flowing. The rolls and sausage were satisfying. This was a cracking group of folk to ceilidh for.
Cartsbridge have been fundraising for a lady who requires a portable oxygen machine and hopefully this event will have gone some way towards realising that dream!
Posted at 23:15 on 10th November 2012 by Chris Smith
Every year, Jiggered Ceilidh Band perform at a variety of events....fundraisers, birthdays, anniversaries, party nights, St Andrews/Burns Nights, student functions to name just some. But mostly we're doing weddings these days. I guess it is our speciality and we do really love playing for brides and grooms all over the UK.
Take this weekend:
Friday night we were in Kilbirnie's luxurious Moorpark Hotel for Amy and Andrew's wedding (Susan had played violin at the ceremony earlier in the day). A lovely, young, enthusiastic couple with a load of talented and appreciative guests many of whom are musicians themselves...A bowl of roll for the buffet with ketchup if you have the necessary contacts. A great evening.
Saturday night we were in Glasgow's St Silas for Rosie and Mitchum's wedding. We know Rosie from our Strathclyde days (in fact, 75% of Jiggered went to Romania in 2002 with Rosie helping to build houses for poor people) and it was a pleasure to play for her in front of a packed St Silas. The buffet here was cheese and cake. And by cake I mean more types of cake than I have ever seen in one place at the same time- I went for the lemon curd cake and it was yummy. Loads of familiar faces made it a real fun evening and as you'll see from the blog photo we recruited a new advertising guy!
Getting married and need a ceilidh band? Look no further than Jiggered!
Posted at 7:36 on 28th October 2012 by Chris Smith
Last night we headed over to St Andrews for our latest gig, this time a wedding at the luxury country house hotel, Rufflets. Jenny and I had a heated (if pointless) debate as we waited in the foyer. The source of our disagreement? Pronounciation of the word "pork". I'd say it "poark" and she'd say it "pawrk". We asked the waiter if he could settle the matter but he couldn't tell any difference between each version. The argument went on and on all night and will probably irreparably ruin our 12 year friendship...
Once in St Andrews, Jenny texted Ewan to say we'd arrived. Ewan texted back, pretending he didn't know we had a ceilidh, claiming he was in a Glasgow cinema. A few texts and phonecalls keeping up the windup had Jenny in a serious panic. When Ewan popped out finally, Jenny didn't know whether to wring his neck in frustration or hug him with relief!
The wedding kicked off with bride Jenny's choice of "Talking Heads" Nothing but Flowers...The whole wedding party seemed to absolutely love this and it was great to watch the smiles on their faces! The ceilidh went well after that...we stopped just before 9.45pm for the buffet (our first ever 100% vegetarian buffet!).
Following last week's adventure, you'll be glad to hear we made it home avoiding ditches and hitches!
Posted at 13:07 on 21st October 2012 by Chris Smith
Holly and Matt booked up Jiggered Ceilidh Band for their wedding having enjoyed us before (we've played for this Dumfries bunch a few times and they are a brilliant crowd who make our job very easy!). As usual, fiddler Susan "checked in" on Facebook to let everyone know we'd arrived at Mabie House Hotel. This was our first time at this venue but we're back in 2013.
After setting up, we chatted to the videographer in front of the roaring fire. Lovely. And as guests arrived one said to us "when we heard Holly and Matt had a great ceilidh band lined up, we figured it'd be Jiggered!". That should become a tagline for the band I think! Annoyed I didn't think it up in 10 years of ceilidhing.
The evening went really well with guests spilling onto the floor for every dance. We did have a couple of "firsts"...we threw in a couple of new songs Holly had requested (Tim Hughes Dance Dance and Casting Crowns Praise You With The Dance) and we laughed as a couple of guys paired up in the Cumberland Basket, although the designated "lady" did well being hurled around!
And so...time to leave after a lovely evening. I set the Sat Nav to "home". Leaving the hotel, it instructed me to take a right even though we'd come in the other direction. Fast forward five minutes....Susan and I are sitting at the bottom of a dirt track facing a fence which leads into a field. Hmmm. Time to try and turn. No room to do that. Then the car begins to sink in mud. I get out to try pushing while Susan drives (managing to plunge into mud that covers up to just below my knee). The car by now is only on three tyres- the fourth is dangling over the edge of an embankment leading down to a wee burn! I lift the car onto the other three wheels while Susan drives us out. We then spend the next 10 minutes reversing up this country road...the farmer comes out with a torch shouting "what are you doing down there?". Thankfully he was offering his help (although when directing me in a three-point-turn he kept using nautical language: "steer your bow right"?!). When we got back on track, Susan posted her latest check-in on Facebook: In a ditch, in Dumfries with Chris Smith. Susan's husband Alan phoned her within about 2 minutes of this (awwww...). Needless to say my wife Elaine was sound asleep and found out about our adventure this morning!!
Posted at 9:45 on 14th October 2012 by Chris Smith
In-demand Jiggered Ceilidh Band travelled to Grangemouth for Duncan's 50th birthday party (organised by his wife Hazel). The venue was The Scott's Bistro...hidden off the main road it was a real surprise to find this wee gem which has been decorated very nicely and has excellent facilities. During the evening, Duncan gave a short speech, there was a cake-cutting, hot/cold buffet and slideshow of photos from Duncan's last 50 years (which Chris and Ewan enjoyed posing in front of...see blog photo for one of many many examples!). Thanks to Hazel and Duncan for having us!!
One bit of exciting news to add: the BBC were in touch this week about the possibility of Jiggered performing at their Hogmanay bash...Watch this space!
Posted at 6:58 on 13th October 2012 by Chris Smith
One of the perks of being in Jiggered Ceilidh Band is getting to visit lovely venues across Scotland. It's exciting performing in a venue for the first time but there's also something nice about returning to somewhere like Piperdam, Dundee for a wedding. Piperdam's unique and as Ewan's photo shows has has some stunning views around it!
Bride on the night, Linda, had booked us after a Google search led her to us. Coming to hear us live confimed for the couple that we were the band they'd like for their big day. And at the end of the night (after a couple of sets of ceilidh with some covers thrown in, the best stovies we've had at a wedding buffet and dancing by a group that Ewan described as "the cutest Grannies he'd ever seen") Linda thanked us for a great job, saying her guests had loved the evening and she'd be happy to recommend us...That made the long drive back home worth it!
Posted at 9:37 on 7th October 2012 by Chris Smith
The venue: Glasow's Thistle Hotel.
The occasion: 50th Anniversary of Maranatha Camps
The perfect ceilidh band for this: Jiggered Ceilidh Band.
We played for just one hour (thanks to our sound guy to the evening- all we did was plug in and play) but it was amazing. The crowd were so up for it and loved songs like "Happy Day", "Marvellous Light" and "Our God".
Hopefully some of this awesome crowd will remember this ceilidh when it comes to booking their wedding band!
Thanks to the Baxters for booking us up!
Posted at 23:00 on 29th September 2012 by Chris Smith
It was a gig on home turf for me last night as Jiggered Ceilidh Band played in Newmilns for a Girlguiding Fundraiser. Helen had organised the event and everyone there seemed to have a blast! Music: great (of course). Dancing: great. Buffet: (Killie pies=great!).
All that was missing was a raffle for Ewan to demonstrate his special ability in raffling....Only kidding. The raffle was without question the pinnacle of Ewan's illustrious career in this field. Despite spending just £3, Ewan walked away with 3 bottles of wine, 2 photo frames and the biggest prize of the evening- a huge framed holographic Beatles picture. The blog photo speaks for itself!
Thanks again to all our friends, family and fans who came along to support this event!
Posted at 23:22 on 28th September 2012 by Chris Smith
It was off to Cowdenbeath for Jiggered Ceilidh Band last night. We were playing in the Cooperative Hall (which for me brought back memories of the old Scottish song "Wee Jeannie McColl" which if you've never heard played on the mandolin sounds something like this).
Keir and Lewis were having a joint 18th birthday party and the twins' parents had booked us and we were able to play a special request of "You are my all in all"! We were delighted to be invited- although Susan did get locked in between two doors that could only be opened with a keycard (since we couldn't help her escape, we figured the next best thing was to snap the image for the blog picture!).
It was a great night. Ewan had a spicy chicken pizza which maybe wasn't the wisest move as "he'd not had a good week in his mouth". I think he genuinely believes this is an actual phrase.
Anyway, our hosts Phil and Lorraine looked after us well and it seemed like everyone had a great night. Happy birthday, Keir and Lewis!
Posted at 7:26 on 22nd September 2012 by Chris Smith
After last week's epic journey beyond Aberdeen, a wee jaunt to Scone (near Perth) was a dawdle! Amy and Kevin had booked Jiggered Ceilidh Band for their wedding at Murrayshall Hotel and Golf Club. They'd "warned" us to expect a large contingent of the wedding party to be English and that they'd need very clear instructions about how to ceilidh. No need for the warning on this ocassion. The crowd were really up for every dance we threw at them and in our action-packed sets the floor was full to overflowing and everyone seemed to be having a blast. The bride and groom had asked that the best man perform the song for the first dance so we got to relax at this bit for a change. After that it was a mixture of ceilidh and covers from us interspersed with some disco music chosen by Amy and Kevin specifically.
Break from wedding season next week-got a birthday party in Fife on Friday!
Posted at 18:14 on 16th September 2012 by Chris Smith
Jiggered Ceilidh Band are playing a Fundraiser Ceilidh to help raise money for Girl Guiding. Tickets are £10 and include a buffet. The venue is The Morton Hall, Main Street Newmilns, East Ayrshire, KA16 9DG. To book tickets contact Helen Shedden on 01563 549550.
Hope to see you there for a great night!
Posted at 6:20 on 13th September 2012 by Chris Smith
Every so often I leave aJiggered ceilidh and think "how do I cram all this stuff into a blog?!". Last night was such an event...The only way I'm going to manage is with a bullet point summary of memorable stuff:
-the 4 hour journey was not as arduous as you might have expected, thanks largely to the banter from Susan (when she wasn't stretching the truth to her husband on the phone- it was an ice lolly, not an ice cream!) and Ewan (when he wasn't sleeping). Dinner at Aviemore's chip shop Smiffy's was a highlight!
-the venue itself, Drummuir Castle, was spectacular. Lots of beautifully preserved features- we played in the impressive hallway (notice from the photo that we lined up in single fi;le and that my piano was the perfect length for squeezing between the two pillars). The acoustics in the Castle were lovely- as Jenny will testify it carried the sound of vocals and wind instruments very clearly!
-the staff at Drummuir were really positive about us (compared us to Wolfstone and I think we'll be back at Drummuir again).
-the bride and groom, Elaine and Craig, had asked if we would learn Snow Patrol's Lifening with some alternative lyrics to personalise the song to them...it went really well and the couple had a fantastic evening.
-the father of the bride was particularly complimentary "you're an efficient band and what you do is really clever" (an astute guy). He was overheard saying when we announced a Strip the Willow "I'd warn against this one if you've got a dodgy ticker"!
-with a significant contingent from New Zealand it was only right that we were treated to an energetic performance of the Haka!
All the best Craig and Elaine- thanks for having us!
Posted at 11:39 on 9th September 2012 by Chris Smith
Probably when we first started ceilidhing, we never imagined the adventures it would bring, the miles we'd cover, the venues we would play in, the folk we'd meet, the controversies we'd court or that Jiggered Ceilidh Band would still be gigging 10 years later! It's hard to judge what's the biggest highlight but one things for sure...we're still going strong- more popular than ever and with a tonne of delighted clients...That's no small claim.
So...thanks to all our fans, supporters, business partners, and past clients. Here's to another 10 years!
Posted at 15:11 on 7th September 2012 by Chris Smith
Tonight's ceilidh started very peculiarly...Upon arrival at the venue (Glasgow University's QMU) we found there was another ceilidh band set up!! After a bit of investigation we discovered that although the event organiser, Adrian had booked us...QMU had booked another band (who she introduced us as Thistle Dubh). The lads from the other band were great- very understanding and got packed up and headed off for an early night.
The litmus test for how well a ceilidh will pan out is usually the first dance: the Gay Gordons. Tonight it was a distaster...we had lots of international postgraduate Statisticians and the moves seemed to stump them. Thankfully things got a LOT better and by the end of the night, you might have mistaken the crowd for ceilidh veterans (well,almost).
Throughout the night a bizarre ritual unfolded...Adrian's waistcoat was passed from guy to guy and by the end everyone had pretty much tried it on. I buckled under the peer pressure, hence the photo.
Looking forward to the next conference, Prof Bowman!
Posted at 22:47 on 6th September 2012 by Chris Smith