The Ceilidh Band
Traditional Irish band for hire
Eugene was steeped in traditional Irish music and his father Jim was president of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann 2004 – 2009. He was All-Ireland Champion in 1982 and 1986 and is now a qualified music teacher with Comhaltas. Over the years Eugene has been a regular performer at Irish music festivals, conventions and sessions as well as playing with several folk and Irish bands. Eugene has also performed in America and Canada.
Mick and Eugene are joined by Mick Bailey (Guitar/vocals) who founded the band in 1998 and other guest musicians who join the band in various line-ups.
Wraggle Taggle play traditional Irish, Scottish, English and American songs and tunes with innovation, flair and vitality.
Virginia Reel (With Calling)
The dance floors many venues provide for disco dancing are generally not large enough for a ceilidh. You might get away with 12 ft by 12 ft but the more space the better. Wraggle Taggle bandleader Mick Bailey often suggests that the whole hall should be cleared but most people prefer to leave out a few chairs and tables for exhausted dancers to collapse into!
Each musician needs a chair without arms in a line or better still in an arc and at least one square meter of space. We also need a small table, an extra chair or a shelf behind or beside the band for the amplifier. The two speakers need a square meter each on their stands somewhere not too near the band, but can be sited out of the way in an otherwise unused corner or on a handy piece of furniture or shelf.
If possible Wraggle Taggle prefer to work from a proper stage and to have dressing room facilities provided.
You can check a regularly updated list of Wraggle Taggle gigs by clicking the link above to our Giglist. Many of these are private but Wraggle Taggle bandleader Mick Bailey may be able to obtain permission for you to look in briefly. Please let him know if any dates appear convenient.
It is not essential to bring the amplification. However it may be too quiet without, though we can happily play background music if you like. The gear helps us balance the instruments better. Your guests will have to be very attentive for the caller to be heard without a mic.
We are really an acoustic band and only use the amplification so we can be heard. We are sensitive musicians and will gladly turn down if you direct us to. Other bands use drums and electric instruments which are inherently louder. Our aim is to be a positive addition to your event and play at the professionally appropriate volume.
Wraggle Taggle use a Dynacord Powermate 600 Mixer Amp, two EV speakers and Shure SM58 mics. This is sufficient for most venues. If your venue is very large or you have a lot of guests we may need to hire something more powerful.
It would be possible to swap the banjo for flute or fiddle. However, Mick Bailey (guitar/vocals), Barbara Hackett (accordion) and Mick O’Connor (banjo) form the “core” of the band and that is the usual line up for a trio.
Barbara and Mick are both exceptionally talented traditional Irish musicians and former “All Ireland champions” on their instruments. Mick’s decade’s of experience and wonderful sense of humour together with Barbara’s beautiful emotional playing will be a positive asset to your event. You are bound to be delighted. Both instruments also project well in an outside acoustic situation.
There are several very talented “guest” musicians e.g fiddle, flute, Irish pipes or double bass who join us when we bring a larger band. We would be delighted to include one or more of them in addition if that is your wish. You are better off with four musicians because that is a fuller sound. Wraggle Taggle enjoy the greater interplay between the instruments leading to a more intense experience for the audience. Most tracks on the demo CD have four musicians playing. However, we often go out as a trio to critical acclaim as well and it’s still a lively feel and a good atmosphere – it’s up to you really.
There is a tradition that the happy couple start the dancing with a slow romantic dance. It is a photo opportunity that could result in a treasured momento and we have some beautiful suitable pieces to play. We will call other couples up to join you reasonably soon. Some couples ask for a favourite romantic track to be played on iPod for their first dance. Other newlyweds do without the first dance and go straight in to the ceilidh. We can start with a ceilidh dance featuring the two of you e.g. Virginia Reel or one that doesn’t do so e.g. Circassian Circle. Nothing is so complicated that we can’t teach you on the night. You don’t need to decide until a minute or two before we actually do it. Unless you are very enthusistic dancers, it is probably inadvisable for you to go to a dance teacher to choreograph a first dance for you.
In general, Wraggle Taggle rely on venues to provide suitable lighting. It is best to dim the lights in the hall where the ceilidh is taking place, as this can encourage people to dance. We would advise against making it very dark as you do need to see what you are doing!
It is also desirable to light the band, especially the caller if you book one. The controls for any stage lights are often locked unless someone specifically organises access. Wraggle Taggle do bring a couple of floodlights for the band in case there is no lighting at all.
In general, Wraggle Taggle discourage this during our performance, which we aim to keep as polished and professional as possible. If you need to encourage amateur singers or musicians why not organise a spot for them before or after we play e.g during a wedding service, at the drinks reception or at a sing – song in the bar?
- Our insurance doesn’t cover loaning out our instruments and equipment.
- Our instruments are treasured and loved possessions.
- Adding temporary voices or instruments sets our sound back.
If you book through an agent, they will have their own way of working and terms and conditions. We will refer you to the agent to finalise the booking.
If you are an Agent or corporate customer we will work within your usual terms and conditions.
If neither of the above apply and for clients who book Wraggle Taggle direct with band leader Mick Bailey: Mick will request a deposit to secure the booking, the balance to be paid in advance or in cash on the day. We can discuss the financial arrangements.
Here is a sample set of terms and conditions. These may vary slightly to fit you own particular booking.
1. The balance is payable in addition to the deposit received to secure the booking. 2. The agreement may not be modified or canceled except by mutual consent in writing and signed by both parties. Any such modification or cancellation shall not prejudice the right to payment of the musicians concerned. Cancellation fees: Over 90 days before the performance the deposit would be subject to forfeit; 90 days or less before the performance 50% of the full fee; 45 days or less before the performance the full fee is payable. 3. Please send a map or drawing of the precise location of the venue together with the full postal address, telephone number, and contact person there. Access will be required at least half an hour before playing time to set up and sound check. Parking space near the stage area would be appreciated. 4. It is the responsibility of the organizer to ensure a safe supply of electricity at the engagement. 5. Performances in addition to those specified are subject to additional fees to be agreed between both parties. 6. Both parties agree that the equipment and instruments of the musicians performing the engagement are not available for use by other persons except by specific permission of the musicians concerned. 7. The terms are issued in confirmation of a verbal agreement already made. 8. The organizer warrants that the premises are fully licensed for entertainment. 9. The organizer confirms that he or she is authorized to sign on behalf of the company or organization named and accepts joint and several liabilities under this agreement. 10. The organizer shall provide supervision of persons attending the function and shall remove any persons causing a nuisance to the Artist of persons attending. 11. The organizer will pay for any loss or damage caused to the Artist’s equipment by persons attending this function in full.