Cock and Bull Band

Festival Dance House

Monday

The Cock & Bull Band are at the forefront of exciting and adventurous ceilidh experiences. They effortlessly fuse traditional instruments with cutting edge music technology. Original tunes and reworked traditional tunes are given a unique groove which is perfect for dancing and great to listen to. High energy mandola is complemented by keyboard, drum loops and samples whilst the tune is played on sax, flute, clarinet or recorder in a variety of arrangements that respect ceilidh tradition but add a hint of jazz with a contemporary feel.

Dances are chosen by the caller and the band have tunes for every style of dance from jigs, reels and polkas to schottisches and bourees as well as some more unusual and lesser known specialities, such as the Horses Brawl.

The Cock and Bull Band are truly unique, demonstrating a mastery of musical arrangements that delight the ear whilst igniting the inner dancing spirit. Dancers have always loved their quirky and ‘off-piste’ approach to ceilidh music. Tunes might be played on clarinet, flute, recorder, keyboard, a range of saxophones or any combination of the aforementioned. These many and varied instrumental permutations are fused with the inventive and energetic mandola of Paul Martin, who effortlessly bounces between underpinning the rhythmic powerhouse and exciting lead guitar-like phrases, like some demented Jack rabbit. Vanda Sainsbury on woodwind and Lynn Swain on flute, feature inspired harmony and counterpoint in every tune, along with sections of soloing, where the melody line is set aside for some nifty and often jazzy improvisation, that sees the musical style sashay off into the realms of jazz, rock or even funk! Pete Lockwood’s ‘trademark electronics’ have become an integral feature of The Cock and Bull ‘sound’ and their driving ceilidh rhythms effortlessly blend traditional instruments with synthesiser, loops and percussion samples. Pete has always shown an empathy with ceilidh-folk music, subtly infusing his brand of ’technology’ without losing the essence of the original genre. Throughout their long and eventful career The Cock and Bull Band have never shied away from following their own, sometimes unfashionable path and in doing so have remained innovative, never failing to surprise. Members have come and gone, but the band and its individual and unusual combination of instruments continue to forge ahead along their own highly distinctive route.

So yet another chapter in Stony Stratford’s Cock and Bull story continues to unfold…. Paul Martin on mandocello and Pete Lockwood on keyboards, sax and percussion are complemented by flautist Lynn Swain and her soaring melodic lines and Vanda Sainsbury whose dynamic clarinet playing, nifty array of recorders and forays on keyboard, complete the tale. Vanda also play soprano saxophone which, when combined with Pete’s steamy jazz tinged tenor sax, sees a welcome return of the classic Cock and Bull dual sax feature.