Merrily Danced the Quaker’s Wife is a feast of traditional music from around the British Isles and beyond. Folk songs, Morris tunes, sea shanties , country dances and some of our own music rub shoulders to present a varied programme played and sung numerous traditional and modern instruments to create colourful and exciting sounds. We invite you to sing along in the lively chorus songs (words provided) and clap or stamp your feet to the catchy dance tunes. We share humorous stories and anecdotes and enjoy chatting to our audiences during the interval and after the performance. We are always pleased to answer questions about the many instruments we play, usually about 20, and give an opportunity for a closer look.
Our On Weaver’s Way programme was the result of 12 months lockdown in our music studio and the need for a project to keep us occupied. There are songs about Sir Eglamore and his dragon slaying, the terrible deeds of a fierce and deadly dog, Black Shuck, the dramatic and sad demise of a Victorian Rat Catcher’s daughter, the lost bones of a Norfolk hero who was involved in the French Revolution and many more songs on countryside themes. As always we interact with our audience, sharing many humorous stories and anecdotes. We promise you a memorable and highly entertaining performance.
One for the Road is a lively and fun filled musical journey through the many forms that Street Music has taken over the centuries. We walk in the steps of Medieval Pilgrims, King Henry VIII and ordinary folk, as they journey to the holy shrine at Little Walsingham. We hear of the illustrious Norwich Waits as they welcome Queen Elizabeth 1st to the ancient City of Norwich during her Royal Progress. We learn which Victorian writer suggested that Street Musicians ’may be assailed with stones, knives, pistols or bombs’ and we meet the Topping Tooters of the Town. This educational, informative and highly colourful presentation is filled with fascinating facts. Although of particular interest to History, Heritage and U3A groups and those with a love for our colourful and historic past, it also makes for a highly varied and entertaining concert.
Racketts, Rumbles and Rasps is a short romp through the long history of European musical instruments. Over the years we have performed all kinds music ranging from medieval songs and dances to Jazz. As a result we have collected a large number of instruments that cover many centuries of musical history, from the gentle medieval psaltery, the raucous Tudor rauschpfeife, the Victorian harmonium to the modern day saxophone. We demonstrate these instruments and many more, talking about how and when they were used. We give the opportunity at the end of the performance for a closer look and with some of them, the chance to have a go, Covid permitting! We also provide informative leaflets that can be taken away for further study. There is not a test at the end!
Our Jolly Wassail is a festive celebration of carols, folk tunes and seasonal music from across the centuries played and sung with ancient, traditional and modern instruments. As the carol originates from medieval times when it was a popular dance form we’ll be taking many of the carols in the programme back to their dance origins. Be prepared for stamping and clapping as well as singing along with familiar favourites, carol sheets provided of course. Add to that some atmospheric, historic and humorous Christmas readings and maybe a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie and you’ll have a wonderful entertainment that will be a memorable part of your seasonal celebrations. An excellent way to start Christmas.
Carol Services. If you need a hand we provide you with all the music for a traditional carol service. You decide on the lessons and pick your readers and we do the rest. We print the order of service that will have been discussed and agreed. This will include the words of the carols and any other details you would like to add. For many years we have provided music for the candle lit service in our own village church which has no electricity. We have the option of a battery powered amplifier where electricity is not available. We accompany the congregational carols and perform the occasional carol ourselves. We play before the service while the congregation is gathering and also at the end if refreshments are provided. We charge no fee for Norfolk churches but ask for expenses to cover our travelling and printing costs. We are prepared to travel to other parts of East Anglia but request a small fee.
We play for Events such as Country Fairs, Village Festivals, Weddings, Christmas Parties, Medieval and Tudor recreations, Theatrical Productions and Fund Raisings. We regularly perform both indoors and out for the National Trust and other historical and heritage organisations. If your guests are feeling lively we can teach Tudor Dances ( no previous experience necessary) and set a unique relaxed atmosphere whatever the occasion. We also provide conference entertainments that create a focal point not just with the music but with the many striking instruments we play. Please note that unfortunately we no longer offer lion taming, fire eating, sword swallowing, juggling and acrobatics!
Malcolm and Elizabeth have performed together for many years. They founded the Bridewell Early Music Consort, The Norwich Waits, The Radio Dance Band and Manhattan Magic Jazz Band. They have been involved in music teaching both in schools and adult education, and subsequently founded their own performing arts company. Malcolm spent many years performing his one man history plays to thousands of educational establishments in Eastern England. They have appeared in films, on television and have performed around the UK and occasionally abroad. Their most distant performance as Chanter’s Jigge was for the International Book Festival in Milan. Their nearest performance, their local village hall.
What to expect when you book us.
A typical performance consists of two 45 minute halves. We can also offer a shorter performance with no interval. We like to informally chat to our audiences before we begin playing and again afterwards, when we are pleased to answer questions about the numerous instruments and our music. We provide a PA which can be fed into a loop system. We can send digital files for tickets, handbills and posters if required. If you prefer we can print these for a small fee. We like access to the venue a minimum of 1 1/2 hours before the performance and a parking space adjacent to the entrance for unloading the substantial amount of equipment that we bring. It takes a minimum of 1 hour to clear away afterwards.
Our range of fees is very flexible and we try to accommodate most budgets. If you have any questions please contact us and we will be delighted to talk to you without any pressure to book, we are friendly.