‘Ceilidh’ is the old gaelic word for ‘party’ or ‘gathering’. Also known these days as a barn dance, it’s become the byword for a fun filled night of wild dancing, good company and great music.
Hampshire-based Threepenny Bit are an example of how traditional dance tunes and contemporary sounds can be blended into a fresh interpretation of folk music. This dynamic eight-piece band combines a group of diehard folkies with some of the finest young jazz and classical musicians of the south. They play bold arrangements of traditional and original tunes with infectious stage energy for concerts and ceilidh dancing.
‘Bursting with energy’ – Martin Chilton, The Telegraph
‘It’s addictive stuff as forays into rock and jazz blend with interpretations of trad British Dances’ –
‘The most head-spinningly original album to emerge from the current crop of young folk collectives this year. Forget nodding along approvingly, this is an all-out musical bombardment’ –
Rob Fearnly, Bright Young Folk
Threepenny Bit are the go-to ceilidh band in the South – FATEA magazine
Jason Beaumont– Flute, Bass Guitar
Jason grew up in Egham and began learning the flute at the age of 6, and although he began his music degree specialising in piano, graduated with a Masters degree in classical flute performance in 2011. He also plays the bass guitar, and is greatly in demand for performance with musical theatre shows in Southampton. An impatient soul, Jason quickly becomes bored with just ‘playing the tune’ when performing with Threepenny Bit, and his incessant improvisation has become integral to the band’s sound. He also has a passion for catering and enjoys playing the perfect hostess, providing everyone with hot beverages. Despite his variety of talents, however, Jason has proven himself to be most proficient in the art of putting his foot in his mouth.
Ruth Burrows– Alto Saxophone
Ruth grew up near Bristol, in a household where the learning of musical instruments was strongly encouraged. She discovered classical alto saxophone at the age of 10 and has gone on to graduate with a BA in music from the University of Southampton just over ten years later. Ruth’s love of folk music was initially influenced by the music her Dad used to play in the car, such as Fairport Convention, Lindisfarne, June Tabor and Oysterband, but it was the discovery of Bellowhead via Mike Harding’s Folk Show that propelled this into a desire for a career in the field. Now living in Worthing, Ruth also has a keen interest in Killer Sudoku puzzles, Chinese historical fiction, and daytime television.
Helen Gentile– Clarinet
Helen hails from Taunton in Somerset and began learning the clarinet aged 7. She has been folk dancing since childhood, her parents having had their first encounter at a folk dance, and has participated in various folk ensembles at college, going on to co-found the University of Southampton Folk Society in 2010. Helen studied languages at Southampton and lived in Brittany for a year, where she undertook an ethnographic research project exploring Breton folk music and dance as part of her undergraduate degree. Based in Southampton, she is a clarinet teacher for the Hampshire Music Service and regularly plays with other groups including The Horse and Monkey See Monkey Do.
Hannah Gray– Flute, Low D Whistle
Devon-raised Hannah began learning the classical flute aged 8, going on to play in orchestras and ensembles, and taking up the tenor saxophone in her teenage years for a bit of variety. She grew up listening to the likes of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd and only really discovered folk a little later on, an interest that was nurtured whilst playing with the University of Southampton Folk Society. In addition to her musical talents, Hannah is a qualified audiologist, and has undertaken the role of hearing-protection consultant to the other band members. She is based in Oxford, and also plays and sings with James Bell & the Half Moon All Stars.
Ross Gordon– Drums, Percussion
Ross grew up in Twickenham and tried his hand at many different instruments including piano, guitar, and violin before finding his love for the drums; he has also recently discovered a talent for playing the spoons at folk sessions! He graduated with a degree in maths and music from the University of Southampton, and manages a hectic life playing with The Sea Slugs (a 7 piece afrobeat extravaganza) and Fraktions (a djent metal trio), adding Threepenny Bit to his lengthy list of responsibilities in 2015. Ross also plays with various acclaimed London musicians and is house drummer for several jam nights. Somehow, he finds the time to do web design as well!
Chris Nichols– Violin, Viola
Born and raised in Cornwall, Chris began playing the fiddle when he was 10, and has performed with various Cornish dance groups including Ros Keltek and Hevva (of which he was a founding member). Whilst at university, he helped form the University of Southampton Folk Society, and graduated in 2012 with a BA in music. Chris spent his first year as a real grown-up living the life of the musician, busking and gigging to pay the rent. He missed the education system too much, however, and now works for the Southampton Music Service, teaching part-time in primary and secondary schools across the city.
Josh Robson-Hemmings– Acoustic Guitar
Josh was born in London, but spent his youth between Bristol and Oxfordshire. Inspired initially by nu-metal and funk music, he took up the electric guitar at the age of 12, and quickly became involved in the Bristolian alternative scene. This chapter of his musical life ended when he moved to Southampton to read physics at the university, and chose to spend his first student loan installment on an acoustic guitar – a decision for which he is still mocked by his former bandmates! He quickly became involved with the University of Southampton Folk Society, and the rest, as they say, is history. Josh graduated with a Masters degree in 2011 and now works as a research physicist for Sharp in Oxford. Somehow he has found the time to teach himself melodeon and mandolin, and to perform with James Bell & the Half Moon All Stars.
Steven Troughton– Accordion
Steve grew up in St Albans, and began his musical life dancing to Eric Clapton in his Grandma’s living room, and endlessly hitting the ‘demo’ button on his Casio SA-1 keyboard (which plays an excellent version of Wham’s ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go‘, for those interested). He started playing piano at age 7, picked up the trumpet in his first year of secondary school, then learnt the guitar upon discovery of his first real musical obsession – Led Zeppelin. After graduating with a BA in music from the University of Southampton in 2011, Steve began teaching himself the accordion as little more than a new hobby; subdued fingerstyle guitar was satiating most of his folk performance desires, but the appeal of the boisterously jolly accordion couldn’t be quelled! Steve also performs with experimental pop artist Tom OC Wilson, if you fancy something a little different!
Advance tickets are just £11.00 – they will be £12.50 on the door on the night