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Istanbul has long been considered as being the gateway between East and West, a two-way portal for the exchange of goods, peoples and cultures. Once at the crossroads of Roman influence and home to many diverse ethnic traditions, when that great empire shrank, certain cultures grew to dominance, others were displaced, migrated or dispersed. Among these dispersed peoples, we find European Jews and other tribes which can be loosely grouped as Roma or Gypsy, often leading itinerant lives, fiercely independent and fiercely protective of their historic origins and culture.
Whereas Western European music, strictly governed by the Church of Rome (and of course Constantinople up until the incursion of Islam), developed along well-defined and well-documented lines, the diverse musical culture of the Eastern fringes retained many links with older traditions, so that to modern-day Western ears this music sounds at the same time exotic as well as strangely familiar.
Find a range of Eastern European Bands at Hop Till You Drop
Just as the classical Latin of Biblical times has evolved into the similar yet distinct modern ‘Romance’ languages found in Western Europe, so it is with the development of musical culture. Eastern European music sounds different because it developed in different regions and within different cultures, yet taken as a whole it shares certain fundamental features which make it recognisable and accessible to Western listeners.
The instruments nowadays played in a typical Gypsy or Jewish Klezmer ensemble are instantly recognisable – it is the idiom of the musical genre and style that is distinctive. Accordion, clarinet, violin, guitar, double-bass and piano frequently appear, much as they do in the popular and folk traditions of the West. Perhaps the only ‘alien’ sound unique to the culture is that of the cembalon, a hammer-dulcimer forerunner of the piano.
As with the music of other displaced peoples the world over (Afro-American Blues, Portuguese ‘Fado’ etc), Gypsy music reflects a deep-rooted melancholy which characterises much of the repertoire – songs of yearning for home, searching for something lost, a quest for identity. However, this definitive mood is regularly interrupted by bursts of fantastically joyous, fast and frenetic celebration music, as exciting and uplifting (and danceable) as any to be found around the globe.
As in certain other traditions where music is learnt aurally, passed on from player to player without reference to a standard written version, individuality in performance is a defining element in Roma and Gypsy music, with a strong emphasis on variation and improvisation, making each rendition to a significant extent unique, as in Western jazz.
Gypsy and Klezmer bands will readily switch from playing attractive, atmospheric background music as accompaniment to a formal meal or drinks reception, to an engaging, interactive performance of more up-tempo music for dancing later on.
At many events, a compact ensemble will perform background music for the earlier part of proceedings, sometimes playing their instruments acoustically, and then augment with further musicians (often including drums) and amplify their sound to achieve a full-on dance-band impact. Naturally, this highly-adaptable arrangement is ideal for a whole range of different social events.
The development of Eastern European music in some ways parallels that of the West, in other aspects has diverged over the intervening centuries. Whereas Western art music fairly rapidly became a literate culture, evolving, progressing and changing in a highly visible way, music in the East continued as a predominantly aural tradition and so developed along different, more organic lines. Shared instrumentation and regular dance-forms bring the cultures closer, but the instantly recognisable idiomatic and stylistic differences give Eastern European music its attractive, exotic quality and appeal.
Evocative and nostalgic to listen to, irresistible and effervescent to dance to, a Gypsy band will present a flexible, adaptable performance well-suited to entertain guests at almost any social event, from weddings and private parties to corporate functions and public festivities.
Commanding a delightful vantage-point above the River Severn in Gloucestershire, with outstanding views across to the Black Mountains in Wales, Old Down Manor is a tastefully-restored Victorian country house that presents a tranquil and idyllic setting for a sophisticated wedding celebration.
As a recommended supplier, Hop Till You Drop Wedding Music Agency offers a special bespoke service to Old Down Manor’s brides and grooms. Ring Jennie for expert technical advice about how to put together the most appropriate and cost-effective musical package to enhance your forthcoming wedding celebrations. HTYD offers a special 10% discount to couples marrying at Old Down Manor.
Live music provides a brilliant way to stamp your individual personality on your special day. Whether you go for Ritzy glamour with vintage swing jazz, elegant formality with classical music, country-style informality with traditional folk music, perhaps choose the exotic route with the sounds of world music or dance the night away to a selection of all-time pop classics, all these options and more are available.
There’s many ways to jazz it up. New Orleans-style Dixieland Trad Jazz creates a carnival atmosphere at your post-ceremony drinks reception. It’s a perfect way to liven up your canapés and champagne on the terrace while the photographer clicks away. Listen to The Dixieland Jazzmen in action:-
Dixieland Jazzmen play Pasadena
Dixieland Jazzmen play Pennies From Heaven
Dixieland Jazzmen play Polly’s Drag
Find out more about booking The Dixieland Jazzmen for your wedding
Prefer the more suave and sophisticated strains of luxurious and glamorous Swing Jazz? 45th Street Swing can provide a trio to support the dulcet tones of Ratpack crooner James Lambert. Watch James and the guys performing ‘Let’s Get Lost’:-
Find out more about booking 45th Street Swing for your wedding
Latin Jazz introduces you to the sultry rhythms of South America. If ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ with a Bossa beat is your bag, Sirius B gives you salsa, Brazilian-style. The band personnel can be tailored to produce exactly the right sound in the Orangery as night falls.
Listen to Sirius B performing Latin Jazz classics:-
Sirius B plays Batucada
Sirius B plays Girl From Ipanema
Sirius B plays Mais Que Nada
Find out more about booking Sirius B for your wedding
Holding your drinks reception in the imposing hallway? A string quartet or harpist will enhance the sweeping elegance of the surroundings and will add a light-hearted, joyful sense of celebration to the event. Here’s The Classic String Quartet performing Purcell’s famous ‘Rondo’:-
Find out more about booking The Classic String Quartet for your wedding
In the 21st century, the world has become a very small place. Lend your celebration an unusual and original twist by bringing the world to your wedding through music.
When Western pop and jazz encountered the traditional music of India, Bollywood music was born. Bollywood Grooves bring you an unusual and exotic way to enliven your drinks reception. See and hear the band in action below:-
Find out more about booking Bollywood Grooves for your wedding
Bring sunshine and carnival magic to your wedding with a Caribbean Steel Band. Whatever the weather, your guests will be smiling! The Rainbow Steel Band can readily provide a duo or trio to perform for you. Watch the band perform at The Royal Bath and West Show:-
Find out more about booking The Rainbow Steel Band for your wedding
Prefer to party in traditional English, Scottish or Irish style? Jigs and reels combined with tried-and-tested Irish favourites is the perfect way to break the ice and get the party going.
Want organised dancing, ceilidh or barndance style? No worries! The band will bring a specialist dance-caller, who will tailor the steps and moves to fit the available space in the Orangery. Here’s Brand of Fire Ceilidh Band wowing the crowd during Cheltenham Gold Cup Week:-
Find out more about booking Brand of Fire Ceilidh Band for your wedding
If pop party favourites are what you’re after, then here’s a couple of hip-gyrating options that will easily fit in the space and won’t necessarily break the bank.
An acoustic duo provides an unusual take on the pop-mix formula. Great for performing atmospheric background music during the earlier stages of the day, The Alfie Kingston Duo will also get the crowd going at your evening celebration. Here they are, doing just that:-
Find out more about booking The Alfie Kingston Duo for your wedding
Of course, if you really want the full-on Soul / Funk experience, Cheltenham band Firefly offers a flexible setup which can be adapted to suit the space available in the Orangery and which will also fit any budget. Available from a trio to a full eight-piece complete with horn section, these guys have the experience and know-how to keep the dancefloor full all through the evening. Watch Firefly in action:-
Find out more about booking Firefly for your wedding
Live music will enliven the atmosphere at your evening party and make it a truly memorable occasion. Salsa and samba to your heart’s content with a Latin-American Jazz band, swing your partner round and round in an old-fashioned country barndance or ceilidh, or dance the night away to a well-chosen medley of iconic pop favourites from the ’50s to the present day.
Bollywood Grooves present Indian Bollywood music at its very best. Look forward to being entranced by exotic and eminently danceable Indian Bollywood classics and latest hits, performed with panache and presented in colourful costume that not only creates a brilliant visual spectacle, but also sets toes tapping, filling the dance floor.
Bollywood music is a synthesis of ancient Indian music and dance tradition with the technicolour romance and magic of Bollywood cinema. Thus old meets new, creating a vibrant fusion of Western pop culture and jazz with venerable Indian music and dance-forms. It is the perfect musical vehicle for an Indian-themed party.
Find out more about booking a live band for your wedding.
Bollywood Grooves present you with the most popular Bollywood classics, performed with an energy and excitement that is guaranteed to fill the dancefloor. The basic five-piece line-up is comprised of male or female vocalist, sitar, keyboard, saxophone and Indian percussion / drums.
For larger events, the band can include both male and female vocalists, and is also able to introduce a troupe of exotic Indian dancers that combine with the musicians in a spectacle that brings the Bollywood musical film to life before your very eyes.
For smaller Indian-themed events and drinks receptions, the band can provide a sax – tabla duo to set the scene, Bollywood style. The Indian theme is firmly established as your guests enter the room.
If dancing is required at a small event, the band can perform as a trio, comprising singer, keyboard and Indian percussionist, to get the party going.
Ancient Sanskrit Drama, the traditional Folk theatre that became popular in India from the 10th century onwards, and Parsi Theatre, although each very different from the other in their individual realisation, are unified in their presentation of drama as a combined theatrical fusion of music, dance, narrative and spectacle.
This strong Indian tradition of narrating stories, myths, legends and fairytales through music, dance and song found a ready-made cinematic vehicle in the unashamedly romantic Broadway and subsequent Hollywood Musical genre which had developed from the 1930s – 1950s and entertained in a very similar way.
The very name ‘Bollywood’ is itself an unambiguous form of homage to its earlier counterpart – the American Hollywood-based movie business. Since its inception in the 1930s, the Indian film industry has maintained the all-singing, all-dancing musical comedy and musical epic as central genres that have become so popular across the Asian sub-continent and beyond that the international audience for Bollywood films now far exceeds that of their American counterparts.
The songs that have been popularised in the Bollywood musical films of the last five decades have become popular in their own right across the Indian sub-continent. Bollywood music has become a form of Indian national pop culture that fuses Western pop styles with traditional Indian musical forms.
Hollywood itself has further popularised the Bollywood musical film genre by weaving the form into hit films such as ‘Moulin Rouge’ and most recently using it as the basis for the box-office smash ‘Slum Dog Millionaire’. These films have created a new world-wide coterie of fans for Bollywood music.
Reaching back into the mists of time in India, myth, legend and fairytale have always been presented in a colourful, dramatic form that alternates and interweaves narrative, music and dance in a combined theatrical spectacle.
Bollywood music combines this ancient Indian tradition with modern pop music. Ideal for an Indian-themed party, Bollywood Grooves’ presentation of the Bollywood phenomenon provides an enchanting musical vision of modern India.
Both the camera and the microphone loved that consummate performer, Frank Sinatra. His velvet-textured larynx and unique romantic style won him worldwide acclaim, coupled with the notoriety of the celebrity lifestyle he led and the ‘Ratpack’ company he kept. Along with Fred Astaire, he was Hollywood’s leading man of the Swing Jazz era.
A hard act to follow, equally difficult to emulate. However, with his ‘Salute To Sinatra’ Gary Grace offers the next best thing in a magical tribute to the great entertainer.
Find out more about booking Gary Grace Frank Sinatra Tribute Band for your wedding.
With 30 years’ performance experience in the music industry, Gary has built a reputation as one of the most highly-regarded popular singers in the UK. Natural vocal ability, an affinitive gift for mimicry and a magnetic stage-presence all combine wonderfully in this homage to his principal hero.
This is splendid entertainment for a wedding reception party. You can expect to hear all the iconic swing jazz classics in an uncannily pitch-perfect replica of Sinatra’s interpretations of ‘My Way’, ‘Mack The Knife’, ‘The Lady Is A Tramp’, ‘Fly Me To The Moon’ – the list goes on.
Sinatra’s extensive back-catalogue is eclectic and varied in style, making his music ideal accompaniment to different stages of a wedding celebration. Laid-back soulful jazz during the champagne reception or formal meal can make way for more high-energy, up-tempo arrangements for dancing later on.
If unalloyed Sinatra isn’t quite enough, Gary Grace can widen his repertoire to include other artists of international repute, such as Tony Bennett, Nat ‘King’ Cole and Matt Monro, in his ‘Tribute to the Kings of Swing’ show.
Wouldn’t it be absolutely incredible to have your all-time favourite band come and play at your wedding reception? Unfortunately, unless you are either related to or can number Mick or Keith or Paul (or even better, Simon) among your close friends, or you are quite obscenely loaded anyway, this is and will remain purely a pipedream.
However, you could have the next best thing. There is a growing number of high-quality, authentic-sounding Tribute Acts operating across the UK, paying faithful homage to the music and replicating the stageshows of iconic international superstars of the recent past.
Find out more about booking a tribute band for your wedding
The musicians in a tribute band strive to express their shared passion for a particular recording artist’s or band’s music by diligently replicating their performance as accurately as possible. Naturally, all of the most popular hits will be covered, together with some of the less well-known items selected from the original’s back-catalogue.
In most cases, in purely musical terms it can be difficult to separate the replica from the real thing, and occasionally the tribute band’s performance even exceeds the original. Shut your eyes and suspend your disbelief – perhaps Elvis has not yet left the building after all!
Minute attention to detail in every aspect of a tribute act’s performance is a critical part of their artistic approach. Everything will be accurately replicated, from the sound and stage-lighting to the costumes, makeup and hairstyles. The musicians will act completely ‘in character’ and choreographed dance-routines and general movement will also be closely observed, so that the overall effect will sound and look uncannily like the original.
To complete the effect, you could ask your guests to come to the wedding reception in appropriate ‘period’ dress to involve them interactively in the theme – most tribute acts welcome audience participation!
The style of live music you choose for your wedding reception will effectively create the atmosphere and set the tone of the proceedings, so it’s vitally important to choose wisely. However, identifying music that both reflects your personality and simultaneously appeals to your guests’ varied tastes can present a bit of a conundrum.
Careful consideration is required to reconcile these and other factors, and you may well need to compromise to an extent; it’s probably diplomatic to aim to keep everybody happy at least some of the time.
Find out more about booking a live band for your wedding.
Much more effectively than a disco or other recorded music, a live band can set the scene from their very first chord, so it’s important to choose a style of music that will create exactly the atmosphere you want through careful selection of repertoire and tempo.
For instance, if you’re after elegance and sophistication, then a string quartet or piano trio might fit the bill, mixing classical pieces with lighter, more popular items. If you imagine your guests would enjoy an evening of dancing but aren’t likely to be too keen on popular modern chart hits, then a classy swing jazz band playing all the favourites from Hollywood’s golden age would conjure up a suitably vintage ambience.
For something a little more exotic with a timeless feel, a Caribbean steel band or perhaps a Brazilian salsa troupe would add a colourful element of spectacle as well as performing exciting, danceable music, or there’s always an Indian Bollywood band if you’re looking for a vibrant, spectacular stage-show as the highlight of the evening’s entertainment.
It’s your wedding and you (or Daddy) are going to be footing the bill, so of course you should be allowed to choose your favourite style of musical entertainment. But do include your guests’ potential enjoyment as an important influential factor in your decision. Remember, pleasing all of the people some of the time should ideally be your main aim.
Your wedding is anticipated to be the most special day in your life, and naturally the ceremony is central to it. Irrespective of whether you are planning to marry during a church service or elsewhere in a civil ceremony, live music can play a significant role in creating a real sense of occasion.
Consider carefully how much and at which points before, during and after the ceremony you would like to have music played or sung. Talk to the vicar or registrar to help establish where and when music would be most appropriate, and take advice from the musicians who will be performing, as their experience in these matters may be invaluable.
Find out more about booking live musicians for your wedding.
To settle the atmosphere of growing anticipation during the anxious minutes as the guests assemble in expectation of the (fashionably late) arrival of the bridal party, a selection of calm, contemplative music will be a welcome distraction, soothing nerves and disguising coughs and whispers.
At a given signal, a fanfare and march are perfect to announce the bridal party and accompany their procession up the aisle. Perhaps you have a special piece in mind for this – discuss possibilities with the musicians beforehand, and don’t forget to inform the vicar or registrar of your choice, as there may be certain restrictions as to what music is deemed suitable.
In a typical C of E marriage service, hymns or psalms (and occasionally anthems) are sung as a regular part of proceedings. In a civil ceremony where religious music is not permitted, instrumental items or secular songs can be effectively substituted at corresponding points.
Music is appropriate in all cases during the interlude for the signing of the marriage register (which often takes quite a few minutes) before another fanfare-like piece can triumphantly announce the newlyweds as they are presented to their family and friends as man and wife.
The above-mentioned fanfare-like piece can be quite pivotal, as it simultaneously signals the end of the religious and/or legal aspects of proceedings and the beginning of the informal, celebratory elements of the occasion.
Where possible, it would be an excellent idea for the musicians to relocate outside (weather permitting) in order to sustain the cheerful atmosphere and entertain your guests with a further selection of light-hearted music while champagne is sipped and the photographs are taken.
Live music can play an important central role in defining, accompanying and announcing the various unfolding stages of a wedding before, during and after the actual ceremony.
Consult with the musicians in order to establish where and when you want music to be performed, and discuss your choice of musical items with the vicar or registrar to make sure of their approval.
If appropriate and logistically feasible, ask the musicians to stay on after the ceremony to entertain your guests for a while during the drinks reception. Above all, enjoy your wedding, enjoy the atmosphere, and enjoy the music!
Trad Jazz is an ideal style of music to add a celebratory atmosphere to a wedding reception party, especially outdoors, and as their name implies, The Al Fresco Trad Jazz Band are ideally suited to such an occasion.
Their lively, swaggering renditions of all the well-known classics of the genre performed in authentic New Orleans fashion will readily bring a smile to lips of all ages.
Find out more about booking Al Fresco Trad Jazz band for your wedding.
The instruments that make up a traditional jazz band are entirely acoustic, and therefore not reliant on any electrical power source or other equipment. This allows them to switch locations with ease, even performing a strolling serenade when required to add novelty to the occasion.
Eye-catching sousaphone or tuba pins down the bassline and the beat, with banjo adding further harmonic texture and rhythmic punctuation. Meanwhile, trumpet, trombone and clarinet strike up a merry conversation in an interweaving melodic topline.
With a combined wealth of music-making experience built up over a number of years, The Al Fresco Trad Jazz Band have developed a 200-strong repertoire of well-known jazz standards and popular tunes, all presented with the consummate musical skill and panache of seasoned performers.
However, if you have a specific request for a tune they don’t regularly play, they will be happy to learn and perform it specially for you; assuming it’s in a suitable style and they are given sufficient notice, they’ll give it their best shot!
For a garden party or similar, the musicians can dress appropriately in traditional style, with striped blazers, bow ties and straw boater hats to help set the scene. For a more formal event, however, they are happy to appear in evening dress or similar smart attire; you can discuss dresscode with the bandleader beforehand.
No matter if you’re looking for background music to create a light-hearted, cheerful ambience during the champagne reception, or for more energetic tunes for dancing later on in the evening (or perhaps both), The Al Fresco Trad Jazz Band have the know-how, musical skill and experience to deliver on all fronts. Looking good and sounding great, their musical presentation is sure to delight your guests and enhance your wedding celebration.