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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.
Set in 14 acres of delightful grounds, The Bishop’s Palace in Wells presents a gloriously picturesque setting for a wedding or other family celebration in the centre of the historic Cathedral City of Wells in Somerset.
Enhance the beautiful mediaeval setting by choosing a style of live music to help create your own unique sense of celebration. The classical music option is obvious against this sumptuous backdrop, but you could give your party a modern yet vintage twist with retro Swing Jazz, or create an exciting sense of adventure with the more exotic sounds of world music.
Find out more about booking The Classic String Quartet to play at your wedding
The sonorous strains of The Classic String Quartet bring musical magic to your celebratory drinks reception in traditional style, performing a light-hearted repertoire of well-loved classical gems and playful, witty arrangements of popular songs and tunes.
The soft, lilting, rippling sounds of the harp will fit in beautifully with these august and venerable historic surroundings. A well-chosen mix of light classical favourites and arrangements of popular tunes will keep the party bubbling.
Performing acoustically, a string quartet or a harpist can create a garden party atmosphere outdoors on the terrace on a lovely sunny day, or brighten the ambience in the imposing Entrance Hall if the weather decides to misbehave!.
Find out more about booking Marie-France Riboulet to play at your wedding
Would you like to introduce a touch of Vintage to this fine historic setting? Swing Jazz adds a veneer of Hollywood glamour that will immediately conjure up the perfect elegant backdrop for a Vintage-style celebration.
A Parisian-style ‘Hot Club’ trio, performing the Broadway and Hollywood hits that made Frank Sinatra a household name, will strike the note of retro elegance perfectly. A guitar, violin and double-bass trio will be equally at home indoors or on the terrace outside, and will set a distinctive, sophisticated ambience of celebration from the off. Watch and hear Le Café Jazz in action:-
Le Cafe Jazz plays Fly Me To The Moon
Le Cafe Jazz plays Honey Suckle Rose
Le Cafe Jazz plays Pennies From Heaven
Find out more about booking Le Café Jazz to play at your wedding
If you wish to evoke a more eclectic world feel at your wedding celebration, why not include Caribbean steel pans or enjoy the infectious sultry rhythms of Salsa and Latin Jazz?
A steel pan duo will create a carnival atmosphere on the lawn or beside the monumental fireplace in the Entrance Hall. No matter what the weather does, there will be sunshine at your drinks reception and all your guests will be smiling.
Find out more about booking The Rainbow Steel Band to play at your wedding
A strolling salsa trio comprised of guitar, saxophone and hand-held percussion will be equally at home either inside or outdoors, and will set toes tapping and hips wiggling in fine carnival style. Listen to Bristol-based salsa band, Sirius B perform:-
Sirius B plays Batucada
Sirius B plays Girl From Ipanema
Sirius B plays Mais Que Nada
Find out more about booking Sirius B to play at your wedding
You can add an original world music twist on a tried-and-tested tradition by featuring the African harp – the kora – to enhance your drinks reception. Here is Mamadou Cissoko from the Senegalese ensemble Jalikunda:-
Find out more about booking Jalikunda to play at your wedding
If you wish to impose your own very individual stamp on your celebration, a live performance of music is a brilliant way to set the atmosphere. From conventional and traditional through retro and vintage to the more adventurous, eclectic and exotic sounds from around the world, there is a style of music to suit every taste.
Catch Le Café Jazz playing Saturday Lunchtime Jazz this weekend at The Daffodil in Cheltenham on Saturday 21st July from 12.30 to 3.30pm.
Take your time and tap your feet to excellent laid-back swing jazz as you enjoy memorable dishes and fabulous wine. You are also welcome to stop by the Circle Bar for a cocktail, and a bar menu is also available for those looking for a quick snack.
Find out more about booking Le Café Jazz: Swing Jazz band for weddings.
Take a leisurely lunch in sumptuous Art Deco surroundings while listening to the unique genre-hopping blend of Swing, Blues, Bluegrass and Celtic melody that is the Le Café Jazz signature sound.
Le Café Jazz features that redoubtable old-stager from the jazz world, the legendary Clive Morton on double-bass, combined with phantom fiddler Mike Evans, who at the beginning of his career opened the very first Glastonbury Festival with the eclectic rock band Stackridge – and who also spent many years performing Palm Court classics every day of the year (except Christmas Day) while leading the Pump Room Trio in the 1980s in that veritable epicentre of Georgian classical style and taste – Bath. Mike and Clive are joined by versatile jazz guitarist and vocalist Jon Green, who adds American Country and Rockabilly classics to the Swing Jazz mix.
The Daffodil began life in the 1920’s as an Art Deco picture-house. In 1998 an award-winning refurbishment took place, and the building now provides a unique and dramatic setting for a stylish restaurant and cocktail bar that retains many of the original Art Deco features. With sweeping staircases and elegant vistas from the mezzanine Circle Bar, a visit to The Daffodil is an experience in itself. Add delicious food and mouthwatering jazz, and you have the recipe for a Saturday lunchtime not to be missed!
Enjoy fine food and delightful music in a truly elegant atmosphere at The Daffodil. The Daffodil is located at 8-20 Suffolk Parade, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL50 2AE. Telephone 01242 700055 to make a reservation.
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.