Keep Calm and Ceilidh

Traditional Ceilidh Band

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£813 (avg. price)
Booked 88 times on FixTheMusic ⚡
9 Videos & 26 Photos

About Keep Calm and Ceilidh – traditional ceilidh band based in London

One of the most popular, versatile, successful and affordable traditional ceilidh bands based in London, Keep Calm and Ceilidh perform live Irish, Scottish, English and American music, dance and songs throughout south east England and beyond.

They go out as anything from a duo to a six-piece amplified or acoustic, with or without a caller.

Founded by Mick (Guitar/vocals) in 1998 the band has many years success including performances for Mick Jagger and Robert Smith of The Cure.

View our list of the UK's best ceilidh bands ➡️

We're regularly booked to perform for weddings and events at Tithe Barn in Dorking and Birchwood Park Golf & Country Club in Dartford.

Contact Keep Calm and Ceilidh

More information about Keep Calm and Ceilidh

Keep Calm and Ceilidh are a professional and talented ceilidh band with many years' experience specializing in traditional music in pubs and clubs, and at schools, colleges, festivals, weddings, parties and corporate functions.

View our list of the UK's best ceilidh bands ➡️

Celebrities they've performed for include: Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, Frank Skinner, Clive Anderson, Ian Hislop Stephen Fry, Alan Davis, Dara O'Briain, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Meera Syal, Aimi MacDonald, Bert Weedon, Jon Snow, and Imelda Staunton.

Keep Calm and Ceilidh are regular visitors to the annual "Return to Camden Town" Festival in London and appeared at Luton St Patrick's Festival in March 2015. TV appearances include "Feilte" on TG4 and the band appeared in the Film "66" with Helena Bonham Carter and Catherine Tate.

Keep Calm and Ceilidh play traditional Irish, Scottish, English and American songs and tunes with innovation, flair and vitality.

Musical influences include; The Chieftains; Planxty; The Bothy Band; Altan; Ally Bain; Boys of the Lough; Jimmy Shand; The Pogues; Van Morrison; The Dubliners and Christy Moore and the many talented friends they have met over the years in the vibrant traditional music scene.

All the Keep Calm and Ceilidh musicians have been performing, touring and recording for many years.

Here are just some of the locations where we have been booked by clients on FixTheMusic for weddings and events...

  • Tithe Barn, Dorking, UK
  • Birchwood Park Golf Club
  • St Bart's Brewery, London
  • Avenue Halls, Kew, UK
  • The Mildmay Club, London
  • Reading
  • Burton, Lincoln
  • High Street East, Oakham
  • Templewood, Walter's Ash
  • Bray, Berkshire

So if you're looking to hire the finest ceilidh band London has to offer for your wedding or event, get in touch with Keep Calm and Ceilidh.

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9 Videos & 26 Photos

17 Verified Reviews

"Keep Calm and Ceilidh were amazing at the wedding of my granddaughter. On my first enquiry, Mick was reassuring, efficient and undemanding. The evening was just great fun…guests of all ages (2 years old to grannies of 83 years) dancing. Mary, the caller, was encouraging, patient and instructed us all. Their musicians were talented, thoughtful and lovely. I would definitely recommend for any events. They made the evening reception so enjoyable and with much laughter. Wishing them good luck and happiness, Ginny Hayes."

Ginny Hayes, 17 March 2024, wedding in Henley-On-Thames, UK
Verified booking Verified booking on FixTheMusic

"I just wanted to say thank you, Mick, to you and your fellow musicians for your contribution to the enjoyment of our daughter Sarah's wedding celebrations on Saturday. As you may have gathered from the enthusiasm (and energy) of some of the younger guests, you certainly had an impact. The power of live music! I'd certainly recommend you to anyone who might ask about a similar occasion. Kind regards, Keith."

Keith Jones, 14 August 2023, wedding in London
Verified booking Verified booking on FixTheMusic

"Hi Mick, I just wanted to say a very big thank you to you, Mick, Eugene and Mary. You were just great and all my friends and family had a wonderful time. Everyone said how brilliant the music and calling was. I am so grateful to you for singing "Could I have this Dance" so beautifully, as waltzing with my son was one of the best moments of my life! Thanks again and all best wishes to you all. Imogen and Connor."

Imogen & Connor Parker, 5 February 2023, party at The Mildmay Club, Newington Green, London, UK
Verified booking Verified booking on FixTheMusic

"Dear Keep Calm and Ceilidh, Just wanted to thank you for the great evening last night. I've spoken to a few slightly groggy colleagues this morning who all told me how much fun they had and their new-found enthusiasm for Ceilidh dancing. We all had a great time and I'd like to thank you for your professionalism and openness when organising the evening with you. Please pass our thanks on to all of Keep Calm and Ceilidh. All the best going forward - if we have another Ceilidh dance I'll be sure to get in touch. Many thanks and kindest regards, Matt."

Matt Whitney, 9 November 2022, event for National Physical Laboratory
Verified booking Verified booking on FixTheMusic

"Hi Mick. We just wanted to say thank you so much for doing such an awesome job at our wedding. It was an amazing evening and so many people commented on how much they enjoyed the music and the dances. You have an excellent and very patient caller, and you are all incredibly talented musicians - we loved every minute. We will definitely be recommending Keep Calm and Ceilidh to anyone looking for a ceilidh band :-) Thanks again."

Vicky Cobley and Anna Lawton, 8 August 2022, wedding in Kent
Verified booking Verified booking on FixTheMusic

"Thank you Mike and team for the amazing performance last Saturday. You truly made an impression on our guests and we loved having you at your wedding. Thank you so much!"

Alicia Campbell, 25 August 2021, wedding at St Bart's Brewery, West Smithfield, London, UK
Verified booking Verified booking on FixTheMusic

"Dear Mick, many thanks for Sunday and being so flexible. We all loved the band and apologies for such cramped conditions. Best Wishes."

Baroness McDonagh (life peer in the House of Lords), 22 October 2020, event in London
Verified booking Verified booking on FixTheMusic

"Just to say a big thank you for Gail's 50th party at the Oak Room on the 29th Feb. Everyone had a fantastic time and I wouldn't be surprised if you get some new enquiries. We think the evening was perfect and just what we imagined Many thanks."

Tim & Gail Varley, 14 March 2020, birthday party in Buckinghamshire
Verified booking Verified booking on FixTheMusic

"We just wanted to say a huge thank you to Keep Calm and Ceilidh for playing at our wedding party. We've been to some ceilidh dances in the past and really enjoyed them - but I think Keep Calm and Ceilidh have definitely raised the bar! Our guests (young and old) really enjoyed the dances and it was great to see everyone really giving it a good go! Our guests are still talking about it weeks after the wedding! The caller was really patient with us and talked us through the dances clearly. Thank you for being so professional and we would definitely recommend Keep Calm and Ceilidh for future events. Thank you Mick and the band! Also, I have to say that I found Fix the Music fantastic to deal with too - you have a great database of bands/ musicians and the service you provide is prompt and professional. I found the information and images of the bands to be really useful when selecting a group for our wedding party. I would definitely recommend Fix the Music to anyone who is looking for live music for their wedding! Best wishes, Sarah and Chris."

Sarah and Chris Jarvis, 2 March 2020, wedding at Loddon Hall in Twyford, Reading
Verified booking Verified booking on FixTheMusic

"The Mayor, Cllr Tony Virgo wanted me to pass on his thanks for your performance at his Burns Supper. He said you were brilliant and the Scottish dancing was a great success! He's a very very happy Mayor, You may also like to know that we managed to raise over £2000 for Sebastian's Action Trust which is fantastic, Best Wishes."

Emma Young, 14 February 2020, Mayor's Office Democratic and Registration Services, Bracknell Forest Council
Verified booking Verified booking on FixTheMusic

"Dear Mick & Band, I just wanted to say a massive thank you for playing at our wedding at Magdalene College. Everyone really enjoyed the ceilidh and it was a terrific way to get everyone up and dancing. We had so many lovely comments from our guests on the music and dancing. Thank you for making it so fun and for making our day so special. Please do pass on our thanks to the other members of the band. Warmest regards."

Fiona & Brian O'Donovan, 14 August 2019, wedding in Cambridge
Verified booking Verified booking on FixTheMusic

"Hi Mick, A huge thank you to you and the rest of Keep Calm and Ceilidh for performing at the Celts Late on Friday. We really appreciate you contributing to this special event and you have been fantastic and efficient to work with. The band sounded great and it was lovely to see people enjoying themselves (I managed to pop down briefly!). I will also send on the photos of the event when they reach me too. Great to meet you briefly and thank you all again for performing. All the best"

Marisa Smith, 12 July 2019, Acting Events Manager, British Museum
Verified booking Verified booking on FixTheMusic

"Dear Mick, I didn't get to thank you in person last night at Heatherden Hall Pinewood, it was so hectic trying to get around to talk to guests. I just wanted to say a huge thank you for your amazing performance, we are and were so grateful that you made a wonderful party an amazing party. We had so many compliments on how wonderful the band was and everyone had such an amazing fun evening. I apologise for the overrun and you having to wait around. I do hope all the drinks and food we ordered were ok and the ushers looked after you. You were truly amazing and made the party!!! THANK YOU, Best Wishes."

Jane Jennet, 1 July 2019, party at Heatherden Hall Pinewood
Verified booking Verified booking on FixTheMusic

"Hi Mick, Now that we are back from honeymoon we just wanted to drop you a note to say thank you for the fantastic ceilidh you ran at our wedding and provide some feedback, should it be of use. Firstly, the ceilidh went down like a storm! Everyone we have spoken to since returning from honeymoon has mentioned the ceilidh and stated what tremendous fun it was. Prior to the wedding many of the English side of the family and foreign friends had expressed trepidation about dancing but your explanations and calling throughout the songs had everyone on their feet joining in. Prior to the wedding, you got in touch with us asking for any requests and putting our minds at ease when we panicked that we hadn't sorted a 'first dance'. On the night you coached us through an easy waltz which went down reasonably well ... even if the Groom did almost slip over on my dress! We had a fantastic experience and great evening and would definitely recommend Keep Calm and Ceilidh to our friends and will re-book you if we organise another ceilidh in the area. Kind regards"

Lindsey & Douglas Hogg, 6 June 2019, wedding in London
Verified booking Verified booking on FixTheMusic

"Dear Ed, Just wanted to thank the Keep Calm and Ceilidh for making my party such a success. Everyone said how much they had enjoyed the music and that the band had made the night, so once again thank you so much, and may you and the Band continue to enjoy good health and happiness and be able to make people happy for many a day."

Wyn Vickers, 5 June 2019, party in London
Verified booking Verified booking on FixTheMusic

"Hi Mick, Mr Smith has asked me to pass on his thanks to you for making their evening enjoyable. They had a great time. Many thanks."

Louise Fisher, 18 April 2019, event in London
Verified booking Verified booking on FixTheMusic

"The ceilidh was a great success the orchestra really enjoyed themselves! Please pass on my thanks to Keep Calm and Ceilidh for all they did - they were marvellous. If our residency is back at Goldsmiths next year, we'd love to have them back, but I'm afraid we don't know what we're doing until the last minute. I'll certainly be back in touch if we need a band for our Spring/Summer residencies though! Thanks again."

Ben Salter, 20 October 2018, residency at Goldsmiths University, London
Verified booking Verified booking on FixTheMusic

Set List

Main Set

As I Roved Out (Christy)
Auld Lang Syne
Back Home in Derry
Band Played Waltzing Matilda
Black is the Colour
Black Velvet Band
Bonny Ship the Diamond
Brown Eyed Girl
Clare to Here
Cliffs of Doneen
Cockles & Mussels
Come by the Hills
Danny Boy
Dark Island
Dirty Old Town
Fairytale of New York
Far away in Australia
Fiddlers Green
Fields of Athenry
Fleur of Scotland
Foggy Dew
Galway Girl
Galway Shawl
I'll Tell My Ma
Irish Rover
Isle of Tears
Lakes of Ponchartrain
Last thing on my mind
Leaving of Liverpool
Lights of London
McAlpine's Fusiliers
Mountain Dew
Muirsheen Durkin
My Lovely Rose of Clare
Nancy Spain
Only our Rivers run Free
Ordinary Man
Peggy Gordon
Queen Jane
Ride On
Sean South
Seven Drunken Nights
Spancil Hill
Star of the County Down
Sweet Sixteen
Sweet Thames Flow Softly
Tipping it up to Nancy
Town I Love so well
Whiskey in the Jar
Whistling Gypsy Rover The
Wild Colonial Boy
Wild Rover Will you go Lassie Go
Willie McBride
World of Our Own

Rock / Pop

All My Loving
American Pie
Annie's Song
Brown Eyed Girl
Can't buy me love
Country Roads
Dance the Night Away
Fairytale of New York
From Me To You
Galway Girl
Hey Good Lookin
I just called to say I love you
I'll never find another you
I wanna hold your hand
Return to Sender
Summer Holiday
Twist & Shout / La Bamba
World of Our Own

Other popular songs we do

American Pie
Banks of the Ohio
Boys from the County Armagh
Bunch of Thyme
City of Chicago
Country Roads
Curragh of Kildare
Dance the Night Away
Do you want your old lobby washed down
Dublin in the Rare Old Times
Follow me up to Carlow
Hey Good Lookin
Hokey Cokey
I'm a Man you don't meet every day
Jolly Beggarman
Marie's Wedding
My own dear Galway Bay
Red Rose Cafe
Soldiers' Song
Spanish Lady
Take me Home to Mayo
Waltzing Matilda
What shall we do with the drunken sailor?
Where the three counties meet
Willie and Mary

Songs popular in care centres

Ain't Misbehavin'
A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square
Annie's Song
Anniversary Waltz
Arrivederci Roma
As Time Goes By
Blue Moon
Camptown Races / O'Suzannah / Turkey in the Straw
Daisy / Down at the Old Bull & Bush / I belong to Glasgow
Hey Good Lookin'
If you were the only Girl in the World
I just called to say I loved you
I know I'll never find another you
I'll Take you home again Kathleen
I'm getting married in the morning / Roll out the Barrel / My old Man said / Knees up Mother Brown
I'm in the mood for Love
It's a Long Way to Tipperary / Pack up your troubles / Coming Round the Mountain / When the Saints
Leaning on a Lampost
Lilly Marlene
Magic Moments
Maybe it's because / The Bells are Ringing / Lambeth Walk / Side by Side
My Way
On Mother Kelly's Doorstep
Que Sera Sera
Return to Sender
Rose, The
Show me the way to go Home
Strangers in The Night
Street Where you Live
Summer Holiday
Tea for Two
That's Amore
Underneath the Arches
We'll Meet Again
When Irish Eyes are Smiling
White Christmas
White Cliffs of Dover
You Are my Sunshine
You Made me Love You

Traditional tunes

Arkansas Traveler
Ashokan Farewell
Athole Highlanders
Blackthorne Stick
Blarney Pilgrim
Boys of Bluehill
Calliope House
Cliffs of Moher
College Hornpipe (Sailors Hornpipe)
Cup of tea
Dashing White Sergeant
Dingle Regatta
Donnybrook Fair
Drowsy Maggie
Duke of Perth
Dusty Windowsill
Earl's Chair
Fairy Dance
Farewell To Erin
Flowers of Edinburgh
Golden Keyboard
Gravel Walks
Hag at The Churn
Haste to the Wedding
High Reel
I'll buy boots for Maggie
I wanna be near you
Irish Washerwoman
Jig of Slurs
Keel Row
Kid on the Mountain
King of the Fairies
Lark in the Morning
Maggie in the Wood
Maguire & Patterson's
Maid behind the Bar
Margaret's Waltz
Marie's Wedding
Martin Wynn's No 1 & No 2
Mason's Apron
Merry Blacksmith
Miss McLeods
Mountain Road
Musical priest
My Love is but a Lassie yet
Nine Points of Roguery
Off to California
Orange & Blue
Otter's Den
Over the Moor to Maggie
Pinch of Snuff
Planxty Irwin
Rakish Paddy
Rattling Bog
Red Haired Boy/Little Beggarman
Rights of Man
Saddle the Pony
Sailor's Bonnet
Sally Gardens
Scotland the Brave
Sean Ryan's
Si Bheag Si Mhor
Silver Spear
Skye Boat Song
Sligo Maid
Soldiers Joy
Spanish Lady
Spider in the Bog
St Anne's
St Bernard's Waltz
Star of Munster
Staten Island
Swallows Tail
Tam Linn
The Rose Tree
Toss the Feathers
Tripping up the Stairs
Trumpet Hornpipe (Captain Pugwash)
Turkey in the Straw
Wise Maid

See Full Set List


Space?What proportion of your guests are likely to want to dance at any one time? Inevitably some will sit out to drink, chat or have a rest. Others may be very keen to dance all night! You know your guests best. Each set of eight couples facing each other need at least a square meter each plus a meter all round the set to dance in and out or behind. So for each 16 people 10 X 4 meters = 40 square meters. For 160 dancers 400 square meters etc. In an ideal world, please clear as much space as possible with chairs around the perimeter of the room for exhausted dancers to collapse into and a few tables. The band needs approximately 4 meters by 2 meters of space though we can and often do squeeze into less space. If possible Keep Calm and Ceilidh prefer to work from a proper stage.
Timings?I generally suggest two one hour sets or three 45min sets but this is just a guide, the idea really is to fit in with your arrangements. If necessary, we could agree on additional fees to extend the playing time.
Can we see the band live?Most of our gigs are private but I may be able to obtain permission for you to look in briefly.
Is it necessary for the music to be amplified?It is not essential to bring amplification. However, it may be too quiet without, though we can happily play background music. The gear helps us balance the instruments better. Your guests will have to be very attentive for the caller to be heard without a microphone. We are really an acoustic band and (with your agreement) only use the amplification so we can be heard. We are sensitive musicians and will gladly turn down if you direct us to. Other bands use drums and electric instruments which are inherently louder. We are not so selfish or amateurish to play too loud. Keep Calm and Ceilidh use a Dynacord Powermate 600 Mixer Amp, two EV speakers and Shure SM58 microphones. This is sufficient for most venues. If your venue is very large or you have a lot of guests we may need to hire something more powerful.
What is in a typical programme?As regards our program we like to work with each audience and to do requests if we know them. Please see our extensive setlist.
What about our first dance?There is a tradition that the happy couple start the dancing with a slow romantic dance. It is a photo opportunity that could result in a treasured memento and we have some beautiful suitable pieces to play. We will call other couples up to join you reasonably soon. Some couples ask for a favourite romantic track to be played via iPod or another device for their first dance. Other newlyweds do without the first dance and go straight into the ceilidh. We can start with a ceilidh dance featuring the two of you or one that doesn't do so. Nothing is so complicated that we can't teach you on the night. You don't need to decide until a minute or two before we actually do it.
What about lighting?Keep Calm and Ceilidh rely on venues to provide suitable house lighting. It is best to dim the lights in the hall where the ceilidh is taking place, as this can encourage people to dance. We would advise against making it very dark as you do need to see what you are doing! The controls for any stage lights are often locked unless someone specifically organizes access. Keep Calm and Ceilidh bring two colour changing spotlights.
What is a Ceilidh or Barn Dance?A ceilidh or barn dance is an evening of informal traditional dancing. Perfect for a wedding or party, it is suitable for all ages and provides a great way for people to mix and socialize. The faster dances are an energetic workout and Keep Calm and Ceilidh also play in a more relaxed romantic mood. Our callers teach the dances from scratch - no experience necessary! Everyone will have a good time! Mistakes are half the fun of it! Nowadays there's lots of crossover between traditions, but the dances are thought to have originated in particular countries or regions. If you prefer, Keep Calm and Ceilidh can offer dances concentrating on one style e.g. Scottish or Irish. An Irish "ceili" suitable for dancers with less experience, would include its own particular dances. "The Siege of Ennis" and "The Bridge of Athlone" are both very popular. Keep Calm and Ceilidh can also accompany set-dancing, a more complicated style popular in Ireland. We can even arrange a demonstration of step-dancing. Tap-dancing and Riverdance are a development of this style. The jig probably originated in Ireland. Popular dances in a Scottish "ceilidh" include "The Gay Gordons" and "The Dashing White Sergeant." Scottish Country Dancing and "Reeling" are slightly more formal than a ceilidh. Reels probably came from Scotland. Circle dances are common in an English Barn Dance, and nowadays it's common to include dances from Ireland, Scotland and America. The Hornpipe probably come from England. American Barn dances often include "square sets" i.e four couples facing each other. "The Virginia Reel", a popular American dance is often now used in Barn Dances and Ceilidhs in Ireland, Scotland and England. The selection of dances at your function depends on your caller using their experience, working with the audience and going with what works best. These are just some of the dances Keep Calm and Ceilidh have presented over the years; Barn Dance; Big Set; Bridge of Athlone; Circassian Circle; Circle dance; Circle Waltz; Cumberland reel; Cumberland Square Eights; Danish Waltz; Dashing White Sergeant; Gay Gordons; Harvesting Jig; Haymaker's jig; Hokey Cokey; I Want to be near you; Longways dances; Sausage roll; Seige of Ennis; Square dance; Strip the Willow; Virginia Reel; Walls of Limerick; Waves of Tory; Plus many more Scottish, Irish and Barn Dance selections.
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