Alison has been calling for ceilidhs professionally for ten years and has worked with numerous bands including Glorystrokes, Chalktown, Lasair, Quicksilver, Bowreed, Ceilidh Factor, the Antler Ceilidh Band and Blackbeard’s Tea Party in addition to bands she also plays fiddle in (see ceilidh bands page). She has called at countless weddings, family parties, student events including Cambridge and Oxford University Balls, Burns’ Night ceilidhs, Hogmanay parties, and at Cambridge Folk Festival, the Ceilidh Club in London, Bristol Ceilidh and Oxfolk.
Alison can work with bands and with recordings, and has her own PA system.
Upcoming public events 2018:
Calling for the Antler Ceilidh Band at Bristol Ceilidh, 22nd September
Calling for Bristol Ceilidh Quartet at Meltdown Ceilidhs, 24th November
Calling for Bristol Ceilidh Quartet at White Horse Ceilidhs, 1st December
“Alison is a great caller to work with and I have been booking her more and more recently. Her professionalism is fantastic and she is really well organised. Her enthusiasm is infectious so that she is able to get everyone joining in and her skill in choosing and teaching the dances means that it is fun for everyone. I have now worked with her in a wide variety of circumstances and her superb fiddle playing is definitely a bonus to me as a band leader when we need to play music for listening.” – Mike Ruff (Tradamis, Quicksilver)
“A few guests pointed out that the calling was the clearest they had heard for a long while, and that the dances were pitched at just the right level of complexity and fun.” – 30th birthday party 2018
“Good selection of dances. Brilliant calling so even the 1st time dancers can dance the night away.” – Bristol Ceilidh 2018
“The caller was wonderful and the dances were adjusted perfectly for the small space (though the cramped space made it even more fun we think!) … Even my Uncle who didn’t dance at his own wedding loved the Strip the Willow finale!” – wedding with Bowreed 2017
“Alison was a really fantastic caller” – 60th birthday party
“Thanks a million for Saturday. You played a blinder.” – primary school fundraiser
“I just wanted to thank you very much for the ceilidh on Burns’ Night. Everyone had a wonderful evening, really enjoyed themselves and it was great fun!” – Burns Night ceilidh
“I was impressed by this caller working with Blackbeard’s Tea Party last night at Oxfolk… We finished with walkthroughs quickly and got on with the dancing. There seemed to be little confusion or tendency to break up into discussion groups… I also noticed that her calls were very well timed.” – Oxfolk ceilidh series with Blackbeard’s Tea Party
Above: Calling for Lasair at Bristol Ceilidh 2018
Clockwise from top left: Blackbeard’s Tea Party at Oxfolk; the Antler Ceilidh Band at Bristol Ceilidh; the Bristol Ceilidh Quartet at Cambridge Folk Festival; Glorystrokes at a private party.
Calling and playing fiddle at Bristol Ceilidh
Calling for Lasair at Bristol Folk House
Calling for a rootin’ tootin’ wild west birthday party in Bristol with Bowreed
If you’re looking to book me as a caller but would like to see me in action first, the videos below should give you an idea – although please be warned they are mostly close-ups of my face!!
Calling the Big Fish Square at Bristol Ceilidh (this is my own variation on other square dances – Holmfirth Square/Coming Round The Mountain/Goathland Square Eight – to create an easy but not overused dance)
Calling Fivepenny Bit at Bristol Ceilidh
Calling Cumberland Square Eight – a Scottish favourite – for inexperienced dancers at a private party (including some basket chaos and an overactive smoke machine)