Irish traditional music began as an oral tradition, passed on from generation to generation by listening, learning by ear and without formally writing the tunes on paper. The music varies from wistful airs to rollicking dance music. Jigs, Reels, Polkas, Hornpipes and Airs.
English country dance and the music for it emerged as a distinct genre during the reign of Elizabeth I in the 16th century. In 1651, the noted London publisher John Playford produced the first printed collection of country dances.
The music we perform in this genre runs the gamut from tunes of that period all the way through modern compositions in the style.
The repertoire of waltzes, polkas, mazurkas, schottishes, bourree's and songs evolved from village dances and minstrel tunes since the Middle Ages. In the French countryside, bagpipers, hurdy-gurdy players, and sometimes a solo fiddler played for all important occasions and were local heros.
Contra Dance Music
The music played for contra dance is a combination of Irish and traditional American music.