The Carnival Band - 5 Musical Explorers, 5 voices, 25 instruments, 5 dozen styles of music and 5 hundred fresh ideas for music-making, combining music from across the centuries with sounds from around the world in an irreverently joyous mix!
Why Carnival? For us Carnival is the universal spirit of celebration which overthrows convention. It has its roots in the pre-lenten street festivals of Medieval Europe which gave communities license to 'turn the world upside down'. We do just that with our music - we've invented 'Macedonian Reggae', turned a renaissance chanson into a Piaf-inspired drag act, paired Noel coward with James Brown, flavoured a traditional English carol with Cajun spice - the list goes on.
We began life 25 years ago as an offshoot of The Medieval Players theatre company, but while we have been called 'Henry VIII's Rock 'n Roll Band' our horizons have widened to include music from practically every continent (we're working on Antarctica) and every century since about 1200AD. We sometimes write our own songs too.
We're proud to have a long-standing partnership with one of the pioneers of British folk-rock and a leading singer of English traditional music, Maddy Prior.
Our cornucopia of instruments includes the historical (shawm, flemish bagpipes) the exotic ('ud, djembe) and the familiar (electric guitar, double-bass). A Carnival Band performance is a kaleidoscope of instrumental colours, musical influences and moods, sustained by superb musical skill and enlivened with humour.
Our music has taken us to tiny village halls in mid-Wales, an open air auditorium in the heart of Sudan, a civic hall in a Tokyo suburb, a community centre in Catalonia, and gleaming modern concert halls like The Sage, Gateshead. Whatever the venue, the spirit of Carnival guarantees an instant connection with the listeners, and the audience becomes part of the show.
This enthusiasm for audience involvement has led to a series of popular workshops for all ages and we've made our music available to a wider public through CDs, printed music and TV and radio broadcasts.
5 Musical explorers. - where next? We don't know, but it's guaranteed to be an exciting voyage of discovery and it will definitely be fun. Join us!