Singing guitarist

James McCafferty

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About James

Traditional Songs from the British Isles and Ireland
Singing guitarist
Milton Keynes
Public liability insurance of £1 million
Verified profile

James McCafferty first picked up a guitar in his teens and discovered a lifelong passion for the traditional folk music of the British Isles and Ireland. He taught himself to play the recorder and slowly built up a collection of reconstructed early instruments from the Medieval and Tudor periods, including cittern, dulcimer, crumhorn, cornamuse and psalteries. He founded the unaccompanied folk song group Solstice and the early music group Milady Clare's Musicke, with whom he recorded the albums Minstrels Gallerie and Pastymes. He danced with Winchester's international folk dance display team Woodfidley, played melodeon for King John's Morris of Southampton and founded the boys' morris dance team the Fryern Morris Minors. Under the banner of Early Music in Schools, he continues to take his demonstrations of early musical instruments to schools and community groups. He is the author of Live Recorder, a series of three workbooks and CDs designed to teach basic musical literacy to complete beginners. James uses acoustic guitar, cittern and melodeon in his traditional music performances. He is also an experienced ceilidh and barn dance caller, working under the name of Barn Dances for Everyone and bringing to life the traditional dances of the English countryside.

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Booked for an Encore gig with less than 24 hours’ notice
6th Anniversary
This act has been working with Encore for over 6 years
5 gigs
Experienced: 5 bookings through Encore
Traditional English folk, Folk, Ceillidh, Christmas, Traditional Irish folk
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Event types:
Concert, Private event, Wedding, Funeral / Memorial service, Church service, Hotel / Restaurant event, Corporate event, Cruise, Christmas party
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Other skills:
Actor, MC
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James' Song list

The Star of the County Down
The Wild Rover
Whiskey in the Jar
The Parting Glass
The Fields of Athenry
The Cliffs of Dooneen
Molly Malone
Black Velvet Band
The Bard of Armagh
The Harp That Once Through Tara's Halls
Danny Boy (The Londonderry Air)
Wild Mountain Thyme
Let No Man Steal Your Thyme
Brigg Fair
Loch Lomond
The Skye Boat Song
Ye Banks and Braes
The Water is Wide
The Sweet Nightingale
The Raggle-Taggle Gypsies
Scarborough Fair
Amazing Grace
Abide With Me
Over the Hills and Far Away
Lovely Joan
High Germany
The Trees They Do Grow High
The Chartist Anthem
Martin Said to His Man
The Twa Corbies
The January Man
The Banks of the Sweet Primroses
The Ash Grove
Spanish Ladies
Dancing at Whitsun
Battle of the Somme
Just as the Tide Was a-Flowing
The Shores of Avalon
Down in Yon Forest
The Marigold
I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say
How Can Ye Gang, Lassie?
The Ploughboy Lads
Little Red Bird
When You Danced With Me
The Massacre of Glencoe
Bread and Roses
Softly Come Morning
Somewhere Along the Road
Going Home
Adieu, Sweet Lovely Nancy
Serving Girl's Holiday
Bread and Roses
The Chastity Belt
Long Lankin
I Live Not Where I Love
The Rose
Lady Mary
Farewell to Tarwathie
The Old Boys
Against the Wind
Westering Home
The Greenland Whale Fishing
The Dark Island
And We'll Sing
The Streets of London
Pleasant and Delightful
The Farmer's Boy
Santy Anno
Judas and Mary
As I Kneel Before You
In Dulci Jubilo/The Sussex Carol/I Saw Three Ships [instrumental]
The Seven Joys of Mary [instrumental]
Gifts of the Shepherds
Good King Wenceslas
The Boar's Head Carol
O Little Town of Bethlehem
O Come, All Ye Faithful
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Silent Night
The First Nowell
See Amid the Winter's Snow
Mary's Boy Child
Angels From the Realms of Glory
In The Bleak Midwinter
What Child is This?
Candlemas Eve
The Sans Day Carol
The Huron Carol
The Holly and the Ivy
Carol of the Universe
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
To Drive the Cold Winter Away
Noël Nouvelet
The Coventry Carol
Away in a Manger
The Wiltshire Carol
We Three Kings
The Winter King
Song for Loders
Jingle Bells
Alle Jahre Wieder
Am Weihnachtsbaum die Lichter Brennen
Ihr Kinderlein, Kommet
Kling, Glöckchen, Kling
Morgen Kommt der Weihnachtsmann
Morgen, Kinder, wird's was Geben
O du Fröhliche
Stille Nacht
Still, Still, Still
Süßer die Glocken nie klingen
The Seven Joys of Mary
Balance the Straw/William and Nancy
Monck's March
The Winster Processional
Bonny Green Garters
I Want to be Near You
Not For Joe
Princess Royal
Customer questions

What do your clients love most about your performances?

I think you'll enjoy my song and ceilidh performances. You'll definitely encounter new and wonderful songs and dances, and you might learn some things about the traditional songs and dances of the British Isles that you didn't know already. But most of all, I pride myself on the fact that the sets are always relaxed, informal - and FUN!

Which venues have you performed at in the past?

Tower of London Stowe Landscape Gardens (National Trust) Lots of Village Halls!

Which artists have you been most influenced by?

Judith Durham Martin Carthy Tim Hart Maddy Prior Ashley Hutchings

What is the most high profile gig you've performed?

The Tower of London!

What if my timings change after I've booked you?

I always try to be flexible to make sure your event runs as smoothly as possible, so if timings need to change slightly in the run up to the event just let me know.

Can you provide an iPod/DJ service before and between your sets?


How much time do you need to set up?

Once I've got access to the performance space, it usually takes about 45 - 60 minutes to set everything up, partly depending on whether I'm using my sound system or just performing acoustically. It takes about the same time to pack everything away after the set.

Can I pick the songs you play from the set list?

Yes, of course. If it's on my song list, I'll include it in my set.

Do you bring all the equipment you need to perform?

Absolutely! I bring everything I need with me. I just need a power supply and somewhere close by the performing space to park and unload my car.

Can you learn song requests before the event?

That's sometimes possible - just ask!

James' Prices

Note: prices may vary based on travel distance. For an exact quote, click “Check availability”.

Standard Prices
Performance durationPrice
Short performance (up to 15 min)£150
Up to 1 hour£250
Up to 2 hours£300
Up to 3 hours£350


Barn Dance
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4.9 out of 5
12 verified reviews
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James' Reviews

From Encore customers:

Sassy C
1 year ago
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5 out of 5

James led the Ceilidh for our 200 strong Summer Wedding Bash, and everyone had an absolute blast! We had a mixture of kids and older people involved and James ensured it was a huge melting pot and that no one got left behind! The Ceilidh was the perfect way to get everyone up and moving before the DJ started, so there was no awkward empty dance floor by the time the evening came round! Thanks James :)

David A
1 year ago
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5 out of 5

Communication was amazing from the start, and we were left in no doubt that James would arrive on time. James' performance was outstanding, and almost every guest fed back on how good he was and what a nice voice he had.

Sophie B
4 years ago
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4.8 out of 5

James had a fantastic calm manner and create a great atmosphere for the evening.

From other customers:

Jenny C
4 years ago, for a Funeral / Memorial service in Topper St
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5 out of 5

Thank you for the fun and music James - such a lovely end to an extraordinary day when we said goodbye to mum at the Crematorium and danced at her wake. BRAVO!

Karin R
5 years ago, for a Concert in Buckingham MK18 1EG
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5 out of 5

Thank you both so, so much for such a super evening. Really put one in the mood for Christmas and such a welcome relief after the ubiquitous White Christmas, Santa Claus is Coming to Town etc.

Read all 10 reviews