Ceilidh Caller

James McCafferty

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About James

Ceilidh Caller
Milton Keynes
Verified profile
Traditional music on acoustic guitar, cittern, dulcimer and melodeon. James also calls for ceilidhs: "Just me and my sound system!"

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, dulcimer 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.

Performance details
I can perform outdoors
I have a car I can use to travel to gigs
I require car parking close to venues
My equipment is PAT tested
I own a PA system
Traditional English folk, Ceillidh, Traditional Irish folk, Traditional Scottish folk, Folk
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Event types:
Concert, Wedding, Funeral / Memorial service, Church service, Hotel / Restaurant event, Private event, Corporate event, Cruise
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Other skills:
Animateur, Instrumental teaching, Actor, MC
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Song list

Just as the Tide Was a-Flowing
The Fields of Athenry
The Bard of Armagh
Softly Come Morning
Wild Mountain Thyme
The Water is Wide
Scarborough Fair
Adieu, Sweet Lovely Nancy (dulcimer)
Serving Girl's Holiday (dulcimer)
The Shores of Avalon
Greensleeves (cittern)
The Ploughboy Lads
Bread and Roses
Down in Yon Forest (cittern)
The Skye Boat Song
Ye Banks and Braes
The Marigold
Little Red Bird
How Can Ye Gang, Lassie?
Balance the Straw/William and Nancy (melodeon)
The Boar's Head Carol (cittern)
Martin Said to His Man (cittern)
The Chastity Belt
Long Lankin
The Rose
Noël Nouvelet
Tempus Adest Floridum (cittern)
Blessed Be That Maid Marie
The Bays of Harris
The Moon of Beltane
Dancing at Whitsun
High Germany
Customer questions

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 pieces you play from the set list?

You're very welcome to request specific songs (or dances) from the set lists on my Encore profile pages.

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 specific pieces before the event?

If you have a favourite song or dance you'd like me to include in my performance, please let me know. If it's not already on my set lists, I may have time to learn it - there may be a small extra charge to take account of the extra rehearsal time. If it's not possible to include it, I'll let you know.

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!

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

The Tower of London!


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)£90
Up to 1 hour£170
Up to 2 hours£200
Up to 3 hours£225
Available services
Barn Dance


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11 verified reviews
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From Encore customers:

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Sophie P, 3 months ago

James did a barn dance for us in June and he was great! Got my family and friends up and dancing, even though it was quite warm, and the dances were fun and accessible. 100% recommend. :)

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Sophie B, 4 months ago

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

From other customers:

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Jenny C, 6 months ago

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!

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Karin R, 10 months ago

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.

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