Uisge: (noun) Ish-Ka Water of Life i.e. Whisky
Uisge Contraband is a South Wales-based ceilidh band who are rapidly increasing in popularity. Established in 2008 as a four-piece consisting of whistles, fiddle, piano, bass and drums (not to mention a variety of percussion), complete with caller, they’ve developed a loyal and ever-growing fan base who are keen to share in the band’s exuberant, fun-filled performances.
An Uisge set comprises a number of well-known (and not-so-well-known) folk tunes bound together in an exciting, heart-racing yet bright and colourful arrangement. The instrumentalists are all hugely talented players, capable of improvising on a simple tune, and turning it into something special. (All styles from the slow Wedding Waltz to the upbeat Gay Gordons are presented, clearly with much enjoyment from all concerned). Thanks to their knowledge and experience of the dances themselves, the band instinctively knows when to ‘take it cool’ or to ‘crank up the tempo’! Their own competition-winning caller is always on hand to provide initial instructions and to demonstrate the steps for each dance (and occasionally perform a solo too!)
Uisge Contraband play at weddings and other functions, where they contribute to the celebratory nature of the occasion, bringing people together in enjoyment. They also perform widely around the city of Cardiff, hosting public ceilidhs, often with a ‘theme’ (for instance, their regular Burns Night Ceilidh which features readings of the Scottish poet’s works). A recent evening was entitled ‘A Midsummer Night’s Ceilidh’ to which guests were invited to dress in appropriate costume (if they wished!) and music was especially tailored to fit in with the Shakespearean tale. Others have included ‘A Pirate Ceilidh’ and ‘Curly-Wurly Ceilidh’. As well as composing and arranging their own sets and songs, Uisge Contraband regularly update their repertoire of instruments and techniques; flute, mandolin and frying pan (see it to believe it!) are just some of those itching to be heard.
So come down and have a great night’s entertainment! Uisge Contraband are available for bookings; more details can be found on the website, Facebook, Myspace or Youtube pages
The Very D.R. 2011