For info Contact

John Ward

Ph:      (301) 742-9465


Big Band Celtic


Our sound is unique. Unlike most celtic bands we are big. We have three fiddlers, a flutist, and two bodhran players (the bodhran is a hand held frame drum), a hammered dulcimer, guitar, irish bouzouki, cittern, and for the base we have a viola de gamba (a renaissance instrument that looks like a cello with frets and six strings). All of this combines in a unique way to produce a really big sound. We like to call it "Big Band Celtic Music". You'll see why if you come to one of our performances

A Very Short course in Gaelic


For readers unfamiliar with Gaelic, or with Celtic music, the word "ceilidh" in the band's name is pronounced "KAY-lee". And, as always Celtic is pronounced "Kel-tik" and NEVER "Sel-tik". The "Seltiks" (Celtics) are a basketball team from Boston.


The word Ceilidh is the gaelic word for a "gathering". In the "olden days" it was used to signify a gathering of people in someone's kitchen or on the front porch to trade music, dance, stories, and news of recent events. Its purpose was to tie a community together. Today it is used to describe a more formal event, in which music was played and people dance, sing, or tell stories. A "ceilidh band" is typically a group of local musicians who get together to play at the ceilidh.

A Brief History of Time


The Homespun Ceilidh Band was first formed in 1993 by John Ward and Trix Whitehall. At the time they were members (and still are) of the Potomac Valley Scottish Fiddle Club, an organization located in the Washington DC. that plays Scottish fiddle music. They were looking for a group of musicians who were not necessarily fiddlers to form a band with. They linked up with Bill Mitchell and Becky Ross (also members of the PVSFC), Glenn Arthur, Jennifer Silverman, Lorraine Lacey, Karin Loya, Ann Lesley, and some others as a pick up band to do an impromptu concert at the Greenbelt Arts Center in Greenbelt Maryland. They enjoyed playing with each other so much they decided to make it a permanent entity and the Homespun Ceilidh Band was formed. Later Ann, Lorraine, and Karin left to pursue independent interests, and we added Mike Stoddard and Felicia Eberling to flesh out the sound of the band.



We are based out of Washington D.C. (None of us are politicians).  We'll generally travel within a 75 mile radius of there without additional travel expenses.  In the past we've played as far north as Connecticut, as far west as Bridgeport, WV, and as far south as Norfolk, VA.


We're available immediately for Concerts, Weddings, Parties, and any other gathering where music and country dancing would make the event brighter and more fun.  We've played at Scottish Games, Irish Festivals, Weddings, Memorials, Pirate Feasts, and a couple of Science Fiction conventions.

Other Web Sites That Mention Ceilidhs


Ceilidh dance resource pages

Something a little different: a description of an "English Ceilidh"

Search for 'ceilidh' on Google