Although Tourdion was only formed in 2010, the members of the band have played together informally, and in various other bands, for 30 years or so.
Tourdion formed the nucleus of the musicians who played for the regular Ketton French Dance, which took place at the Northwick Arms, Ketton, Stamford (PE9 3TA).
Until the Covid-19 pandemic intervened, the dance took place on the third Friday of every month (except for July and August), from 8pm to 11pm. Dancers, musicians and spectators were always welcome. For newcomers to French dance, the first hour offered tuition in various traditional dances, steps and variations; the rest of the night was the bal, an opportunity to put what you had learned into practice! (Donations of at least £2 towards the cost of the room were appreciated.) More details from the organisers, Adam and Mary Cade, 01780 729208.
A typical Tourdion dance or bal provides a novel alternative to the more-familiar ceilidh or barn dance; it is fairly similar in format except that the dances and tunes are almost all French in origin. Any or all of the dances can be explained, demonstrated and walked through as necessary.
Our large repertoire includes bourrées, scottishs, an dros, mazurkas, valses and polkas (all in their typical forms and some interesting variants), plus some lesser-known local regional specialities such as La Bistanflú, Lo Filoset, La Sauvaterrata, La Valse de Sundgo and Lo Virolet d'Angles. (Some of these can be found on our two CDs, À la Carte (2013) and Hors d'oeuvres (2011).)
We can also tailor our set to other occasions, whether it be a folk festival, a dance workshop, a concert, a school lesson or a twinning association event. And we can, of course, offer a mixed dance with French and English traditional dances, a sort of "balceilidh"!
♦ Florence, our caller, plays bodhran, and sings.
♦ Terry has an immense repertoire of traditional tunes; he plays hurdy-gurdies and épinette des Vosges that he made himself. He also plays other stringed instruments, including cittern, dulcimer and mandocello, and sings.
♦ Andy plucks a mean mandolin.
♦ Paul provides tasty melodeon and guitar; he also sings.
♦ Si adds twiddly bits on various whistles (and sometimes clarinet).
♦ Debbie, on djembe, supplies a driving rhythm.
Si, usually with the rest of the band, hosted the Castle Session, a lively free-for-all acoustic jam session of mainly traditional folk music and song (English, Irish, French etc) held once a month at the Castle Inn in Castle Bytham (NG33 4RZ), a picturesque and historic village in South Lincolnshire. Until Covid intervened, the session took place every month on the fourth Sunday (not the last, so beware of months with five Sundays!) between 7.30 and 10.30pm. Musicians, singers and listeners always welcome! To check the date, ring the pub on 01780 410504,
or Si on 01780 410563. Or see our Gigs page.
Andy still hosts a fortnightly singaround session (Covid permitting), on alternate Tuesdays, at the Hatton Arms, 14 Arnhill Road, Gretton, another picturesque village near (the rather less picturesque) Corby, Northants NN17 3DN, from 8pm - 11pm. Most, if not all, the other members of Tourdion/The Castle Band can also be heard there from time to time. Some also attend the fortnightly session oevery other Monday (alternating with Gretton) at The Collyweston Slater, 87 Main Road, Collyweston PE9 3PQ. To check the date, ring the Hatton Arms on 01536 770268, the Slater on 01780 333288, or Andy on 01536 770302.
Details of these events can also be found on Pete Shaw's indispensable Peterborough Folk Diary. If we are appearing anywhere in the vicinity of Peterborough and South Lincolnshire, you'll find the details there, along with hundreds of other folky events, regular and one-off.