The Ceilidh Band

We are a five-piece ceilidh band from Dundee who love playing Scottish music.

We really love a good ceilidh and we think they should be great fun. To this end we have a big selection of dances, a lively sound, great cover songs, and a caller who really knows his stuff. He's great at teaching the dances to even the biggest groups of beginners, and will even shout out reminders along the way.

Our pricing is very competitive and also includes excellent deal rates for charities and student society events. Please drop us a message for a quick quote and more information. We are based in Dundee but will happily travel out to Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and beyond!

We do covers of popular songs in our own unique style, with a repertoire of covers ranging from Avicii to the Lumineers, and from the Beatles to the Franz Ferdinand. We will gladly learn a new song for your special event if given enough notice, we think this can add a personal touch to the evening.







MICHAEL PAXTON
Fiddle, mandolin and vocals

Playing Style
Scottish, country, bluegrass

Influences
John McCusker, Stuart Duncan

Musical Background
Michael began playing the fiddle at a young age. He has played in a mixture of orchestral and Scottish groups throughout his school life and is now a member of the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra. It was when he went to Abertay University that he really got into playing ceilidh music.

He has had a passion for Country and Bluegrass music for much of his life, which has had a great influence on his own playing style. He also loves to experiment with different instruments, which is what inspired him to take up the mandolin and guitar.

AIDAN FERGUSON
Rhythm guitar, banjo and vocals

Playing Styles
Trad, contemporary, jazz

Influences
Gerry O'Connor, Chris Thile, Eric Clapton

Musical Background
Aidan started playing guitar about 12 years ago. Since then he's been interested in a lot of different styles and genres. In school he started out playing for rock and blues songs, before touching on a little jazz and finally discovering Scottish music at university. Here, he and Michael still play in the Abertay University Ceilidh Band.

In the ceilidh band he tends to flirt a little with jazz and blues influences while still respecting the music's Scottish roots. He also plays fiddle, mandolin, banjo, and sings in the band.

FIONNLAGH BALLANTINE
Fiddle

Playing Style
Shetland, Cape Breton

Influences
Box Club, Blazing Fiddles, Bodega

Musical Background
Over the last 10 years Fionnlagh has frequented sessions from the south-west coast to the east coast of Scotland. He began playing classical music but swiftly moved on when he became interested in the idea that Scottish music could be passed on and learned exclusively by ear.

He also plays folk, soul & gypsy fiddle for a Dundee band Delilah and the Samsons and can sometimes be seen busking in Perth and Dundee... in a kilt!

KEVIN HART
Drums

Influences
Iain Robertson, Matt Tong, Metal

Musical Background
Kevin has been drumming for over 10 years in orchestras and shows (e.g. Jekyll and Hyde), and has been playing in ceilidh bands for over 7 years. From a steel band, to brass orchestras, to musicals Kevin has experience in drumming all genres of music and brings this experience into ceilidh music, adding his own flare along the way.

CHRISTOPHER SULAT
Dance caller

Favourite Dances
The Sausage Machine, Riverside

Background
Chris, an Orcadian himself, has been dancing his whole life, and has danced at ceilidhs in Japan, Scotland and Portugal. As our caller, Chris is fantastic at getting everyone up having a great time whether they come along knowing the dances or whether they haven't a clue! His infectious enthusiasm never fails to translate into a people having a great time.

Our Cover Songs
This is our current repertoire of cover songs. Songs that we learned via a request are indicated with a *.

Reviews & recent gigs
* Please note although we try to keep this section as up to date as possible these listings may be missing our more recent gigs!


Dundee University Christian Union Annual Ball
(Wednesday 10th March 2016)
The Christian Union crowd made us feel like rockstars on Wednesday night, even after a 100 person long horseshoe Orcadian Strip the Willow they managed to get up and dance to our rendition of Ho Hey by the Lumineers. With only one visible bottle of wine in the room they proved that you dont need alcohol to have a good time, they were definitely one of our wildest and most energetic crowds. There were a lot of familiar faces from past ceilidhs, anyone who has attended a Staffin ceilidh will know the importance of having a good supply of water at the ready.
Dundee High School Parents Council Annual Ball
(Friday 27th February 2016)
It must have been a busy day for Dundee babysitters this Saturday when we hosted the Dundee High School Parent's Council Annual Ball. A big crowd doesn't always mean lots of willing dancers, it can often have the opposite effect, especially when there is a large dance floor, but the members of Dundee Parent's Council were great sports. The ballroom in the Invercarse Hotel is perfect for large parties, the layout of the room, a large circular dance floor with tables spaced evenly around the sides, encircling the dance floor, means guests are not afraid to begin the dances, essentially there is nowhere to hide!
Dundee University Music Society Ball
(Friday 26th February 2016)
Dundee University Music Society invited us back to play at their 2016 ball, after a year you sometimes forget how much fun a particular crowd can be. Being an audience of musicians, they fully embraced the fun, get-involved atmosphere we try to create. We had an audience of semi-proffessional swing dancers and singers, so invited them to use our microphones and jive away to our songs, which they did marvellously. The Gig took place at Discovery Point, which overlooks Fitzgerald's Ship. They have very nice staff and really tasty, great value food.
Dundee University Swimming and Water Polo Ball
(Saturday 13th February)
One of many gigs we have had the pleasure to perform in the Queens Hotel, the DU Swimming and Water Polo Society ball was a wild night, 'three cheers for the band' at the end of the evening is always a good sign we have done a good job. Already looking forward to next years ceilidh!
Kirsty's 21st at Holy Trinity Church Hall, St Andrews
(Saturday 6th February)
If you are looking for a good venue in St Andrews we would definitely recommend the Holy Trinity Church hall. Brilliant stage, great sound and spacious dance floor. Arguably the church pews were not too comfortable but that meant we had no trouble getting the crowd off of their seats and onto the dance floor, fantastic night and the birthday cake tip at the end was much appreciated.
Dundee Uni Guide Dogs for the Blind Society fundraiser
(Thursday 4th February)
Dundee University Guide Dogs for the Blind Society invited us back this year for their fundraiser. Always fun to play in the Union's nightclub, especially for these guys who adopted the fairground idiom 'scream if you want to go faster', they were making more noise than us! Cant wait till we get the chance to play for this crowd next year.
Dundee Computing, Dundee Volleyball, Ticl Burns Supper Charity Fundraiser, Aylth Farmers Fundraiser
(23rd to 31st of January)
What a week! Four fantastic ceilidhs, we've thrown our new rep drummer in at the deep end, playing at the Dundee Computing Society ball, The Dundee Volley'ball', the Tayside Children with Cancer and Lukaemia burns supper and the Aylth Farmers Fundraiser.
New Designers Ball - Queens Hotel Ceilidh
(16th of December)
You can always tell from the woops and applause after our opening set of tunes the night is going to be a lot of fun. The new designers were full of christmas spirit, despite beginning the evening with a hefty amount of turkey, brussell sprouts, potato and cake the floor was packed for every dance. We were able to put our feet to the floor and up the tempo which is always a plus, a reason why we love student ceilidhs. We had Cameron, a fiddler from Lewis join in for a couple of sets and what seemed like a proffessional dancer get up and dance solo with encouragement from the crowd. We cant wait to go all out with jingle bells and whistles at our own Christmas Ceilidh on 19th December in Roseangle Arts Cafe.
Chamber East - Morag's 21st
(22nd of May)
Morag celebrated in style with over 100 guests in attendence. Chamber East is a great venue for anyone thinking of holding a Ceilidh in Dundee, it isn't too pricey, has a bar, *massive* ballroom, and even a perfect sized stage. As well as the usual dances and songs, Morag's father gave a passionate speech and her sister a genuine, heartfelt poem, both lightly dusted with mandatory embarrassing bits.
Malmaison, Dundee - Round Table
(22nd of May)
What happens in Malmaison . . . This was a night of many firsts, a putting competition on the dance floor, a child temporarily joining the band, a theatrical rendition of Tam o' Shanter, Loch Lomond sung by a choir of Danes, and other shenanigans, the ladies and gents of the Round Table Society sure know how to party! Members from around the world had gathered in Dundee for this international meet and greet. Due to mild refreshments some of the dances did not go as planned but everyone was happy enough to boogie the night away to our ceilidh sets.
Dundee Student Union - Children of Rwanda
(9th of April)
Robbie Macmillan, founder of the charity Children of Rwanda, hosted the night. He set up the charity after seeing the effects of malnourishment, due to lack of healthcare and decided to do something about it. His aim is to give 100 families the healthcare and education they should be receiving. Robbie hit his target and raised a profit of £500 which will allow him to take his organisation the the next level. If you want to find out more about Children of Rwanda, follow this link
Kinnettles Castle - Wedding
(3rd of May)
Kinnettles Castle raised the Staffin standard from the usual variations of stovies to hot bacon butties/lorne sausage rolls, tea/coffee and rose covered wedding cake. Other highlights of the night were an impromptu 5 minute rendition of the Hokey Kokey, a flying video camera and the infamous helicopter dance.
Dundee Student Union - Children of Rwanda
(9th of April)
Robbie Macmillan, founder of the charity Children of Rwanda, hosted the night. He set up the charity after seeing the effects of malnourishment, due to lack of healthcare and decided to do something about it. His aim is to give 100 families the healthcare and education they should be receiving. Robbie hit his target and raised a profit of £500 which will allow him to take his organisation the the next level. If you want to find out more about Children of Rwanda, follow this link
Malmaison Dundee - University Theatrical Society
(6th of April)
Lots of larger than life characters at the Theatrical Society's annual ball. We played in Dundee's hotel Malmaison, with its faux ornate decorated walls, grand staircases and giant victorian paintings, the place is like one big stage set. The night began backstage, waiting for our final call, watching organiser Niamh Sheridan as she presented awards like Coolest Cucumber and Rear of the Year. We played our first few tunes and it didn't take long for everybody to get into the spirit of things. It is great to get such a positive reaction from a crowd, as it means as musicians you are given the green light to let loose and pour your heart and soul into the music.
Apex Dundee - Geography and Environmental Science Society
(3rd of April)
On Friday Dundee's Courier had a field day with reports of an earthquake taking place near the city quay, it was later discovered that the tremors were a result of the Staffin Island Ceilidh Band's rented super bassy sound system, courtesy of designer, photographer, lighting and sound engineer, all round one-man-nightclub Euan Baird. Many emotional speeches were made, as Dundee University Geography and Environmental Science Society celebrated their most successful year since the societies Formation a couple of years ago. Tutors and students got together to embarrass each other and dance the night away, it seems next years fourth year students have a lot to live up to.
Crief Hydro - Dundee medics Half Way Ball
(7th of Feb)
One of our wildest ceilidhs, this was not for the faint of heart. It was a night of reminiscence for the attendees, marking a halfway point of Dundee medic student's degrees, and damn did they celebrate! We started early and carried the night into the wee hours. Highlights were an audience participated storytelling, which had a hundred or so people sitting crossleged in silence, listening in and chanting along with the speaker; and an impromptu sing along with a great bearded irishman singing the many versed song 'The Rattlin' Bog'. All I can say is we are looking forward to the graduation ball!
Dundee Union - Guide Dogs for the Blind Charity Ceilidh
(29th of Jan)
It is not often that we have the luxury of a sound engineer but being Dundee Union's Nightclub we were in for a treat. Stage lights, brand new songs, interesting dances, an amazing sound system and eager dancers made this a night to remember. The society managed to raise a good deal of money for Guide Dogs for the Blind and everyone left with a beamer!
Queens Hotel - Volleyball Burns Supper Ceilidh
(23rd of Jan)
Dundee University Volleyball club invited us to play at their annual ball. They sure are a lively bunch, they kept us on our toes the entire evening, it is usually the other way around. There wasn't an empty chair the entire evening, it was a pleasure to play for such an enthusiastic crowd.
Christmas Ceilidh
(7th of Dec)
We are throwing our first public ceilidh right here in Dundee! Check out the facebook event if you'd like to come along. There will be fantastic music, Chrismassy songs and tunes to dance to (as well as our usual stuff), mince pies, Christmas decorations galore and a fierce good time for all involved.

Come along for a great night of dancing, music and good banter! The event will be held in the hall, accessed through the entrance to the Roseangle Arts Cafe on Perth Road.
Portobello, Edinburgh - Kids Ceilidh Event
(6th of Sep)
Highland Fling Childcare invited us to play at this end of year event for the kids and their parents. Quite a different gig to our usual ones! Teaching dances to such a massive group of excited kids was quite new challenge indeed for our caller Chris, but he pulled it off and in the end it was a another great night!
Queen's Hotel Dundee, Tour Ceilidh
(21st of August)
The Queen's Hotel Dundee contacted us and asked us to provide entertainment for a bus tour arriving from England. These great folks had never been to a ceilidh before, and were a little tentative, but we soon showed them the ropes and got them up dancing and having a hoot.
Wedding in Dundee
(14th of June)
Today we were called to get our ceilidh on for a wedding at the Queen's Hotel in Dundee.
"We had the Staffin Island Ceilidh band run the ceilidh at our wedding reception. It was a great day and the ceilidh was excellent. Having a dedicated caller in the band was helpful as my wife's half of the family are Northern Irish. The band played a lovely set of waltzes for our first dance. It was a very relaxed ceilidh and all our guests really enjoyed it. Their communication was great when organising the wedding and they were so accommodating to our budget. We would definitely recommend to anyone who wants to organise a ceilidh." - Neil and Jennie Cowan
Wedding ceilidh in Dundee, Queen's Hotel June
Bridge of Earn, Fund-raiser Ceilidh
(17th of May)
Great wee ceilidh in the Bridge of Earn Institute near Perth, with the traditional break for stovies half-way through. As it was quite a long ceilidh, people got pretty tired out from all the dancing so we played quite a few songs (including Michael's signature "Galway Girl"), and a few nice tune sets. All round another fun ceilidh!
"Thank you so much for a wonderful night especially Chris the caller who made our fundraising ceilidh for Giraffe so much fun. We all had a great night and would definitely book you again." - Anne Jones
Doubletree by Hilton, Fund-raiser Ceilidh
(29th of March)
This was a really great wee gig at Doubletree by Hilton in Dundee. Our clients were looking for a ceilidh band too host their fund-raising event, in aide of sending off a group of people to help out in Malawi. The small room necessitated lines of dancers passing out the doors and down through the hallways for the likes of strip the willow, which was a blast!
The band were a pleasure to deal with in the run-up to the event asking many questions about the type of event and the evening that we wanted to have. Having not heard of the band before and not regularly planning events such as this, I did feel that the band put me completely at ease before the event. When arriving at the venue on the evening to find the band waiting for us and eager to set up, I felt thoroughly reassured at every step before the event. The band were professional, helpful and played the most fantastic Ceilidh tunes.

The caller was excellent, making sure those who do not attend ceilidhs regularly were able to join in. We learned a few new dances as well as having all the traditional, well-known and popular Ceilidh favourites. We had a thoroughly entertaining evening. The band were fantastic and all of our guests raved about what a great Ceilidh it was. Thank you very much to every member of the band for providing a brilliant evening’s entertainment and helping us raise valuable funds for our charity. - Team Malawi 2014
Fundraiser ceilidh at the Doubletree by Hilton, Dundee
Aberdeen Architects Ball & Ceilidh
(4th of April)
Things got a little funky this time with guest bassist Adam at this "Great Gatsby" themed ball. I think we all had a lot of fun collaborating with such a talented musician. Thanks to the Architects students who we were doing this ceilidh for, this was a really wild, high energy gig as you can hear in this recording.
Aberdeen Architects Ball and Ceilidh
Burns Night Ceilidh, Inchture
(5th of March)
It was a real pleasure to have such an amazing location for our first gig together as "Staffin Island". (Previously we had all played in separate ceilidh bands.) The venue was basically a large manor house now home to the charity "Teen Ranch", who this fund-raising burns night was in aide of. After the usual burns night craic and some interesting speeches from the people running the charity, the ceilidh-ing commenced.
Band at the burns night ceilidh in Inchture

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