Shave The Donkey was formed by four musicians who still play regularly for Mersey Morris Men.
Between them, they have decades of experience playing for all types of dance. Whilst their individual musical tastes are eclectic and diverse, the rich musical heritage of English traditional music is the foundation for the Shave The Donkey dance tune repertoire.
More recently, the band has expanded with the addition of an experienced guitarist.
Other experienced local musicians join the band from time to time for specific events and to cover holidays etc.
The band works regularly with a number of different experienced callers, each with their own style and repertoire of dances.
Meet The Members
Sarah is the musical conscience and instigator of the band.
Having first picked up a violin aged 7, her first tune was ‘Twinkle twinkle little star’. She took such a dislike to one of her violin teachers that her Dad had to bribe her with chocolate to get her to go to Saturday morning music school. So no change there! Her ideal dinner party might include Eddie Mair, Nick Park, Sheila Hancock and Mr Drew from ‘Educating Essex’
Richard is the on-stage leader of the band, following firmly in the family tradition. Although now definitely wedded to his beloved Castagnari melodeon, Richard has previously been a drummer in a ceilidh band, and at one time even played the piano accordion (that phase has now passed, phew!!).
His favourite brew is Trappers Hat from Brimstage Brewery, and burning ambition is to see June Tabor (again, and again).
Eve is the other half of the band's string section. She is also the 'piece-maker' of the band, often displaying or wearing the fruits of her dexterity with needle and thread. When she is not sewing cathedral windows(!) or playing her violin , Eve and partner can sometimes be found on the canals of NW England on a narrow boat. Eve's favourite mantra.....'Chocolate makes the world go round'
Andy evens up the number of box players in the band, apparently to balance the sound, and is the band's Marketing and Bookings Officer! A chance hearing of a William Kimber recording many years ago was responsible for triggering his interest initially in concertinas and then melodeons. He is currently in remission from MAD (melodeon acquisition disorder), however the relapse rate is high. Other leisure pursuits include cooking (leisure?-it's every day) and cycling.
Neil is the newest member of the band providing our rhythm section on guitar and occasionally bass guitar. He was 17 before he persuaded his mother to buy him his first guitar (it only cost £2.50, because it had a broken head). When not playing or calling, he is a keen folk dancer and a creator of fiendish dances. His hobbies include travelling round in Dora (his motorhome), and buying more wine than he could possibly drink .This, of course, makes him very popular with the rest of the band!
Why 'Shave The Donkey'?
Shave the Donkey is the name of a traditional morris tune and dance from Bampton in Oxfordshire. That tune itself is related to a very popular dance tune from the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries called 'The Triumph'. So the name could be viewed as a pointer back to both the band's morris background and the rich heritage of English traditional dance music.
But really, we liked it because it is silly, memorable and starts conversations!!!!