INCORPORATING ‘YMCA’ into Scottish country music may sound like the oddest couple since Lembit Opik went out with a Cheeky Girl, but it is one of the ideas by new band Yoohoo Ceilidh.
The trio is made up of Dull Fudds drummer James Knowles, and Mike Haywood and Laura Grime.
“We are trying to develop something a bit different from the traditional ceilidh band,” said James, who lives at Marchmont. “We might play ‘The Dashing White Sergeant’ then go into a popular song such as a Beatles number. We have even tried ‘YMCA’.”
Their latest project came from the minds of Laura and Mike, who are live together in Smailholm.
They met at Newcastle University after graduating in folk and traditional music, and formed Yoohoo Music.
James said: “It was Laura and Mike’s idea. There were in a ceilidh band before and wanted to put together a band which is livelier.
“Both are really good musicians and had played with the Dull Fudds for three or four gigs last year when Jenni [Miller] could not play.
“We performed at the Rowchester Music Festival (near Greenlaw) and were invited back for Leonard Harper Gow’s birthday party. We made a band called Death Leonard and had a jazz type set – we had a really good time.”
Yoohoo Ceilidh have played “four or five” gigs, according to James, including New Year celebrations at Lilliesleaf Village Hall, where around 100 people attended.
But James’s commitment to the Dull Fudds remains. Having launched their debut album ‘Gibberish’ in 2009, the folk/rock/ska quartet are prepared to undertake a different method to record their second. “With the last album, we changed a lot of songs when we came to record them,” said James, or Knowli as he is better known.
“But we are going to gig the songs first this time to see the audiences’ reaction before we record them.”
Last year was a busy time for the Dull Fudds, with appearances at the popular Solfest in Cumbria alongside the Alabama 3, as well as other performances at festivals south of the border.
But James expects their live music to be heard closer to home in 2011. He told us: “We didn’t play many gigs up here in 2010 so I think this year we will focus on Scotland and north of Yorkshire.
“We played a lot of gigs down south last year and usually scraped together enough money to cover the petrol but you also have to think about the wear and tear on our van and spending money at the festivals.
“You can only get your name remembered if you return year after year which is difficult to do.”
Although he says that being a Borders-based band does have it problems, James also hopes their location and its influence on their sound could still see the Dull Fudds make the breakthrough.
“It is more difficult down here as there are very few places to play,” added James.
“But at the same time I think it is a huge advantage because we do not get caught up in a scene, which means a lot of bands in Glasgow and Edinburgh can sound the same.
‘‘When we go up to Edinburgh people are interested in us because we sound fresh and different.
‘‘You often get the feeling people do not have a clue what we are about when we perform in the cities.”
He added: “We keep hearing people say how good we are so that means we have to have a go at making it.
“It is so easy to just ramble along, but I feel if we do not go for it, we will regret it.”
For more information on Yoohoo Ceilidh, visit www.yoohooceilidh.co.uk