Most frequent questions and answers

All the members of Aluinn are full-time musicians.  Our livelihood is therefore dependant on an unblemished professional record.  We are proud to say that with over 400 gigs behind us, we have never let any client down in terms of our performance or attitude.  All bookings are secured with a signed contract.

Yes, we are completely self-contained.  Our top-of-the-range PA system is powerful enough to handle any venue holding up to 200 people. (Larger systems can be hired if needed).

Yes and yes!  Our PAT test certificate is kept up to date and we have public liability insurance through the Musicians Union for up to £10 million. Certificates for both can be forwarded to a venue as required.

It does depend on the number of guests and as a rule, the bigger the better.  That said, we could work with a minimum dance are of 6m2 and can pick dances to suit the space.  Ask your venue if they have had a ceilidh there before as venues that are used to discos are not always aware of the amount of space needed.  We will always work with the event manager at any venue to get the most out of the available space.

We require approximately one hour from the point we arrive at a venue until we play our first set.  Most of this time is just moving equipment into the room and connecting it all together.  The last 15mins is our actual soundcheck.  We are happy to quietly sneak into a room and setup if guests are in that room.  Bandleader Aly is happy to talk you through all the logistics of the day so that your event runs as smoothly as possible.

Yes, there is no need to pay for a separate caller as Aly calls and plays percussion at the same time (yes, that took a bit of practice at first!)  Wearing a high-quality head-set mic, he calls throughout each dance so that everyone can feel confident about the steps throughout the evening.  As well as running Aluinn, Aly runs various music groups in schools and teaches students of all ages on drum kit and percussion so he’s very experienced in explaining everything clearly in a patient and fun way.

We understand that events such as weddings can sometimes run behind schedule, therefore we are happy to delay our start time if required.  For the well-being of the band, who at the end of the night must pack up and load the equipment, often drive a few hours home and then unload and store the gear, a cut-off time of 12am is written into the contract.  This is a standard finishing time for most event bands.  A later finishing time can be arranged for an additional £60 per 30mins.  See the Prices and bookings page for details.

To fit within the contracted times, a late start time may result in shorter set lengths or a shorter break in between sets.  Aly will always work with clients on the night to find the best solutions in the event of timings running over.

Not at all!  Aly, our experienced caller will lead you through all of the dances step by step before and during each dance.  No prior dancing experience is necessary.  Every dance is walked through slowly, then walked through up to speed and finally done with the band.  Many guests have commented over the years on the clarity of the calling. 

You may choose to simply use our speakers to play your own music through.  Simply provide us with any device and we will connect it to our sound system – we provide apple and android phone adapters if required as well as the cable to connect to our speakers (Downloading the song in advance is recommended in case there is a poor wifi signal at the venue).  If you would like to start with a Ceilidh dance then a slow free-style (no set steps) waltz works well – other guests could join you after a minute or so.  In a similar fashion, the Gay Gordens works well with just one couple starting it off and everyone else joining in.  Some couples like to go straight into a full-on group ceilidh dance with them as the top couple of a set, for example the Strip the Willow or the Virginia Reel. 

Bandleader Aly will happily talk you through the options.

Yes, we can provide a folky mix to play as background music.  You are also welcome to provide us with your own playlist to use.

You are welcome to use our speakers during the duration of the booking as specified on the contract.  You may also use our speakers beyond the basic booking hours, at the rates specified on the Prices and bookings page of this site (they will also be specified on the contract)  Disco lights are also available to hire for a cost-effective disco post-ceilidh!

The 3-piece can include either fiddle or accordion.  Both work well.  Let Aly know if you have a preference at the point of booking.  The percussion, guitar and calling are in both the 3 and 4-piece lineups.