E-ceilidh, m'lud, is a contraction of English ceilidh, a form of
English social folk dance, thus distinct from Irish or Scottish
social dance. The dance music (if one more used to the sweet strains
of Johann Strauss can call it that) is often characterised by the
use of rhythms and sometimes instruments more commonly associated
with the pernicious influence of rock and roll and sometimes even
using elements of what I believe the youth of today call 'club'
music: but eceilidh also wholeheartedly embraces acoustic
tradition-based English dance music.
The dances performed to this music, often in casual clothes, are
similarly rooted in English traditional dance but have similarly
been infected by Other Cultures on occasion - some dances are even
newly invented by the MC rather than directly traceable
back to 17th Century manuscripts.
The overall effect is intended to provide a more 'lively' and
'exciting' feel to an evening's social dancing than might be felt to
be had by dancing to crackly 78s of ranks of piano accordians played
by middle-aged bald gentlemen in matching velveteen sweaters.
Regrettably I must report that Youth are attracted to such events in
Callers such as Mr Gordon Potts, Ms Fee Lock, and Mr Nick Walden are
often to be found announcing and describing the dances, sometimes in
a flamboyant style, pandering to a concept of presenting the evening
as an occasion of pure enjoyment, an attitude not entirely suited to
the serious-minded preservation of folk culture as an intellectual
pursuit for gentlemen and ladies.
Bands such as The Old Swan Band, The Bismarcks, Random, Stomp (who
even affect an umlaut in their name for heaven's sake), Whapweasel,
the soon-to-be-late-lamented Jabadaw, and many others have all been
described in the relevant pamphlets and Internet discussion fora as
Many of the acts which appear at events such as the Sidmouth
Festival Dancehouse and the Towersey Festival dance tent, not to
mention the regular clubs up and down the country (such as the
Phoenix ceilidhs of Horwich Lancashire, for which I myself have the
honour to be Webmaster) would describe themselves as e-ceilidh.
There is even an Internet mailing list in existence by the name of
e-ceilidh, which did much to promote the widespread adoption of the
term but has in recent years become rather exclusive and solopsistic
For further information I would refer the honourable gentleman to
the resources of Mr Google's Pot-pourrii of Internet Wibble, or
perhaps more specifically to Mr Martin Kiff's fine website
www.webfeet.org. Wikipedia, of
course, states that the whole
e-ceilidh thing was invented in 2005 in California.
[It should perhaps be stated for the hard of thinking there may be
some exaggeration or even deliberate misrepresentation for comic
effect in the previous piece.]