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  Ceilidh Band


Cut the  Mustard was formed 15 years  ago and  has  evolved over  the  years  to what  is  now  the  present  line up..........

Roger Champkin

Roger Champkin

I am a multi-instrumentalist whose  musical  journey  began  in  Birmingham where music was always  a  strong part of  our  household.   I  became  a  chorister  at  the  age  of 7  and  it  was  there  that  I developed my  love of  singing, especially Harmony, taking  me  on in  later life to an audition  for  the  City of  Birmingham Choir.

When  my  voice  broke  I  became  a  founding  member  of  The  Scorpions rock  band,  playing  bass  guitar  and  backing the stars of the day including  Marianne  Faithfull  and  Helen  Shapiro  at  Old  Hill  Plaza  and  the  Tower  Ballroom  in  Edgbaston.

In  1964  I  met  an  Irishman  called  Christy  Hannally  in  Stafford and  heard the  accordion  for  the  first  time,  the  sound  really  blew  me  away!  His  playing  was  so  inspirational  that  my  love  of  Traditional  music  was  inevitable. The other  great  influence  on  me  was  the  great  Jimmy  Shand.   Seeing  my  passion  for  the  music  my  grandfather  bought  me  my  first  accordion  and  the  rest  is  now  history.

‘The  Box’  has  taken  me  to  many places such  as  the  folk revival, where I  made  great  friends  with  Alex  Campbell  and  Diz Disley,  both  now  sadly  gone.  ‘The Box’  has  also taken  me  to  the  Morris  as  musician  for South  Shropshire  and  now  with  Silurian  Morris

In  1974  the  infamous Hodges Dump Ceilidh band  was  formed and  lasted  for 25 years playing  at  many folk  festivals  including   Bromyard,  Warwick,   Bath  University,  Crewe  and Nantwich.   John Williams and I were there from start to finish.   John and I also found the West Gallery Choir Vital Spark.

The  music has  taken  me   to  many great places, Berlin,  the  United Arab  Emirates,  a tour of  Colorado, USA in 2003 playing at  Red  Rocks, Denver and a  tour  of  Brittany  in  2007.    My travels would not be complete without my regular  visits  to  County  Clare  in  Ireland  for  the  craic and  the chance to  catch  up  with  old  friends such  as  Christ  Barry,   Jon  Jo  and   Anna  Carrucan  (a fine  singer).   My music has also helped raise money for aid in Africa.

A few years ago I had the opportunity to be  involved  with  the  BBC as  a  musician  for  the  drama Gods  Wonderful  Railway filmed  on  the  Severn  Valley  Line .

My  one  delight  is  to  see  the  up  and  coming young  musicians playing  and  to  know  the  tradition  is  in  safe  hands


Joanna KingJoanna King

I started playing violin at the age of four and continued to study it all the way through to my music degree at Birmingham University.  I then spent four years playing both violin and keyboards in a band called Jinrai signed to the Acid Jazz label.

In 2004/5 I trained as a music teacher, and am now Head of Music at a Birmingham comprehensive that specialises in the performing arts.

As a child my teacher taught me to play traditional music by ear and this created a love for folk tunes.  My parents had records by The Chieftains and Boys of the Lough and I have seen the former in concert.  In 2006 I was at a wedding at which Cut the Mustard were playing and decided to see if they were ever in need of a fiddle player – and here I am!

Richard RevettRichard Revett

I first began playing in the 60s at the age of 11 when my brother went off to university leaving me with his guitar!

Initially self-taught, I spent hours listening to Donovan LPs trying to fathom the chords and his picking style. I specialized in flat-pick and finger-style and was fortunate in my 20s to mix with some talented guitar players from whom I learned a great deal.

I joined my first Band, Kangaroo Alley, in Norwich in the late 70s - a country rock outfit.
After taking advice from a music–undergrad–fiddle playing-busking partner to learn to read music,  I began studying music at Middlesbrough Tech in the 80s. This opened up many possibilities that had previously eluded me.

I moved down to Worcester from the North East of England in 1991 and soon got involved in the local music scene, playing in hard-hitting country rock outfit Powderfinger and more recently in 60s rock combo The Score.

I first encountered Roger Champkin’s accordion playing in 2004 when he was short of a guitarist for a Ceilidh gig; we’ve been playing together ever since. Roger’s a natural musician and working with Cut the Mustard I’ve had the privilege of playing alongside some exceptional musicians.

When not playing in the band I teach music and English from my home in Worcester.


Helen Wilding SmithHelen Wilding Smith

I started playing the violin when I was 7 years old and continued to fiddle through school and Higher Education College. I balanced a busy teaching career with orchestral and ensemble playing in Gloucestershire and discovered the joys of playing folk, jazz and blue grass with various Stroud based bands.

I was fortunate to live and teach for a year in Denver, Colorado, USA, where I played in such places as the 16th Street Mall, Denver, a log cabin in the mountains and on the edge of a canyon in the Rockies.
At this time I gained my violin teaching diploma and taught violin and piano for a while, until I emigrated to Ontario, Canada to live and teach. I was fortunate enough to meet up with a fab guitarist, David Wipper, who has recorded with musicians such as Alana Miles. and we had a most marvelous musical relationship, playing classical, jazz and easy-listening music at weddings (the one on the beach was good), restaurants (great food), and releasing various CDs as the duo Voicestrings.

Upon my return to England in 2007 I settled with my family in Brampton Bryan, Herefordshire. I took up violin and piano teaching in Powys and Herefordshire as well as supply and class music teaching.   I also bumped into two medieval musicians soon after returning and discovered the joys of vielle and rebec – two wonderful mediaeval stringed instruments which are great fun to play! We perform regularly in the Marches and beyond as the trio Fleurs de Lys.

I met Roger at a Ceilidh at the Salway Arms near Ludlow in November 2007 and immediately had a race to see who could play faster. I was asked to join the band to continue our race (it's still neck and neck!).


John SpinettoJohn Spinetto

I began playing the drums at secondary school, when I was asked to join a classmate’s band.  We played regularly at the school youth club performing all the popular hits of the time as well as a lot of blues.

After school the classmates went their separate ways but bitten by the music bug, I was soon playing in another local band.  In 1977 I joined unknown Birmingham band Ricky Cool and the Icebergs. The band had great success, with television and radio shows, most notably a live half hour BBC Pebble Mill show called “This Is... Ricky Cool and the Icebergs”,  broadcast live in 1977.

Since then I have been in a number of Ricky’s follow-on bands, most notably as a founder- member of the internationally famous Big Town Playboys, with whom I had the honour of playing with such luminaries as Robert Plant and Eric Clapton.  This band took me all over Europe playing at Jazz and Blues festivals. 

Currently I play with the latest of Ricky’s bands, the Hoola Boola Boys, who have had the honour of again backing Robert Plant as well as supporting one of the founding fathers of Rock and Roll, Jerry Lee Lewis at the famous 100 Club in London.
I have been a big fan of Ceilidh music since my days at school tuning in regularly to the “White Heather Club”, a Scottish television programme of the time, (giving my age away!).  As a teenage budding drummer I was mesmerised by the strict tempo snare drumming that accompanied the music, and spent hours practicing to develop that particular style of snare drum playing which I still love playing today. 

I am grateful to Roger (Champkin) for the invitation to play this particular style of music again, and look forward to every opportunity to play with the wonderful musicians of Cut The Mustard.  As well as the drums, I also play the guitar and bodhran. (Though not simultaneously!).