Abergavenny family band back together again

CALLER: Hilary Jay, 61, with grand-daughter Josie Jay-Barrow, 9 months

PLAY: Fiona Barrow and Eddy Jay perform

First published in Monmouthshire news

AN ABERGAVENNY family band that performs live music at céilidhs held a reunion performance after 12 years apart.

The Jay Family Band, consisting of four members, started playing in the area 24 years ago but stopped due to family members moving away.

But the band – consisting of husband and wife Tony and Hilary Jay, 65 and 61, and their sons Peter, 28, and Eddy, 36, – returned on New Year’s Eve to entertain more than 50 people in Abergavenny with their live music.

A céilidh is a traditional Gaelic social gathering, which involves playing Gaelic folk music that encourages people to dance. Mrs Jay is a caller, which means she calls the dances, while Eddy plays accordion, Peter plays trombone and bass and Tony plays rhythm guitar.

“It went really well,” said Mrs Jay. “There were 50 people there so it was really successful and there was a great atmosphere in the room.

“A céilidh is great as for most of the dances you don’t need a partner, you can just get up and dance.

“We had some great feedback and everyone enjoyed it, which is great as it is a specialised type of international dancing.

“It was great to be back and it felt really special. We’re definitely going to do more gigs in the future now.”

Due to it being a special occasion, there were also a couple of new additions to the band for the evening.

Eddy’s partner, Fiona Barrow, joined for a one-off performance as a violinist.

Both Miss Barrow and Eddy Jay have played music all over the world but were invited to play again locally with the family for the celebration.

Experienced Cardiff caller Pat Adams also led party dances at the beginning of the evening.

“Fiona loved it,” added Mrs Jay. “She wants to do it again. Her violin sang out and she had a lot of positive feedback from everyone there.

“Our son suggested we start the band so we thought it was a good thing to do and it worked out really well.

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