They’re back! Two years after playing the 2015 Saturday night Ceilidh, Chilli Jam return: two years older, two years tighter, and two years hairier. Wellington’s premier (well, only) contra dance band, they have been playing contra dances and ceilidhs since around 2003. Their membership is fluid – many musicians have passed through Chilli Jam’s ranks, though two of the original members remain – and eclectic. On Saturday night we will be dancing to tunes from the USA, Canada, Ireland, Scotland, France – and Wellington.
Chilli Jam are:
Bernard Wells (flute, guitar, piano), once New Zealand’s foremost recorder virtuoso, now run gloriously to seed in the wilds of Khandallah.
Mark Howell (hammer dulcimer, guitar, mandolin), a gentle soul who enjoys playing tunes from around the world in the Kapiti sun.
Jonathan Berkahn (accordion, piano, whistle), a respectable organist led astray by the irresistible lure of the accordion.
James McNamara (fiddle) is a fine musician who moonlights as classical scholar. Now (for a couple of years at least) at Victoria University, we are delighted to welcome him back into the fold.
Gillian Gillies (fiddle) hails ambiguously from somewhere between Thunder Bay, Ontario, and Auckland. We discovered her at Wellyfest a couple of years ago, and we’re not letting her go.
Kevin McLoughlin (guitar) brings his experience playing with various bands around the South Island, notably Shiner and the Pioneer Pog ‘n’ Scroggin Bush Band.
Noel Armstrong will be calling. He’s a hard taskmaster. Rest? Rest is for the weak!