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The Carnival Band are 5 Musical Explorers, 5 voices, 25 instruments, 5 dozen styles of   music and 5 hundred fresh ideas for music-making, combining music from across the  centuries with sounds from around the world in an irreverently joyous mix!

Our cornucopia of instruments includes the historical (shawm, flemish bagpipes) the exotic  ('ud, djembe) and the familiar (electric guitar, double-bass). A Carnival Band performance is a kaleidoscope of instrumental colours, musical influences and moods, sustained by superb musical skill and enlivened with humour.

Why Carnival? " For us Carnival is the universal spirit of celebration which overthrows  convention. It has its roots in the pre-lenten street festivals of Medieval Europe which gave communities license to 'turn the world upside down'. We do just that with our music - we've  invented 'Macedonian Reggae', turned a renaissance chanson into a Piaf-inspired drag act,  paired Noel coward with James Brown, flavoured a traditional English carol with Cajun spice  - the list goes on.

We began life 25 years ago as an offshoot of The Medieval Players theatre company, but  while we have been called 'Henry VIII's Rock 'n Roll Band' our horizons have widened to include music from practically every continent (we're working on Antarctica) and every  century since about 1200AD. We sometimes write our own songs too."

The Carnival Band and Maddy Prior.

Thrown together in 1984 on a ‘let’s see what we come up with’ basis for a Yuletide Radio 2 broadcast. What began as a one-off session in a village hall in Cumbria has endured for over  twenty years and has become something of a tradition in its own right with regular tours and five albums released.

The Carnival band are:


The Carnival Band