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Swing Bands For Weddings: 5 Unmissable Performances:

There’s romance in the air, and your wedding planning is probably hotting up… When putting the wheels in motion for your ceremony and reception, you want entertainment that will match the mood and keep guests talking right through to the taxi home. That’s why swing bands for weddings are such an unbeatable choice.

Curious to learn more? We’d like to show you how an act like ours can greet, accompany and electrify your guests at various points of your special day, from dawn till dusk…

1. Welcoming everyone at the venue

As your guests rock up at the chapel or ceremonial venue, you want them to arrive in style. Decked in our customary black suits, silver ties and fedoras, Silk Street Swing will look the part as we stand outside those chapel doors, playing a triumphant tune on our instruments.

2. Jiving to the confetti and photographs

The actual marriage ritual is quite a hushed affair, so we can stay out of everyone’s way whilst it’s taking place. Yet our sax player, guitarist, drummer and bass virtuoso can linger on the steps of the building. When everyone spills outside, we’ll strike up in celebration. The energy will be high as confetti petals hit the floor, and groups are arranged for a photo by the willow tree.

3. Letting you dine on good vibes

After this, typically, you’ll be heading to a dining setup – either indoors or on a beautiful stretch of grass – for some food. It’s your extra-lucky day, because swing bands for weddings can be chilled, if you want them to be, with a steady beat to underscore the chatter and fork clinks. Let us take over a bandstand, or a corner by the champagne table, to trill a light soundtrack to your meal!

4. Playing for the speech-givers

Silk Street Swing can provide a ripe dose of comedy or exuberance – often within the same breath. Our genre is brash, heraldic and full of pizazz, which tags nicely onto any best man/father of the bride speeches. We can introduce each person with a song, and give them an aural exit worth cheering for.

5. Setting the dance floor on fire…

Now, onto the fast and furious capper to your wedding: the night-long reception! Just show us to the stage, and we’ll bust out our biggest, well-known hits from the swing canon. This entertainment doesn’t get more accomplished than four or five expert musicians, all of whom can bounce off each other, taking a classic party sound to the next level. The first dance; shout-outs to the bride and groom’s family… There’s so much we can arrange before hitting the spotlight.

By hiring a swing band, you’ll be able to revel in the midst of timeless, toe-tapping music. That’s why it only makes sense to deploy us whenever you can! Get your money’s worth with a Silk Street Swing booking, and let us court the A to Z of your wedding schedule.


4 Occasions That Swing Bands For Hire Suit Perfectly:

A tipped hat, a mic chord looped like a lasso… Whatever the quirks of swing music, you can’t deny that a full, toe-tapping band has a lot more than high notes to offer. Your event, aiming for glory, could do so with a twinkling grin by choosing swing bands for hire in the UK.

And yet, although the genre can jive to many occasions, we reckon there are at least four that always fit the bill. Join us for a swift ride through the natural territory of a swing performer, and how we’ll make your day a treat.

1. A landmark anniversary

10 years, 25, even 50 – the annual fawning of a marriage is a beautiful thing, but even more so when there’s a quarter or half-century under your belt.

Few music styles conjure the romance, thrill and enduring energy of a relationship better than swing. It’s perfect for big anniversaries, the kind we look back on like those vivid family photographs in the attic. Older couples, in particular, can shake off the cobwebs and get back to the dancefloor, unable to resist the wild, lovelorn lyrics!

2. That premier awards show

“And now, we move onto the ceremonial part of the evening…” Some guests might be creaking in their chairs by this point, stuffed with food and wine, and (even though they knew what was coming) less than enthused about clapping for their co-workers every few minutes.

But swing bands for hire can break up your corporate awards evening, adding a livewire jolt when it’s needed. Book a short half-time set, then a longer performance after the final gong’s been handed out. If you’re going for a high-class theme, nothing delivers it more than smart, jacketed, horn-blowing musicians belting out the hits.

3. An awesome birthday

Arranging the birthday entertainment for someone who fancies themselves a bit of a debonair? Perfect: they’ll have eyes as wide as the table spread when you unveil a swing band like us, pumped up and ready to finger-click our way to your boy or girl’s heart.

There’s the option, potentially, of getting your lucky so-and-so onstage with the group, taking the microphone for a rendition of ‘My Way.’ Cue guffaws from the crowd – but this is what it’s all about, isn’t it? Celebrating the day of your entry into this world with a sound that truly makes you feel alive…

4. The retirement party of your dreams

We spend so long grafting for our livelihood that the end of it – and, really, the start of a new period in one’s existence – deserves a special commemoration. For retirees, swing bands for hire are an excellent choice, seeing as they’re bright, happy, and able to reach across age divides like no other. The younger members of the audience will be sucked into the spirit of the day. Actually, they’ll see that maturity is worth reaching if this is the soundtrack to it!

So, now that we’ve aired some ideas, we’d love to hear a few from your lips too. As one of the most professional swing bands for hire in the country, Silk Street Swing can deal with anything you throw at us – weddings, funerals, the odder stimulants for a knees-up… It’s all in your hands, which is why you should get in touch, and swing when you’re winning with a cool events plan.


Come Fly With Me: Top Themes For Wedding Swing Bands:

Canapes, bow ties, and a fabled ‘old-fashioned on the rocks’… These are some of the signs you’re in a swinging environment. We have a lot of associations with swing performers: their smartness, respectability, charm and ever-lasting joie de vivre are great for your marital ceremony. Yet, what theme can fit wedding swing bands like a glove, we hear you cry?

Well, the glove in question can look very different, depending on how you use a swing booking. Follow us as we reel off some ace imagery and characteristics for your wedding, where a Sinatra-lover will feel right at home…

Preparing for take-off

For some, the glamour of airline travel has pretty much vanished into thin air since the 1950s and 60s. Back then, stewardesses were the peak of fashion, and pilots were seen as heroes by any kid with a toy plane. Those hats, dresses and uniforms could be swooping to the fore of your wedding plan, as you seek to imitate a premier airport lounge.

Swing music, of course, is all about flying high on restless energy. Aside from that particular hit song, there’s a sense of cool, swaggering grace in any swing setlist, made to back your air hostess dance routine!

A night at the movies

Do you ever watch the Academy Awards? It’s a suave template for your reception. There’s the movie-star look, the lights and the drapes, and (of course) the brass band music to play each person off the stage.

Hire a swing band for a film-themed event, and make your guests feel like A-listers. They can transition between speeches, or soundtrack a screen projection of the happy couples’ photos and home videos. And don’t forget the trimmed, smart look the swing band will bring with them – it’ll draw out your evening’s magisterial qualities.

The roaring twenties

We may consider this sort of music de rigueur, as if it’s always been part of our cultural history. But there was a period when swing acts exploded with freshness, daring and charisma. The formative stage of the genre – that is, the 1920s – also happens to be in vogue with wedding planners, or any mastermind who’s seeking a classy, rip-roaring affair.

With flappers, art deco furnishing and lots of black and gold, you can land a stunning impression with this theme. Get a 1920s swing band to replicate the sensation of the age; with jazzy, toe-tapping tunes to blast out, they’ll get everyone in the mood for some 20s style hedonism!

There are as many varieties of wedding swing bands as there are venues, colours and props. Don’t settle for any of the lesser acts, though – you don’t want a sloppy sound to puncture the atmosphere.

Our own experience as the Silk Street Swing Band has helped us realise just what a wedding audience expects, in terms of diversity and commitment. Call us today for a chat about your booking; if you don’t have a theme, we can suggest a few more, and do whatever it takes to get your wedding entertainment in-tune with your concept…


Don’t Wing It: Book A Swing Band For Your Event:

Your event should be glitzy, but it doesn’t have to be glacial too. The mood should be light-hearted, throwing everyone into the fizz of your entertainment. Choosing the right musical act for the main stage will define the energy of your ‘do’ – imperative for a night that sweeps the guests along in its stride. How best to find a group that the young, old and party-going in-betweeners will appreciate? Book a swing band to discover what time-tested charm can do for your celebrations.

Come fly with us as we drift through the perks of swing music, ensuring your prep ain’t a kick in the head…

Loud, jovial songs

For a high energy performance, most event planners gravitate to rock n’ roll or a pop covers duo with perma-blonde wigs. Contemporary tunes are fine, for some, but the swing genre has been lighting people on fire for 80 years or more, which speaks to how much it can lift our spirits.

It’s hectic and rich, with constant fluctuations in the interplay of brass, percussion, bass and piano. With a sneezing chorus of trombones before them, your guests have no choice but to pay attention, bobbing helplessly to the dancefloor.

It helps that swing tracks are, by and large, extremely happy. They have a free-wheeling attitude that can be tender, cheeky and obnoxious, sometimes all at once. That’s a recipe for a wild atmosphere!

Between-song banter

Book a swing band, and get ready for a bright, black-tied helping of personality on your stage. Classic swing singers, like those jostling chums in the Rat Pack, got by as much on their charisma, jokes and sharp suits as their music ability. Dean Martin was an amazing crooner, for sure, yet his legacy also recalls quips and patter delivered behind a whiskey glass.

While we don’t expect any lesser known performers to be quite so hedonistic, they’ll definitely try and emulate the whip-smart cracks of their idols, making everyone laugh before they launch into a fab rendition of ‘Mac The Knife’ or ‘Me & My Shadow’.

A lick of class and style

What do we picture when we imagine the classic swing music backdrop? A bar, perhaps, in New York, where finely dressed women sip cocktails in feather boas? Or how about an old-fashioned ball, the kind with lashings of gold drapes and silver cufflinks peeking out from a tuxedo sleeve?

After you book a swing band, the cat’s in the bag for an elegant affair. Your guests will be transported back to the 30s, 40s and 50s, carrying themselves with a little more finesse than usual. Big band sounds tend to unleash our suave side: conversation tinkles like two champagne flutes, whilst our heads rear a bit higher, admiring the talent that’s crossed generations to reach us.

In terms of some event functions, it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing… The Silk Street Swing Band can arrive at your venue, unleashing a huge repertoire of songs over a several-hour-long setlist. Our event entertainment is highly sought after in the UK – we’ll put the brash, jazzy touch on your special evening, getting fingers clicking in no time at all!

Contact us if you have any questions, or want to book our swing band right away.


Acoustic Swing: Slick, smooth, sophisticated:

When you mention swing music it tends to conjure up certain images in your head. We don’t often think of acoustic swing. We think of swing bands or big bands. The emphasis is often on the ‘big’ too. We think of something that is spectacular. Something grand – even grandiose – often springs to mind.

Depending on the party or event you are planning, something of that scale might be exactly what you are looking for. You might want a big band sound to match a big occasion.

But big isn’t always better, is it? Something of this scale might not always be appropriate either. For starters, some venues have noise restrictions. Some have decibel limiters. For smaller venues, the logistics of trying to accommodate a large band, with mics, amps and sound systems in tow might not be practical. It could end up being a big headache – especially for the event organiser.

You might want your wedding, party or event to be more of an intimate occasion anyway. Or you might just be planning a smaller gathering. You might want the music at the event to provide an ambient background and backdrop to proceedings. You might not want a full in-your-face live band.

Well, if swing’s your thing, why not consider an acoustic swing band for hire?

Acoustic swing – perfect if swing is your thing

Silk Street Swing is available for hire with a variety of different line-ups. This means it is easy to choose the option that is best suited to your needs for an event.

Hire a Soloist

If you want a sound that is smooth, slick and seductive then there is no better instrument than the saxophone.

The Silk Street solo saxophonist can perform a mix of Latin favourites, cool jazz melodies and acoustic swing. The sound of the sax is sure to create an atmosphere of pure sophistication for your event.

Hire a 2-piece

A 2-piece line-up offers you another great acoustic swing option. A compact duo is ideal to play in small and intimate performance spaces. A saxophone and double bass duo is a great choice of instruments. The Jazz Two can play a blend of swing, soul and subtle background jazz. These are the sounds that are a superb complement for more intimate occasions, such as a wedding reception or a product launch.

Other line-up options

Silk Street Swing really can meet your every need. Yes, if you want big, we can give you BIG! Larger line-up options will give you a swing sound that will fill any room. From full cabaret-style to cosy and intimate, we can do it all.

You choose just how much you want to scale down the sound. A trio, for example, will give an ambience that is ideally suited for when guests are mingling and munching on canapés or sipping champagne.

If you are planning an event then nothing will make it swing like live music does. Acoustic swing is a great choice for a wide variety of occasions, from champagne receptions to parties in restaurants. Get in touch today to find how we can help your event truly swing.


Swing dances to get you on the dancefloor:

Strictly Come Dancing may be over for another year, but we all want to keep dancing. When we talk of swing, we immediately think of swing music, swing bands or the swing era. But what about the dances that accompany swing? After all, the ability of the music to naturally want to get you on your feet and dance is one of the most appealing things about swing. Here is our guide to two of the great swing dances.

Swing Dances – Lindy Hop

The Lindy Hop originated from Harlem, New York City in the 1920s and 1930s. It is a classic partner swing dance. It borrows heavily from the Rhythm Tap and the Charleston. The Lindy Hop features both 6 and 8 count steps.

The beauty of the Lindy Hop is its versatility. It can be quite wild but it can be danced in a more cool and sophisticated style too. Therefore, it can be adapted to suit the mood of the music – and the dancers!

The birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll all but put paid to the original Lindy Hop, but it’s enjoyed a remarkable resurgence in recent years.

The story behind the name of this swing dance is an interesting one. Legend has it that during a 1930s dance marathon, a journalist asked a dancer what the name of the dance he was doing was. The dancer, George ‘Shorty’ Snowden answered, ‘I’m doing the Lindy Hop’   – a reference to Charles Lindbergh’s solo Atlantic flight and the newspaper headline of the day ‘Lindy Hops the Atlantic’. The name ‘Lindy Hop’ just stuck!

Swing Dances – Balboa

It’s fitting that with one major dance emerging from the East Coast that the other should hail from the West Coast. The Balboa swing dance takes its name from the Balboa Peninsula on America’s Pacific coast.

It is a 8 count dance that can be danced with a partner in a closed position – known as ‘Pure Balboa’. Dancers can also break away to perform more flamboyantly. This is known as Bal-Swing. It’s usual for modern Balboa dancers to incorporate elements of Pure Balboa and Bal-Swing into a single routine. Although the Balboa is perfect for fast-tempo music, it is equally suited to slower tunes as well.

Of course, swing dances are nothing without some swing music to dance to! Silk Street Swing are available for hire for any event. They are guaranteed to get guests up on the dancefloor all night. For other Jazz & Swing Band options, check out Silk Street Entertainment.


First Dance Songs: Make your first dance swing!:

Choosing the first dance at your wedding is a big decision to make. It’s one that many couples agonise over. The time-honoured tradition of newly-weds taking to the dancefloor for the first dance is one that most wedding receptions still follow.

The choice of song can be something with specific meaning to the couple in question. It’s usual for the lyrics of the song to be romantic in nature. Lots of people look to celebrities for inspiration, so here are a few examples:

David and Victoria Beckham chose The Starlight Orchestra It Had To Be You. Barack and Michelle Obama went with Stevie Wonder’s You and I. Jay Z and Beyonce plumped for their very own Crazy in Love.

Make your first dance swing

When it comes to setting the right tone for a wedding, you can never go far wrong with swing. The sound has a natural, well, swing to it that seems to make everyone gravitate to the dance floor. And it does so in a way that just exudes class and style. Because of this, swing standards and Rat Pack classics make excellent first dance choices. When people think of the Rat Pack, they think of Frank Sinatra. So here are three of his swinging best:

I’ve Got You Under My Skin 

This Cole Porter tune from 1936 was originally featured in the musical Born to Dance and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song. Of course, it is best known as one of Sinatra’s signature tunes. He first performed it in 1946 and recorded several different versions over the years – including a duet with U2’s Bono!

If you want the perfect dance to fit the tune, it’s quickstep.

Fly Me To The Moon 

Written in 1954, the song began life as In Other Words. Peggy Lee performed the song on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1960 popularising it greatly. She convinced the writers to make the name change. In 1964 Ol’ Blue Eyes stepped in and recorded the song for his seminal album It Might As Well Be Swing, accompanied by the legendary Count Basie Orchestra. Fly Me To The Moon was immortalised further still when the Sinatra version became the first song to be played on the moon itself – on a portable cassette player held by Apollo 11 astronaut, Buzz Aldrin.

Foxtrot is the obvious dance for the tune.

Come Fly With Me 

A song written specifically for Sinatra and featured on his album of the same name released in 1958. It fits the mood of a wedding perfectly with its lyrics promising adventures in exotic locations. It became a concert staple of Sinatra’s for years to come. It’s also been recorded by countless other artists and featured in several films. Again, the foxtrot is its perfect accompaniment.

Of course we could go on and on: Mack the Knife, It Could Be You and more. There are so many!

Silk Street Swing can perform these swing classics and many more at your wedding. For other wedding entertainment options, check out Silk Street Entertainment.

Photo credit: Kate Miller Photography



Swing and Jazz: What is the difference?:

Jazz fanatics and serious musicians aside, a common question that often gets asked is: What is the difference between swing and jazz?  It’s not surprising that the question gets asked so much. Especially for the uninitiated or those new to the scene, things can get quite confusing. There isn’t just jazz. There is Hot Jazz, Trad (or Traditional) Jazz and Dixieland (all essentially the same thing!). Then you have Swing, Big Band, RatPack, BeBop and Modern Jazz. To the untrained ear, all these styles sound vaguely similar. They all have a ‘jazzy feel’. So, what are the differences between swing and jazz?

Differences between swing and jazz

Some people will see swing and jazz as two separate entities. Some people see swing as a sub-genre of jazz. To others, ‘swing’ was just the natural evolution of jazz through the 1920s and 1930s: Jazz Story: Hot Jazz-Swing-Bebop. When you try to explain the differences between the two, you can give a fairly simple answer and a very complicated answer.  That’s because the differences between jazz and swing are essentially cultural as well as musical.

The Origins of Jazz

If that still all sounds a bit confusing, one thing is beyond any doubt. Jazz came before swing. Jazz was born in New Orleans. As with any genre of music, jazz didn’t just appear. It was a hybrid fusion of folk songs and hymn music. It took its cultural roots from the West African ancestry of its initial protagonists. It blended the music of marching bands with ragtime. The form of music emerged at the start of the twentieth century. Its name was coined for the term used for the USA’s southern states – Dixieland.

Typically, the lead instruments in early jazz were the cornet or trumpet, trombone and clarinet. Rhythm and harmony came in the shape of a banjo, tuba or drums. With traditional jazz, the lead instrument plays the main melody and then improvises on it. Meanwhile, the other instruments will offer their own variations of it. This creates the unmistakable sound of jazz. Jazz moved from the streets to the speakeasies and dance halls of the 1920s. Piano and double bass were often added to the developing sound.

Jazz evolves into Swing

Swing naturally evolved from jazz as the 1920s ended as the 1930s began, in part to make jazz more ‘dance floor friendly’ for larger audiences. Because of this, the rhythm section became more important. More emphasis was now being placed on the double bass, drums and piano. The ‘front line’ of a swing band were normally trumpet, clarinet and trombone and the saxophone.

Many swing bands were led by standout individual instrumentalists but the focus with swing music was on the band. As the bands had many members (hence the term ‘big band’) more regimentation was necessary. Whereas jazz musicians very rarely played from written musical scores, swing bands would work from scores and arrangements. The lead instrumentalists would be left to improvise over the support of the band.

Swing became synonymous with dancing, of course. Still, to this day, there are few genres of music that can get a dancefloor full and moving so quickly as swing can. Live swing music makes for perfect party entertainment.

Indeed virtually any event will truly swing to the sound of swing!  From weddings to product launches or office parties, Silk Street Swing is a versatile band that will play both classic swing and modern swing. Make an enquiry today!


Swing When You’re Winning – Winning with Swing!:

Robbie Williams – BRITs Swing Icon?

As British pop icons go there are few (if any) bigger than Robbie Williams. And in the week when ITV1 celebrated Robbie being awarded the BRITs Icon award with a special one-off programme, Brits Icon: Robbie Williams, we thought it would be an opportune moment to look back on the ex-Take That man’s contribution to swing.

There is little doubting Robbie’s credentials for being rewarded with BRITs Icon award, which he will be officially presented with at February’s Brit Awards ceremony. He already has 17 Brit Awards from his time in Take That and his highly successful solo career. He recently also became officially recognised as the most successful British solo artist of all time. In fact, if there’s a record to be had, you can virtually guarantee that Robbie has broken it and has it to his name.

But we are not here to mark the man’s illustrious career, tell his story or pick out his career highlights. You are bound to see much of that elsewhere in the media this week. It will continue until he actually picks the title up in a couple of months’ time. For us, it’s all about the swing.

All music genres have their niches and to some people – the aficionados – these niches are very important. From Thrash Metal to Traditional Jazz, there will be those who devour everything about a musical style. Some even get quite passionate and precious about it all – dance diehards will argue over whether a track is deep enough to be labelled deep house, or progressive enough to be called progressive house.

Bringing swing to the masses

Some might scoff at Robbie Williams and his connection with swing, but his contribution to the enduring popularity of swing is undeniable.

Swing When You’re Winning was his 2001 release of Big Band and Great American Songbook standards. Released in November, in perfect time for Christmas, the album had sold 2 million copies in the UK by the end of the year and spent six weeks at the top of the charts. It went on to sell 7 million copies worldwide.

The album is unashamedly mainstream. Critics might say it was a cynical Christmas release to collar the ‘perfect stocking filler’ market, but its reviews were overwhelmingly positive – despite NME’s claim that the album ‘mistakes celebrity for entertainment, cabaret for class’.

Love him or loathe him, most would agree that Robbie Williams has a decent voice. He can certainly handle a tune and he does so to great effect on this album. The tunes included Mr Bojangles, Ain’t That A Kick In The Head? and Have You Met Miss Jones? The song choices might have been a little safe and obvious, but they are the songs that people want to hear! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

What’s more, It Was A Very Good Year saw a Robbie Williams/Frank Sinatra duet. The original backing track and Sinatra vocal were sampled with Robbie adding his own vocals on top.

These are songs that have enduring appeal. Swing, Big Band and Rat Pack nights were always popular – but when an artist of Robbie Williams’ status gets in on the act, such popularity will only grow.

Swing When You’re Winning certainly brought swing to the masses and to a whole new generation. Robbie followed the album up in 2013 with Swings Both Ways. This again reinforced swing as a perfect form of entertainment.

You could make your party, wedding or corporate event a winning event with swing too! Click here to find out more about Silk Street Swing.

 

 


Deck the halls! The festive swing beckons:

Ho Ho Ho. Merry Christmas. Okay, so maybe we are a little early but that’s because bookings for the festive season have been coming at us like snowballs in a school playground.

If you’re planning your work’s Christmas party, or you’re in charge of your very own festive do, then look no further than Silk Street Swing to provide the Christmas party tunes with festive swing! But please, book early as December is filling up faster than Santa’s sleigh!

Think ‘All I want for Christmas’, think ‘Baby it’s cold outside’, think ‘I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus’. Christmas and swing music go hand in hand and we’ll eat our Santa hats if they don’t get your friends or colleagues moving on the dance floor.

SO, don’t miss out, get your entertainment booked up so that you’re not left with a face redder than Rudolph’s nose come party-day (last festive pun, we promise).

LOOKING TO BOOK A BAND FOR YOUR CHRISTMAS PARTY?

You can check out our full repertoire (excluding festive swing numbers) or take a look at the full band in action. Crucially, unlike many acts we’re able to scale up or down the size of our band to suit your occasion. i.e. we can have as many of Santa’s little helpers as the day requires – from a solo Santa all the way up to a five-piece Christmas Swing bonanza!


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