Beggars' Circus formed in 1998 through an introduction of the current members by a mutual acquaintance. We began playing together because of a common love for Celtic music and certain ideological similarities which made us compatible. I don't think when we started out that any of us predicted the level of success which we have been able to achieve working together as a band. Things just seemed to fall into place. That's not to say we have not put a great deal of effort into our musical development. Each of us live on small rural homesteads about an hour or so apart so the logistics of getting together to practice have always been a consideration. Tim and Mary Beth are public school teachers in Roanoke Virginia in addition to playing as much music as possible.
We search carefully for tunes and songs that not only appeal to us but that we feel are not well known to most folks. Musical complexity and variety are the most important elements to us as we select compositions. We tend toward the more tragic and macabre of the songs in the Celtic genre, but deliver most with a suitable sense of humor. Of course we do include a number of happier pieces for the faint of heart. Our primary focus is on the dance music of Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Brittany and Galacia. We are known for playing long sets without repeats and have developed an extensive repertoire covering most of the major tune forms in Celtic music. This has made us a versatile group, able to adapt to any musical setting. We have played a number of contra dances but are primarily a concert band.
In 2000, we booked some studio time in order to record a demo for promoting the band. These sessions evolved into our first cd when we realized that we might as well go ahead and release the material to see how things would go. We've been very proud of our two cds and have had a respectable record of sales. We are currently working on a third recording and hope to have it out by the fall of 2007.
We have been kept busy over the years playing weddings, concerts, parties and pub gigs which we enjoy as staples in our performance schedule. For the past several years we have appeared at a number of festivals in Virginia and North Carolina and have always found these engagements particularly rewarding. At the Potomac Celtic festival in particular, we had the opportunity to meet and play in sessions with some outstanding Welsh, Irish and Scottish musicians including Battlefield Band and Fynnon as well as some lesser known but fine up and coming European talent.
In performance, we give a high energy presentation with tune sets interspersed with songs delivered by each member of the band and a few three part a cappella numbers. The tune set arrangements are often built around instrumental changes by Tim and Michelle, providing exciting instrument switching acrobatics and dangerous exits and introductions-will they get back into the tune on time!? With only 3 members, these changes afford interesting variety in timbre, tension and dynamics. People often comment about how much music seems to come from only a trio.
Beggars' Circus has been featured in a variety of publications from local news papers to Dirty Linen magazine where we have appeared twice in the periodical's Reel World section. We have received airplay on several radio stations in Virginia, DC and North Carolina. We were interviewed for WVTF's Studio Virginia program coincidental to the release of our second record.
In all, we attempt to provide the most authentic performance of Celtic music that an American group can. We have great respect for the people and traditions from which this music sprang. We value our audiences and the people who give us the opportunity to put our talent to use and wish all good will. We appreciate the chance to communicate our particulars and intentions with those who are consuming this writing and hope to perform for you.