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Chameleons

geckoesband@gmail.com

Last updated: 09.07.2012
 

About Geckoes

In 2011 Geckoes celebrated 25 years of playing together

...although members of the band had been playing together informally for even longer. The band evolved from the famous weekly English music sessions which began at Eynsham in the late 1970s, and through an involvement with Oxford's lively border team, Rogue Morris. What started as an ad hoc collection of musicians eventually coalesced into a regular band which by 1986 (we think!) had adopted the name Geckoes.

The first official Geckoes line-up consisted of Caroline Ritson (fiddle), Dave Parry (melodeon), Jon Moore (electric guitar) and Andy Cheyne (bass), with Keith Chandler (caller and percussion). Andy Turner (concertina) was added to the band's line-up in 1991, and the band's debut recording, Geckoblaster, was released the following year.

By this time, Jon Moore was increasingly busy with other bands such as Edward 2 and Tiger Moth, and while he continued to play when available, a number of other musicians joined us on an occasional basis: chiefly Heather Horsley, Andy Lavery and John Neilsen. John Keston-Hole took up regular electric guitar duties from 1993-1998, and this incarnation of the band was captured on our first CD release, Art Gecko.

Then, on John's departure guitar duties were taken up by Tom Miller, who also added keyboards to the band's musical palette. Tom played on the CD Red Horse, and this remains the current line-up.

Geckoes and Chameleons
Since the mid-1990s the band has operated under two monikers: the Geckoes name is reserved for the full band, usually with a sound engineer, while smaller permutations operate as Chameleons.

 

Geckoes - Cecil Sharp House Oct 2009

Band members

Caroline ButlerCaroline Butler - fiddle
Caroline has been closely involved with the folk song and dance scene in Oxford since the late 1970s. She was singer and fiddle-player with early '80s "rogue folk" band Jumpleads, along with Dave Townsend and guitarist Jon Moore - one of the other original members of Geckoes. She currently sings and plays with seventeenth-century specialists, the Oxford Waits, and sings in West Gallery choir, the Christminster Singers. She was a founder member of Rogue Morris, and helped to kick-start the long-running Oxfolk ceilidhs. Caroline is also an experienced caller, a role which she often fulfils with Chameleons.

Besides her musical interests, Caroline is a talented artist, currently working on a series of Green Man paintings. See examples of her work at www.carolineritson.co.uk

 

Andy TurnerAndy Turner - anglo-concertina
In the 1980s Andy played for dances with the Oyster Band, and with Chris Wood in Polkabilly. Today he sings and plays with Oxford-based concert band Magpie Lane, is in a duo with Bampton fiddler Mat Green, and is a member of the Christminster Singers. Andy has composed several tunes played by Geckoes, including Gradgrind's Fancy, A Boy's Best Friend and Friday's Child.

More details on the Andy Turner website

 

Andy CheyneAndy Cheyne - bass guitar, acoustic guitar, mandolin, fiddle
The band's multi-instrumentalist. As a morris dancer and musician he had a long association with Ducklington, before joining Berkshire Bedlam and Kirtlington; he is also a huge fan of genuine Argentinian tango. His sensitive guitar arrangements were heard to great effect in a song partnership with Michelle Soinne, while he also played bass in the Jim and Sylvia Barnes band. A prolific composer of often rather tricky tunes, including a number in the Geckoes repertoire - for example the London Schottische, Miss Jessica Marshall, and Tom and Dulcie and Chocolate and Bananas.

 

Tom MillerTom Miller - electric guitar, keyboards
We first got to know Tom as an enthusiastic dancer at Geckoes ceilidhs, and for a long time were unaware of his instrumental skills. Fortunately this was put right at around the same time as John Keston-Hole decided to leave the band, and Tom became the natural replacement. Since then Tom has depped on guitar with both the Hosepipe Band and the Woodpecker Band, and now also plays mandolin with recently-formed 'Peckers spin-off, Skelter.

 

Matt QuinnMatt Quinn - melodeon
Matt is a young and very talented musician who will be joining us for gigs from August 2012. Matt recently completed the BMus in Traditional Music at Newcastle University. The son of an influential box-player from the 1970s new wave of English Country Dance bands, he is making quite a name for himself in his own right - as a solo performer, and in numerous ensembles including The Mighty Quinns (a duo with his dad Dan Quinn), Dogan Mehmet's Deerhunters (now Dogan & the Boombox Karavan), and the ceilidh band The New Slide.

More info at www.mattquinnmusic.co.uk

 

Dave ParryDave Parry - melodeon

It is with great sadness that we have to announce that our melodeon-player Dave Parry, a founder member of the band, passed away on 30th March 2012, some 15 months after having been diagnosed with cancer of the brain. We shall miss Dave not just as a great musician but, more importantly, as a wonderful friend.

Read obituaries and tributes to Dave

 

 

To book Geckoes for your dance or festival contact:

Andy Turner      Tel. 01235 811757     email geckoesband@gmail.com