F YOU want to celebrate like Wills and Kate, call upon Xtatic, who performed in Trafalgar Square during the betrothal of Prince William to Kate Middleton. More than 100,000 people partied hard to their music —including London Mayor Boris Johnson. Although your guest list will doubtless be somewhat smaller than that of the Royal couple, Xtatic promises to send a line-up of talented artists who, when they are not performing at functions, are sought-after recording and session musicians for the stars.
Xtatic’s manager Sarah Balfour describes it as a “musician’s band”, with no miming, no karaoke and no bizarre costumes — just great music-makers.
Led by bassist and composer Paul Carmichael, the band — which can be booked in formats from six to 14 musicians — performs in a variety of musical styles. As well as rock, soul, Motown and jazz, the repertoire includes traditional Jewish and Israeli. Xtatic is also prepared to travel for weddings abroad and has entertained in Israel, Spain and Portugal.
The days when numbers such as Oh How We Danced and Al Jolson tearjerkers were the best-loved song at wedding parties are long gone. Today’s wedding music is louder, livelier and bang up to date.
At The Hit Squad, owner Jezz Baker says his team of professional DJs offers everything from rock classics to current chart favourites, all spun against a spectacular light show background.
“The entertainment is as important as having icing on the wedding cake,” he remarks. The Hit Squad has a team of hand-picked DJs, comic entertainers and magicians.
Covering all parts of London as well as Dorset, Hampshire and the Home Counties, the company also offers novelties such as banners, streamers, poppers, balloons and sparklers, glow-sticks and even flashing sets of false teeth.
The Hit Squad also offers to provide a full range of wedding services, including photographers, accessories for stag and hen parties, luxury cars and toastmasters and can point you in the direction of caterers, bar supplies and venues.
A klezmer band can create a haimishe atmosphere with “Jewish soul music” — the perfect blend of tradition and fun.
One of the top klezmer groups is Klezmania, featuring Chris Haigh (fiddle), Philip Clouts (piano) and Alex Keen (double bass). Their repertoire covers a broad range of styles including the classic Israeli hora and Romanian folk music. The lively, ecstatic music evokes both the spontaneous verve of Eastern European Jewish village weddings and the jazzy and sophisticated Yiddish-speaking community of New York. The band can be augmented by other instruments such as the clarinet, drums, guitar and a singer. Mr Haigh was not brought up in a Jewish musical background, but he finds klezmer invigorating and possessing a “world of memories.”
At dinner, members of Klezmania are prepared to play around the tables, serenading guests with klezmer, gypsy and romantic tunes performed with a fiddle and an accordion. They can also cool the atmosphere with mellow jazz and Latin numbers, while between the courses, a designated expert can lead your guests through traditional dances such the hora, line dances, tray dances, bottle dances and handkerchief dancing.
For those whose families hail from Scotland or Ireland, Klezmania also offers Jewish-Scottish and Jewish-Irish wedding music and dancing to give a true Caledonian lift to the occasion.