COTILLION IS a transatlantic collaboration that performs traditional folk music of both English speaking Canada and the British Isles. A Cotillion is a type of dance that originated in France and was very popular in early 18th Century Britain and the Colonies. Canada is still a member of the Commonwealth and was heavily settled by people from the UK in the 19th and early 20th Centuries. Much of the traditional music of English speaking Canadians will be very familiar to people in the UK. There is a shared repertoire of tunes and songs, with sometimes unique variations found only in Canada. The current repertoire consists of Canadian variants of British Isles folk songs and traditional songs from Canadian history alongside old fiddle tunes played on both sides of the Atlantic. Led by the band’s resident Canadian, Brad McEwen on vocals and cittern, with accompaniment from Fran Wade on fiddle and vocals and Kevin Bown on cello and vocals, this group is based in and around Stroud. In September 2013, they performed at the Burnham on Sea Folk Festival, Somerset.
BRAD MCEWEN is a third generation resident of the former City of Galt (now part of Cambridge) and has always lived within walking distance of the Grand River. He is descended from Irish and Scottish immigrants. He founded the Mill Race Festival of Traditional Folk Music in 1992 and the first festival was held in 1993 and has been continuously at the helm at this volunteer driven event ever since. In 2013, he received the Queen Elizabeth 11 Diamond Jubilee medal. In addition, he is a musician who has performed extensively throughout Ontario and the United Kingdom. With various bands over the years, he has appeared at such Ontario festivals as Summerfolk, Mariposa, Hillside, Canterbury Park in Ingersoll and many others. As part of the band Tethera, he toured in the UK in 2011, performing at the Fylde and Bromyard Folk Festivals as well as various UK folk clubs. As well as being lead vocalist for the band, Brad accompanies himself on the modern version of the Cittern, an instrument with roots going back to Medieval times and before. He divides his time between Ontario and Stroud.
FRAN WADE & KEVIN BOWN have both been working in the English folk scene for many years. They are also members of Commonground a folk band with the distinctive sound of harmony vocals accompanied by concertina, guitar and strings.As part of Grand Union and Flying Clouds they have played on the ceilidh stages of all the major folk festivals in the country, including regular appearances at Sidmouth and Whitby. They have been part of Phoenix for five years, working with Rod Stradling and Martin Brinsford at major folk events and recording with them. Their work with the Scottish Band Dalriada has taken them further afield to festivals in France, Poland and Sardinia. The furthest they have travelled is to a booking is Auckland in New Zealand. With Dalriada they have played at major ceremonial events throughout the UK, perhaps one of the most memorable being an intimate family New Year ceilidh for the Queen and the Royal Family at Sandringham in 2004. They have taught harmony singing through their involvement with the Prince Albert Consort in their home town of Stroud. Fran also played fiddle for Tiger Moth, appearing on stage at WOMAD, and the Big Chill in 2006. They have many years of teaching experience between them so as a festival band they can offer workshops including guitar accompaniment, harmony singing, Sacred Harp and Fran’s experience of running a festival orchestra.