Dave Shepherd grew up with traditional music and dance in his native Yorkshire where his father was a dancer with the Grenoside Traditional Sword Dance Team (Dave plays the fiddle that once belonged to Walter Fleetwood, Grenoside’s musician for five decades). He took up the fiddle when he was 12 after his family moved to London and played for morris and country dancing. Later Dave discovered the various European fiddle traditions which led him to see English music and dance in a different light. He is best known as the fiddler in Blowzabella and over the years has developed a distinctive style. Several of Dave’s compositions have become standards both here and in Europe. Dave is well known as a teacher of traditional dance and fiddle in the UK and abroad.
As well as playing in Blowzabella he has played in a duo with Becky Price (Boldwood), currently plays with Belgian accordion player Simon Gielen, and more recently has begun researching the English dance tradition and formed a duo with diatonic accordionist Anna Pack to present dance workshops and play for dancing.
Dave is currently is researching English traditional dance and music and the results of this show a very different dance and music culture to what is generally perceived to be the case in the present day folk revival. He is now presenting a series of workshops in various parts of the country in which he shares the results of his research, particularly in English fiddle music and dance.
Anna Pack discovered her love of English and European traditional dancing as a result of attending one of the many workshop weekends organised by Blowzabella in the 1980s and has been a regular attendee at folk festivals and dance events in the UK and France ever since. It was at the St Chartier festival in central France one year that she decided to take up the diatonic button accordion in order to play dance music.
Anna performed as a dancer and musician with The Chase and Circa Compania, the highlights of which included performances at The Sage Gateshead and the Ham, Sidmouth.
Her interest in dance extends to many other genres including modern jive (which she used to demonstrate at Ceroc classes) and lindy hop. She is also an accomplished player of the recorder, in which she holds an ABRSM diploma, and has performed and recorded with professional early music group Musica Donum Dei.