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The William Small Small Orchestra


The William Small Small Orchestra performed at Costa Del Folk Mallorca and were a huge success – please click on the home page to view all future Costa Del Folk Festivals.


In a late addition to the line-up for Mallorca we’re delighted to have with us the William Small Small Orchestra who will be playing for a couple of the daily ceilidhs. And no, it’s not a misprint. They are called the William Small Small Orchestra.

The band has been put together by our resident compere, the “Grandfather of Folk” Mike Harding who explains: “The William Small Small Orchestra was a spoof band created by me and some mates back in the ‘60s.  We wrote letters to the papers claiming we were old men who had seen the orchestra playing in parks and pavilions and at tea dances and wondered what had happened.  We kept this up for a few weeks and then noticed that complete strangers who weren’t in on the joke were claiming that they too had seen the band back in the 1930’s and 40’s – quite weird. I then discovered a blue plaque on a wall in Helmsley where a bloke called William Small actually lived.”

Mike revived the band a few month ago to play a few tunes to warm up for the main acts appearing at the First Sunday Folk nights in Settle, near where he lives.

“Things just grew from there, from playing to welcome the audience in to playing for ceilidhs and concerts,” he explains, “Now we’re playing for Ceilidhs all around the Yorkshire Dales.”

The line-up for the band is Mike on banjo and mandolin, (and the occasional song) Chris Dyson (of Roisin Ban) on fiddle, Sam Bracken on octave mandolin and guitar, Elaine Bracken on flute and Andrew Service on what Mike describes as a complex melodeon “that is actually devil’s work”

“On some occasions there are nine of us,” says Mike, “with 2 extra  fiddles, guitar  and bodhran. But for Mallorca we’ll be a five piece – loud enough though.”

Caller with the band is Michelle Holding, who will also be singing at the festival with her musical partner, Bonz. “We like her because she is great with people, enjoys her work and can deck any bloke that gets out of order.” adds Mike. The William Small Small Orchestra are one of three ceilidh bands at the Costa del Folk, Mallorca, the others being Roisin Ban and The Monster Ceilidh Band.