Clarty Cloot Ceilidh Band
About the Clarty Cloot Ceilidh Band, Scottish Borders
Jo teaching a group of dancers how to do the Dashing White Sergeant

The original 'Clarty Cloot Ceilidh Band' was formed around 1996 by a group of Scottish Borders musicians and friends. Clarty Cloot was the unusual name selected at the time. At least its memorable !


What's in a name?


"Clarty cloot" means "dirty cloth" in the Scots tongue.


It is also the name of a dance which represents the milkmaids wringing-out the 'clarty cloot' which is used for cleaning the cow's udder before milking.


Who's in the band?


The band has the distinctive sound of fiddles and flute with very rhythmic guitar backing and produces a big sound.


We always have a dance caller to lead the dancing, so you are guaranteed a memorable dancing experience too.


Currently there are four musicians playing in the Clarty Cloot Band, but over the years others have been involved before moving on, so a huge thanks to them.


Here is the current line-up:






Ian - fiddle

Ian took up the fiddle in Shetland when he found himself with a lot of spare time and a borrowed fiddle. He has never returned the fiddle and has less spare time now. He is a regular musician at several sessions across the Borders and North Northumberland, frequently cycling there and back. He is also a key member of the Border Shetland Fiddle group.

Carly - fiddle

Carly is a graduate from the Newcastle University Folk and Traditional Music Degree and was a finalist in the Radio 2 Young Folk Award 2004. As well as a long association with many other Scottish and Borders musicians, she has performed all over the world with the band Real Time, The Monster Ceilidh Band and has recently recorded as a duo, with Graeme Armstrong. She currently teaches violin in Northumberland, Newcastle, Edinburgh and the Borders.

Martin - flute

Martin started out on the guitar but couldn't get the embouchure right. A massive repository of tunes, including a grand collection of his own compositions, Martin is at the centre of the band's repertoire. He too plays in a wide range of traditional sessions across the Borders and North Northumberland and beyond. He has been recorded as part of the Border Tunesmiths group and published in Matt Seattle's 'Airs for Pairs' vol 2.

Rhythm and Fill

Liz - guitar and mandolin

Liz's rhythmic and driving approach to dance tunes is what keeps the rest of the band in time. Jazz chords and progressions are part of the style. Liz also plays piano for the Border Shetland Fiddlers, plus banjo and mandolin in a variety of other groups and bands. She has been the main organiser of The Small Hall Band and The Border Gaitherin Festival for many years and in 2016 was inducted into the Scots Traditional Music 'Hall of Fame' for services to the community.

Calling the Tune

A band's caller is essential to the enjoyment of both the dancers and the musicians. We have two very experienced callers who work with us and one of them will be at your event to teach the dances, organise the sets, and keep you and your guests on your feet! They will also make sure that any requests in advance for new dances or special items for the programme can be included.