Pigtown Fling were a traditional music dance band based in Birmingham. They had their roots in the 1970s in the Grey Cock Folk Club, a folk club in Birmingham with an emphasis on both traditional folk and contemporary political songs, and Banner Theatre, a folk and documentary drama company which extended folk song and recorded actuality into contemporary theatre. The band consisted of Pam Bishop (concertina and guitar), Lorrie McCuaig (fiddle), Kevin Murphy (banjo, guitar and dance caller), John Wrench (melodeon and guitar) and Pete Yates (fiddle, flute and hurdy gurdy). On various occasions in France the band was augmented by Andy Ketchen (guitar), Chester Story (fiddle), Ado Morris (guitar) and Mary Story (vocals).
Passacaille were founded in 1974, when Jacques Bourdon and other dancers from traditional dance ensembles joined with musicians to play for "bals folk", where dancers would demonstrate and teach dances. For several years, Passacaille were in charge of the dance workshop of the famous Festival de Saint-Chartier. The line-up of the band changed over the years; in the 1980s, the main members were Guillaume Hazard (melodeon), Franck Marynower (fiddle, mandolin), Jean-Marie Coulondre (fiddle, viola, cabrette bagpipes), Marie-Claude Coulondre (hurdy-gurdy, melodeon), Caroline Duquesne (bagpipes, melodeon, vocals), Claude Bellier (concertina, melodeon) Yves Dubois (fiddle), Gilbert Dieudonné (hurdy-gurdy) and Pierre Bourdier (melodeon, cabrette). Among the many dancers and singers were Jacques Bourdon, Richard Leblond, Sylvie Baritaud, Jacqueline Contré, Martine Dumet, Dominique Esmelin and Denis Rondel.
How the connection began: in 1975 Jacqueline Contré, in Birmingham after completing her English degree in Paris, and Jean-Marie Coulondre, completing a Masters degree in engineering at Warwick University, both became actively involved as singers in the Grey Cock Folk Club. Jean-Marie, a fiddle player with Passacaille, introduced Jacqueline to the group on returning to Paris. Contacts between the musicians in both countries started, and in 1978 a common interest in Irish traditional music led to a joint visit to the west of Ireland, involving six from France and five from England. The following year saw the first concerts of Passacaille in Birmingham.
Anglo-French trip to Ireland, 1978
Passacaille and Pigtown Fling: traditional dance and folk music in Paris and Birmingham in the 1980s
Pigtown Fling et Passacaille: danse traditionnelle et musique folk à Birmingham et Paris dans les années 1980