Juicy Gossip: Imogen O’Rourke talks music, mince pies and the mandocello.

ceilidh 1 ruff ceilidh for ceilidh article

Juice will be playing at the RUFF Ceilidh tonight to celebrate a fantastic year of dancing!

Tell us about the history of the band and where Juice is from. I believe it has been a bit of a family affair?

It was indeed a family affair; long before my time! It was originally set up by Gil and Jenny KilBride and was formerly known as ‘Juice of the Barley’. Their three young (at the time!) sons Bernard, Daniel and Gerard joined and eventually took over in their own right. They are all very much grown up and established as professional musicians these days and have branched out with projects of their own, but Bernard remains the driving force as the founder member.

Why did you join Juice?

There was an opening for a flautist in Juice when the amazing and much missed Jonathon Shorland, talented player of all-things-wind departed for Devon, leaving a huge gap in the band which needed filling. That’s where I came in.

Which musical traditions or artists have influenced Juice’s style? Can we see any Welsh pride coming through?

First and foremost, of course, was the influence of Gil and Jenny KilBride but we live in a modern age and the band has soaked up all sorts of musical flavours over the years from traditional Brettagne, Shetland, Scottish, Irish and, of course, Welsh, but it’s also picked up some pop, rock and funk on the way too! Juice has had a lot of different members over the last thirty years and they’ve all left their mark in some way.

Introduce us to the current members of Juice and to all your instruments. Have all the band members got different personalities?

Bernard KilBride – fiddle. The big boss man.

Imogen O’Rourke – flute. That’s me. The cute, funny one.

Dean Ryan – Double Bass. He’s been playing with the band for at least 20 years and is trusty side-kick to Bernard.

Daniel James – mandocello. A relatively recent addition to the band. He’s a hard working, conscientious and altogether excellent bloke. He also runs his own folk music radio show on Blaenavon FM!

Sam Mabbet – melodeon. The newest (and by far the youngest) bright new talent on the scene. We’re all doing our best to keep up with him.

Dave Parsons – caller. Without him, the dance floor would be in total chaos. He tells all the dancers what to do and when to do it.

What’s been the biggest highlight while you’ve been in the band?

Getting free beer at the RUFF ceilidh. No, only joking. The highlight is playing together. It’s exciting and exhilarating.

Would you like to see more folk music played in mainstream media or would you prefer it to stay as pop’s lesser-known, rebellious sibling?

I’d love to hear more of it. More = better!

Have the band been through any tough times?

All bands go through tough times but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, so they say.

 What have Juice got planned for the future?

Juice tends to take life, gigs and opportunities as they come along. Who knows what the future will hold!

What would you say to encourage more young people to try ceilidh dancing?

I would say, “go to the RUFF Ceilidhs and get stuck in!”


Festive Fun: Folk Cardiff Christmas Quiz!

1.Slade or Wizzard?

Sorry, I live on planet flute. I don’t know which is which.

 2. Mince pies or Christmas pudding?

Mmmm… Mince pies. My mum’s ones.

3.Charades or cards?

Neither. I’d rather play my flute.

4. Sprouts or no sprouts?


5. Strictly Come Dancing or Downton Abbey?

Neither thanks.


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