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Leeds Folk Fiddle Group will entertain you!

Leeds Folk Fiddle Group rehearse every Thursday at Yorkshire College of Music and Drama and our current members are Ian, Eilis, Julia, Cerys, Polly, Colin, Paul, Malcolm, Steve T, Steve Ca, Steve Co, Rob, Frank, Kamil, Angela, Deborah and Jill. 

The group is coached by Leeds violin teacher, principal of Leeds Violin School and fiddle player Iveta Hlavenkova.

If you would like to join Leeds Folk Fiddle Group please get in touch via Contact Us form.

Most players are between Grade 5 and 8 standard. We have simplified parts available so if you are a lower grade you will still be able to join. You would need to be able to read music though as we learn most of the tunes from sheet music and then memorize them. If you are a higher grade we have more complicated parts available too!

Leeds Folk Fiddle Group consist mainly of violinist but there are also three guitarists, melodeon, flute, percussion and a double bass player. We will be happy to meet other fellow players of any instruments who would enjoy playing with us. 

Welcome to Leeds Folk Fiddle Group website! Thanks for coming by – we are always happy to get a visit from long-time fans and new friends. Check out our performance schedule, artist bios, and current news to get the scoop.

Leeds Folk Fiddle Group have been working hard on the latest performance, and invite you to join us for this journey. Come, and be entertained. We love to meet our audience, so be sure to introduce yourselves afterward!

Contact Leeds Folk Fiddle Group here.

Leeds Folk Fiddle Group has more than 100 tunes in the repertoire. We play Irish, English and Scottish jigs, reels, hornpipes, slow ballads and airs, American fiddle music, country, Appalachian, Texas style, rags, bluegrass, Klezmer music, Gypsy, Sevdah and tangos. Our favourites are:


     Current repertoire

  • Liberty & Soldiers' Joy
  • Jolie Blond (cajun)
  • Old Joe Clark
  • Cripple Creek
  • Rocky Road to Dublin
  • Napoleon Crossing the Alps & The Pullet
  • Country Dance
  • The Rights of Man
  • Will Ye No Come Back
  • The Steam Boat & College Hornpipe & Barwick Green
  • Devil among the Tailors
  • Blackberry Blossom
  • The Keel Row
  • The Wind that Shakes the Barley
  • Carolan's Air
  • Skye Boat Song
  • The Girl I Left behind Me
  • Dublin Polka
  • Rakes of Mallow
  • Oats, Beans and Peas
  • The Fairy Dance
  • King of the Fairies
  • Brochan Lom (Scottish)
  • The Bonny Lass o'Fyvie (Scottish)
  • Sweet Father (Klezmer)
  • The Plane Tree (the mystery tune)

Our approach

Our goal and our passion has been to work hard, entertain our fans, and just plain have fun. Members of Leeds Folk Fiddle Group are excited to be performing as often as possible and hope to see you soon at a show – take a look at our calendar, or just drop us a line.

You can also find Leeds Folk Fiddle Group on Facebook here.

Leeds Folk Fiddle Group is happy to perform at local events, festivals and support charities in Leeds or surrounding areas of West Yorkshire so please get in touch if you have an offer for us. We tend to get booked up well in advance so if you have a date for our 2017/2018 diary do get in touch now to ensure we don't get booked by someone else!


Iveta Hlavenkova - leader of LFFG

Iveta has been the leader of Leeds Folk Fiddle Group for the past 4 years. She was born in the Czech Republic and studied violin at Otakar Sevcik's School of Music with Petr Mechura who influenced her musical journey by his amazing style and strict but friendly approach. Iveta came to the UK in 2008 to complete her university studies and decided to settle in Leeds. After many years of successful teaching, she opened Leeds Violin School in January 2015 and works with a team of teachers to deliver the best violin tuition in the area. Leeds Violin School offers lessons in classical music and prepares students for ABRSM exams but Iveta also specializes in various folk genres. Her favourite styles are American fiddle music, Irish folk and Klezmer. Aside of running Leeds Violin School and coaching Leeds Folk Fiddle Group, Iveta established Children's Violin Club and she also offers concert opportunities and regular workshops to violinists and fiddle players.

Jillian Ridgwell - violin

Jillian is originally from Hampshire but moved to Leeds a few years ago. She is a speech and language therapist and works in Bradford. Jillian learnt the violin in school and has played with string groups and orchestras in London and Leeds.  She is getting back into playing regularly after a long break. She is enjoying playing folk which she hasn't really tried before.

Neil Garratt - guitar

Neil has lived in Leeds all his life & played guitar and mandolin for nearly twenty years. He has been in a few bands playing folk country rock bluegrass and at moment Neil's main band is Dalebilly. Neil has played at various festivals as far away as Cornwall and Scotland. 

'I am always looking to learn something new and that's why I have joined Leeds folk Fiddle Group'.

You can follow Neil's musical interests on Twitter.

Rob Baldwin - violin

After briefly learning to play the violin as a child (and hating it!) Rob picked the violin up again in 2008, drawn back by an interest in traditional Irish music and the music of the band the Dirty Three. 

Rob mostly plays folk music on the violin, but is interested in all types of music. His favourite fiddle players are Dave Swarbrick, Sam Sweeney, Jon Boden and Warren Ellis.

Rob is a member of first violin section of Leeds Folk Fiddle Group.

Steve Taylor - guitar

Steve is a retired university lecturer in Computing, originally from Bolton but living in Leeds since university. He has been playing guitar since he was 15 and his original influences were 60’s band such as the Shadows, Buddy Holly and the Beatles but discovered folk music when entering university in 1968. He played in several bands during this time but guitar took a back seat for several years whilst work and children happened. He started playing again seriously in the early 1990s by attending guitar classes at the Leeds College of Music where he soon formed a covers duo with another student playing various songs from across the years (but mainly 60’s and 70’s) and playing in pubs around Leeds. Steve has a keen interest in musicals and has played in the orchestra for in many shows at the old Civic Theatre including Jesus Christ Superstar, Annie, Bugsy and Summer Holiday and more recently Peter Pan and Joseph at the Carriageworks Theatre. In 2005 he played at the Edinburgh Fringe with a musical Penny Lane based around over 20 Beatles songs which was well received. A chance meeting with Iveta meant the interest in folk music was revived and he has since been playing and performing in local clubs. Steve joined the fiddle group at its inception but left due to other commitments after the first year. He has since rejoined and is looking forward to continuing to play a varied mix of types of music with the group.

Frank Jones - guitar

Frank was born and raised in Liverpool. When he left school he decided he didn't want to work in the jam butty mines so instead went off to Yorkshire in the early 1980s to study Engineering and he's lived on the East side of the Pennines ever since. After a successful career in the IT industry Frank decided to take a break from work in 2013 to pursue his long-standing leisure interests of running, walking and most importantly, making music!

Ian Wilson - violin

Ian is an experienced member of first violin section. He played the violin as a child and reached grade 5. After a long break he decided to pick the violin up again about three years ago and started working through ABRSM exams again reaching distinctions. Ian is an experienced player and has been playing in Leeds Folk Fiddle Group from its very beginning. Ian is a very active musician, aside of LFFG he plays in the first violin section of Yorkshire Late Starters Strings, sings in Leeds based jazz choir Echo, attends violin & fiddle workshops and performs at student violin concerts as a soloist and in duets. 

Julie Zhu - violin

Julie is a member of first violin section of Leeds Folk Fiddle Group. Julie is a Phd student at Leeds University. She likes playing violin while busy doing her degree in Engineering. She has been learning to play the violin for about two years and is now working on her ABRSM Grade 4. 

Julie achieved distinctions in all her previous grades. She enjoys exploring different music styles including classical and folk. She has played at a few concerts both as a soloist and a member of various groups. Julie also plays in Yorkshire Late Starters Strings orchestra.

Eleanor Massie - violin

Eleanor is an experienced member of first violin section of Leeds Folk Fiddle Group. She has recently moved to Leeds to start work after graduating from the University of Aberdeen. Eleanor has played violin for 16 years and was a member of the Ythan Fiddlers in Aberdeenshire. This group played mainly Scottish and Irish music strongly influenced by the northeast of Scotland style. Eleanor enjoys playing classical music and has achieved grade 6 violin. She is enjoying city life of Leeds after recently spending time living on the isle of Lewis and Shetland Islands.

Gillian Grundy - violin

Mainly self taught with no classical training  aided and inspired by some amazing folk fiddlers and tutors. These include: Julian Taylor of The Palatine Fiddlers who play mainly traditional English music with a smattering of Irish, Scottish, American and Swedish and a favourite tutor of mine Mike Vass who composes and teaches Shetland tunes. Folk funk fusion experimental folk including Japanese with Joe Broughton who teaches innovative folk and many others.

I played fiddle with The Soya Band for dance group Leap to your Feet, who performed Old Time American, Appalachian, French and Breton, Morris and N W Clog dances and also sang and played contemporary and traditional folk songs with band The Moments.

I am half of the duo Cadance and recently performed as support act for Greg Russell and Cieran Algar nominees for BBC Two Folk Awards Best Young Folk Duo and Josephine a folk blues singer for the charity Love Music, Hate Racism. We also performed at 2015 Ribble Valley Jazz Festival.

Recently moved to Leeds and joined the Leeds Folk Fiddle Group and am enjoying playing with some wonderful musicians.

Julia Vincent - violin

Originally from France, I moved to Leeds 3 years ago for work, after having spent a couple of years in Germany working for the same company. I started learning the violin from scratch as an adult in September 2014 with Leeds Violin School. Found of all types of music but particularly Celtic music and traditional folk, I recently decided to join Leeds Fiddle Group, encouraged by my teacher Iveta, although I just reached ABRSM Grade 1 in summer 2015. Leeds Folk Fiddle Group opened new personal and musical dimensions to me. The challenge is big but I'm growing more and more found of my fiddle whilst strongly helped by my teachers Iveta and John Cummins as well as all the fantastic Folk Fiddle Group musicians to catch up with the rest of the group.

Alex Horswood - violin

Alex lives in Haworth with her collie dog Crumble. She has been playing the fiddle for some time and mostly enjoys Irish music. Alex is learning to play in the country Clare regional style which she feels very passionate about. Her favourite players are Martin Hayes and Paddy Canny. Alex finds playing the music very enjoyable and relaxing and also enjoys all the disciplines around the playing. Alex mostly plays the harmony parts in Leeds Folk Fiddle Group. Among her other hobbies are walking greyhounds from a rescue centre, horse riding ad gardening.

Jane Sestini - violin

Jane has played the violin since she was 7. She learnt classically but for the last 10 years has played mainly folk music. She's played in bands, folk sessions and orchestras in both London and Leeds. She also plays the piano and enjoys walking and badminton. 

Louise Turner - double bass

Originally from Bolton, Louise played the double bass from around age eight years old. Her family play a lot of music, mainly Irish folk and classical. After taking a break from playing for a few years Louise is back playing and learning new styles and improvisational techniques with the Leeds Folk Fiddle Group. Louise is delighted to be able to accompany the violinists and join the rhythmic section of the group. Louise is also a Housing Liaison Officer for Connect Housing in Leeds and enjoys reading, running, painting, arts and crafts, and getting involved in community projects in her spare time.