Sharpen the Sickle

Sharpen the Sickle: Folk with a hint of swing






Sharpen the Sickle is a three-piece band performing an exciting mix of traditional and contemporary tunes and songs. A refreshing change to the run-of-the-mill barn-dance / ceilidh bands and definitely not for the more doctrinaire traditionalists, Sickle’s members have been playing at village halls and fêtes throughout East Anglia for more than twenty-five years.

Whether it’s a traditional hornpipe or jig, driving folk-rock medley or a take on something more contemporary, Sharpen the Sickle has wide appeal and delivers genuine family entertainment.

With two experienced callers we can tailor our dances to match any audience’s needs, help things run smoothly and make sure that everyone has fun!

We are available for dances, parties, weddings, birthdays, fêtes, student balls, barbeques, corporate entertainment or any other celebration. We are also more than happy to perform to concert audiences but we can't promise that everyone will be able to remain seated!

Colin Clegg


Cesar comes from La Coruna, of English General Sir John Moore's fame, in the north western region of Galicia, noted for its Celtic and bagpipe flavoured music. He cut his teeth as a musician in the local rock and function bands and moved to Madrid in 1989, where he studied at Escuela de Musica Creativa. After moving to London in the nineties he played in jazz, pop, soukous and folk bands and had the good fortune of playing a few gigs for "Big Jig", flautist Sarah Allen's (and Chris Thompson's) band before she joined "Flook". He relocated to Norwich in 2001 and since then has worked with local bands "The Philip Shamino Quartet" and "Mooncoin". He is currently with "The Ben Weston Trio" as well as doing a Foundation Degree in Music Practice at City College Norwich.


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Jan Pitman

Jan Pitman

Flute, Whistle, Saxophone, Bodhran

My first steps along the road to musical enlightenment began with the Northumbrian small-pipes. Alas, I soon discovered my mistake. The Cambridgeshire (UK) heavy rock scene was surprisingly unprepared for the pipes’ rather iffy ‘f-ish’ tuning - the lilting cry of the curlew was out of place in a fen village where many of the inhabitants sported webbed feet.

A semi-professional interest in psychedelia soon led me in another direction. As quality sound generators were rather expensive at the time I decided a saxophone would do the job nicely.

Perfectly reasonable you may think, however, once again I was mislead. Having intended purely to ‘parp’ upon the said horn in a frenzied and avant-garde manner, I found myself listening to frightfully clever jazz musicians (whom, it goes without saying, I did not understand at all). Bitten by the bug, I discarded melody and practised endless cycles of scales and chord changes, becoming a creature of mathematics instead of art.

Horrified by what I had become I threw my saxophone into a waiting bog and listened exclusively to Cajun, Cumbia and Tex-Mex for the best part of 10 years.

Fortunately, salvation was at hand. When my darling daughter was but 2 years old I was reaching for an implement with which to chastise her when, apparently by chance, my hand fell upon an old Generation ‘D’ whistle lying on Aunty Betty’s china cabinet. Rapidly acquiring the folk musician’s desire to spend large amounts of money on old tat this heirloom was soon discarded in favour of an extraordinarily expensive hand-made whistle. The rest is, as they say, history (and as is so often the case, a fairly inconsequential history at that).

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Julian Blackmore

Julian Blackmore

Guitar, Mandolin, occasional Northumbrian Smallpipes, sometimes Caller

A potentially sparkling career as a concert violinist was permanently blighted when at the age of 12 I first heard the Beatles and Rolling Stones. After that the violin was rapidly abandoned in favour of a guitar. Early aspirations to become a teenage rock avatar foundered in a truly dreadful Western Canadian band which ended-up being called Reign of Terror, but that was only after I’d left so I can’t be held entirely responsible.

Despite this unpromising start, the muso tram-tracks had been well and truly gouged into my psyche and after a long break I took-up the guitar again. In the vain hope of meeting lots of women I performed in a number of folk-cum-bluegrass bands (yes, bluegrass, Dr. Tutu; the awful truth must be acknowledged!) including Medicine Hat and Level-Headed Predilection. From there it was almost inevitable that awed by his wonderful bass lines, I should move on to playing rumpty-tumpty music in ceilidh bands with Colin. The first was Cockleshell, led by Les Wallace. When Les withdrew from active music for a while to become a man of the cloth (this is all true, I swear!), together with Susan Woods & the late and much-missed Jon Leff, Colin & I formed Straight Furrow and its ‘sit in the pub’ counterpart, Brass Neck.

Following another break (which seem to be a recurring theme in my life) Jan & I helped found Ruth Frazer’s band, Fezziwig. From this emerged Sharpen the Sickle

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