By 1846, as much as 20% of California was populated by Irish immigrants looking for gold. They brought their families, their culture, their music and their favorite holidays! A town band such as GRAND ISLE FIRE BRIGADE (GIFB) would have played American favorites such as “Sweet Violets” and Clementine, and then Wearin' o the Green or the Rocky Road to Dublin. In green vests and silly hats, GIFB celebrates the emerald isle and all things in 6/8 time and green beer. Being a small group, and requiring no amplification, GIFB can wander in a big venue and be as close to your audience as you dare. We will keep your guests on the dance floor with traditional polka, schottische, waltz, Irish jigs, and novelty tunes like the, O Danny Boy, and In Heaven there is no Beer and Mrs. Murphy's chowder, and more and more!
Grand Isle Fire Brigade (GIFB) is a 5 piece band modeled after "The Hungry Five" a group that was directed by famous arranger Harry Alford, in the 1930s. The Hungry Five was unusual instrumentation in having 2 clarinets, trumpet, trombone and tuba. The music is rooted in oompah style, but they also did variety shows featuring tunes from Ireland, Spain, Italy,ragtime, Broadway favorites of the 1930's.
Recently we were honored to play a Sikh Indian wedding, and now we've played several! The Sikh tradition is for a brass band to announce the arrival of the groom at the temple. He comes riding a white horse in gold and finery lead by boisterous band and all his dancing relatives. GIFB does baraat! So if you have a special ceremony, don't hesitate to give us a call! We can play Aaj Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai, Balle Balle, Mindi Laga Rakhna and others.
We play Harry Alford's wonderful arrangements as well as bring the fun of oompah to the masses. Five musicians with extensive experience in previous bands formed the group in 2010 and have since played for Oktoberfests in Redding, Elk Grove, Woodland, Grass Valley, Mountain View, Clear Lake and Sacramento.
We typically require no amplification, and being a small group (5) are suitable for small venues, or working along a parade route or event venue. We can easily walk from one location to another and have participated in parades riding a historic fire truck!
Our music would have been typical during the holidays in Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom or even at the turn of the Century in the U.S. If you like what you hear, let us bring a little bit of European style to your next event!
EJ Koford (Clarinet),
Doug Sabine (Clarinet),
Portia Njoku (Tuba),
John Williams (Trumpet),
Bill Hammond (Trombone)