Rebec Music


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Rebec were formed in the early 1970s by Bob Cross and John Senior who wrote their own songs in the renaissance style using guitars, recorders and renaissance flute. In 1975 Mike Billington joined forces with Bob and there ensued some fifteen years collaboration during which the duo performed at folk clubs, concerts, theatre, festivals, TV and radio. The sound was to become augmented by violin and ‘cello and later, scored in six parts for strings/recorders, voice & guitar. The influence for the songs and instrumentation was deeply rooted in the England of the 16th and 17th centuries and the band were booked for the York Early Music Festival and also for civil war re-enactment events.

Rebec performed from 1975 to 1990 with various line ups but the central core was to remain Bob and Mike. Violinists and ‘cellists came and went but a stable line up emerged with the arrival of Anne Wride and Bob and Anne were later to marry. Her classical training was a great benefit to the arrangements of the material and her skill in mastering violin, viola da gamba as well as keyboards and woodwinds were an undoubted asset. Rebec were to play many gigs and festivals with this lineup and eventually were offered a recording deal with Plant Life Records. However, by that time the impetus of the band was waning and Bob, Mike and Anne decided to call it a day and go their separate ways.

Rebec’s live appearances came predominantly from the folk clubs of the North West and Cheshire but they were also seen at festivals, concerts, university fresher’s events and also, occasionally, in theatre. Pehaps the band’s finest hour was being invited to represent England, along with Kathryn Tickell, at the 1990 International Folk Festival held in Budapest, Hungary. The lineup for this version of the band was Bob Cross, Mike Billington, Anne Cross and Paul Hickman. Rebec also did many TV and radio appearances.

Bob and Anne went on to play Cheshire music in a duo called THE CHESHIRE WAITS. Anne now plays with the early music groub PIVA. Mike had been part of the inaugural line up of the ceilidh band MADCAPand he currently plays with the duo CORVUS the Joe Beard band RADNOR and the new ceilidh band MAGGOTY

In 2010, Bob and Mike were recollecting the good old days and decided to make the album that eluded them back in the 1980s. The fact that Bob lives in New Zealand and Mike in England did not deter them and the album Ayres that meads and pastures fill was started in Manchester during the Easter of 2010. Many hours of work followed with sessions musicians brought in to add violin, ‘cello and clarinet and the re-recording of certain passages both in England and New Zealand. The album will be released in late 2013.