The York Waits


The York Waits take their name from the ancient city band of York, the earliest evidence for which we find in 14th century records. The band is known to have been in continuous existence for at least five hundred years until abolition in 1836.

A concert attraction since 1977, the present York Waits are celebrated for recreating both the music and appearance of their forebears. They have revived the band as it was in its heyday in the 16th century, playing a wide repertoire of period European music as well as their own arrangements of popular dance and ballad tunes. Like their predecessors they play upon a noyse of shawms, ancestors of the oboe-bassoon family, and characteristic instruments of waits before 1600. They also play cornett, saggbut, and curtal, flutes, recorders great and small, crumhorns, bagpipes, hurdy-gurdies, lute and cittern.

By creating a replica band of waits, not only in their instruments and costumes, but also in their performing style, The York Waits have attempted to remove the music from the rarefied atmosphere of the concert hall and return it to the wider audience for whom it was created. They often play outdoors, and on the move - as the ancient city musicians did. The York Waits also give regular concerts throughout Britain for festivals, music societies, schools and private functions. They accompany dancers and choirs, hold workshops and period dances and have appeared in stage productions in York, London, Copenhagen and Bruges. The Waits have enlivened many national celebrations, including festivities for Richard III at Bosworth Field, Elizabeth I at Tilbury Fort and Henry VIII at Hampton Court Palace where they have been his Royal wind band. They have also performed on TV and Radio and were featured in Richard Baker‚s Comparing Notes series for the BBC.

For further information visit

Albums on Beautiful Jo Records:
Yule Riding (BEJOCD-46)
Fortune My Foe (BEJOCD-48)

Copyright © 1996/2005 Beautiful Jo Records