Beggars' Circus

Beggars' Circus


Hard core traditional Celtic. Beggars' Circus is known for energetic live shows and an extensive repertoire of traditional Celtic music spanning some 800 years. The band's multi-instrumentalists perform on a wide range of instruments essential to the genre.


Beggars’ Circus formed in 1998. We began playing together because of a common love for Celtic music and certain ideological similarities which made us compatible. Each of us live on small rural homesteads about an hour apart surrounding the Roanoke / New River Valley area. Tim and Mary Beth are employed as public school teachers in Roanoke Virginia in addition to playing as much music as possible.

We search carefully for tunes and songs that not only appeal to us but that we feel are not well known to most folks. Musical complexity and variety are the most important elements to us as we select compositions. Our primary focus is on the dance music of Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Brittany and Galacia. We also include a fair number of vocal pieces in our performances. We are known for playing long sets and have developed an extensive repertoire covering most of the major tune forms in Celtic music. This has made us a versatile group, able to adapt to any musical setting. We have played a number of contra dances but are primarily a concert band.

We have recorded 3 cds and have a live recording demo available by request.

We have been kept busy over the years playing weddings, concerts, parties and pub gigs which we enjoy as staples in our performance schedule. For the past several years we have appeared at a number of festivals in Virginia and North Carolina and have always found these engagements particularly rewarding. At the Potomac Celtic festival for, instance, we had the opportunity to meet and play in sessions with some outstanding Welsh, Irish and Scottish musicians including Battlefield Band and Fynnon as well as some lesser known but fine up and coming European talent. We have appeared on the same bill with Grada, The McDades, Le Vent du Norde, Kevin Burke and Ged Foley, Cantrip, Enter the Haggis and Gaelic Storm.

In performance, we give a high energy presentation with tune sets interspersed with songs delivered by each member of the band and a few three part a cappella numbers. The tune set arrangements are often built around instrumental changes by Tim and Michelle, providing exciting instrument switching acrobatics and dangerous exits and introductions-will they get back into the tune on time!? With only 3 members, these changes afford interesting variety in timbre, tension and dynamics. People often comment about how much music seems to come from only a trio.

Beggars’ Circus has been featured in a variety of publications from local news papers to Dirty Linen magazine where we have appeared twice in the periodical’s Reel World section. We have received airplay on several radio stations in Virginia, DC and North Carolina. We were interviewed for WVTF’s Studio Virginia program coincidental to the release of our second and third records.

In all, we attempt to provide the most authentic performance of Celtic music that an American group can. We have great respect for the people and traditions from which this music sprang. We value our audiences and the people who give us the opportunity to put our talent to use and wish all good will.

Thanks and cheers.
Beggars’ Circus


We currently have 3 cds available.

Peddling Bedlam- 2002

Moor for the Asking-2004
Stolen Heart-2007

We have received airplay on a number of radio stations in Virginia, Tennessee, Maryland and North Carolina

* * *We have a live recording demo from the 2008 Potomac Celtic Festival available by request.* * *

Set List

We have enough traditional and original specifically Celtic material to play for 4 or 5 hours straight without repeats. We have a core set of about 3 hours worth of tunes that we enjoy and that we draw from in performance. Most of our material is performed as sets of multiple tunes, often with instrument changes at different points.
Songs are often obscure and again choices that we find particularly intriguing. Depending on the gig, sets vary in length but at festivals we are usually asked to perform one hour to one and a half hours.

For Weddings, we typically play a 30 minute prelude period before the ceremony followed by music for the cermony itself; often a processional and recessional. We can provide instrumental backing for a wedding singer if given notice. We often provide bagpipe tunes for any part of the ceremony if desired.