HUDDERSFIELD folk group The Demons Barbers have been taking China by storm.
The band have just returned from performing at the Yangtze River Spring Arts Festival at Wuhan City.
They were invited by the city’s department of culture after being recommended by the Morris Ring – a British association for Morris dancers.
The idea for having a traditional English folk music at the festival came from Li Lu, a Chinese woman who used to work for the department of culture and is now director of the Anglo Independent School in Bournemouth.
She regularly brings Chinese students to Britain on exchange visits and, after a visit to a folk festival, told her former bosses it would be a good idea to have British folk artists on show at the Yangtze festival.
The Demon Barbers spent 10 days in Wuhan City and Beijing and wowed the Chinese audience, who are not used to live music performances.
Damien Barber, the band’s singer from Keighley, said: “We went down really well but we were a new thing I think, because they don’t have a lot of live music.
“It’s more dancers and singers performing to recorded backing tracks. So we had problems getting a PA and equipment for a live show.”
The band – who recently won Best Live Act 2009 title at the BBC Folk Awards in London – also features violinist Bryony Griffith and melodeon player Will Hampson, both from Skelmanthorpe, plus Bryony’s brother Ben Griffith, who drums in the band and lives at Clayton West.
Bassist Lee Sykes completes the musical line-up, but the band are also accompanied by six highly-skilled traditional dancers, including David Hall from Kirkheaton.
The Demon Barbers have built a strong reputation after forming eight years ago and are being booked for increasingly high-profile gigs.
After returning from China, they went straight to perform at the Mayor of London’s St George’s Day celebrations on Saturday .
Damien said: “We do get around a lot. China was a brilliant experience. We are looking at the idea of getting Chinese artists over here but I suspect we couldn’t compete with the hospitality they gave us.
“They took us on trips and for great meals out. It was like a 10-day holiday!”
The Demon Barbers plan to keep playing gigs and have just release a six-track EP called Plus 24DB.
Bryony and Will are also planning to record a duo album and will perform at Shepley Spring Festival in May.
For more about the band, visit www.thedemonbarbers.com