Genres: World
Decades: 1980s 1990s 2000s


Essentially a UK folk dance band, the Blowzabella repertoire includes a wealth of traditional dance material from northern Europe and France. The band was formed in 1978 by Jon Swayne (Jonathan Rock Phipps Swayne, 26 June 1940, Hereford, England; saxophone/bagpipes), Bill O’Toole (b. Australia; bagpipes/flutes), Chris Gunstone (bouzouki/tapan), Dave Armitage (melodeon/bombarde), and Juan Wijngaard (hurdy gurdy), although the latter was quickly replaced by Sam Palmer. Despite achieving a great deal of success both on the live music circuit and on record, the band was almost as well known for the frequent changes of personnel as their music. In 1987, sole remaining founder member Jon Swayne left, and Jo Fraser (b. Jo-Anne Rachel Newmarch Fraser, 4 December 1960, St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England; saxophone, vocals, whistles, ex-Old Swan Band) joined. In 1989, Fraser changed her name to Jo Freya, as there was an Equity member with the same name. Other members of...

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