“Musicians Mark Chadwick and Jeremy Cunningham met in The Eagle, a pub in Brighton,
in 1988. Discovering that they had a fair bit in common, including a left wing view
of politics, they decided to form a band. They soon added Charlie Heather on drums
and Jon Sevink on fiddle and, after a short while, Alan Miles to play harmonica,
guitar and the mandolin.
The band released two EPs on their own Hag label in 1989, which led to a contract
with Musidisc. They released their first album, A Weapon Called the Word, in 1990
which is one of the few albums known to have gone gold without ever charting. After
its release, Miles quit the band and was quickly replaced by Simon Friend and that
Levellers line-up of Mark, Jeremy, Jon, Simon and Charlie continues to this day (with
Matt Savage later joining on keyboards). The Levellers were discovered that year
by Derek Green (the man responsible for signing the Sex Pistols) and signed to independent
label China Records.
The following year, they released Levelling The Land which was
a massive success, entering the charts at number 14 and eventually going platinum.
The single One Way, despite not bothering the Top 40, became a live favourite for
years to come. Levelling The Land is oftencited as an all time classic amongst people
who were students or travellers in the early 1990s.”
Today the levellers are enjoyed by huge numbers of fans all over the world, run their
own music festival and have many albums and live tours under their belts. They are
a musical success story but they are much more than this, their songs have a habit
of capturing the mood of the moment and speaking for the common people.
Unlike many great bands they have kept their feet on the ground, retaining their
human touch, keeping ego’s at bay, and by natural and genuine generosity of spirit
making their fans feel like part of a huge family where everyone good natured is
welcome and valued, old and young alike.
Frank is a huge fan of the Levellers, and owes his love for the fiddle and inspiration
to songs from the levellers like ‘sell out’, ‘maid of the river’ and ‘battle of the
bean field. It is true to say that Aes Dana Druids are all huge levellers fans, and
we often play their songs around out camp fires.
Sunday 25th November 2012
Frank the Druid appears on stage playing violin with the Levellers!
Frank & lucky local musician friends gather before the gig on the steps of Southampton
Guildhall, were we excited?..oh yes!
Backstage, Mark and Jon take us through our parts.
The gig begins!!!
...and frighteningly soon, it’s time for ‘The Recruiting Sergeant and our cue to
go on-stage to play alongside our heroes
“It has been a remarkable year for Aes Dana, we have had to overcome many obstacles
in order to stay true in our service to the old traditions, yet the Goddess has really
We have enjoyed meeting so many generous and wonderful people;
The archaeologists at the Mesolithic dig in Amesbury, we have been involved in supporting
the Amesbury Museum, we have shared in Amesbury community life especially enjoying
the Carnival and crazy Stone-Age games, we were honoured to be the first Druids to
hold circle at Britain's oldest sacred site, we were proud to help represent Amesbury
Culture at her Jubilee celebrations in the grounds of Salisbury Cathedral, and to
be presented to her Majesty the Queen, we were able to host most honourable guests
the Aymara ‘Amauta’ high priest and high priestess from Tiwanaku Bolivia and to share
ceremony at Stonehenge with them, and we have had olympiad fun alongside the wider
community including local Amesbury scouts, army, artists, and all manner of wonderful
Playing with The Levellers, was for me personally, right up there as one of the best
ever experiences of the year! I know that my musician friends and I would all like
to say a massive and sincere thanks to them for being the generous warm good hearted
people that they so clearly are”