Michael Billington is from Manchester and has been playing music for around 45 years. His first band was Rebec where he played renaissance woodwinds such as recorders and crumhorns.
He also plays with the ceilidh band Maggoty.
Michael also plays Hungarian and English traditional music with the Hungarian singer Ildikó Csige from Debrecen in the east of Hungary. Ildikó and Michael met at the first edition of Góbéfest in 2017 and have, over the last three years, developed an Anglo-Hungarian repertoire comprising traditional songs and tunes from their homelands.
Both musicians are well experienced in their own countries and have played at various venues as a duo including Hull Town Hall (for the 2017 city of culture celebrations), folk clubs, festivals (Gobefest, Manchester 2018 & 2019), schools, workshops and various events for the Hungarian and English communities.
"Yorkshire born soprano Ann Wilkes, came to Manchester to study at the Royal Northern College of Music. She has performed as a classical soloist extensively across the North of England from Liverpool to Hull, and while a student particularly enjoyed performing music by living composers.
Since graduating she has enjoyed expanding her musical horizons through performing with the Manchester International Roots Orchestra, whose music is a unique blend of music from across the globe, and is looking forward to singing with Cobalt Chapel, a psych-folk band this summer. She will be joining Michael Billington on stage at Góbéfest for an exploration of British folk music, with some international instruments!"
Rob Wakefield from Stockport, UK, was introduced to Hungarian music at an early age, learning Bartók on the piano and after watching Muzsikás band play in Budapest. In particular, he fell in love with the music of Gyímes, and have been many times to Gyimesközéplok village to learn this unique style of fiddle from Tímár Viktor – a highly respected veteran player.
After Gobéfest 2018, he was introduced to Titita dance group based in Warrington and joined a small group of Hungarian musicians. He is learning to play Brácsa (three string viola) and Koboz (lute) and has also formed the Guzsalyas band, playing Széki, Dunántuli, Füzesi, Moldvai, Felcsíki and Gyimesi music, primarily for dancing. In addition to fiddle, viola and lute – he also likes to play citera (zither) and tekerő (hurdy-gurdy), and has been playing with both Michael Billington and Ildikó Csige.