Who We Are

Jo Harmer

Jo HarmerPerformer: Jo is a well respected percussive folk dancer and performed with Chequered Flag Appalachian team for over twenty years.

Researcher: Jo and her husband Simon have researched traditional percussive dance both within the UK and Canada. More recently through their membership of the Instep Research Team they have become involved in dancing with and researching step dancers from the south coast, and have been instrumental in reviving social step dancing in the local area.

Teacher: Throughout her teaching career in Portsmouth schools and with Hampshire Music Service, Jo developed folk dance and music materials and led traditional dance based workshops for pupils and staff, including introducing local step dance traditions into school workshops.

She is an established and experienced workshop leader at folk festivals around the country.

Cath Watkins

Cath WatkinsCath plays and teach violin, specialising in folk fiddle. She is particularly involved with English traditional music, and aims to encourage people of all ages to learn and play the music together.

Performer: Cath’s band Jigfoot creates inventive arrangements of traditional English dance tunes, performing for concerts and dances. She also plays with baroque chamber group Quattrio and with singer/songwriter Joe Cunio as botyov1791.

Music leader: Cath leads Southampton Folk Orchestra, a series of workshops to learn, arrange and perform folk tunes that are connected with the local area, and Let’s Try Folk Fiddle, an introductory fiddle group for players of all levels at the Art House in Southampton. She teaches violin to adult beginners and intermediate learners, and players of other styles who would like to play folk.

Folk activist: Cath coordinates a local folk session to explore tradition English dance tunes. Jo and Cath also coordinate another regular session to revive and reinvigorate the tradition of southern step dancing in Hampshire.

Cath organises and plays for monthly folk dance sessions for over 50s at Freemantle Community Centre, and in her spare time dances with Wickham Morris. She is on the organising team for Romsey Beggars Fair, and founded musicians’ cooperative Melting Pot.

Day job: Two days a week she works as an advice worker at City Life Education and Action for Refugees (CLEAR), a small charity that helps asylum seekers and refugees.