Spiro (band)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Spiro band.jpg
Band photo from 2010
Background information
Origin Bristol, England
Genres Contemporary acoustic, instrumental, minimalist, dance, folk
Years active 1993 (1993)–present
Labels Real World Records
Website www.spiromusic.com
Members Jane Harbour, Alex Vann, Jason Sparkes, Jon Hunt

Spiro is an instrumental musical group based in Bristol, England. They emerged from the Bristol session scene in 1993, first playing with each other (and others) at The Robin Hood public house, on St. Michael's Hill, in regular open sessions run by landlord and landlady, Simon and Sally Pyner, and soon settling on a line-up which remains unchanged to this day. They released three albums under the name The Famous Five (The Famous Five, 1993, Wasp With Horn, also 1993 and Lost in Fishponds, 1994, the first two on cassette only, the last being released on CD). The first cassette did not include Jon Hunt, but instead included Dave Thorogood on Uilleann and Scottish bagpipes and Noel Russell on Bodhran (it is possible that this is a mis-spelling of Bristolian percussionist, Neil Russell, ex- of Skin the Peeler).

Their first album under the name Spiro, Pole Star (1997), saw a development of their interest in fusing minimalist classical influences with the traditional music of the North of England. In 2009 they signed to UK label Real World Records, since when they have released three albums, Lightbox (2009), Kaleidophonica (2012) and Welcome Joy and Welcome Sorrow (2015) as well as a mini-album, The Vapourer (2013), with live recordings by the group and Moog versions of two of their compositions by Portishead's Adrian Utley.


  • Jane Harbour (violin, viola; 1993 to present)
  • Alex Vann (mandolin; 1993 to present)
  • Jason Sparkes (accordion; 1993 to present)
  • Jon Hunt (acoustic guitar, cello; 1993 to present)

When the group was named Famous Five it also included the following musicians in its first incarnation:

  • Dave Thorogood (Uilleann and Scottish bagpipes; 1993)
  • Noel Russell (Bodhran; 1993)


  • The Famous Five (recorded as 'The Famous Five') (privately-released cassette, 1993)
  • Wasp With Horn (recorded as 'The Famous Five') (privately-released cassette, 1993)
  • Lost in Fishponds (recorded as 'The Famous Five') (CD, Uncle, 1994)
  • Pole Star (Uncle, 1997)
  • Lightbox (Real World Records, 2009)
  • Kaleidophonica (Real World Records, 2012)
  • The Vapourer (with Adrian Utley, Real World Records, 2013)
  • Welcome Joy and Welcome Sorrow (Real World Records, 2015)