Katrina’s father arrived in England from Ukraine in the 1950s, and became a leading figure in the Ukrainian community in the midlands. This background had a major impact on Katrina, and she brings this influence to the sound of 'Lebedek'. As well as being an ace accordionist, Katrina is a classically trained pianist, and a music teacher with both LLCM and ARCM qualifications. She has been Musical Director for several drama productions, was principal musician for Rose and Castle Morris, and led the ceilidh band “Katscratch”, with her late husband Phil Wood as caller. Katrina also runs a Community Choir in Northampton.
Lydia Ristova Whittaker
Lydia was born in Snowdonia to an English father and a Macedonian mother. At the age of 16, she was selected to represent her country at an international school in British Columbia, the Lester B. Pearson UWC of the Pacific. Combined with her bi-cultural heritage, the experiences in Canada gave her a passion for international understanding and collaboration. Lydia then went on to study the violin at RWCMD in Cardiff, The Newcastle Conservatory in Australia, and finally RNCM in Manchester. She now teaches the instrument in Northamptonshire, and combines that with freelancing as a violinist in all sorts of interesting projects, and enjoys composing and arranging music. Prior to the formation of 'Lebedek', she toured in Europe as the virtuoso fiddler in a production of the Irish dance extravaganza 'Spirit of the Dance'. She also appeared in Patsy Reid’s 'Bridging the Gap' at Celtic Connections in Glasgow in 2008, touring with them in 2010, and collaborated with the American band 'Elephant Revival' in Colorado, in 2009. In addition to being classically trained, Lydia has a love of playing and learning traditional music styles... whether that be Scottish fiddle, Klezmer violin, American Bluegrass or traditional Macedonian!
Shelley van Loen
Shelley studied violin at Trinity College of Music, and when not with 'Lebedek', leads her internationally renowned 'Palm Court Strings', who have recorded two CDs and have numerous radio and TV credits. As a freelance violinist she plays with London’s leading symphony, opera and ballet orchestras, has played in the orchestras of many West End shows, and has worked with artists as diverse as Suede, Cliff Richard and The Doors. She has also worked extensively as a duo with Katrina. Shelley has a Jewish background - her father's family is Dutch and her mother's family Polish – which all contributes to the pan-European approach of 'Lebedek'! Her classical experience adds a quality, richness and depth to the sound, and she also makes the most gorgeous hand-made chocolates!
Simon’s family has lived in Northamptonshire since the 1500s! He started his musical career in the early 1960s as lead guitarist with a 'beat group', and his journey has taken him through jazz/rock, traditional jazz and western swing bands, a period as guitarist with a successful blues band, and playing and singing on several chart hits. In folk circles, he worked as a duo with his younger brother Andrew, playing folk clubs, recording an album together, and supporting such stars as Fairport Convention, Ralph McTell, The Richard Thompson Band and Steeleye Span at major concert venues. He has also played guitar, bass, mandolin, drums, and called dances with ceilidh bands for over 30 years! Simon’s many activities have included being a specialist music producer and presenter with the BBC, and running Victor Sound Services, which installed and operated sound systems at major folk festivals. When not with 'Lebedek', Simon works as a voice-artist, and uses his multi-instrumentalist talents in "The Linda Watkins Band", is a member of the vocal harmony group "The Cuttings Family" and also plays in the occasional acoustic trio "All Strung Out".