Monday, June 06, 2016

Vale Dave Swarbrick

Dave Swarbrick, a fiddler who electrified the British folk tradition as a member of the band Fairport Convention, died on Friday. He was 75.

Dave Swarbrick and Fairport Convention were prime movers in trad-rock, which connected the 1960s ferment of folk-rock and psychedelia to a deep British heritage of storytelling ballads and nimble dance tunes. His fiddle playing had the deliberately rough-hewed sound of rural tradition; his tone could be sweet or scratchy, his phrases songful and melancholy or propulsive and gnarled with ornamental turns and quavers.

He also sang, wrote songs and played viola, mandolin, mandola and guitar.

He was born in New Malden, Surrey, near London, on April 5, 1941. He learned to play fiddle as a child in Yorkshire. In the 1950s, the pianist Beryl Marriott heard him in a skiffle band and invited him to join her traditional Gaelic band, beginning a long association.

By the early 1960s Mr. Swarbrick was being heard on the BBC series “Radio Ballads,” a mixture of oral history and music produced by the songwriter Ewan MacColl; he also recorded with MacColl, Bert Lloyd, Peggy Seeger and other folk musicians. One of his most riveting fiddle feats was his accompaniment to Lloyd singing Jack Orion.

He appeared on seven albums with the Ian Campbell Folk Group in the early 1960s and in 1965 began recording with Martin Carthy, a leader of Britain’s folk revival. Mr. Swarbrick released his first solo album, “Rags, Reels and Airs,” in 1967.

No comments: