Dave Swarbrick tour and Passing the Baton

“In my younger days the then scene was blessed with the like of Joe Boyd. Helen has picked up where Joe left off.” Dave Swarbrick

Listen to Helen Meissner chatting to Paul Mansell about how Dave Swarbrick came to be our Patron, and how I ended up organising and promoting a 17 date tour for him and how Folkstock Arts Foundation came about, by clicking here

Mercury Dave Swarbrick Folkstock(r)

 

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Lovely interview from Emma Hartley with Dave Swarbrick , can be read here in full :

http://theglamourcave.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/dave-swarbrick-on-sandy-denny-australia.html

 

24th May 2013

Folkstock Arts Foundation, the new Hertfordshire based community interest company specifically set up to aid the musicians coming through on the current folk, acoustic and roots revival is thrilled to reveal that Folk composer, producer and world renowned fiddle virtuoso icon, Dave Swarbrick, has announced that he is happy to be their Patron.

Dave Swarbrick, or Swarb as he is affectionately known, has been credited with the heralding of the ‘second folk revival’ in 1968 when he started playing with Fairport Convention. His fiddle playing is regarded as being largely responsible for the then new sound and direction of Fairport Convention and he has been described by Ashley Hutchings as ‘the most influential [British] fiddle player bar none’ and his style has been copied or developed by almost every British, and many World folk violin players that have followed him.

Dave’s input is usually credited with leading them to produce their seminal album Liege and Lief (1969) which initiated the electric folk movement. This, and his subsequent career, helped create greater interest in British traditional music and was highly influential within mainstream rock. After 1970 he emerged as Fairport Convention’s leading figure and guided the band through a series of important albums until he left in 1979. Since then he has played in a series of smaller, acoustic units such as Whippersnapper and Lazarus and engaged in solo projects which have maintained a massive output of recordings, a significant profile and have made a major contribution to the interpretation of traditional British music.

It was as a session musician that Swarbrick was called in by Joe Boyd the manager of Fairport Convention, in 1969, originally to session with the band. Tracks worked on included Si Tu Dois Partir, which gained chart success, their celebrated cover of the Richard Thompson-penned track “Cajun Woman” and to balance this, Fairport had decided to play a traditional song ‘A Sailor’s Life’.The result was an eleven minute mini-epic that appeared on the 1969 album Unhalfbricking and which marked out a new direction for the band.

Subsequently, Swarbrick was asked to contribute to what became the group’s most important album, (1969). His fiddle style was essential to the new sound and direction of the band, most marked on the medley of four jigs and reels that Swarbrick arranged for the album and which were to become an essential part of almost every subsequent Fairport performance. Swarbrick joined the band full-time, stimulated by performing traditional music in a rock context. His greater maturity, knowledge of folk song, reputation and personality meant that he soon emerged as the leading force in the band and continued to be so for the next decade, encouraging the band to bring in Dave Pegg. However, he was already beginning to suffer the hearing problems that would dog the rest of his career.

Despite being almost deaf and having being rather famously proclaimed dead in 1999, Dave is working as hard as ever. The highly complimentary obituary in the Daily Telegraph in 1999, about which Swarb quipped that he was reassured by the positive nature of the content and added that it wasn’t the first time he had died in Coventry, caused a surge of publicity and the one of the national papers ran a middle page spread titled ‘ Dalai Lama prays for Swarb’. Evidence would indicate that this was so ! Dave continues to compose, perform and produce from his home studio in Coventry, working ceaselessly, capitalising on the ( sometimes frustrating!) wonders of modern technology, with a variety of musicians across the world. His strength, passion and vigour having returned after his double lung transplant 9 years ago, and he is now having a renaissance of activity.

Dave frequently performs solo, is technically unsigned, releasing under his own label and is famously independent. Swarb tours across the world and is currently booked for South African and Canada.

He also tours annually in the UK every Autumn with Martin Carthy. They are also performing on the Sunday of the Cambridge Folk Festival this year.

Swarbrick is proud of his work with Canadian reggae performer Jason Wilson and his band for whom he is working on an exciting modern Red Red Rose (Burns)/ No Woman, No Cry ( Bob Marley) arrangement and touring with later in the year.

Swarbrick’s highly acclaimed album “Raison d’être” was released in July 2010. He has just completed this year a collection of his compositions recorded by Duncan Wood, entitled SWARBTRICKS, “a collection of new melodies” which is also out now.

Dave’s unparalleled career has garnered a number of Awards :

In 2003, he was awarded a ‘Gold Badge’ by the English Folk and Dance Society and the ‘Gold Badge of Merit’ by the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters. In 2004 he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the BBC 2 Folk Awards

At the 2006 BBC 2 Folk Awards he shared an award with current and past Fairport Convention members when they received an award for their seminal album Liege & Lief which was voted ‘Most Influential Folk Album of All Time’ by Radio 2 listeners.

At the 2007 awards Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick won the ‘Best Duo’ Award.

At the 2012 Fatea Magazine awards Dave Swarbrick was awarded The Life Time Achievement Award.

In March 2013 Dave Swarbrick was inducted into the Coventry Music Hall of Fame.

“ When Helen Meissner approached me to be Patron, I was struck by the energy and commitment she was freely offering to musicians in the genres which are dear to my heart. As the hands of time march on, I am increasingly aware of the new blood coming in to folk, roots and acoustic music and am very keen to support, in some small way, the activities which are planned for musicians involved with Folkstock Arts Foundation. It seems very organised and well thought through and I am excited to encourage the current resurgence of interest in all aspects of folk music. There is a raft of younger musicians coming forward, for which the Foundation is providing much needed support; providing the tools to help them market themselves more effectively and gain a greater audience. This is what most independent musicians need and the range of good gig opportunities, festivals, master classes and mentoring which the foundation provides are as vital as they are enjoyable.  This is going to be fun.”

We at Folkstock Arts Foundation feel Swarb is the perfect role model for our musicians collective. At 72, Dave Swarbrick is the living embodiment of dogged determination, prodigious output and has created a niche for himself as a highly influential world class musical talent, which continues to inspire millions across the globe.

“Dave Swarbrick and I might seem like an unlikely alliance on the face of it, but we have 86 mutual friends on facebook so it was in evitable our paths would cross sooner or later.

Dave is a character who does not suffer fools gladly and he is mercurial and quick witted.

While I was with him, at his home recently, he was explaining how he composes and promptly started to compose a gig especially for me. I realised having made an ‘ interested’ comment about how lively it was, that I should shut up and just watch history in the making. About half an hour later, he played me, via the  Sibelius software on his computer, ‘Helen’s gig ‘ and that moment will stay with me forevever.

I feel very priviledged and humbled to have been assimilated into David’s plans for the future and there are some superb arrangements being put into place for next year !” says Helen

“ A true artist is not one who is inspired, but who inspires others.”

And in Dave we have struck gold.

So one of those projects was The Passing the Baton EP, and the other was the 17 date tour featuring Said the Maiden as tour support and 21 other acts showcasing at Dave’s gigs around the country.
Here is the Passing the Baton EP which is available digitally – we sold out of the cds.

 

David Swarbrick is giving YOU a present for HIS 73rd birthday !
http://folkstockrecords.bandcamp.com/album/passing-the-baton-2

Swarb Passing the Baton Disc artwork

Thank you to Kev Boyd for the wonderful photo which we have used on all the promotional material.

Dave Swarbrick is patron of the Folkstock Arts Foundation and this release comes about through an initiative of theirs, where artists were invited to submit tracks and a lucky few would have Dave Swarbrick make a fiddle contribution to them, passing the baton from his generation to the next. By coincidence, Dave Swarbrick also happens to be a Fatea Lifetime Achievement Award holder and three of the four artists that he’s contributed to have appeared on the Fatea Showcase Sessions, so I was always going to be really interested in this release and I guess I should sort of declare an interest.
The things I really love about “Passing The Baton” is how diverse the songs are. There’s none that you wouldn’t call folk, but they are all so different and therefore Swarbs contribution is also very different, highlighting what a sympathetic musician he is and why he’s considered one of the musicians of his generation.
First up is Blue Pig Orchestra’s “Gallows Hill”, A tale about witchcraft, greed and hanging, it’s more up-tempo than you might imagine with the subject matter. Here the fiddle supports the narrative by delivering a sense of urgency as the song drives towards dramatic climax.

Whilst, Kelly Oliver’s “Grandpa Was A Stoker” is a much more personal song, one that’s easy to relate to as you imagine similar sentiment that may have come from a similar relative, though maybe not so well expressed. Here the fiddle really show it’s most delicate side, adding touches and flourishes to bring a depth to a passage and to help direct the mood.

John Farndon’s “Peace In My Heart” which is the most political song on the EP and emphasises folk as a platform for campaigning for social justice and fairness. It’s a track that really shows how empathetic the fiddle is, giving weight to the heartstrings being tugged at, fuelling the passion behind the lyrics.

 


“Simply love this latest interview with Swarb by Nick Dent- Robinson in Penny Black Music. Here’s a snippet : Funny, blunt yet charming, Dave “Swarb” Swarbrick is one of the most engaging folk musicians of his time. At 73 he may creak and croak a bit from time to time, but he shows no sign of fading away. Yet fifteen years ago Swarb’s obituary appeared in ‘The Daily Telegraph’. This was a big shock to his fans and quite a surprise to Swarb himself!

The former Fairport Convention fiddler and folk-rock co-founder was recovering from a chest infection in hospital in Coventry – “That’s not the only time I’ve died in Coventry,” Swarb laughs – when he read the premature obituary. “It took my breath away. Though after all my chest ailments that didn’t need much. At the time I did feel quite ill, so they weren’t that far out. But I got far more attention from dying than I ever did from playing, and I don’t know if I’d ever have expected to get an obit at all really. It was so complimentary though. I thought it was great. It didn’t faze me. In fact I enjoyed it so much that I made photocopies and started signing them ‘RIP Dave Swarbrick’ and selling them at gigs for £1 – after all how often do you get a chance to buy a signed obituary?
Click here to read the full interviewClick here to read the full interview

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5th April, Caerphilly Workmen’s Hall, Wales

6th April, Foundry Folk, Stamford
10th April, The Globe, Glossop
11th April, Cambridge Folk Club
12th April, The Village Hall Great Massingham
13th The MAC, Maldon
17th April, Shrewsbury’s Theatre Severn
19th April, Wallingford’s Corn Exchange
24th April, South Street Arts, Reading
25th April, The Musician, Leicester

26th April, Assembly Rooms, Derby ( cancelled due to Fire )

2nd May, Bridport’s Electric Palace

3rd May, Sturminster Newton’s Exchange
4th May, Bristol’s Colston Hall
15th May, Key Theatre, Peterborough
16th May, The Limelight, Aylesbury ( Gawkey supporting)
24th May, Public Halls, Harpenden.

Swarb ‘Passing the Baton’ tour ends on a high note Swarb ‘Passing the Baton’ tour ends on a high note
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When Dave Swarbrick asked Helen Meissner to put on a tour for him, her first reaction was to suggest he found someone more experienced to undertake the task “ I knew nothing about touring and was planning my first festival Folkstock, which I also knew nothing about ! We had made contact on social media and clicked. Eventually I took on the challenge and we are now fast approaching the last two dates on the 17 date tour which started on 5th April, Swarb’s 73rd birthday”.
One of the unusual elements of the tour was that Swarb wanted to showcase fresh new talent rather than stick to tried and tested names. “He could have had anyone supporting him, but he wanted to share the spotlight with people who were almost quaking at the thought of meeting him !” “We also decided to invite singer songwriters to submit tracks which Swarb would embellish with a flourish or two of his fiddle. This project, Passing the Baton, was a great success and the resultant 4 track EP sells well at gigs and online via our Folkstock bandcamp. One of the perks of being selected – other than having Swarb guest at no cost on your recording which the artists are free to release on their subsequent recordings – was that they could perform their track live with Swarb on a date from the tour”.
The two remaining dates at Peterborough’s Key Theatre on 15th May and Harpenden’s Public Halls on 24th May have Kelly Oliver (fresh from her visit to record a session and interview at Bob Harris’s WBBC broadcasting company on Friday) and John Farndon a singer who has recently started performing at his own Cauldron events in North London, guesting with Swarb ! John started his ‘mixed media’ Cauldon events at his local pub in north London last year which turned out to be a popular blend of poetry, music and soul enriching culture. “‘Passing the Baton’ is a brilliant, groundbreaking initiative, so it’s such a thrill to have my song selected for it – and better still to have the legendary Dave Swarbrick drop in a beautiful violin line so richly unique it just couldn’t be anyone else. Heartfelt thanks to both Dave and to Helen Meissner’s wonderful Folkstock organization” John Farndon
Swarb requested that his tour support were an act who were working closely with Helen’s Folkstock Arts Foundation. Said the Maiden are an all girl harmony trio who’s piece de resistance is their acapella traditional arrangements. The Herts based group, who were in the finals of the Isambard Folk Award, recently had the gig of their life opening for famous band Clannad (winners of the lifetime achievement award at the recent BBC Folk Awards). They were understandably thrilled to be asked to join Swarb on tour.

The girls so impressed Swarb, that he asked Hannah, Jess and Kathy to learn The Quiet Joys of Brotherhood which he performs with them during his set each evening. Swarb says that “it’s the best version I’ve ever heard”, and Said the Maiden also do a popular version of Crazy Man Michael in their set with a “chorus to make an angel envious” according to a reviewer on the tour. Gareth Calway from the Eastern Daily Press goes on to remark “The distinct individual voices are subtly matched and, in between spellbinding harmonies, they inject the folk tradition with girlish laughter”.
The evening itself is a slight departure from a standard concert too. Dave himself has been getting rave reviews for his banter on stage, as this is an opportunity for the audience to ask Swarb questions about his life, and he intertwines the answers into often hilarious shaggy dog stories, which suggest that if the fiddling career hadn’t worked out, Plan B might have been a stand up comedian.
The final distinguishing feature of this tour is that an act with links to the local area is given the chance to open the show. Ninebarrow, Sunjay Brayne, little Rach, Catrin O’Neill, Lazibyrd, Kim Lowings, Tilly Dalglish, Sam Kelly Trio, Kara J Richards, John Jones, Reg Meuross, Jess Vincent, Fay Brotherhood, and Natalie Lake are among those who have graced the stage so far. Peterborough’s Key Theatre has a talented singer songwriter, Alice Macy showcasing and Harpenden has invited ‘local’ Russian folk singer Daria Kulesh, who is a tireless supporter of all things folk from her home in Kings Langley, to perform her charity single ( in aid of DebRA) Butterflies in addition to Kelly Oliver, who is also performing a few tracks in on her own in the first half. Swarb is being joined by polar explorer/ celebrated guitarist Jake Wilson at the Harpenden gig, having accompanied on a few of the dates so far.
“Almost at the end of the tour – it’s been such an enriching experience. All the acts have watched each other, including Swarb who sits in the audience, and the atmosphere back stage has been so supportive. Feel almost sad that it is ending! Who knows where the time goes?”

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Lynn News review of Great Massingham dateLynn News review of Great Massingham date

Gt Massingham review norwich blog p1

Gt Massingham review norwich blog p1

http://norwichblog.com/2014/04/14/folkspot-radio-presents-an-evening-with-swarb-great-massingham-12-april-2014″>Norwich Blog review of Great Massingham datehttp://norwichblog.com/2014/04/14/folkspot-radio-presents-an-evening-with-swarb-great-massingham-12-april-2014″>Norwich Blog review of Great Massingham date
Dates and Venues for the tour – click here and then choose the Gigs tab on the left panel Dates and Venues for the tour – click hereand then choose the Gigs tab on the left panel
Local Secrets review of Cambridge dateLocal Secrets review of Cambridge date
Cambridge review swarbCambridge review p2 swarb
https://soundcloud.com/folkstock-records/bbc-hw-sunjay-and-kelly https://soundcloud.com/folkstock-records/bbc-hw-sunjay-and-kelly

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Harpenden Halls Unicorn mag

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Swarb Star Danny Farragher piece

When I was asked to choose one act from an audition involving14 performances to open ahead of Said the Maiden for the Great Massingham Village Hall gig, I had no idea what a difficult job it was going to be.

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Big thanks must go to the efforts of Jane Knights and Brian from Folkspot Radio, who have worked hard to enable this to be the first sold out date on the tour and have generated a lot of interest via the press and within the local musical community for this event on 12th April.
All the acts were good. All of them had something to say. And I thoroughly enjoyed the video of clips.
I felt like I was watching a slice of history being performed, from musicians right across the generations, the youngest performer being the promising Lucy Grubb who is still at school, to the entertaining Dave Cooper, who, I’m guessing, left school a few generations ago.
I was struck by the variety on offer to a folk audience in East Anglia and am not surprised that this venue has sold out first.
So who is going to be opening ? some acts were simply more suitable for the event we are putting on and I had to use that guide for my selection. But that is not to detract from those not chosen.
So, we are delighted to invite Natalie Lake to perform a three song slot, immediately before Said the Maiden.
Performed at the opening of the evening will be a moving war torn song about his grandfather, with stunning electric fiddle, from Johnny Steinberg and Alex Preece.
We would also be delighted if the duo Steve O’Kane and Fiona would perform a couple of their songs for us and would like to also invite Andy Wall to sing a couple of his songs.
What an evening we are going to have !
I am so looking forward to meeting you all ” Dave Swarbrick

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Getting excited yet ? we are ! here’s the poster for the first date of the tour

On David Swarbrick’s 73rd birthday on 5th April we are kicking off a 17 date solo tour ( with 14 dates being supported and promoted by Folkstock Arts Foundation) which is intended to provide an insight to the life and the musical legacy generated by the iconic fiddler from Fairport Convention, as well as showcase one of Swarb’s favourite young new folk acts as tour support, Said the Maiden and put the spotlight on 16 acts local to each of the venues.On David Swarbrick’s 73rd birthday on 5th April we are kicking off a 17 date solo tour ( with 14 dates being supported and promoted by Folkstock Arts Foundation) which is intended to provide an insight to the life and the musical legacy generated by the iconic fiddler from Fairport Convention, as well as showcase one of Swarb’s favourite young new folk acts as tour support, Said the Maiden and put the spotlight on 16 acts local to each of the venues.
Young trad folk trio Said the Maiden will delight with their gorgeous three part harmonies, delicate arrangements and all girl unison, complemented variously by flute, guitar and fiddle. Swarb will then round off the evening with insights,anecdotes and questions from the floor, ( how did he feel to read his obituary in the Telegraph that fateful day 15 years ago ? what was it like heralding a new wave of electric musical experimentation on his fiddle ? ) as well as playing his trusty fiddle for us. Said the Maiden will also join him for a couple numbers including a Fairport Convention song. Certainly not an evening to be missed. Tickets on sale now at all venues. Young trad folk trio Said the Maiden will delight with their gorgeous three part harmonies, delicate arrangements and all girl unison, complemented variously by flute, guitar and fiddle. Swarb will then round off the evening with insights,anecdotes and questions from the floor, ( how did he feel to read his obituary in the Telegraph that fateful day 15 years ago ? what was it like heralding a new wave of electric musical experimentation on his fiddle ? ) as well as playing his trusty fiddle for us. Said the Maiden will also join him for a couple numbers including a Fairport Convention song. Certainly not an evening to be missed. Tickets on sale now at all venues.
Dates and Venues for the tour – click here and then choose the Gigs tab on the left panelDates and Venues for the tour – click here and then choose the Gigs tab on the left panel
The local acts having a chance to shine in front of a new audience are as follows:The local acts having a chance to shine in front of a new audience are as follows:
5th April Caerphilly Workmen’s Hall. 15yr old fiddler James Jones and Welsh songstress Catrin O’Neill
6th April Foundry Folk, Stamford. with acoustic singer songwriter little Rach supporting
10th April The Globe, Glossop. Local singer songwriter Martin Stimson and Kim Lowings from Manchester
11th April Cambridge Folk Club. 15 year old Tilly Dalglish who stepped in for Lisa Knapp at FolkEast last year
12th April Great Massingham Village Hall ( sold out ) – Natalie Lake, Steve O’Kane and Fiona McBain, Andy Wall and Johnny Steinberg and Alex Preece – auditions on 30th March
17th April Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury. BBC Folk Awards nominee Sunjay Brayne
19th April The Corn Exchange, Wallingford. Britain’s Got Talent finalist Sam Kelly with his fab new folky band, the Sam Kelly Trio, with Jamie Francis and Evan Carson.
24th April South Street Arts Centre, Reading. London based world folk singer Lanre and local folk singer songwriter Rik Knight.
25th April The Musician, Leicester. Feisty folk from Coalville’s Fay Brotherhood
26th April Derby cancelled – owing to a fire at the Assembly Rooms
2nd May The Electric Palace, Bridport. Singer songwriter Kara J Richards and fiddle player Lela Mai
3rd May The Exchange, Sturminster Newton, Dorset. Dynamic award winning duo Ninebarrow
4th May Colston Hall, Bristol. Winners of South West Folk Awards, Lazibyrd
15th May Key Theatre, Peterborough. Singer songwriter Alice Macy
24th May The Public Halls, Harpenden. Singer songwriter Kelly Oliver and John Farndon performing his Passing the Baton track, Peace in our Hearts

In addition to this opportunity, a couple of artists whose songs were given the Swarb treatment on the Passing the Baton EP, organised by Folkstock and released on 5th April, are Kelly Oliver, John Farndon and The Blue Pig Orchestra.
They will be joining Dave on stage at the following gigs :They will be joining Dave on stage at the following gigs :
17th April Shrewsbury – The Blue Pig Orchestra will be performing Gallows Hill with Swarb
24th April Reading – Kelly Oliver will be performing Grandpa was a Stoker with Swarb
24th May Harpenden – John Farndon will be performing Peace in my Heart with Swarb
Said the Maiden, the 4th track on the EP will be performing Shady Grove with Swarb each night of the tour.Said the Maiden, the 4th track on the EP will be performing Shady Grove with Swarb each night of the tour.

This is what Dave Swarbrick has to say about “I am so looking forward to touring with Helen in 2014. She has the welfare of her artiste’s as a priority, is honest and super capable. I reckon I’m going to enjoy meeting the musicians in her stable of fine new talent, and so, I am sure, will you!”
February 2014 February 2014
Dave Swarbrick, or Swarb as he is affectionately known, has been credited with the heralding of the ‘second folk revival’ in 1968 dave swarb new picwhen he started playing with Fairport Convention. His fiddle playing is regarded as being largely responsible for the then new sound and direction of Fairport Convention and he has been described by Ashley Hutchings as ‘the most influential [British] fiddle player bar none’ and his style has been copied or developed by almost every British, and many World folk violin players that have followed him.

Said the Maiden are the new girls on the block, friends since school they started performing at their local Redbourn Folk Club and Said the Maiden bw cropwere astonished at the reaction. This spurred them to learn more songs and bookings at festivals and clubs across the country soon came their way. Their voices meld into one on the unison singing and the harmonies bring the traditional english songs to life. A capella jostles with guitar, fiddle and flute to provide an exciting fresh take on these traditional songs.

Listen to Helen chatting to Paul Mansell about the tour by clicking here