chris haigh

FIDDLE STYLES:

FIDDLING AROUND HOMEPAGE

 

ENGLISH

IRISH

SCOTTISH

WELSH

SCANDINAVIAN

KLEZMER

BALKAN

EAST EUROPEAN

HUNGARIAN

MIDDLE EAST AND MEDITERRANEAN

INDIAN

CHINESE

MEXICAN

CUBAN

OLD TIME

CAJUN

BLUEGRASS

JAZZ

BLUES

ROCK

WESTERN SWING

CANADIAN

 

contact Chris Haigh

Return to Homepage

 

 

chris haigh

...

....

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

the fiddle handbook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

.

 

 

 

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Chris Haigh- a fiddle without a cause!

I started playing violin at the age of seven, and laboured with little success for ten years until I discovered that, for me at least, fiddle music could be a whole lot more fun than classical music. Promising careers in geology and teaching were recklessly abandoned, and I began a lifelong search for the most obscure, unpopular and uneconomic niches of the musical world to which I could devote my limited abilities. Things began well when I started playing fiddle with progressive rock band Speedy Bears and jazz-rock band Inner Ear, just as punk was at its height in the mid 70's. Encouraged by the total failure of the former band, and being sacked from the latter, I progressed backwards and downwards through traditional folk and bluegrass, stopping just short of New Orleans jazz, where I would undoubtedly have spent an eternity in the unmerciful flames of hell. Bankruptcy and destitution caused a radical change of direction, and I started demanding money for my services, instead of paying people to listen to the dulcet tones of my fiddle.

 

Ignored!

I then embarked upon a long and illustrious career as a sideman in a hundred anonymous function bands, and over the years have been ignored by, underpaid by, or asked to turn down by, a glittering array of notables including Prince Charles (who talked all the way through our performance!) Jefferey Archer, Tony Blair, Princess Diana, Kate Middleton, Tom Hanks, Sting, Elton John, Naomi Campbell, Earl Spencer, Michael Caine, Kylie Minogue, Judie Dench, Brian May, Muhammud Al Fayid, Barbara Cartland, Ruby Wax, Princess Michael of Kent, David Frost, Princess Anne, Zara Phillips, David Beckham, Kate Winslett, William Hague, Uri Geller, Chris Evans,Terance Conran, Michael Howard, Michael Portillo, Lord Owen, the cast of East Enders, and Adolf Hitler. OK, I made the last one up.

Session fiddler for hire
Over the past fifteen years I have played and recorded with a motley crew of musicians, from Pop artists such as
Alison Moyet, Michael Ball, The Quireboys, and the sadly missed teen idols Steps (I'm proud to have played on 5,6,7,8..recently voted one of the UK's most hated singles of all time!), the off-the page trip-hop of Morcheeba to the Goth-Rock of All About Eve and the chicken-head biting rock excesses of Rolf Harris, David Soul and James Galway. Desperate for some semblance of credibility, I began working with the impossibly eclectic Zumzeaux, and bluffed my way into the sublime Malian grooves of Oumou Sangari.

I play Indian jazz fusion with
Jyotsna Srikanth; I got into swing working with Ricky Cool and his Western Swing Allstars, with Diz Disley, Le Jazz, The Hot Club of London, Robin Katz, the QuecumBar Allstars and the Kimbara Brothers. I explored jazzgrass with my own group Spice Trade, and the further limits of blugrass with the Daily Planet, Southern Exposure, The Wagon Tales, and The Coal Porters. I played Jewish Weddings and Bar Mitzvahs with Stewart Curtis, Gilad Atzamon, Ben Morris, Dave Bitelli, Danny Shine's Neshama, Yuval Havkin's Kedma Band, The Gilev Showband, Eli Tamir, the Matzoh Boys and Klezmania. I bluffed my way into Russian and East European folk playing with Vladimir Asriev, Igor Outkine, Serguei Pachnine and Zvuk Bazaar. I played Indian Jazz fusion with S.Harikumar, and the Jyotsna Srikanth Project; I filled in for NetiVaan with Companions of The Rosy Hours (including playing Paul McCartney's Christmas party!) and with Bill Caddick's Urban Legend. I sampled some Scandinavian avant garde with Andrew Cronshaw, Mike Adcock and the Norwegian band Utla, and bluffed my way into Indian film music with Diwana Arts. I played medieval banquets with Dragonsfire; Scottish ceilidhs with Kafoozalum; tried some East African Jive with the Rift Valley Raiders; mixed celtic and jazz with Carmina, blues and celtic with Brendan Power, blues and Cajun with Short Fuse; blues and folk with Jenny Beeching , blues and more blues with Hans Theesink; Mexican and Salsa with Trio Azteca and Los Charros; country and rock with Debbie Nunn, Crazy Hearts,Tender Mercies, Audio Murphy and The Brokovitch Band; Country and Irish with Two Loaves Eddie and Acoustica: played pure Hank Williams with Marc Robinson; Zydeco and Rock and Roll with Chris Jagger; Zydeco and Old Time with Gumbolala; I played an Irish wedding with Cara Dillon and Davey Spillane, and recorded some tasteful Irish dance tunes with Shamrock (their 3-million selling "Tell Me Ma" was dubbed worst single of the decade in the NME! I play in therock covers bands Rollercoaster and Cheesecake, adding delicate and tasteful violin parts to such gems as Highway to Hell, Teenage Dirtbag and Gay Bar.

In 1998 I was credited as "featured musician" on the BBC series "Billy Connolly-Journey to the edge of the World'- where the fabulous scenery of the arctic circle was portrayed with bluegrass, country and celtic music.

Among the more unusual and entertaining gigs over the years have been playing a Burns Night in Iceland, playing Russian music for the Mafia in Beiruit, playing for Princess Anne's birthday party: playing Italian mandolin for a marriage proposal in Rome, playing for cossack dancers in Elton John's back garden, playing for a line-dance in the French Alps, and doing a Jewish wedding in a pine forest in Athens. Early in 2010 I appeared in an episode of the sitcom My Family as a Mariachi musician. Nice hat!

With actor Keiron Self and Mariachi band on the set of My Family

 

Fiddle Teaching
I have developed an easy way to teach improvisation, (some people call it bluffing!) and give workshops in schools, at festivals and every year at the
London Fiddlers Convention. I have done educational tours for Folkworks, and was recently involved in a long series of school performances by Mike Adcock's Last Dance Orchestra, funded by the national Lottery. I have taught jazz violin at Middlesex, Newcastle,and Brunel Universities and Truro College, and have been booked as tutor at "Hands On" fiddle weekends (Fiddles@Witney), and at the Wigmore Hall. Workshop subjects include improvisation, swing, klezmer fiddle, East European fiddle, Western Swing and composition of fiddle tunes.

I also give private tuition in jazz, bluegrass and country fiddle.

My books "Fiddling around the World" and "Any fool can write Fiddle Tunes" are published by Spartan Press; I've written articles for Fiddle On, Acoustic Musician, the MU Musician magazine, European String Teacher's Association magazine, and the American Old Time Monthly., "The Fiddle Handbook", published by Backbeat/Hal Leonard came out in Summer '09; "Exploring Jazz Violin" for Schott came out in January 2011, and "Discovering Rock Violin" in 2012.

In (2012) I did fiddle workshops at Fiddles@Witney (4/5 Feb),The London Fiddle Convention (19th Feb), the Fiddle Festival of Great Britain (30 Jun/1st July) and JSArts ( 28/29 July) .

 

Writing for the fiddle
I specialise in writing instrumentals in specific folk and other acoustic genres, and my compositions have been recorded by Jenny Beeching, Zumzeaux, Spice Trade, the Kimbara Brothers , Tziganarama and Diz Disley. I have written and recorded three complete albums of TV production music; English Folk, Scottish Folk and Eastern European Folk. The latter is also available as a commercial album under the title Tziganarama. Tracks from these albums have been used on over three hundred different films and TV programmes around the world; one tune has been licensed for a global ad campaign by Nike; my tunes have also appeared on The Archers, Angel, Malcolm in the Middle, Rosanna, Emmerdale, Guinness world of Records etc. I was the winner of a national competition to write a theme tune for the Sidmouth Folk Festival (I'm not sure that anyone else entered!)

 

Philately- who's the fiddle player on the 50p stamp?

In October '06 the Royal Mail did a series of stamps called "Sounds of Britain", designed to represent the cultural diversity of Britain through its music. Alongside such styles as drum'n'bass, banghra and blues was a Celtic stamp, featuring a harpist and a fiddler. I was lucky enough to be that fiddler on the 50p stamp! I'd like to think this was in recognition of my services to fiddle playing, but sadly it's more due to the fact that this site, and hence myself, are very easy to find in Google. Plus, the fact, apparently, that I look like an Irish fiddle player is supposed to look.

 

SELECTED DISCOGRAPHY (the good, the bad and the ugly!) or "Who selected them?!"

Zumzeaux; Blazing Fiddles Pug CD 001 .........................................................Zumzeaux; Wolf at your Door; PUG LPOO1

Tziganarama; Tziganarama; PUG CD002...................

Tziganarama; Tree of Life; TZCD001

Alison Moyet; Essex; Columbia LC0162..........................................................Steps; 5,6,7,8; Zomba LC7925

Andrew Cronshaw; Language of Snakes SPDCD1050....................................Paris Hot Club Style; Nectar NTWCD355

Paris in the Small Hours: Cooking Vinyl....................................................... ...Daily Planet; Clark's Secret ; GRCD005

Brendan Power; Plays the music from Riverdance; Greentrax CDTRAX 135

Brendan Power: Tanks Aloft.............................................................................Kimbara Brothers;Time to Leave MMK BCD9015

Regina; Entwined with Magic; RG001CD........................................................Various Artists; Gypsy Swing ;HCRCD89

Various Artists; Georgia on our Mind; Deep Sea SeaD8001............................ Mike Ruff; Man of Parts; MRMCD03

Steve Marshall; Ethnic lands; Carlin274............................................................Various artists; Harmonica and Banjo Carlin 241

Andy Dewar/Brian Burrows; Lo Fi Fo Fum JW2119........................................Andy Dewar/Paul Kerr:New Country: JW2101

Andy Dewar/Paul Kerr: Celtic Fusion: JW 2132 ..............................................Rod Bowkett: Image and Illusion JW2126

Chris Haigh; Klezmania (Music of Eastern Europe) JW2105.............................Chris Haigh; English Folk; JW2097

Steve Booker; Every Time you Walk Away; EMI 12R6268... ......................... Last Dance Orchestra; Lost For Words 33 WM105

.Jenny Beeching and Chris Haigh; Hotline from London; ULP1787................. JJ; Intro; Columbia 468085.4

Oumou Sangari; Worotan; World Circuit WCDO45...........................................Frasier Chorus; Ray; Virgin TCVFC 2654

.Michael Ball ;One Careful owner; Columbia ; 477280 2 ..................................All about Eve; December; Phonogram; ...

Henry Gray, Clarence Edwards and Short Fuse; Thibodeaux's Cafe ,............... Lisa Dery; Montage

Various Artists; The Best of British Country WOWCD01................................ Matt Redman ; Passion for your name; KMCD 857

Celtic Expressions of Worship; Be Thou my Vision ; Kingsway KMCD867 .. Maartin Allcock; OX15; ANOCD 0019

Celtic Expressions of Worship;Vol 2-The King of Love ; KMCD980..............Joshua Stonebridge; The Mountain; JSBR1

Celtic Expressions of Worship;Vol 3-Breath of Life ; KMCD2017

Celtic Expressions of Worship;Vol 4-The Prince of Glory; Kingsway KMCD2170

Celtic Expressions of Christmas;Immanuel ; Kingsway KMCD2265

Celtic Expressions of Worship; A Celtic Blessing; Kingsway KMCD2481

Hans Theessink; Johnny and the Devil;Blue Groove BG2040

Hans Theessink; Blue Grooves from Vienna; Minor Music CD MM 801066

Rusti Steel and the Tintacks; Tribute to Hank Williams ;Be Be CD004 ..........Soundology; Celtic to Country KPM

Alisha Sufit; Alisha through the Looking Glass; SUFIT 010CD.......................Rolf Harris; 70/30 ; RHE70

Mike Mower's Musical Postcards; Boosey And Hawkes .................................Fraser Nimmo; Heavy Weather; SPEUG 0019

Samuel& Son; Hear Me; Estereo 032................................................................Barry& Batya Segal: Sh'ma Yisrael

Scottish Folk Music; Soundstage Music Library AVF 164 CD........................James Galway; Unbreak my Heart GO57

Alan Dunn and Chris Haigh; Cafe du Monde CDMCD01...............................Tollgate Primary School; A Brighter Future

Ute Lemper But One Day:Decca (Germany), 470 279-2.................................Godwin Junior School; Today and Tomorrow

Tollgate Primary School; We are what we do songs........................................ Klezmania; And the angels Sing KLCD01

Kremlinaires; The Kremlinaires; 33WM129.....................................................Russel; Travelling Light; BMGZomba BR441

Rolf Harris; Now and Then RHE2004.............................................................Morcheeba; The Antidote; ECHCD65

Alex Keen; France-Songs; Carlin375 ..............................................................Gabriel Doyle; Lifelines

Logic; Hearts and Minds; DVS ........................................................................Green Means Go; A day on the Farm GMG003

Chris Hutchinson; Easy Going Me; FLLT 003................................................ Carmina; My Crescent City

Chris Haigh; Off the Wall; TZCD002 ..............................................................George Lower; Hold My Hand

Godwin Junior School; Hear our Voices...........................................................Elizabeth Easterby; Where the Spirit Wills

The Quireboys; Halfpenny Live

Rollercoaster; The First Dance Vol 1CDSRR02LP

.......which just goes to prove that you can fool some of the people some of the time!

there are more details and soundfiles of some of these fiddle sessions here.

Here I am playing Stevie Wonder's Sunny at the London Fiddle Convention:

 

chris haigh

Here are some of the bands I play with at the moment:

The Kremlinaires; seven piece "Soviet Swing" band

Tziganarama; Three-piece gypsy/east european band

Klezmania; three-piece klezmer band

Quicksilver; barn dance/ceilidh band

Cafe du Monde; strolling fiddle/accordion duo

Carmina; atmospheric celtic/jazz fusion

 

 

 

To hear clips from a few of the above recordings..

If you want to come and see me play, here's where..

 

Email me : Chris@fiddlingaround.co.uk