Chris Haigh; CV
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.
I then embarked upon a long and illustrious career as a sideman in a hundred anonymous function bands, and I've done weddings for Rupert Murdoch and Earl Spencer, garden parties for Elton John and Sting, Birthday parties Princess Anne and Neil Innes, and a Christmas party for Paul McCartney
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, General Patraeus, Naomi Campbell, Richard E Grant, Michael Gove, Andrew Lloyd Weber, Lord Rothschild, Michael Caine, Kylie Minogue, Judie Dench, Brian May, Muhammud Al Fayid, Barbara Cartland, Ruby Wax, Princess Michael of Kent, David Frost, , 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.
fiddler for hire
Here's a discography, with around 85 albums I've played on.
You can hear clips from a few of these sessions here:
In 2008 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. In 2012 I appeared in the BBC4 TV Timeshift documentary on Klezmer, narrated by Michael Grade. My fiddle was featured on the BBC series "Wild Shepherdess" with Kate Humble, and on the 2013 Hairy Bikers series. I played on the backing of Little Mix singing a spoof country version of Black Magic on the Ant and Dec show. In 2016 my fiddle was heavily featured on the Chris Tarrant show "Ice Train to Nowhere", set in Alaska.
music for the fiddle
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!)
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!
Other TV and film jobs have included appearing in pop videos with Lana Del Ray and Jessie Ware, on The Barrymore show, The Big Breakfast, a water privatisation advert (did great things for my political credibility in the 80's!), and in the film Snow White and the Huntsman.
Philately will get you nowhere- 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.
Here I am playing Stevie Wonder's Sunny at the London Fiddle Convention: