Chris Haigh  

CHRIS HAIGH;SESSION MUSICIAN/VIOLINIST/FIDDLE PLAYER

     
 

contact me:

chris@fiddlingaround.co.uk

07759 680 533

 

If you're looking for a fiddle player for a recording session, you've got a potential problem. "Straight" string parts are easy- there are lots of orchestral players with the technique and experience to play whatever you put in front of them. If, however, you're looking for a particular style, such as country, Irish, swing or gypsy, you're in danger of landing yourself with a fish out of water- highly trained, skilled and experienced- but still a fish out of water!

Worse still if you haven't got a written part, but just want a fiddle player to play something generic to fit the piece you're recording- you're then looking at red faces all round and a quick leaf through the MU book. That's where I come in. As a session musician I've seen most of what people can throw at me: I've played fiddle on over 80 albums, covering the commercial (Michael Ball, Alison Moyet, James Galway, Steps, All About Eve), the exotic (Oumou Sangare, Ute Lemper, Kremlinaires, Tziganarama) the cool (Morcheeba, Daily Planet), and the obsure (too many to mention!) I've done library albums, film scores and jingles by the bucket load.

Here's a full discography

Here's a bit of a barnyard hoedown on a butter commercial, which I did with banjo ace Leon Hunt.

And from back in 2000, a rootin-tootin ad for Buckaroo;

 

In Feb 2016 I played on the backing for Little Mix singing a spoof country version of Black Magic on Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway:

 

Also from 2016, here is an Irish Ferries ad I played on;

 

In 2008 I got a call from Malcolm and Nainita at Soundology, to play on the soundtrack for the four -part BBC series Billy Connolly-Journey to the edge of the World. I played on most of the tracks- a wonderfully diverse mixture of Scottish, Irish, bluegrass and country styles, and got "featured musician" status on the credits. Here's a clip:

In 2013, also for Soundology, I played on the soundtrack for the BBC series "Wild Shepherdess", presented by Kate Humble, playing rocky/rootsy fiddle for the scenes of Peru and the Australian outback:

 

 

 

Other recent sessions (in 2013) have included some Scottish traditional fiddle for an episode of the BBC costume drama "The Paradise"

Also some Grappelli style fiddle for Cartoon Network's "The Amazing world of Gumball", some Celtic library music for Sunlight Square Records, and some folky/country fiddle for the 2013 Hairy Bikers BBC2 series, "Restoration Road Trip";

 

In October 2013 I played on the "Youngs Breaded Cod" TV ad, with the unusual request to play "like a drunken sailor"- ie with enthusiasm but slightly out of tune!

 

In December 2013 I played on some bluegrass- style music for Monty Norman's (Of Bond theme fame) forthcoming animated film Mississippi Big.

 

I've rarely been given a score at a recording session, though I can read one, and rarely need to go more than a couple of takes. I've spent thirty years delving into all the different fiddle styles- Irish, Scottish, Country, cajun, bluegrass , western swing, Russian, Balkan, Klezmer, gypsy, jazz, rock and blues. Not just in a shallow way but seriously and in detail (check out my books "The Fiddle Handbook ", "Exploring Jazz Violin", "Discovering Rock Violin""Exploring Folk Fiddle" ,"Exploring Klezmer Fiddle",and "Hungarian Fiddle Tunes", and the associated website www.fiddlingaround.co.uk.) Click here for a more detailed cv.

So if you're looking for a safe pair of hands to cover a fiddle or violin session, get in touch. You can email me at haighchris@hotmail.com or ring me on 07759 680533.

 

REMOTE SESSIONS

I'm based in London, but am happy to travel. I can also do a "remote session" by email if you prefer. I've done several jingles this way, library tracks, as well as a backing track for a Russian theatre production, and a heap of singer songwriter albums, including most recently country singer Marielle Castro (produced in Dubai), and Nottingham prog rock band Coralspin.

Other clients for remote fiddle sessions have included German folk/rock band Santiana, Neil Mackintosh (a country rock album); Alistair James (Welsh folk); Tony Gwynne (country); Andy Moore (country); Creative24seven (folk rock, for library project), Icon Studio Productions (bluegrass); Driftwood Sutios (folk); Jay Price Music (gypsy jazz, for library project); John Ravenhall (African); Factotum Music (bluegrass); Jo Troy (string section); Riviera Music (country, for library project); Little Big Ideas (Country fiddle); Matthew Nimegeers (Canadian folk); Reg Meuross (folk); Elephant Music (German folk/rock); Ten Reasons (Pop Rock); Paul Burton (folk) ; Alan Cox (rock); Phase Music (gypsy, for a TV production); Robert Doyle (blues); Russ Hayes (Welsh folk); Mark Armstrong (bluegrass); Heather Tweddle (pop/folk); Shamus Dark (rock); John Molomby (Australian folk), Max Dmitrieff (rock); D Imman (Indian) ; Claire Batchelor (gypsy jazz): John Griggs (for an Audio Network library production); Charlie McGlynn (folk/country) ; Jake Island (Irish folk); Jem Godfrey (a jingle for Mellow Magic radio station); Niamh Lynn (Irish country singer); Neal Acree (LA games music composer doing some celtic/medieval); B.Prasanna (producer/composer in India, for a song by Ashwin); Robert Nottingham (rock); Iain Kelso (celtic, for a Canadian TV series) ; Geordie folk singer Andy Lee (for a CD, The Ree Vahs!); a Celtic/Country blues song for John Schayer, produced in California by Craig T Fall; a country tinged song by James from Maidenhead; Why a Fox (indie folk from Melbourne, Australia)

Niamh Lynn's producer sent me this note from his studio in Ireland;

"Hi Chris. Can't believe how fast you turned that around- thank you very much. The playing is just class. ... It's exactly what I needed - violin sweetness with country/trad style. I actually had another player on it but the feel and sound just wasnt there so this is great! Will def throw you some more work if/when the need arises"

Andy Lee got this comment on a review for his album

"Some fine musicianship, particularly in the shape of Chris Haigh whose contribution on fiddle via a midway solo is wonderful"

James from Maidenhead sent me this comment"

"There were lots of people on the web offering violin/fiddle services. Listening to these files I reckon I chose the best. Itís great, nothing more to say."

 

Here is a track from a remote session I did for English folk singer Reg Meuross, which appears on his album "England Green and England Grey". It's a beautiful song about a musician who went down with the Titanic, his fiddle strapped to his body. Hear it and weep!

Marie

Here's some gypsy fiddle I did remotely for the Australian guitarist Alan Keeble, for his album "Jump to It"

Marrakesh

 

I have a simple but effective home setup using Garageband, a desk and a high quality DPA mic. If you send me a track with click, I can send back a stereo mp3 at at 320 kbps. You're probably in two minds about using some unknown and remote person to do your session. Here's how it works; if you send me an mp3 of the track, I'll send you back a rough guide of what I might play on the track. Only when you've heard this do you have to decide if you want to use me. I'll then work on the track, and send two or three takes for you to choose from. You take a listen to the mp3 I send back, and I'll do another take if you want a change of approach.

When you're happy with the result, then you can pay me by paypal, or direct transfer. I then send you the cleaned up wav file. Easy! The total cost for the first song, assuming it's not something like Bohemian Rhapsody, is just £60 (around $75 US), and £40 each for subsequent songs.

     
     

 

Here are a few fiddle recording sessions I've done over the years

     
                 
      brendan power  
Brendan Power is arguably the country's leading harmonica player, with a stunning technique and a wide range of styles.. He got a job on Riverdance for a year, during whic he fixed me up for a week's depping on the show. Having learned the tunes (no small job!) it was great when he asked me to play on his cd of Riverdance tunes. On this tune "American Wake" Brendan wanted a low down dirty fiddle sound, which I got by playing lots of false harmonics, double stops and blue notes.
     
                 
      steps  

You never know what you're getting into when you go for a recording session. This one was at Pete Waterman's studio, for the first single of an unknown pop band. They were looking for a down-home country fiddle sound; it was pretty obvious to me that the song was a cross between Cotton Eyed Joe and Achy Breaky Heart. I first heard the song again on Blue Peter (Yeah!), and it went into the charts the following month. Because they used to mime to backing tracks at their gigs, thanks to the MU I used to get handomly paid for NOT going on tour with them!

Here's the fiddle intro to 5,6,7,8

     
                 
        This album, by Frazier Chorus, was produced by Ian Broudie (of the Lightning Seeds); he rang me up out of the blue for this fiddle session.      
             
       
Oumou Sangare is a superstar in her native Mali, and very big on the World Music scene. Tony Engle of Topic Records recommended me to Nick Gold (of World Circuit), who produced this record.
I'd never done any African music before, but some of her previous albums featured an old Malian guy on violin. Everything he did was on a pentatonic scale, so it was quite easy to follow the style, though some of the rhythms were quite baffling. This track Denw has a superb groove, complemented by a great brass section provided by Pee wee Ellis
     
             
       
One of the many recording sessions where I didn't get to meet the man himself. "The Man with the Golden Flute" does both classical and "crossover" repertoire. This album included a version of the love theme from "Titanic", for which he wanted a nice clean traditional Irish fiddle sound. I was asked to improvise a jig in the same feel and tempo as the song's intro, so that the two would neatly lock together.
     
             
       
I used to play with an excellent Hot Club jazz band lead by Neil Stacey- The Kimbara Brothers. As well as a couple of cd's of the band's gig repertoire, we were also asked to do this "generic" gypsy jazz album for a company that did budget albums for the mass market. This album contains 20 well known swing standards, and we recorded the whole thing in two days. Here's the fiddle solo from "After you've gone"
     
             
        The session fixer Levine Andrade got me this job, playing violin on an album by Ute Lemper. It's an atmosheric, smoky central European cabaret sound, and they were looking for some authentic sounding klezmer fiddle.      
             
        This track (When we began) on a Michael Ball album was produced by Brian Spence; he give me this simple but strong lick to play at the start of the song, repeated at various points in the arrangement.      
             
        Leon Hunt takes the banjo to places it was never intended to go; with his band Daily Planet he has taken bluegrass as a starting point to almost anywhere you can imagine. This track, Dark Water, from the Album Clark's Secret is highly atmospheric- steamy, fetid swamp music for which he wanted some very bluesy fiddle.      
             
       

I did a series recording sessions on six albums for Kingsway called "Celtic Expressions of Worship"; beautifully produced and atmospheric Celtic versions of hymns. Lots of reverb, tinwhistles, Uillan pipes, mists and twilight- you get the picture!

On this track I demonstrate the anicent and noble art of Celtic Noodling.

     
             
      klezmania   I play in a band called Klezmania which does a mixture of klezmer and jazz; as well as arts centres and such like we also do a lot of Jewish weddings and Bar Mitzvahs. Here's an extract from a set of Hasidic Wedding Dances. I use all the typical klezmer fiddle techniques such as the kretsch (sob), a close trill and the sliding down of some notes. I love the "umpah" piano rhythm on this one.      
             
      zumzeaux   Zumzeaux was a band I played in during the late 80's and 90's- musically one of the most wide-ranging and ambitious outfits I've been in. We covered jazz, cajun, western swing, klezmer, balkan, celtic - in fact whatever came into our heads. This track, Painted Desert is a bluegrass-tinged western fantasy.