Coming to City Varieties in September, Sam Sweeney’s Fiddle: Made in the Great War is a multi-media performance telling the incredible story of a Leeds fiddle which took nearly a century to complete, to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I.
In 2009 Sam Sweeney, fiddle player with Bellowhead, bought a violin in Oxford. It had all the appearance of a new instrument but the label inside gave the date 1915 and the name Richard S Howard. Research revealed that the violin had been made – but never finished – by a luthier and some-time music hall performer from Leeds called Richard Spencer Howard. He had been conscripted in 1915 at the age of 35 and two years later was killed during the battle of Messines Ridge. The unfinished violin was given to his daughter Rose as a memory of her father. On her death the parts were bought at auction and the violin was finally finished by luthier Roger Claridge in 2007. The fiddle was then placed in the window of an Oxford music shop where it was spotted by Sam.
This multi-media performance, telling the incredible story of the fiddle, marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. Collaborating with award-winning story-teller Hugh Lupton, fellow Bellowhead band mate Paul Sartin and acclaimed concertina player Rob Harbron, as well as Bellowhead lighting designer Emma Thompson who has developed set, projections and lighting for the show, Made in the Great War will bring the reality of World War I into 2014, as Sam performs the show with the actual fiddle made by non-returning World War I soldier Richard Howard.
Sam Sweeney’s Fiddle: Made in the Great War is supported by funding from Arts Council England and the English Folk Dance & Song Society.
Sam Sweeney’s Fiddle: Made in the Great War is at City Varieties Music Hall on Thursday 18th September at 7.30pm. Tickets are priced at £15. Book online at cityvarieties.co.uk or call box office on 0113 243 0808.