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Dave Swarbrick


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Dave Swarbrick (born 5 April 1941) is an English folk musician. He plays violin, viola, mandolin, and guitar. His work with Fairport Convention from 1969 is usually credited with leading them to produce their seminal album Liege and Lief (1969) which initiated the electric folk movement.

Swarbrick was born in New Malden, Surrey and grew up in Birmingham. He learnt the rudiments of the violin from a local fiddler and attended the Birmingham College of Art (now the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design) in the late 1950s. Playing guitar, he joined Beryl Marriot’s Ceilidh Band in Birmingham. Beryl encouraged him to take up the fiddle again.

Swarbrick joined The Ian Campbell Folk Group in 1960. In 1966 he teamed up with Martin Carthy and the pairing had a significant influence in the contemporary folk music scene. In 1969 he joined folk-rock group Fairport Convention. In 1973 he contributed mandolin to Al Stewart’s “Past, Present, & Future” album.

In 1984 Swarbrick formed Whippersnapper, a group renowned for its acoustic prowess. In 1989 he decided to leave to concentrate on solo work and revive his partnership with Martin Carthy.

In 1993 Swarbrick moved to Australia and met and began working with Alistair Hulett. Returning to England in 1996, he started working with Kevin Dempsey, who has recently joined Uiscedwr.

There was considerable embarrassment for the Daily Telegraph newspaper in 1999 when it published a premature obituary for Swarbrick after he was admitted to hospital with a chest infection.


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  • CDPETE01

    On spotify nearly every album by Martin Carthy has been wrongly listed as recorded by Dave Swarbrick,so they scrobble wrong as well.

    28 Dec 2011 Reply
  • Mesacomocos

    The Cuckoo's Nest, irresistible.

    27 Nov 2010 Reply
  • luckystoned

    fiddle fiddle

    2 Sep 2009 Reply
  • lis-sukie

    If you're a fan of hard to find folk muic, please join this game: Obscure Music Game. The leader eliminates players based on whether they know the music you listen to during a round. If you win two rounds in a row, you get to eliminate players for one round. The more members who listen to different genres, the more interesting the game becomes.

    9 Jul 2009 Reply
  • LondonLouis

    Swarbrick has been a great fiddler over here in the UK. Not sure how he rates against the US competition in areas like Appalachia.

    9 Dec 2008 Reply
  • voiceprintpr

    Fairport Convention New Release!! This DVD is the only official filmed document of the Full House line up of Fairport Convention (they were never filmed commercially until reunions at the band’s regular Cropredy Festival years later). Released in their 40th year, demand is expected to be high. To view a You Tube feed, go to: Available from:

    10 Oct 2007 Reply

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