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Biography

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Dave Swarbrick (born 5 April 1941) is an English folk musician. He plays violin, viola, mandolin, and guitar. He 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. After many years of steadily worsening health due to emphysema, he was fortunate enough, in October 2004, to receive a double lung transplant and has now been released from hospital and it is to be hoped he is on the road to improved health and a better quality of life after being confined to a wheelchair for some years.

In 2004 he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.

In 2006 Swarb started touring again with ex-Fairporter Maartin Allcock and Kevin Dempsey as Swarb's Lazarus; they appeared at the Cropredy Festival.

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