Eight years ago Sam Sweeney, fiddle player with folk big band Bellowhead, bought a violin with a label inside showing the date 1915, the name Richard S. Howard and the words “Violin No. 6, Made in the Great War”.
Research revealed that the violin had been started, but never finished, by a music hall performer from Leeds named Richard Spencer Howard who was conscripted in 1915 at the age of 35, and killed two years later at the battle of Messines near Ypres.
The fiddle inspired Sam to develop a unique show to retell the story of Richard S. Howard. The pieces of the fiddle had lay in a manila envelope for nine decades and it was over ninety years after Richard S Howard began working on the fiddle that it was finally finished and placed in the shop of Roger Claridge. This is where Sam found it.
To mark the ongoing 100th anniversary of World War I, Sam Sweeney, winner of the “Musician of the Year” Award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2015, has collaborated with award-winning storyteller Hugh Lupton, fellow Bellowhead band mate Paul Sartin, and concertina player Rob Harbron, to create a music and spoken word performance based on this story, featuring on stage the actual fiddle made by Richard S. Howard. The show will also feature an exquisite set with projections devised by Bellowhead lighting designer Emma Thompson.
A heartfelt true story told in words and music, Made in the Great War has received standing ovations wherever it has played.
Sam Sweeney - Fiddle & Viola
Paul Sartin - Oboe & Fiddle
Robert Harbron - Concertina & Harmonium
Hugh Lupton - Writer & Storyteller