The smaller the venue, the better for Dave Swarbrick, the man hailed - by Ashley Hutchings - as “the most influential [British] fiddle player bar none.”
Dave is the latest performer to join the Roots Around The World music series at Chichester’s Chichester Inn with a date there on Wednesday, November 30 at 8.30pm (tickets £12.50 from 01243 774641 or direct from The Chichester Inn or from www.wegottickets.com).
A key figure in the long history of Fairport convention, Dave has also enjoyed important partnerships with key musicians including Martin Carthy.
But Chichester will see him solo.
“It means that I can tell all the stories! I like to give people a bit of inside gossip. But it also gives me the opportunity to play the music that I love - plus I prefer small audiences to big ones. I just get more pleasure out of it. Playing to a lot of people, you just don’t get nervous. If there are a lot of people out there, you just can’t see them. If there are just a few, then you can see your relatives out there!”
For the date in Chichester, Dave will take the chance to explore the music of the great baroque period: “It’s wonderful music that has been hidden away in the British Library. It’s great stuff - traditional stuff. I have got a friend who is allowed to go in there and find it!”
Dave is delighted to find the British folk/roots/acoustic scene in such good heart at the moment: “It’s great that I get a lot of younger kids coming in. I get eight, nine, ten-year-olds coming to the gigs with their parents. There was a tousle-haired kid with spectacles too big for him sitting in the front row - and he was taking in absolutely everything.”
A little while later, Dave went along to a shop to have his bow rehaired, only to discover in conversation that the very same little boy had been in before him. The violin man said ‘We had a little kid in. He was fantastic - and all he did was talk about you!”
The point is that it is all being passed down to the next generation - and so it goes on. But it hasn’t always been so.
“In the beginning, it was horrendous, and then in the 1960s, we had the age of enlightenment with all the luminaries coming through. Before that, it was all ‘Nancy tickled my fancy’ - all a bit iffy!”