Chris Haigh

Composer Information: Chris Haigh

I started playing violin at the age of seven, and laboured with little success for ten years until I discovered that, for me at least, fiddle music could be a whole lot more fun than classical music. A promising career in geology was recklessly abandoned, and I plunged with blind enthusiasm into folk, jazz and rock fiddle playing.

Over the past fifteen years as a pro fiddle player, I have played and recorded with a motley crew of musicians, from Pop artists such as Alison Moyet , Michael Ball and teen idols Steps to obscure jazz-rock groups such as Speedy Bears and Inner Ear; from the Goth-Rock of All About Eve to the sublime Malian grooves of Oumou Sangari; from the intense and beautiful folk of Andrew Cronshaw to the wild and unrestrained Zumzeaux. I got into swing working with Ricky Cool and his Western Swing Allstars, with Diz Disley, the Kimbara , and the Klezmer Jazz Quartet . I explored jazzgrass with my own group Spice Trade, and the further limits of Bluegrass with the Daily Planet and Southern Exposure. I sampled some Scandinavian avant garde with the Norwegian band Utla and bluffed my way into Indian film music with Diwana Arts; mixed blues and celtic with Brendan Power, blues and Cajun with Short Fuse; blues and folk with Jenny Beeching, blues and more blues with Hans Theesink; country and rock with Crazy Hearts and Tender Mercies Irish and MOR with James Galway; Irish and dance with Shamrock (their 3-million selling "Tell Me Ma" was dubbed worst single of the decade in the NME!

I was more than a little surprised to find myself filling in for Eileen Ivers in Riverdance, and was delighted when a Hank Williams tribute album I did with Rusty Steele and the Tintacks was voted BCMA album of the year (1999). I am currently working my way round every village hall in the country with my East European group Tziganarama.

I specialise in writing instrumentals in specific folk and other acoustic genres, and my compositions have been recorded by Jenny Beeching, Zumzeaux, Spice Trade, the Kimbara Brothers and Diz Disley. I recently wrote and recorded two complete albums of TV production music for JW Media Music; English Folk and Eastern Europe. Tracks from these albums have been used on over a hundred different films and TV programmes throughout the UK, Europe, America, Australia and Japan. I was the winner of a national competition to write a theme tune for the Sidmouth Folk Festival.

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