Made in the Great War
In 2009 Bellowhead fiddler Sam Sweeney bought a violin in Oxford. It looked like a new instrument but the label inside gave the date 1915 and the name Richard S Howard.
Research revealed that the violin had been made - but never finished - by a luthier and some-time music hall performer from Leeds called Richard Spencer Howard. He had been conscripted in 1916 at the age of 35 and two years later was killed during the battle of Messines Ridge. The pieces of the unfinished violin were given to his daughter, who kept them all her life as a memory of her father. After her death the violin was auctioned and finally finished in 2007 by luthier Roger Claridge.
The history of the fiddle that took almost 100 years to complete has inspired Sam to create a multi-media performance telling it's incredible story. Working with award-winning story teller Hugh Lupton, fellow Bellowhead band-mate Paul Sartin, acclaimed concertina player Rob Habron and Bellowhead lighting designer Emma Thompson, the show brings the reality of World War I into 2015, with Sam performing on the actual historic fiddle.