Fairport Convention fiddler Dave Swarbrick dies aged 75

LONDON (Reuters) - English folk violinist Dave Swarbrick, a former leading member of the influential 1970s group Fairport Convention, has died at the age of 75, the band’s website announced on Friday.

“We have just had the sad news from Alex Swarbrick that his father, Dave Swarbrick, has passed away,” a statement on the site said.

“Swarb, as you know, had been seriously ill for some time and, although he had showed recent signs of improvement, died in hospital this morning.”

Born in London in 1941, Swarbrick made his mark as part of a revival of British folk music in the 1960s before coming to wider notice for his performance on the electric violin as a guest on Fairport Convention’s “Unhalfbricking” album in 1969.

He subsequently joined the group and his distinctive, fast-and-furious fiddling was a feature of the group’s “Liege and Lief” album which was widely credited with starting the English electric folk movement.

Swarbrick spent a decade with Fairport, working also as a session player with leaders of the folk-rock movement like Richard Thompson, Sandy Denny, Bert Jansch and Martin Carthy.

He formed a new band Whippersnapper in 1984 and then set out on his own in 1989 to concentrate on solo work and revive a former partnership with Carthy.

Despite suffering from emphysema and having undergone a double lung transplant in 2004, he continued performing and in 2010 released his first solo album for nearly 20 years, “Raison d’etre”.

Reporting by Stephen Addison, Editing by Paul Sandle