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The story of FiddleBop

FiddleBop, live at the Hay Globe in August 2019. Photo: Yolanda Eden-Kesber FiddleBop, against a wall (of sorts). Photo: Ruth Redmond-Cooper

So here you are, at a FiddleBop gig, listening to FiddleBop's unmistakeable beggars-in-velvet Gypsy jazz sound. "How did they get here?", you ask. (You might also ask how you got here, if it has been a lively sort of evening for you. But that is for you to remember Smiley.)

Whilst rain gently falls (see below), we'll tell you the FiddleBop story. Backwards...

The first version of FiddleBop, live at Le QuecumBar, London

Right now, FiddleBop is:

This Wales-based version of the band began not long after Jo and Dave moved to Powys in 2017. Since then we've played lots of gigs, including several festivals (there's a list of recent ones here). What fun we've had at every one of 'em! And how we are enjoying pushing the boundaries of Gypsy jazz! Smiley

The previous Oxfordshire-based incarnation of FiddleBop disbanded in 2017 after thirteen years as a very successful hard-gigging mainstream Gypsy jazz band. This first version of FiddleBop1 began when Jo and Dave started playing with masterly double bass player Roger Davis and then with guitarist Martin Crowder. Memorable gigs by the first version of FiddleBop included:

The early days: Jo and Dave, playing for Jo's Nana

And also many other live shows, of all kinds, and with the occasional guest musician. On stages large and small, on haywagons, in street markets, at festivals, in sunshine and (thankfully not often) in pouring rain. In marquees and in gardens, at stately homes and universities, in pubs and in breweries, and even in a distillery.

And the Jo-and-Dave duo began way back in the mists of time (a rainy day — geddit? — in summer 2004, actually). Dave Favis-Mortlock and Jo Davies were camping near beautiful Poppit Sands in West Wales when they tried playing some jazz tunes together, on violin and guitar. It sounded good, so when they returned to Oxfordshire, they kept playing.

Before that? Dave had been playing the violin since his teens, and had fiddled in lots of bands: mostly folk-rock (including supporting Fairport Convention at their Cropredy Festival and elsewhere) but also some early music. Guitarist and singer Jo had been playing classical piano from a young age, and gigging as a singer-songwriter since her teens.

1The name is ours alone, we think. Altho' there is an album called Fiddle Bop (by the Rhythm Rockers), also Fiddle Bop tunes by David Williams and Hardrock Gunter, and Fiddle-de-Bop by Lincoln Mayorga. And according to Merriam-Webster's Word Central, "to fiddlebop" can mean "to drop a musical instrument on the floor". Can that really be true? I mean, have you ever heard anyone actually say that?

Next: some pics of FiddleBop

Gypsy jazz re-imagined!