The story of FiddleBop
So here you are, at a FiddleBop gig, listening to FiddleBop's unmistakeable beggars-in-velvet jazz sound. "How did they get here?", you ask.
Whilst rain gently falls (see below), we'll tell you the story. Backwards...
Right now, FiddleBop is:
- Joanna Davies (guitar and vocals)
- Dave Favis-Mortlock (violin, viola, flute and vocals)
- Paul Stevens (keyboard and vocals)
- Graeme Lamble (fretless bass guitar and vocals)
This version of the band began not long after Jo and Dave moved to Wales in late 2017, and is still developing.
The previous Oxfordshire-based incarnation of FiddleBop disbanded in December 2017, after thirteen years as a very successful hard-gigging gypsy jazz band. Gigs included:
- London's Le QuecumBar ("The World's Premier Django Reinhardt Gypsy Swing Venue")
- Upton Jazz Festival
- For Oxford University
- Regular Oxford Jazz Kitchen gigs at The Rose and Crown, Oxford
- Sunday Jazz at The Nag's Head On The Thames, Abingdon.
as well as 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 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.
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?