Saturday 20th November 2021
Chris Leslie is a multi instrumentalist and singer songwriter based in Oxfordshire UK. He has been primarily known for the past twenty-three years, for his work with Fairport Convention, joining the band in 1996 as mandolin and fiddle player. Subsequently, Chris has made a significant contribution to the band's repertoire with his song writing talents, plus the addition of his bouzouki, banjo and woodwind playing and his contribution of sublime lead and supporting vocals.
Chris was born on 15 December 1956 and was brought up in north Oxfordshire. Inspired by local musicians, Chris began playing the fiddle at the age of thirteen. One of his early influences and, later, his mentor was Fairport Convention's then-fiddler Dave Swarbrick.
In 1976, Chris and his brother John Leslie began performing as a duo and they recorded an album in 1976. Chris also played with singer-songwriter Steve Ashley, touring extensively in the UK and continental Europe. Chris studied violin making in Nottinghamshire and completed his three-year course 1983. Back to Oxfordshire, he was invited to tour with Dave Pegg to promote Dave's solo album.
Dave Swarbrick invited Chris to become a founder member of the pioneering acoustic group Whippersnapper. This band made several albums and toured the UK, Europe and the USA. Chris also toured with rock group All About Eve.
During the 1990s, Chris worked as a duo with Whippersnapper guitarist Kev Dempsey, collaborated with folk pianist Beryl Marriott, and was a member of Simon Mayor's Mandolin Quartet. He also played fiddle on tour with Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull. In 1995 Chris joined The Albion Band, touring and recording with them before joining Fairport Convention the following year.
Chris has also performed with Feast of Fiddles and in the run-up to Christmas each year, Chris tours with seasonal group St Agnes Fountain. His session credits also include work for Ralph McTell, Steve Ashley, Alan Stivell, Chris While and Julie Mathews, Jez Lowe, Christine Collister, Maartin Allcock, The Melstock Band, Kieran Halpin, John Wright, All About Eve and Mostly Autumn.
Chris has provided music for a number of BBC Radio Four plays and classic serials. His fiddle playing has also been featured in the TV series Heartbeat, Midsommer Murders and Billy Connolly’s World Tour of Scotland.
Chris has also recorded four solo albums: *Fiddle Back (2020), TurquoiseTales (2015), Dancing Days (2003), The Flow (1997).
Chris plays: Fiddle, Mandolin, Tenor guitar, Bouzouki, Ukulele, Banjo, Oud, Whistle and Native American Flute.
*Chris Leslie’s brand new solo CD “Fiddle Back”, recorded under lockdown at home, includes new songs, new instrumentals and traditional medleys. Featuring vocals, guitars, fiddle, Hardanger fiddle, mandolin, electric 5-string mandolin, Celtic bouzouki, whistles, percussion and samples. An album straight from the heart!