Sam Sweeney and the Unfinished Violin

Sam Sweeney and the Unfinished Violin

Sam Sweeney and the Unfinished Violin

Ten years ago, folk fiddle maestro Sam Sweeney went in search of a new violin. Little did he know that the instrument he fell in love with would have such a remarkable story. It had the appearance of a brand new instrument but was dated 1915 and the name inside was Richard S Howard. Research revealed that the violin had been made, but never finished, by a luthier and music hall performer from Leeds called Richard Spencer Howard. He joined the British Army in 1915 and in June 1917 he was killed at the Battle Of Messines aged 34, leaving behind the carved pieces of the unfinished violin. He would eventually travel to Ypres in Belgium, to the final resting place of the violin’s creator with the now finished instrument in his hand – where he played a poignant solo performance at his graveside.
Following a BBC Radio 4 appearance in which he told this story, the plan was hatched to record an album of tunes to commemorate those who lived through and those who died in the Great War.
Stylorouge have designed the packaging for the album, and created marketing assets. The Unfinished Violin was released by Island Records in October, The sleeve design used photographs taken on location by Elly Lucas.
Sam recalls his feelings on making the album:
“One of the most poignant things I’ve taken from making this album is the fact that melody has always been important to people, whether that be in everyday life or in times of immense suffering and strife. My hope is that these beautiful melodies, many of which existed before The Great War, will keep being adopted, played and played with for centuries to come”.

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