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Fairport News

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Biographies: Chris Leslie – lead vocal, fiddle, mandolin

Chris LeslieChris was born on 15 December 1956 and he was brought up in north Oxfordshire. He joined Fairport Convention in 1996.

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 next year. As well as playing and recording with them, Chris has contributed many songs to Fairport's repertoire.

In the run-up to Christmas each year, Chris tours with seasonal group St Agnes Fountain. His session credits 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 also recorded three solo albums.

Chris lives in Adderbury, Oxfordshire.