Violin inspires music from the Great War

Picture by Elly Lucas

Sam Sweeney’s first solo album The Unfinished Violin, is music inspired by his violin, which was carved by a man named Richard Howard in 1915 but never finished because he died in the Great War two years later.

The new work is an expansion and development of the musician’s acclaimed live show, Sam Sweeney’s Fiddle: Made In The Great War, which toured from 2014 to 2017. 

Following an interview with Sam about the original show on Radio Four, Island Records contacted him and invited him to create an album of the kind of music Richard Howard’s violin would have played had it been assembled at the time of its making. 

“At first I said give me a few days to think about it, because I really didn’t want to create a jingoistic, patriotic album,” said Sam.

“But after some research, it was very clear that there would be loads of great tunes, and great stories.”  

The result is a new live show and album of instrumental music inspired by the Great War which is being performed at Derby Theatre on May 5 at 6pm.

Sam is being joined on stage by Rob Harbron, Jack Rutter, Patsy Reid and Ben Nicholls.

For tickets go to