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Chris Leslie performing at Fairport's Cropredy Convention 2014
15 December 1956|
Banbury, Oxfordshire England
|Genres||Folk, Folk rock|
|Musician, songwriter, record producer|
|Instruments||Violin, Mandolin, Bouzouki, Ukulele, Banjo, Dulcimer, Dulcitar, Oud, Native American flute, Portuguese guitar, Tenor guitar, Whistles, Harmonica|
|Fairport Convention, Albion Band, Feast of Fiddles, St Agnes Fountain, Whippersnapper|
Leslie grew up in Banbury, Oxfordshire. His brother John steered him toward The Watersons' Frost and Fire, Dave Swarbrick, and The Corries. In 1969 he began to teach himself fiddle and modelled himself on the fiddle-playing of Dave Swarbrick of Fairport Convention, Peter Knight of Steeleye Span, and Barry Dransfield.
Leslie made his first recording at the age of 16, with a Banbury based folk rock band and then went on to forge a successful career around the folk clubs with his brother John - cutting their first album, "The Ship of Time" in 1976. During this period he was also the fiddle player for The Hookey Band and a member of the morris dancers at Adderbury. It was around this time that he first came to the attention of Fairport's Dave Pegg.
From 1981-1983 Chris Leslie studied violin making, under the watchful eye of maker Patrick Jowett, at the Newark School of Violin Making in Nottinghamshire, England. He currently plays the second fiddle he made at Newark on stage.
Since then he has worked with Whippersnapper, the Albion Band, All About Eve, Simon Mayor and Ian Anderson (of Jethro Tull). In 1981 he contributed to a cassette tape produced by CND. It was called "Demo Tape" and had limited distribution. Also on the tape were songs by Fairport Convention. In 1983 he contributed to "More Demo Tapes", again a cassette for CND. He accompanied Steve Ashley on the song "Down By the Embankment" on the album "All Through The Year" (1991). This was a compilation of original tracks. He appeared on "People on the Highway" (Bert Jansch tribute album, 2000). There were other appearances on Steve Ashley albums (see discography). In 2003, Chris played violin on several tracks from Mostly Autumn's album Passengers. In late 2007 he recorded violin and mandolin parts on Dan Crisp's debut album 'Far From Here'.
In 1997 he joined Fairport Convention as singer, song-writer and multi-instrumentalist. He has recorded five solo albums - The Flow, The Gift, Dancing Days, Origins and Turquoise Tales. At first sight Dancing Days appears to be a Fairport Convention album, as it features Simon Nicol, Dave Pegg, Ashley Hutchings and Ric Sanders. However, each of these artists appears only in a sequence of duos with Leslie. He has also recorded collaborations with Ashley Hutchings including Grandson of Morris On .
Chris also takes part in an annual christmas tour with St Agnes Fountain and also takes part in "A Feast of Fiddles" - a collaboration with Peter Knight, Tom Leary (The Hookey Band), Ian Cutler, Phil Beer (Show of Hands) and Brian McNeill (The Battlefield Band).