Becky Dellow is a fiddle player from Gloucestershire who comes from a paternal line of English fiddle players going back at least to her great-great-Grandfather, Thomas Hampton, (b1844). His handwritten ‘Fiddlers’ Tunebook’ became part of the focus of her recent PhD thesis, supervised by Dr Fay Hield.
She has played in many bands, appearing nationally at festivals, folk-clubs and pubs, recording with Ed Boyd from Flook and supporting Eliza Carthy, Steve Tilston and Ric Sanders. Sensitivity is a real strength in Becky’s playing and this has been invaluable in the shows she has created in conjunction with poet, Adam Horovitz. Their two recent productions have been sell-out successes with requests for repeat bookings. ‘The Apple’s Rounded World’ featured solo fiddle tunes interspersed with poetry by Laurie Lee, (with whom Becky’s grandfather Charles Hampton played fiddle) and other acclaimed writers from the Slad valley. Adam’s 2017 book of poetry, ‘The Soil Never Sleeps’ which was commissioned by the Pasture for Life campaign was the basis for the most recent show.
Current musical collaborations see her play with Mischief Afoot (Jeff Gillett (guitar) and John Davis (recorder and bodhran)) whose recent debut CD has received good reviews; Playing with daughter Milly Dellow (vocals & fiddle) with guitarist Matthias Weston -Weston & Dellow, and with Taeppeda, ( a four-piece festival band playing both traditional and self-penned tunes with both Celtic and European influences). Most recently she is teaming up with longstanding friend and mandolin and guitar player from Gas Mark 5 and Chalktown, Michael Davidson.
Despite her fiddling heritage, six year old Becky only took up the violin because Father Christmas gave her a red plastic trumpet rather than the shiny silver one she was hoping for. Instead, her Grandfather gave her a violin which she began learning playing both folk (Cotswold Fiddle Association) and classical. She continued to study violin achieving ABRSM Grade 8 with Distinction and piano Grade 7 (pass (just!)). It was during these school years that her interest and love of English and Celtic folk music developed as a member of the school barndance and ceilidh band, led by Pete Hendy and Jeff Gillett. During this time she also played with folk song collector, Peter Kennedy in his ‘Hooley Band’.
She furthered her musical study at Nottingham University, graduating with a BA (Hons) in Music, specialising in Performance and Early Musical Notation. During her days at university, Becky played with the University Orchestra and the University String Quartet, attending masterclasses with The Allegri String Quartet. It was during the night times however, that her real love of music and skill as a fiddle player developed as she spent many hours playing in pubs and clubs around Nottinghamshire in various bands .
On leaving University, she moved to Hertfordshire where she spent a few years teaching violin for Hertfordshire and Essex County Music Services as well as playing with local mandola hero John Hammond and playing folk club gigs with brilliant guitarist Michael Davidson (Gas Mark 5 and Chalktown) .
Since moving back to her home town in Gloucestershire, in 1996, Becky has continued to teach and play music whilst bringing up her children and has toured the festival circuit, folk clubs and pubs in duos and bands. Whilst with the band Rabbi John, she recorded a set of tunes with Ed Boyd from Flook for the album Skin & Bone. She has performed with singer/songwriter Ceilidh-Jo Rowe and the trio Scarlett Bazaar with Gwyneth Keen (Celtish). In 2013 Becky was awarded an MA (Merit) in Musicology from Bristol University, where she researched the origins of the tunes in John Playford’s 1651 ‘English Dancing Master’.