Gavin Marwick is a fiddle player and a prolific tune writer, a familiar face on the trad scene. His music is grounded in the rhythms and forms of his native Scotland and is coloured by a million inspirations gathered from a lifetime as a travelling, working musician.
Since first catching the public eye with the Iron Horse, he has played, recorded and toured with Cantrip, Bellevue Rendezvous, and, since the pandemic, Firelight Trio with Ruth Morris and Phil Alexander.
The youngest of a large family, he grew up in a household where Scottish music and dance was a way of life. His parents were keen dancers and most of his older siblings were playing instruments so it was a very encouraging environment to learn in. He was taught by various Scottish fiddle players including Alastair Hardie, Tom Anderson, Aonghas Grant and Davy Tulloch - between all of whom he received a very broad education in Scottish fiddle music and regional styles. With his brothers and a couple of friends a ceilidh band was formed called The Amazing Spootiskerry Ceilidh Band which was very popular on the Edinburgh University circuit.
In 1990 he fell in with a bunch of Glasgow based musicians and from this a folk band emerged called Iron Horse. Their debut gig was at Lorient Interceltique and they went from strength to strength, releasing half a dozen albums and touring internationally over twelve years, doing several trips with the British Council and recording the soundtrack for BBC series ‘The Gamekeeper’ along the way. They were a band that were always happy to experiment and kept a contemporary edge all the way through their career.
In 1994 he and Jonny Hardie (Old Blind Dogs) recorded Up In The Air, a twin fiddle led album which began a duo they keep returning to and expanding upon every now and again.
One thing he found was that as he travelled the world promoting Scottish music he was getting more and more influenced and inspired by the other cultures, idioms and music he was meeting.
In 1996 he was asked to write the music for Philip Howard’s production of Faith Healer at the Traverse, and subsequently was involved in more shows at the Traverse, most notably Nicola McCartney’s Heritage and David Greig’s Outlying Islands. Other theatre work has included Molly Whuppie (Lickityspit), Matthew Zajac’s multi-award winning The Tailor of Inverness (Dogstar) directed by Ben Harrison, and The Village and The Road, a music and poetry based show by The Galloway Agreement with Tom Pow.
All this theatre, touring and band work were a great encouragement for his tune writing and composing. In 2008 he was invited to do a New Voices commission for Celtic Connections. This grew into the Journeyman Project, a kind of umbrella project for promoting, recording and playing his music. In 2014 he released a double album of original tunes, recorded with a great bunch of friends, called The Long Road and The Far Horizons, and self published Horizons, a book of 200 original tunes. All this was promoted with a touring show of up to thirteen musicians called The Journeyman Spectacular that was described by one reviewer as an entire folk festival on a stage. Other Journeyman projects have included Impressions Of Galloway (a suite written for a six piece Journeyman in concert with The Scottish Ensemble) and Quarterdays, a series of four EPs celebrating the old Scots quarter days.
He continues to play ceilidhs with, amongst others, Ceilidh Minogue and Whirligig. He teaches occasionally, particularly at Falkirk Fiddle Workshop. When not playing professionally he relaxes by playing for fun.