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Nicola Ramirez

I have known Chris and Cécile for almost 15 years now and even though I now live in Portugal, I am still able to enjoy their friendship and their never ending knowledge about violins. As a student, I purchased several instruments and bows from their excellent selection. Although making such an investment is always a stressful thing, I always loved the fact that I was able to stay for as long as I needed, playing as many instruments as I wanted. I cannot think of any other shop in the UK where one would be able to do this. There is not such thing as a perfect instrument of course, but should one find a violin close to the ideal but with something missing (perhaps not enough bass sound or maybe too bright E string) Chris would then spend long hours on a one-to-one session fiddling around until finally a miracle would happen.

One such happy occasion happened a few months ago, when my group, the Sentica Ensemble, gave a couple of concerts in Cardiff and London. I went to visit Cécile and Chris and took my Portuguese colleagues with me as they were looking for bows, wanted a check up on their instruments etc. We didn´t spend more time only because we had to catch a plane back! Chris and Cecile were absolutely wonderful and my friends were over the moon being able to spend time with two luthiers who shared their knowledge with such generosity. I was of course, very proud!!!!

I taught in Cardiff for 13 years and I believe over 500 individual students had lessons with me at one point or another. Of them all, perhaps half owned one example of the incredible range of student violins Chris and Cécile have to offer at the shop. I can say with absolute certainty that it is not possible to find anywhere in the UK (or in Portugal for that matter) violins that have been worked on so, so well, that their sound is unbelievable and at very affordable prices. I miss their friendship and their expertise a lot. Having Cardiff Violins is one of the things the city must be proud of, and I hope many trips come by in the future so that I can pop in and spend some happy times at the shop.