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Notes from a Fiddler

We asked Rachel Panitch, who will play in the SCC’s “Fika” Sound Series next weekend, to give us a “teaser” about her upcoming fiddle performance with David Kaynor. Learn a bit about Rachel and David here, and join us next Saturday to hear their duo… nothing goes better with coffee and Swedish pastry than the sounds of the fiddle!


When I met David Kaynor in 2002, I was a Classically-trained violinist just starting college. The summer before college, I played a weekly “gig” at the corner ice cream store with a guitar-strumming friend. We had started pulling in fiddle tunes because we needed more repertoire, but I was definitely playing these fiddle tunes in the style of a Classical violinist.

Some traditional fiddle players are annoyed when Classical players try to play ‘their music.’  They reject the idea that someone could learn to play with a fiddling sound, if they’ve learned with Classical technique first.  But not David.  He has a history of encouraging and mentoring young Classical players who have an interest in fiddling.  And that’s what he did with me.

After the first workshop I attended of his, he gave me a CD of his Greenfield Dance Band. I soaked in the whole thing when I got home — learning every melody and transition, until I had the beginnings of my own fiddling repertoire to build on.  I imitated the sounds as closely as I could — and even in doing this, the very beginnings my own fiddling style began to emerge.

Soon, my college boyfriend and I were making spring break trips to Montague, Massachusetts, to dance to, jam with, and learn from David Kaynor’s fiddling. My favorite anecdote that I tell my own students has to do with the joy that David passes along from really “getting into” a tune. After many times through a tune he’s taught, when the group has finally learned it, he’s been known to yell “12 more times!” in a way that makes it feel like we’re not just practicing an exercise — we’re really making music together.

I look forward to making music at the SCC’s Fika Sound Series with a focus on David’s Swedish fiddling heritage and knowledge that he has shared with me, and will be sharing with our audience.  It is always magical to perform with someone when there is mutual musical admiration of each other. We’re both looking forward to November 22nd!


The Fika Sound Series is presented with support from the Barbro Oscher Pro Suecia Foundation.

Posted: November 13, 2014 | In: Uncategorized

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