First Listen: The Fretless from Canada

This is a pretty interesting combination of musicians and sounds from four of Canada's most accomplished players. In November 2011, Karrnnel Sawitsky (Fiddle), Ivonne Hernandez (Fiddle), Eric Wright (Cello) and Trent Freeman (Fiddle) got together with some experimentation in mind. 

They wanted to take some fiddle music including Irish and Scottish traditional and mould it into a more intricate, high energy, music as part of a string quartet type structure.  The result was brought to life on their debut recording called Waterbound and they now release their self titled second album.  Its a vibrant and well produced blending of styles with classical, traditional, roots and pop strains coming through in the arrangements.  You can check them out at





About The Fretless from their press release


The members of the Fretless represent a mind-boggling cross-section of North America’s young, innovative string talents.

Victoria’sIvonne Hernandez was a child prodigy who was recreating her family’s Maritime and Chilean folk recordings by ear at age three.  She is a five-time Grand North American Fiddle Champion, and she’s performed with Gloria Estefan, Alan Jackson, Mark O’Connor, U2’s the Edge, Steve Winwood and Earth Wind and Fire.  She attended Berklee on scholarship and graduated in three years at the top of her class with dual majors in Violin Performance and Music Business Management.

Saskatchewan-born,Toronto-based fiddler/violinist Karrnnel Sawitsky is a five-time Canadian Folk Music Award nominee, both for his solo material and for his duo work with Juno-nominated multi-instrumentalist Daniel Koulack.   He was also one of three artists short-listed for the Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governor’s 30 Below Award, given annually to an accomplished emerging artist showing exceptional promise.  In his teens, Karrnnel was a four-time Saskatchewan fiddle champion and a finalist in both the Canadian National Fiddle Championship and the Grand North American Fiddle Championship. 

Courtenay-born,Toronto-based fiddler/violinist Trent Freeman scored a 2012 Canadian Folk MusicAward for Instrumental Solo Artist of the Year for his folk/jazz recording Rock Paper Scissors.   He graduated magna cum laude from Berklee,where he won the 2010 Berklee String Department award for outstanding musical achievement.  Prior to attending university, he was also a five-time finalist in the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddle Championship and a winner of the Comox Valley Mentor of the Year Award for his work teaching and directing the 40-piece community ensemble Fiddlejam.

And cellist Eric Wright was classically-trained from age seven and was a member of the Vermont All-State Orchestra and the New England Orchestra.  He also won the Vermont Youth Orchestra’s concerto competition. He graduated magna cum laude from Berkleeas a professional music major, focusing mainly on film scoring and cello performance.  When not on tour, Eric teaches at countless music camps, works as a composer/sound designer for film, and is a music consultant for EMI publishing in Los Angeles.









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