It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but a lot has been going on. I’ve been working on a new film project: Hoosier Fiddlers: A Documentary Celebrating Indiana’s Fiddle Traditions. The film is currently in production and I am spending lots of time interviewing and recording fiddlers from around the state. It has been a lot of fun meeting new musicians and learning more about the ones I already knew.
Three of the featured musicians, Dena El Saffar, Julane Lund, and Lee Mysliwiec, play very different styles of folk music and I think some people will be surprised at the diversity of styles of fiddling here in Indiana.
Dena El Saffar is a founding member of the band Salaam “which has delighted audiences for years with its expansive repertoire of Middle Eastern and North African music…Iraqi-American band leader Dena El Saffar’s compositions take advantage her own eclectic musical upbringing to create a sound rooted in maqam (the modal system used throughout the Middle East), with tasteful forays into Latin, African, Balkan, Rock, Blues, and Classical styles”.(www.salaamband.com)
I met Lee Mysliwiec, also of Bloomington, Indiana, at a weekly old-time in 2001. I love his fiddle playing and his attitude about life as well. He is a patient and excellent teacher and is really well known at Clifftop (Appalachian String Band Festival) for his free fiddle and banjo lessons and you will often find him busking on the streets of Bloomington.
Julane Lund plays traditional Norwegian music on the Hardanger fiddle and Norwegian-American tunes on the regular fiddle. I met Julane at the Indiana State Fair Fiddle Contest, sponsored by Traditional Arts Indiana, in 2006. We ended up in a tie for first place and had to do a play off where Julane won. It was very dramatic! I also learned that she lived only 5 miles from my house- I couldn’t believe my luck! She’s a wonderful musician and has travelled all over the world with her music, including Bashkortostan.