Fiddler Karrnnel Sawitsky will return to P.A. in February

Alex Di Pietro
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Saskatoon fiddle player Karrnnel Sawitsky said the audience should expect a variety show of sorts for his return to Prince Albert and the E.A. Rawlinson Centre on Feb. 3. 

Fiddler Karrnnel Sawitsky will be performing at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre on Feb. 3. 

“From tune to tune, the kind of music that I play kind of varies,” he said. “People will hear influences of jazz, some kind of groove and then some old time French and some Métis styles … At the end of the day, I just write and there’s no real intent with what the style is.”

Sawitsky grew up playing old time Canadian fiddle music and some Ukrainian music, which had a huge influence on him. He started writing his own music at around 10 years old.

“That’s kind of what shaped the music that I play for the show -- a combination of some traditional old-time Canadian fiddle music with a lot of my own music in there,” Sawitsky said.

Sawitsky, who was recently nominated at the 2012 International Independent Music Awards for solo instrumentalist of the year, is currently working on his next solo album.

“There will probably be four or five new numbers that I’ll be trying out for the first or second time,” he said. “Then I’ll be playing some stuff off of my first CD that I released in 2009.”

The February show will hardly be Sawitsky’s first in P.A. With about 26 years of experience playing fiddle, he said he has spent more time in Prince Albert than any other city besides his hometown of Saskatoon.

Sawitsky had come to P.A. for a variety of sporting and musical competitions growing up. He performed Ukrainian dancing every year, played hockey and would also come to P.A. to play fiddle.

“There was always one big (fiddle contest) in Prince Albert and then we’d always be there at least once or twice a year for a show or for some sort of event,” he said.

“In terms of fiddling, we were there every year for the P.A. Winter Fest, and there was a fiddle contest that went along with that,” Sawitsky continued. “That was actually my very first fiddle contest when I was six years old -- the P.A. Winter Fest competition.”

Sawitsky said he knows and grew up with a lot of the people in the Prince Albert’s fiddle community, performing in P.A. at least 20 times.

“Obviously, in Saskatchewan, there’s a big fiddle community, and Prince Albert kind of represents the northern fiddle community,” he said. “I think a lot of those people who were at the fiddle contest then watched me grow up through that fiddle contest.”

Sawitsky is a winner of the 2012 Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governor Arts Award for the 30 and below category. His folk-music quartet the Fretless won the Western Canadian Music Award for instrumental album of the year.

He and his band returned from a five-week tour in Europe from October to November. The band played 27 shows in 32 nights.

Sawitsky started playing fiddle at four years old with his father and two sisters as the Sawitsky Family Fiddlers. He has released three award-nominated albums since 2009 and has composed 200 songs.

He and a host of special guests will be performing at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre on Feb. 3 at 7:30 p.m., as part of the Saskatchewan’s Own Series.

Organizations: Prince Albert, Sawitsky Family Fiddlers, E.A. Rawlinson Centre Own Series

Geographic location: P.A., Saskatchewan, Saskatoon Europe

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