Celtic Junction Arts Center

Weaving the traditions of Dance, Music, Art & Language

836 Prior Avenue
St. Paul, MN, 55104

The Fretless, March 1

Doors 7:30pm, advance tickets $12, $15 at the door

The Fretless fuses the worlds of folk and chamber music in a wild amalgam they like to call Rad Trad. With firm roots in Celtic and American fiddle styles, The Fretless enlivens traditional tunes and new compositions through innovative arrangements, recordings, and performances and have a vibrancy and beauty that is captivating and fresh. When an audience sees the ingredients of a string quartet walk on stage, the expectations are obvious. But with the incredibly diverse and impressive background of the players in The Fretless, the pre-conceptions don’t last long.

It’s not uncommon for a modern string quartet to play some crossover material, but what The Fretless does is different. They aren’t a classical quartet playing ‘an arrangement of a folk tunes.’ The members of this quartet are fundamentally folk musicians, who know the traditions and styles, but also happen to have extensive technical training and chamber music experience. The Fretless are Ivonne Hernandez (violin/viola/step dancing), Karrnnel Sawitsky (violin/viola), Trent Freeman (violin/viola) and Eric Wright (cello).

The fiddle & viola members of The Fretless met many years ago while competing at many of the major fiddle competitions across Canada. Ivonne & Trent went on to studying at Berklee College of Music (Boston, MA) where they met cellist Eric. Their immediate bond of backgrounds and their love for crossing over musical styles helped pilot their groovy, contemporary arrangements in Boston’s fertile folk music scene. At Berklee, the members of The Fretless had the honor of being mentored by some of today’s best contemporary string players, including Eugene Friesen, Mads Tolling, and John McGann. The Fretless’s sound quickly grew in popularity and with the versatile and prolific accomplishments have since led them to include performances at the Kennedy Center, the Commonwealth Games, Carnegie Hall, the International Bluegrass Music Awards, the LOVE Saskatchewan Festival, and tours across North America, Europe and the Caribbean.

Scots Trad Music Award winner Natalie Haas, said “The quartet is comprised of four incredibly talented young [musicians], each bringing their own unique style of fiddling to this group, which is the first of its kind in the Celtic genre. They are taking the string world by storm with their zesty arrangements of both traditional and original tunes, blending the raw, folksy sounds of a string band with the sophistication and grace of a classical string quartet.”