The Fretless

After their well-received performances at the New World Festival in 2012, we are delighted to announce the return of The Fretless. This unique band is quickly gaining high acclaim around the world and taking string music to fascinating places as it transforms fiddle tunes and folk melodies into intricate, beautiful, high-energy arrangements. The quartet expands the rhythmic, harmonic and structured arrangement style of the many folk genres they play using only string instruments.

In November 2011, Karrnell Sawitsky (fiddle), Ivonne Hernandez (fiddle), Eric Wright (cello) and Trent Freeman (fiddle) got together for the first time on Vancouver Island to start rehearsing a new project. After 10 days straight of writing, arranging, practicing and an absurd amount of tea, The Fretless emerged as a band.

With the release of their debut album Waterbound in early 2012, which features their fresh styles, compositions, as del las collaborations with singers Ruth Moody and Norah Rendell, the quartet grabbed the attention of critics and fans across many genres. This recording field a busy summer of festivals across Canada, a month-long tour of Germany in the fall, and worldwide sales and radio play. The year was capped with 3 awards, bringing the album, and the band further into the public eye; Instrumental Album of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards, and at the Canadian Folk Music Awards, the Fretless walked away with both Ensemble of the Year, and Instrumental Group of the Year. In 2014 they were named the Ensemble of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards in Ottawa. Their second recording, The Fretless, received the Instrumental Album of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards in Winnipeg.

The four members come from very different traditional and contemporary backgrounds, and a wide array of influences. They are unified in their goal to continually develop their amalgamated sound, pushing traditional music in exciting new directions.