When Ivonne Hernandez grew up on the West Shore in the ’90s, fiddling was a rare sight to see.
“No one was really playing it,” says the Juno Award-winning musician, who graduated from Belmont secondary. Fast forward to today and she’s one of Canada’s most acclaimed fiddlers. She’s a five-time Grand North American Fiddle Champion, and winner of two Canadian Folk Music and Western Canadian Music awards.
“It’s so fun to take the old tunes [of Celtic, jazz and bluegrass] and push the boundaries with it,” Hernandez said. “There’s always something for people to connect to. The songs can sound so joyful and happy, but they can be about heartbreak and death.”
The Berklee College of Music grad will be passing on her expertise to eager performers alongside Canada’s top traditional musicians at Victoria Trad Weekend, a two-day event with workshops, a concert and a dance happening Feb. 14 and 15.
Hernandez has orchestrated a rare performance that combines the talents of Pierre Schryer, Adam Iredale-Gray, Gabriel Dubreuil, Elise Boeur, Daniel Lapp, Oliver Swain, Charlie Gannon and Coastline string ensemble.
With a lineup including guitarists, vocalists, composers and multi-instrumentalists, a full day of workshops will take place Saturday. Classes include banjo, singing, guitar and fiddle for all levels of talent. A jam session and dance will end the weekend, an element added for this second annual event. Hernandez will lead out in a step dance followed by a family dance at 7 p.m.
“We wanted something where everyone could let loose after a long day of music,” Hernandez added.
The Trad Weekend concert takes place at the First Church of Christ Scientist, 1205 Pandora Ave. The Trad Weekend workshops are at Esquimalt United Church, 500 Admirals Rd.
Tickets to the concert cost $20 for students and $25 for adults, while a single hour-long workshop costs $25. An all-access day pass to workshops will run $125. Tickets are available online at bit.ly/tradweekend.