Minnesota State Fiddlers Association
founded in 1986
a 501(c)(3) organization
This past year, the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund provided dollars for two fiddle tune projects. "Clawhammer" Mike Sawyer coordinated the Minnesota Fiddle Tunes project to seek out and record fiddle tunes played by Minnesota fiddlers - including our very own Gilmore Lee. A similar project was headed up by fiddler Eric Christopher, who researched and recorded fiddle tunes from the upper Midwest.
Area fiddle players had a chance to learn more about both of these projects at the October and November Minnesota State Fiddlers Association SloJammers meetings.
Over twenty people attended the workshop in October presented by Anabel Sanford Wirt and "Clawhammer" Mike Sawyer on the Minnesota Fiddle Tunes Project. Mike talked about his years of work researching Minnesota fiddle tunes and bringing this rich heritage to a new generation of fiddlers. Anabel taught two tunes she learned through this project from Minnesota fiddler Iva Dingwall. Ms. Dingwall was born in 1877 in Elk River, and like Anabel, primarily played fiddle for dances. The group learned "Red Barn" and "Steamboat Quickstep" which are both recorded on the Minnesota Fiddle Tunes CD.
For more information or to be added to the MSFA SloJammers email list for updates, contact Mary Pat Kleven at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since the "SloJammers" began their monthly meetings in January, 2012, 56 people have asked to be added to the email list, with 20 people attending each meeting. Forty-two people have "liked" the Minnesota State Fiddlers Association SloJammers Facebook page, which provides regular updates on the group and other fiddle information.
The group is made up of primarily adult, beginner, fiddle players; some have little experience and want to learn more about old-time fiddling, while others have played classical violin and are learning about the old-time style. We also have people who are bringing their guitars so that they can practice backing up fiddle players -- they like the slowed down tunes and coaching from more experienced back-up players. We've also had some visits from more experienced players who just want to encourage others and support the effort.
Many of our participants take lessons but find that the SloJammers give them some extra practice and learning time to enhance the work they are doing with their teachers. Most of all, the group has fun together, and enjoys socializing before and after the jam session.