The name that Canadian roots duo Karrnnel Sawitsky and Daniel Koulack chose for themselves is simple and straightforward: Fiddle & Banjo. That’s because they delight in the deeply subtle interplay between their two chosen instruments, and they recognize that this interplay is at the heart of American roots music. On their new album, Tunes from the North, Songs from the South, their goal is to unite the instrumental dance music of the Canadian North that they’ve known all their lives with the songs and tunes of the American South from which they’ve drawn so much inspiration. The music of Appalachian stringbands and blazing bluegrass bands has taken deep root in Canadian cities, and a new generation of artists like April Verch and The Duhks have long been fusing this American roots music with the old-time dance tunes of Canada. Fiddler Karrnnel Sawitsky is in a perfect spot to do this, having grown up immersed in Canadian old-time fiddling, particularly the barndance tunes of the Ukrainian communities he grew up a part of in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Sawitsky toured as part of a family band of fiddlers growing up, but is better known now for his boundary-pushing fiddling and compositions, as featured in his acclaimed Canadian fiddle ensemble The Fretless.
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