A homecoming for local fiddler | Squamish Chief

A homecoming for local fiddler

Jocelyn Pettit to be joined on stage by family, friends for CD launch

Jocelyn Pettit remembers first being exposed to the fiddle at age four, when her parents brought her to the Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival.

At age eight, she started taking lessons, and she began stepdancing a few years later and cut her first record at age 15. Now, at age 20, she is releasing her follow-up, Caravan.

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“It’s hot off the press,” she told The Squamish Chief.

On Friday night, she will be joined by her band as well as special guests at a CD release party at the Brackendale Art Gallery. 

“It’s going to be real special. We’re going to be playing the full album live,” she said.

Between her two records, Pettit has been busy, which has meant everything from graduating from high school to performing with the Celtic music legends The Chieftains when they stopped in Richmond as part of a tour.

Pettit has performed in many countries, at the 2010 Olympics and on national radio and TV, and she has shared a stage with Scottish legends The Battlefield Band. She has also won honours, including nominations from the Canadian Folk Music Awards in the World Artist of the Year and Young Performer of the Year categories.

Even with touring, she continues to teach, both in Vancouver and with the Squamish Academy of Music. However, the process of putting together Caravan has been her big job, not only in terms of playing but also writing or arranging tunes, handling the production and, as an indie artist, learning how to manufacture and promote a record. 

For Pettit, Squamish is home. She fondly recalls the open mic music events her dad helped organize not so many years ago.

She was born in Vancouver, but her family moved here when she was one year old. They did make a brief move to Kingston, Ont., but otherwise, she has lived in Squamish.

The title of the new record represents movement in different ways.

“The name, Caravan, is meant to imply this idea of a journey,” she said. “Caravan signifies the journey. It’s not only where the music comes from, but it’s all the wonderful people we’ve met.”

The idea of taking a journey is central to Celtic music and culture, which many people identify with countries like Ireland and Scotland but which also has links to Scandinavia, France and Spain. Pettit cites areas like Brittany in France and Galicia in Spain as regions with strong Celtic roots. “The music there is so unique and so beautiful,” she said.

Becoming a touring musician has helped expose Pettit to new sounds and ideas. “Through these travels, I’m always picking up new music,” she said.

For Friday’s show, which will include music and stepdancing, she will be accompanied by her mother Siew Wan Khoo, who plays piano and fiddle, and her father Joel Pettit, who will play bodhran and cajon. Also on stage will be Colm MacCárthaigh (guitar), Erik Musseau (whistle), Keona Hammond (flute), Allan Dionne (accordion), Peter Lepine (bass) and Lauri Lyster (percussion). The show starts at 8 p.m.

“It’s going to be a real fun night,” she said. “I hope everyone will come out.”

Tickets are available in advance at the Brackendale Art Gallery and XOCO, as well at the door. For anyone who can’t make it Friday, she will also be holding a CD launch in Vancouver the next night at St. James Hall. 

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