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Learning the ways of the fiddle
Sheyla Kunkel shines at Kole Crook Fiddle Jamboree

Kassina Ryder
Northern News Services
Saturday, February 20, 2016

Sheyla Kunkel will never forget the first time she heard a fiddle being played.

NNSL photo/graphic

Sheyla Kunkel, Grade 7 student at Chief Albert Wright School, performed during the Crook Fiddle Jamboree in Fort Simpson on Jan. 16. - photo courtesy of Mary Jane Kunkel

"This lady was in town and she had curly hair and I heard this sound and I went into the library and I saw her," Kunkel said. "She asked if I wanted to play fiddle. I didn't even know what the fiddle was."

The Grade 7 student at Chief Albert Wright School in Tulita has now been playing ever since this woman demonstrated the instrument for her. This was in kindergarten.

Since then, Kunkel has mastered basic songs, including Eliza Jane and Egan's Polka, both of which she played at the Kole Crook Fiddle Jamboree in Fort Simpson on Jan. 16.

She said "playing the fiddle and meeting new friends" were her favourite parts of the event.

Kunkel said she now wants to move on to more complex pieces of music, such as One Hundred Pipers and Drunken Sailor.

But for now, her favourite song to play is Eliza Jane.

"It has a lot of ups and downs," she said. "It's really fun."

Kunkel borrows a fiddle from the school to practice, but she said she hopes to get an instrument of her own this summer.

She knows exactly which one she wants.

"I like the orange or brownish type of colours," she said. "I don't like blue or pink, but but the ones that have shiny wood."

Kunkel said she has learned more than just how to play music since picking up the fiddle for the first time. She also knows how to keep a fiddle in top shape.

She said anyone thinking of learning how to play the fiddle needs to keep one vital piece of information in mind.

"Make sure your fiddle is tuned," she said.

Kunkel also said if a string breaks, it's important to remove it properly.

"Make sure you don't rip it right off or else the glue will loosen and other hairs will fall off," she said.

While she doesn't have any upcoming performances scheduled just yet, Kunkel said she's already anticipating next year's jamboree in Fort Simpson.

"I'm looking forward to it," she said.

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