Jordan Daniels is a fiddler from Saskatoon and a member of Mistawasis First Nation. He first began playing the fiddle at 10 years old.
Jordan Daniels / Submitted
As a young child, Jordan Daniels heard stories about fiddle music without actually hearing the music itself.
Growing up in Saskatoon and a member of Mistawasis First Nation, Daniels always heard his family telling stories about his great-grandfathers, who were both fiddlers.
“I always thought that was something cool, and then when I was in about Grade 5, I started hearing more about them so I asked for a fiddle for Christmas because I just wanted to carry on that tradition that they had, and then I got one,” he said.
To accompany his new fiddle, Daniels’ grandmother also bought him several CDs from John Arcand, who is known as the Master of the Métis Fiddle.
“When I first picked it up, it was something completely new to me … so I was listening to all these fiddle CDs and then that’s when I started playing, and that’s kind of how I learned,” said Daniels, adding he had a knack for playing songs by ear. “It just kind of took off from there.”
Driven by his great-grandfathers’ legacy, Daniels soon began taking lessons from Arcand.
“Fiddling was something that, once I got it, I just kind of fell in love with it,” he said. “My late grandfather, he was always super proud that I played fiddle because his dad played fiddle, so he was always super proud of me and stuff, so that really pushes me now too.”
Now in his seventh year playing the fiddle, the soon-to-be Grade 12 student has come a long way. He has already carved out a name for himself in the fiddling community, with five Junior Championship titles to his name from Saskatchewan’s largest fiddle competition — the John Arcand Fiddle Fest.
Jordan Daniels is a fiddler from Saskatoon and a member of Mistawasis First Nation. He first began playing the fiddle at 10 years old. (Photo courtesy of Jordan Daniels)
Jordan Daniels /
So when the Regina Symphony Orchestra (RSO) needed a fiddler for its March performance of Riel’s Heart of the North and asked Arcand if he could recommend someone, he passed along Daniels’ name.
When the RSO first reached out to him, Daniels said he was surprised.
“I did not feel qualified at all for the task,” he said. But he agreed to be a part of the performance anyway and said everything went smoothly.
This time around, when the RSO reached out to Daniels and asked if he would be a guest performer at Saturday evening’s Symphony Under the Sky performance at Motherwell Homestead, Daniels jumped at the chance.
Symphony Under the Sky, presented in partnership with Parks Canada, is a celebration of Louis Riel’s 175th birthday and International Year of Indigenous Languages, a celebration in which Daniels is thrilled to take part.
“That’s really cool for me, to be a part of something like that,” he said. Getting to showcase traditional Métis music for people who may have never heard it before is also a draw for him.
“I think that’s a really empowering experience to share with people that knowledge that they haven’t experienced before and just kind of like bring it to them and introduce it to them,” he said. “It’s a really rewarding experience.”
Symphony Under the Sky runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday at Motherwell Homestead. Daniels performs at 1 p.m., with the RSO performance to follow at 2 p.m.