When Tatiana Hargreaves was younger, she was a shit-hot fiddle player; recording her debut album at age 14, a first prize winner at the Clifftop Appalachian Stringband Festival Fiddle Contest that same year and gaining all sorts of accolades before even graduating high school. After some thought, she went after a degree in ethnomusicology and performance at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, where she continued to play fiddle like a maniac. Her time in college allowed her to reconnect with her friend, the equally impressive banjo player, Allison de Groot. She reflects on one summer where she and Allison kept finding each other and jamming at various events and festivals. They decided to record their debut album and tour. The duo are back again with the new record Hurricane Clarice, using traditional stringband music as a way to interpret our uncertain times.
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Our conversation leads into topics like the negative impact of music as competition. Tati has spoken before of her experience competing on the Texas Fiddle circuit that’s pretty popular on the West Coast. Also, after college, she moved to Durham, NC, to be closer to and work with old-time legend Alice Gerrard. Since 2017, she’s been soaking up Alice’s influence and knowledge through being her fiddle player and digitizing her old photos. This has led to a vast amount of inspiration, from recording songs on the new record that Alice had introduced to her to going back to school to study library science. I am fascinated by this person and her work. Tatiana keeps it close to the chest, but I’m grateful for what she shared in conversation.
Photo Credit: Tasha Miller