Jocelyn Pettit Band

Jocelyn Pettit Band

 Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN
BandWorldCeltic

Jocelyn Pettit is a vibrant Canadian fiddler, stepdancer and singer. She leads her band with original, contemporary, and traditional repertoire, creating a unique style of "Blazing NEW-TRAD Celtic".

Band Press

"Caravan" CD Review – The Living Tradition

JOCELYN PETTIT - Caravan
Private Label JLP1502

There tends to be a preconception, this side of the Atlantic, when the word "Canadian" is used in a traditional music context, to think of the East Coast, where the mighty Cape Breton, Nova Scotian and Québecois sounds rub shoulders. What about the other side of the country? Well, on the strength of this release, we need to get over to the far west quickly.

Jocelyn is a fiddler, stepdancer, singer and composer from the British Columbia coast, and she draws on a whole range of influences, including the aforementioned Cape Breton and Québec, as well as Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, Galicia and Scandinavia. Irrespective of the music's origin, Jocelyn tackles it with verve, panache and, more importantly, obvious enjoyment. Her bowing technique is both elegant and driving, getting all the nuances of the tunes, no matter their provenance. But it doesn't stop at the one instrument, as she broadens the tonal palette with octave fiddle and octave viola, as well as singing and driving foot-percussion.

Her singing voice is clear and strong, with an especially fine rendition of Kate Rusby's Walk the Road, a song that could never fail to give inspiration.

She is accompanied here by her father Joel Pettit on bodhrán, cajon and vocals, and mother Siew Wan Khoo on piano, along with another 11 guest musicians. The changing line-ups help give even more variety to what is an exceptionally enjoyable CD.

As far as I can make out, she hasn't visited Scotland in the last 10 years, so it's high time she came back!

www.jocelynpettit.com

Gordon Potter

A homecoming for local fiddler – The Squamish Chief

November 11, 2015
By Mike Chouinard, Squamish Chief

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.

"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 area 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 as 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.

Interview with Celtic Life International – Celtic Life International

The West Coast is a long way from the East Coast of Canada, but somehow the Cape Breton fiddling style has found its way to the coastal mountains of British Columbia.

There, 19-year-old Jocelyn Pettit is swiftly making a name for herself as an adept fiddler who plays not only Cape Breton style, but Scottish, Irish, Galician, Breton, Quebecois and what she refers to as an evolving style of her own.

Pettit already has one recording out and is working on a second. She’s received two Canadian Folk Music Award nominations for World Artist of the Year and Young Performer of the Year, as well as a nomination for songwriting competitions in the United States and France. Pettit played at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Victory Medal ceremony, and performed with the Chieftains during their 50th Anniversary World Tour.

Her first exposure to the fiddle, and the East Coast style of playing, came at age four at the Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival. Natalie McMaster performed. “I was four years old at the time,” she recalls, “and that performance had such a powerful impact on me. The energy and drive of the Cape Breton music was so much fun! A spark went off. I thought, I want to do that, too.”

Seeing McMaster also triggered her love of the Cape Breton style of fiddling. She says on hearing McMaster a note was struck somewhere inside of her. “I was drawn to the rhythmic energy and pulse of the music and felt – and still do – an irresistible urge to get up and dance.”

It helped that she grew up in a family both Celtic and musical. Pettit’s heritage is Irish, French and Malaysian. Her great-great-grandparents emigrated from Ireland, while her great-grandfather was a dance caller, who teamed up with a fiddler for community events and celebrations. Her mother plays the piano and fiddle, her father the bodran and guitar and when she took up fiddle at the age of eight, playing music with her parents became a regular activity.

Pettit says Celtic music forms the foundation of her fiddling and that she loves learning the different styles of fiddle playing. “I’m fascinated to explore music from the Celtic nations, from both traditional and contemporary composers. I’ve often thought it would be great to have a time machine, to be able to just stop the clock and enjoy learning and writing more music!”

Everywhere she goes in British Columbia, Pettit says she encounters interest and enthusiasm for Celtic music. She points to such events as CelticFest in Vancouver, which has become one of the West Coast city’s largest events and draws 200,000 people to its annual parade. The BC Highlands Games has also been going on since 1932. Beyond that, Pettit notes lots of other regional cultural events and music festivals also feature Celtic music and fiddling as well as community ceilis and ceilidhs.

In terms of her own compositions, Pettit strives to create engaging and memorable melodies. She wants them to connect in some way with people. Writing is an evolution, she says, whereby an initial melody or motif develops into a full piece over time. “I like to take a number of writing sessions to adjust notes and play with how to put all my thoughts together.”

Pettit loves performing and sharing the joy of what she does with others. Her goal, she says, is to create a memorable show of the highest possible quality. Over the next few months she has shows lined up in BC, Ontario, France and Ireland. “I’m so happy and grateful to be making music my profession, travelling the world doing what I love and meeting so many wonderful and supportive people along the way.”

Celtic Life International (June 2014)

Fiddler Jocelyn Pettit, 18, already seasoned pro – The Province

January 16, 2013
by John P. McLaughlin, The Province

At 18 and freshly graduated, so many young people give back the gown, put away the mortarboard and look out at the life to come with a fierce, steady gaze, only to realize they don’t have a clue what they’re going to do with themselves.

Fiddler Jocelyn Pettit is 18, graduated and very much has a clue. Actually, she has her future all mapped out. She’s going to do music, Celtic music — she brands her particular style Blazing New Trad Celtic — and go see the world. She’s so sure of her path because she’s already been on it for quite a while.

She lives in Squamish and because her Ontario-raised, schoolteacher dad’s also a ski instructor, she knows the mountains in Whistler like you know your old slippers. She’s never even tried snowboarding. She’s a skier and has been since she was five.

That’s the same year her folks took her to see Cape Breton fiddle master Natalie MacMaster at the Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival and something clicked loud and hard in the little girl’s head.

“I was just taken by the infectious energy. It’s such fun music,” says Pettit. “It makes you want to dance.”

Following a year the family spent back in Ontario, Pettit distinctly remembers sitting in the back seat of the car as they drove west across Canada, sawing away on her little fiddle. She was eight.

It helped that her Malaysian mother had played as a girl and could offer tips. There were also some outside lessons along the way, plus some workshops, but most of the music she picked up by ear, listening to fiddle CDs.

“We have a huge CD collection,” says Pettit, “and just listening to lots of different styles of fiddle music and soaking that all in, I just learned from that.

“Picking up the accents and the ornaments by ear is kind of the tradition of this style of music, it being passed on from generation to generation. It originated from dance music so it’s really like an inclusive, community, participatory kind of thing. Especially out east, the community is so involved. Everybody plays fiddle.”

Six years after she started playing, she was recording her debut album, a project that went on to snag a couple of Canadian Folk Music Awards nominations.

In her shows today, she also incorporates the step-dancing she picked up along the way, including the ancient “les pieds” Quebec style of seated dance.

Now in the throes of recording her second album, she and the band — mother Siew on keyboards, dad Joel on bodhran and family friend Bob Collins on guitar — keep a busy schedule.

There was a tour through Oregon and Washington just before Christmas, a spring tour on Vancouver Island is set, and dates are being lined up in Ontario for a fall tour.

Last October, Pettit was invited to play on stage with the Chieftains on the Vancouver stop of their 50th anniversary tour.

Before that, she was tapped by Spirit of the West’s Daniel Lapp to participate in a medal victory ceremony at the Olympics here, and has played in both Scotland and Malaysia.

And soon, this May, she’s going to France to perform. Her father, the band manager, has direct family connections to Brittany and, boy, is she excited about that one.

“I love travelling,” she tells me. Good thing, too.

Teen fiddler spreads the joy at IGNITE! Youth Arts Fest – Vancouver Courier

May 9, 2012
by Cheryl Rossi, Vancouver Courier

Jocelyn Pettit found inspiration for her vocation at the age of four.

An uplifting performance by Natalie MacMaster at the Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival convinced Pettit to follow in the Cape Bretoner's fiddling footsteps. Pettit picked up the fiddle when she felt ready to play at age eight.

Since then, the now 17-year-old has travelled across Canada, the U.S., Scotland and Malaysia performing Celtic music. She'll perform on the final evening of the week-long IGNITE! Youth Arts Festival at the Cultch, May 19.

It'll be the third time the teen from Squamish has played Vancouver's largest youth-driven arts festival.

It's obvious why the youth panel selected Pettit from an open audition, says Robert Leveroos, youth program manager at the Cultch.

"She's amazing," he said. "Her work that she showed this year with the loop pedal is just really, really interesting. She just embodies what the festival is about, showcasing what young people are doing on their own."

Sheer joy animates Pettit's face in a photo snapped during IGNITE! last year.

"It's really feel-good music and makes you want to dance," she said. "I love sharing it with people and just travelling and performing."

Pettit first performed at a Mother's Day concert in a church in Squamish at age 9, started step-dancing at 12, composing her own music at 13 and released her own album when she was 15.

When she performs at this years IGNITE!, Pettit will share the stage with Francesca Tan, an accomplished pianist and dancer from Abbotsford who she used to play with in the North Shore Celtic Ensemble.

She'll also perform as The Jocelyn Pettit Band at the In The House Festival in June.

The cornerstone of The Cultch's Youth Program, the annual IGNITE! Youth Arts Festival has been running for 13 years. It features music, literary, dance and cross-disciplinary nights, with the annual Fruit Basket show, May 18, focusing on performances about gender. These shows run at 8 p.m. in the Cultch's Historic Theatre while shows of the Young Playwrights Festival starts at 6 p.m. in the Culture Lab. The playwrights festival features three original one-act plays and two are performed each night. Art by local youth will fill the Cultch's gallery.

A panel of youth aged 13 to 24 organizes the IGNITE! festival. Youth can join the panel at any time throughout the year.

Teens involved in the IGNITE! Mentorship Program receive one-on-one guidance from accomplished artists from across Canada and around the world. They'll showcase what they've learned at the Cultch May 31 to June 2.

Pettit, who graduates from high school this year, doesn't need a mentor to know what she wants to do with her life. She wants to perform, record and teach music fulltime.

"I'm really looking forward to the festival and all the other performances and happenings coming up," she said. "I just love what I do and plan to continue doing it."

For more information, go to thecultch.com.

Fiddler nominated for Canadian Folk Music Awards – The Squamish Chief

October 22, 2010
by Meagan Robertson, Squamish Chief

Howe Sound Secondary student by day, musician by night, Jocelyn Pettit is well on her way to becoming a household name in the folk music community.

At age 15, Pettit is in the running for two prestigious awards and she’s headed to the Canadian Folk Music Awards in Winnipeg to hopefully claim these new labels.

“It was definitely surprising and really, really exciting to find out I was nominated,” she said.

Nominated for World Artist of the Year and Young Performer of the Year, the talented fiddler, step dancer, singer and composer said she’s thrilled to be heading to such a prominent event as a contender.

“I’m so happy and honoured because several musicians I admire have been nominated and recognized by Canadian Folk Music awards and it’s great to be a part of that group.”

Not everyone is so surprised Pettit is “part of that group” – CBC Radio 3 describes her as a musician with passion, determination, a keen appreciation for tradition and an excitement to explore new ideas, all qualities that explain her impressive musicianship well beyond her age.

Winnipeg will host the sixth annual Canadian Folk Music Awards at the Pantages Playhouse on Nov. 20 and Pettit is up against four other musicians from the Maritimes to the West Coast in both categories.

Dubbed a “Celtic sensation” by her fans, Pettit’s love for East Coast music and the Celtic genre in general started with signature Cape Breton fiddler and one of Canada’s most captivating performers, Natalie MacMaster.

Pettit saw her perform at age four and that concert ignited enough interest to fuel a future career.

“Her performance inspired me and ignited the spark,” said Pettit. “Four years later, I started playing and I haven’t looked back since.”

The 15-year-old is nearing the ranks of her muse and spent time this past summer actually playing with MacMaster.

“This summer was really, really exciting because we went back to Ontario and spent a week with her [McMaster] and her husband and family and it was a week of classes and concerts.”

The week with MacMaster was only one aspect of Pettit’s jam-packed summer – she went on a 33-day tour across Canada and the North Western United States after releasing her self-titled debut album this past spring.

The August-long tour started in Invermere, B.C. and she visited Kelowna, Calgary, Winnipeg and Chicago to name a few.

“There were a lot of highlights, in fact the entire trip was a highlight,” she said.

“We met some really great people, visited with friends and family, made new connections and played music everyday.”

Pettit is in Grade 11 and still attends Howe Sound Secondary part time when she’s not traveling, composing and performing.

On Nov. 18, two days before she heads to the Canadian Folk Music, Pettit will be playing a double bill with Scottish music group, Battlefield Band, at St. James Hall in Vancouver.

Pettit said if she does win, she’ll be ecstatic but her plans won’t change much.

“If I win I’ll be super, super excited,” she said. “But no matter what, I’m so thrilled to be doing what I’m doing, I’ll just keep on playing and performing.”

Her long-term plans include heading to an open air Celtic music festival in Brittany, France next summer.

Pettit’s CD is on sale in Squamish at Gelato Carina on Cleveland Avenue.

Folk award nominee has local ties – Owen Sound Sun Times

October 13, 2010
by Bill Henry

A teenage fiddler with family and musical connections to Owen Sound has been nominated for two 2010 Canadian Folk Music Awards.

Jocelyn Pettit's self-titled CD was nominated in both the World Artist solo and the Young Performer categories. The nominations were announced recently in Winnipeg, where the winners will be named at a gala event on Nov. 20.

Owen Sound musician Bob Robins, who also performed with the Jocelyn Pettit Band at Summerfolk last August, contributed guitar on two of the tracks on Pettit's CD, released earlier this year.

Although based in B.C. Jocelyn and her parents Siew Wan Khoo and Joel Pettit are frequent visitors to Owen Sound, where her father was raised, her grandparents live and where she and her parents connected with Robins and other local musicians.

Robins played on two tracks of the CD, Early Edition and Daniel's House. The disc is available in Owen Sound at The Downtown Bookstore.

"It was incredibly exciting to hear of these nominations," Pettit said by e-mail. "It's great and important that Canadian folk and roots music is celebrated. I am so happy and honoured to be nominated for two of these awards."

In 2009, Jocelyn's performance at the Summerfolk open stage won her band a spot on the 2010 festival roster. The 16-year-old's music is influenced by Irish, Cape Breton and other fiddle cultures, as well as classical music, and includes both traditional and original repertoire.

Local roots and folk music fans, especially those who attend Summerfolk, will also recognize many of the other Canadian Folk Music Awards nominees, including the late Oliver Schroer, originally from Markdale, nominated with The Stewed Tomatoes for the CD Freedom Row, in both the Pushing The Boundaries and the Instrumental Group categories.

Young fiddler drops debut album – The Squamish Chief

February 5, 2010
by Neil Judson, Squamish Chief

Jocelyn Pettit is looking to fill the Eagle Eye Theatre tonight (Feb. 5) after a jubilant performance at Deep Cove Shaw Theatre drew a sold out crowd of about 130 people to celebrate her first album’s release on Saturday (Jan. 30).

The 15-year-old fiddle player shared the stage with more than a dozen fellow musicians, including The Jocelyn Pettit Band, to bring her new self-titled album to life.

“The place was pretty packed and once the energy got going it was amazing,” said Pettit, adding that she expects the local release concert to build on that energy.

Pettit has been a core part of Squamish’s music scene for years, bringing original, contemporary and traditional sounds to the corridor solo and together with friends and family like father Joel Pettit, who co-produced and performs on the album.

The album, which Pettit describes as New-Trad Celtic, features two tracks she recently composed along with others from about 20 composers representing folk traditions of British Columbia, Cape Breton, Scotland, Ireland, Scandinavia, France, and the United States.

Pettit said the musicians contributing to the album have all been important to her musical development.

“All those people I’ve played with over the years, it was really special to include everyone on the CD,” she said.

The result is an upbeat blend of old and new, mixing sweet melodies with foot-stomping dance tunes and groovy rhythms that are enhanced by Pettit’s vocals on select tracks.

She’s excited about the entire album but is most proud of her own songs, she said. The album opens with Late for the Feast, a three-piece track Pettit wrote partly while relaxing in the sun and partly while riding out a long plane ride. She also wrote Shades of Mist, a song that evolved over time.

“It started off as a small groove and then kept building as I played it in different venues and for different people,” she said.

Pettit spent more than three months in a Vancouver recording studio during the 18 months it took to produce the album. Although she had already recorded demos, she feels she developed immensely through creating a complete album.

“It was definitely a fantastic learning experience for the future because I’m sure I’ll be doing many more albums,” she said, adding that it will be a useful tool for getting her music out to festivals and radio stations.

Tickets for the tonight’s 7:30 p.m. show can be purchased in advance at Gelato Carina or at the door. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors.

Having already carried the Olympic Torch in Furry Creek on Thursday (Feb. 4), Pettit is hitting the main stage in front of 22,000 people at BC Place for the first Winter Games medal night on Feb. 14

Olympic flame illuminates performer, volunteer – The Squamish Chief

January 22, 2010
by Neil Judson

As if sending off ski jumpers and performing at the opening Vancouver Victory Ceremonies wasn’t enough, local Olympic volunteer June Kleban and fiddle phenom Jocelyn Pettit will have their hands full even before the Winter Games officially begins.

Pettit and Kleban are carrying the flame to and from Squamish on Feb. 4 and 5 before moving even deeper into the heart of the 2010 Winter Games.

Pettit, 15, was nominated by MLA Joan McIntyre to participate in the Torch Relay while Kleban, 57, won a contest run by Olympic sponsor Coca-Cola.

For Pettit, who has been performing along the corridor for years, the Torch Relay illuminates a breakthrough period in her music career. She is awaiting the Jan. 30 release of her first album and preparing to display her talents in front of 22,000 people while opening for pop star Nelly Furtado at the first medal night on Feb. 14.

Still, Pettit is more eager than intimidated to perform in front of her largest audience ever, she said, especially since she’ll be sharing the stage with B.C. musician Daniel Lapp and five other young fiddlers from around the province.

“I’m very excited. I don’t know what all to expect but I just think it’s going to be amazing,” she said. “It’s going to be really amazing to be a part of this world event, and performing around the area as someone from Squamish and showcasing my music.”

Pettit is releasing her self-titled album at North Vancouver’s Deep Cove Shaw Theatre on Jan. 30 before holding a second release show at Squamish’s Eagle Eye Theatre on Feb. 5. Both shows will feature original, contemporary and traditional fiddle music with lively step dance, backed by full accompaniment and several guest musicians.

By that time, fellow torch bearer Kleban and her husband Stewart will have sent dozens of ski jumpers soaring over the Callaghan Valley as volunteer starters stationed at the top of the Whistler Olympic Park inrun.

“It’s absolutely the best view ever. And these athletes are just amazing,” she said.

Like the torch she will be carrying, Kleban lights up when she talks about tracking the flame along its entire journey across Canada. She follows the torch every day and can’t wait until it’s her own smiling face bared below its glow.

“I get emotional every time I see the flame, but I’m just so excited to be a part of the journey of the flame. I can’t be an athlete, but I can cheer them on. And just to carry that flame means everything,” she said.

Kleban moved to Squamish from North Vancouver three years ago and quickly became immersed in the community. She is involved in the Wonderful Older Women biking group, the OHH hiking group, Whistler Mountain Safety, the Whistler Senior Ski Team and volunteered for the Callaghan Valley Local Organizing Committee (CALOC) on her way to becoming an Olympic volunteer.

“I love being outside,” she said, adding that she took up running at the age of 49 and ran her first half marathon when she turned 50. She has since ran six marathons and coaches others to reach their running goals.

Most recently, she’s been practicing for the big day by running along the Mamquam channels, smiling and pretending to hold the torch up high.

“I can’t imagine,” she said of the upcoming experience. “I’m sure there will be tears of joy.”

Performance Reviews & Press Quotes – Various

"On behalf of the Victoria Folk Music Society, I would like to thank you for the excellent show that you played for us! It was a perfect mix of traditional and contemporary; instrumental and vocal music. You connect well with the audience and a couple of folks commented on your smile and the way your eyes light up as you play! We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We would love to have you back again."
- Patty Castle, Victoria Folk Music Society (Victoria, BC)


"Jocelyn Pettit is a talented young musician - an accomplished fiddle player, dancer, singer and composer.
- The Celtic Connection (Burnaby, BC)


"A new fiddler has risen to the ranks of the powerhouse fiddlers living in British Columbia and the Canada-USA Northwest.
- Victory Music Review (Seattle, WA, USA)


"The Jocelyn Pettit Band, a Celtic ensemble led by the fiddle-playing phenom herself, held the crowd captive."
- World Ski & Snowboard Festival (Whistler, BC)


"Your group was a very important part of the weekend. You are all extremely talented. Jocelyn, your love for your instrument and music is so well communicated to your audience through your infectious smile and happy demeanour.
- Artistic Director, Wild At Art Pre-Olympics Festival (Squamish, BC)


"Fiddle Phenom!"
- Mountain FM Radio (Squamish, BC)


"Thanks ever so much for a first class performance that definitely did WOW everyone. Great feedback. We loved your music."
- Event Coordinator, Canadian Cancer Society (Squamish, BC)


"Jocelyn Pettit wowed the crowd."
- Todd Wong, Inter-Cultural Event Creator, Gung Haggis Fat Choy Celebration (Vancouver, BC)


"Marvelous. You can tell something's good when it almost brings you to tears… Beyond words."
- Canadian Celtic Musician (Nanaimo, BC)


"Last year my daughter and I met you. Since then we've been a big fan of you. Your award nominations news made us soooo happy! Congratulations, from Nagoya!!!"
- Fan of The Jocelyn Pettit Band (Nagoya, Japan)