"Four-time North American Fiddle Champion Ivonne Hernandez knocked the audience out with a high energy music/step-dancing routine."
-Danielle Dreilinger for Berklee.edu (Dec 2007)
"The show began with performances by Canadian Berklee studens, and while all the students showed truly stunning talent, one young woman was a standout. Fiddler Ivonne Hernandez played with heart and vigor- her fiddling was rich and complex and her love of the music apparent. Judging from these performances, the students certainly have bright futures ahead of them. The students were a tough act to follow"
- the bostonist (Dec 2007)
"Hernandez's stellar fiddling is the duo's most obvious asset, and she is in splendid form. Her virtuosic ease with different fiddle traditions is apparent. The musical ground Hernandez and Walsh cover may strike some as so vast as to be unfocused and muddled. But their interplay and rapport with one another makes whatever it is they're playing seem perfectly suited to their talents. If a studio recording makes you want to see what the artist sounds like in concert, then "Live off the Floor" assuredly does the job." — Sean Smith, Boston Irish Reporter (Sept 2011)
"Ivonne's gigs at the Fall Fair really were magical - we just didn't want the weekend to end! She's (of course) a phenomenal musician - and is also a very pleasant, warm and classy young woman."
"Thank you SO much for your spirited and generous performances. Live performance is sometimes magical, and I really believe there were several magical moments. Many, many thanks!"
-John and Sandra Barth for the Lakes District Arts Council
"She can play the fiddle behind her back, over her head, and can pound out a firey step dance. And she sounds good, too. Ivonne Hernandez…the next fiddle superstar." — Tia Abell, Richmond Review
"To be quite honest, I was a little thrown by the name Hernandez in the Celtic section, but I am VERY glad I listened in anyway. I downloaded all three songs, checked the artist website and put it on my favorites because I want to know the minute Ivonne's CD comes out! She has an absolute feel for Celtic fiddle and it comes through in spades."
"Her music is a joy to listen to, gives you that unstoppable urge to slap your knee or clap your hands in time. The last time I heard Celtic music this true to the art, and this absolutely enjoyable to listen to, was when I stumbled upon a group called Gaelic Storm. I've been listening to their music faithfully for years now, still love every song, and I am sure that I'll be doing the same with Ivonne's!! Looking forward to the CD release with much anticipation!"
"Ivonne certainly proved to be a great musician… met all our expectations…sold every ticket to her performances. I would certainly recommend her to perform future events."
- David Kempling, BC Legion Highland Gathering
"Playing With Fire is an excellent showcase for a young fiddler with huge potential. It’s exciting, innovative at times, and full of good music. Definitely worth a listen for fans of North American fiddle music. Watch out for Ivonne’s next recording, I’d say it’ll be red hot." — Alex Monaghan, Irish Music Magazine
Review of 'Live off the Floor'
Hernandez, a British Columbia native and a multiple prize-winning fiddle champion, came to Boston during the past decade to attend Berklee College of Music. She’s a founding member of the Folk Arts Quartet – an exponent of ChamberGrass, which melds traditional/roots music (Celtic, Appalachian, Scandinavian, etc.) with chamber music – and more recently has played with The Outside Track, a well-received band of young musicians representing the Canadian, Irish and Scottish folk traditions. Her partnership with guitarist-vocalist and fellow Canadian Walsh stretches back 11 years, and this nine-track CD (their first) shows why: The duo has a winning chemistry and enthusiasm that even a studio recording can convey. The tracks are a representation of their live material, which includes Irish, Scottish, and French Canadian traditional fare, as well as contemporary/original tunes and songs.
The Celtic-oriented repertoire includes a comely but not overly sentimental “Sweet Forget Me Not” and “The Rocky Road to Dublin,” the latter of which is done by Walsh a cappella, which serves to highlight just how frenetic, and challenging, the song is both rhythmically and lyrically. Hernandez joins Walsh on vocals for “Sweet Forget Me Not, “ as well as Kieran Kane’s waiting-for-my-luck-to-change lament “Dirty Little Town” and “$400 Later,” a cajun-tinged Walsh composition about poor judgment and wild nights.
Hernandez’s stellar fiddling is the duo’s most obvious asset, and she is in splendid form on the CD’s four tune sets, and her own “Mom’s Lullaby.” She and Walsh glide through that venerable standard “Whiskey Before Breakfast,” which the two adorn with a vocalization of the melody, and thence into Walsh’s “La Visite,” where he does a more elaborate vocal turn. Her virtuosic ease with different fiddle traditions is apparent in the “Swedish Jig/Fil et Bobine/Les Poules Huppes” medley, and a set of reels, “Red Haired Girl From Tulloch/Seamus O’Connel’s Fancy/Leviathan.”
The musical ground Hernandez and Walsh cover may strike some as so vast as to be unfocused and muddled. But their interplay and rapport with one another makes whatever it is they’re playing – a French Canadian reel, an Irish standard, a foot-stomping pub song – seem perfectly suited to their talents. If a studio recording makes you want to see what the artist sounds like in concert, then “Live Off the Floor” assuredly does the job.
- Sean Smith (Sept 2011)
Boston Irish Reporter
Review of Playing with Fire
Canada has produced so many young and talented fiddlers, it's sometimes hard to imagine anyone will appear with something new to offer. But Canada is always full of surprises, and Ivonne Hernandez is a pleasant one indeed.
Hailing from British Columbia, Ivonne got an early start on the instrument, demonstrating a degree of mastery by age 3 and placing in her first competition at age 5. Playing with Fire, her debut recording, is as fine an introduction as you can imagine.
There's certainly plenty of variety in her selection of tunes, as you might expect from someone with roots in both the Canadian Maritimes and Chile. Ivonne draws heavily on her Celtic, Canadian and Latin heritage, beginning with a highly polished interpretation of "Reel Beatrice" that matches any I've heard. The classical climax is an artful touch! "Home Sweet Home" is a lively medley of tunes from some musical friends in British Columbia. "USA" pairs Texas-style fiddle tunes "Tugboat" and "Don't Love Nobody" with the flair of a native. In "Coast to Coast," Ivonne exercises her East Coast muscles in a sextet of Cape Breton tunes. Her own composition, "No Good Notes," defies its name and indicates a fine future for her as a tune writer.
Composer Gord Stobbe has penned a few tunes to Ivonne's liking, and she gives him a great deal of credit with her arrangements of the lyrical "Farewell to the West" and her jazzy, Spanish-tinged "Culture Shock," adapted from Stobbe's "The Mad Bulgar." Jay Unger's "Wizard Walk" gets a jazzy interpretation and, considering her age when she started performing, Ivonne must have a long memory indeed -- she credits "Westphalia Waltz" as one of the first tunes she learned!
Only the final track, "Amazing Grace," falters; the fiddling is lovely, but Ivonne's vocals seem out of place on the otherwise all-instrumental recording. Perhaps if she stretches her vocal skills a bit more in the future, she can find better use for them on upcoming albums.
Besides fiddle and brief vocals, Ivonne provides stepdancing and percussion. Other musicians on the album are Adam Dobres (guitar, bass, percussion), Jessamy Zeeman (keyboard, percussion), Mike Alton (drum kit), Daniel Lapp (keyboard, tenor guitar) and Scott Henderson (a sparingly used tenor saxophone).
Playing with Fire is a dazzling debut from a fresh Canadian face. I'm already anticipating Ivonne's next release!
-Tom Knapp (Feb 2003)
Rambles Cultural Arts Magazine