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Calvin Cairns is a Canadian fiddler, teacher and musical entertainer. He has performed in Russia, Europe, Japan, Australia, Ireland, United Kingdom, USA and from coast to coast to coast across Canada. He has played with many Celtic and Canadiana folk artists, performing and recording with Stringband, Connie Kaldor, Humphrey and the Dumptrucks, Don Freed, Spirit of the West, The Bill Hilly Band and Stewart Mclean's Vinyl Cafe Orchestra.

Calvin’s favourite project to date was his wildly popular folk-cult band, the Romaniacs. In 1984 he teamed up with the musical mando-maniac Steffy Levine (Steve Bengtson) in a showcase of versatility combining Eastern European, Gypsy Jazz and folk influences to create the band's special style of musical ethnofusion. The Romaniacs toured every major Canadian folk festival plus the Montreal Jazz Festival and Just For Laughs comedy festival. They appeared with the Halifax Symphony and the Thunder Bay Symphony, recorded two albums (a third compilation was released to critical acclaim in Japan) and toured Australia.

Calvin's career in theatrical music began with the Caravan Stage Company, touring in horse drawn wagons across North America in the late 1970's and early 1980's. A music graduate of Grant MacEwan College in Edmonton (1977-79), Calvin went on to study violin and Alexander Technique with Paul Collins at the Alexander Study Centre in England. He has since written, performed and directed for numerous companies including Welfare State International (England) and Public Dreams (Vancouver). In 1993 Calvin teamed up with comic genius Gina Bastone. They created The Suzy and Uncle Joe Family Show, a classic comedy team that left a trail of "I can't believe they did that!" everywhere they performed.

In 1994 Calvin took up residence on Saltspring Island and began teaching fiddle. He founded the Saltspring Fiddlers before moving to Victoria in 1996. From 1996 to 2007 Calvin taught folk fiddling at the Victoria Conservatory of Music where he established the Conservatory Fiddlers Orchestra, an ensemble of over sixty fiddlers ages six to eighty-six. He played in the Victoria Civic Orchestra, and worked with the Caravan Farm Theatre near Armstrong B.C. during the summer seasons.


In 2005 Calvin joined forces with singer songwriter and multi instrumentalist Paul O’Brien. This high energy celtic duo performs original instrumentals and Paul’s songs at folk clubs, pubs and house concerts along the west coast.

Since 2004, Calvin has taught with the Kole Crook Fiddle Association in remote First Nations communities of the Northwest Territories. He continues to travel and teach in the northern communities.

In 2011 Calvin was invited to teach in the First Nations communities of the Chilcotin – Caribou district of British Columbia. Collaborating with the communities and mental health clinician, Deb Trampleasure led to the creation of a music program as a suicide preventive. This innovative project incorporates the Circle of Courage philosophies of Dr. Martin Brokenleg with good old toe tapping fiddle tunes that have found their way into First Nations culture.

In 2014, Calvin founded The All Nations Arts Society to organize, promote and fundraise for the Tsilhqot’in Fiddle Project.

PDF versions of c/v’s and bios here:

Performer (125 words)
Romantic cv
Fiddle Instructor (long version)
Fiddle Instructor (250 words)
Fiddle Instructor (175 words 3rd person)

calvincairns.com calvin

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