Original Tune in a Gypsy Scale

I wanted to share some music from our recent performances in Ohio:

This is an original tune, written by me and Mark Varelas, in a Gypsy style. We used an exotic scale that was introduced to me as the Greek Hitzaz scale.  Here are the notes of the scale in A:

A, Bb, C#, D, E, F, G, A

The G can also be sharped while improvising, which sounds especially good while going up the scale.

Sorry the camera is kinda shakey.  I handed my flip cam to a fan in the crowd who couldn’t seem to stop dancing.  Next time I’ll pick someone who seems to like the music less 😉

The inspiration to yell “hela!”  came from a very old recording I heard that sounded like it was in an actual hash den in Turkey.  You could hear the background noise of the room. There was a sparse instrumental intro but when the singer yells “hela” a cacophony symphony of flutes, drums, plucked strings and violins comes in.  The next time I heard that word was it was being shouted in the distance of a Ren Faire campground.  I followed it to investigate and found the whole crew of the Greek gyro booth trying to push a truck out of the mud.

I’ve since been told that it means “come on!” or “bring it!”

Would you guys like sheet music for this?  If I have enough interest I will write it out.


“The song from the Last of the Mohicans”

Some questions have been rolling in regarding the tune I’m playing in this video. The lilting main riff comes from a tune called The Gael written by Dougie MacLean, the Scottish fiddler. Trevor Jones adapted it for use in The Last of the Mohicans, adding those long slow notes that fit so sweetly over the riff when the two are played together, hence the soundtrack titles, Promontory or The Kiss.

Since I’m just one fiddle, I fancy imagining the sound of one part when I’m playing the other. You shouldn’t be able to hear that, but maybe it makes me dig in a little differently…

The Hot Violinist Manifesto

This YouTube video, entitled The Hot Violinist, was posted in 2008 and since then has gotten over 350,000 views!

I don’t think that ever would have happened with a video entitled, Jenny plays the Gael, so I’ve decided that there is some power in that silly name and I’m gonna fly with it! Come join me for the ride…

I never would have thought to call myself “The Hot Violinist,” and this new website is not about me! I get a bunch of emails each week from all over the world asking me for sheet music or tips on how to play the Gael like I do in that video. This has inspired me to create an online home where I can share some of what I’ve learned about folk fiddle styles over the years while hoping to learn some more things from you.

I also incidentally get some questions about what I eat or how many sit-ups I do each day. One astute commenter on the Hot Violinist video observed, “I don’t think she eats McDonalds.” That’s pretty much true except for a few times a year after driving all night when those Golden Arches are like a bacon, I mean, beacon and unwrapping an Egg McMuffin seems like the most comforting thing in the universe.

Following my passion for fiddle, food and fitness has brought me satisfaction, peace, energy, happiness and a six pack.

And I hate sit-ups!

Eating healthy and finding time to work out while traveling all over the place sometimes feels like an uphill battle, and I’d be lying to say, “I’m not a health nut.” But I generally find that when I’m happy and actively pursuing my passions, musically or otherwise, I naturally eat better quality foods, and I don’t pig out. As much.

The biggest reward of traveling this country pretty much nonstop for my entire adult life, has been all of the incredible and inspiring people I have met. From artists, to dancers, to puppeteers, to activists, to elves, to writers, to yoga teachers, to Lou Ferrigno, to Jim, to violinists, to fiddle-in-sts, to carpenters, to little kids, to moms and dads, to smilers, to LISTENERS. YOU enrich my life and make it worth living!

The Manifesto:

  • Being a Hot Violinist is a state of mind.
  • When we pursue what we love, whether it’s pumping iron, playing music, or completing the loop by listening, we enrich the lives of others!
  • Hotness starts on the inside and works it’s way out.
  • We smile a lot.
  • We will unify these like-minds all around the world on one online porch where we can sit around and jam and share ideas.
  • Together we will create an army of passionate Hot Violinists that will change the WORLD! (insert dramatic echo effect here)
  • There will be recitals.