Folk duo brings fiddle stylings back to Victoria

Culture Music

After a sojourn in Toronto, Rachel Capon is returning to her roots at the University of Victoria’s School of Music.

Hale & Hearty (Rachel Capon, left, and Eli Bender, right) bring their unique folk stylings to UVic on Oct. 14. Photo provided.
Hale & Hearty (Rachel Capon, left, and Eli Bender, right) bring their unique folk stylings to UVic on Oct. 14. Photo provided.

After graduating from UVic with a B. Mus in 2007, Capon has gone on to play cello with such masters as Yo-Yo Ma, Mike Block, and Natalie Haas. She’s been in Toronto since 2010, but she’s moving back to B.C. at last for her very own concert in the Emerging Artists Alumni Series, a selection of concerts aimed to help alumni kick off their careers by providing them with a venue

“When one grows up on the West Coast, there is always a small voice in the back of your head pulling you home,” said Capon over email. “At times it is louder than others (like when it is -35 in Toronto!).”

Capon and her husband Eli Bender, performing as the folk cello duo Hale & Hearty, will be playing in the B-Wing of the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall at the School of Music on Wednesday, Oct. 14 at 8 p.m. They specialize in music of the Quebecois, Appalachian and Scottish traditions, in an unconventional fiddle-like style.

“We love that folk/fiddle music is the people’s music,” said Capon. “It is music for the people by the people. It is music written to be part of a party and to make people dance or tell a story. Everyone loves a good dance or a juicy story no matter where you are from!”

Hale & Hearty’s music certainly gives some of its listeners the urge to dance. A piece of theirs is likely to feature jaunty bass notes, fast-paced melodies, and harmonies reminiscent of woodland pioneers, gathering together to make music on a Saturday evening. The pair’s passion resonates through their cellos’ dulcet tones and heartfelt runs, each note speaking of a love for what they do.

“[Hale & Hearty] is something that is musically inspiring and challenging for the two of us,” said Capon. “We love learning new music and discovering new ideas together.”

Capon and Bender have been exploring music together since they met at the Mike Black String Camp in Vero Beach, Fla. in 2011. This string festival features concerts and workshops for traditional string instruments playing alternative styles and genres such as Celtic, Appalachian, and jazz music.

“The environment of this festival inspired both of us to search further and learn more about these incredible musical genres and traditions,” said Capon.

You can hear Hale & Hearty’s music, including their 2014 album Always We Rambled, on their website This album features a mixture of upbeat dance pieces and solemn ballads, of feisty folk and flying fiddle music. These pieces will also be played live at the Oct. 14 show.

“[Oct. 14] is going to be a show of new and old. I will be taking the stage for some new solo pieces. Also we have a plan to get the audience up and dancing so watch out. It wouldn’t be an H&H show without some serious toe tapping!” said Capon.

Hale & Hearty play the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall, B-Wing, Wednesday, Oct. 14 at 8 p.m. Admission is by donation.