My name is Anne Harris and I am a professional fiddle player. Amanda Ewing is the first and only African American woman luthier (violin maker) currently on record in the United States. Never before in the US, possibly the world, has a violin commission been made between two Black women. I am deeply humbled by the opportunity to inspire others with this connection, and with our story. I need your support to make history, and this dream of ours, a reality.
I make my living playing live music and recording violin tracks for other people’s music as well as my own. It’s not an easy path, but I am so grateful to do what I love, and love what I do.
Over the course of my career I have toured extensively internationally, as well as within the US.
My current instrument is the only violin I’ve ever owned. My parents bought it for me and I’ve been playing on it since I was big enough to fit a full size instrument. I have literally learned to be an interpreter of sound with it. It has grown with me, and I with it, over these many years, weaving countless melodies and songs throughout the world.
I have an irreplaceable bond with this violin, and I always will. But no instrument is perfect, and for the past couple of years I’ve felt more aware of my limitations with my current fiddle. And I have been considering that I might be ready to find a new violin to grow and continue to expand my sound with.
Amanda is a luthier based in Nashville, and when I first connected with her via Instagram my mind was blown. I just knew I had met the surrogate mother of my new fiddle. And through our conversations I realized that she is not only an incredibly talented, and dedicated luthier, but also a pioneer, and that our union was going to be a historical, and groundbreaking one.
She trained as an apprentice for four rigorous years with one of the top luthiers in Nashville, in addition to a summer studying and training abroad in Cremona, Italy- the birthplace of the modern violin where luthiers Antonio Stradivari, Andrea Amati, and Giuseppe Guarneri moved violin making to the level of high art and set the standard by which all modern violins are still measured.
But Amanda’s mission is to not only craft her own distinct voice as luthier, but to open the door and pave the way for African Americans, women, and other marginalized people who may have never even considered it possible to embrace this career.
I met Amanda in-person for the first time in February in Chicago. She brought Willow, the very first violin she had ever made. And I had the great privilege and honor of being the first person to ever play Willow. I felt the rejoicing of our ancestors as they cheered us on into this historical union. And I cannot adequately express my emotions around this, because they are so big and so new for me.
Creating a fine, custom violin is a huge undertaking. It takes around 250 or more hours of work, specialized tools and hardware, the sourcing of high quality wood, and extensive training to craft and assemble about 56 different parts into a violin. Funds raised will be used to pay Amanda for her artistry, craftswomanship, and expense of creating my violin.
To bring this violin to life and into the world we need your help. I’m inviting you to join us as we make history together. We are both artists and entrepreneurs, but more importantly, we are fearlessly dedicated to expanding the story of this instrument to a more inclusive and colorful one. Our vision is big, we know, but the opportunity to inspire others who might not have dreamed this possible…that is priceless.
Come join us, and be a part of making history, Ourstory.