It’s been said that the West Coast fiddle style is a burgeoning sound among the world of fiddlers. The influences of Western Swing, Texas Style old time, Irish and Scottish traditional songs and tunes are strong within the melting pot of roots music on the west coast: Driving groove, smooth and open sound, with sparkly twists and exciting turns -- an easy virtuosity with command of tone and elegance in melody. Fiddler and tunestress Sumaia Jackson is a quintessential embodiment of this sound.
Born and raised in Santa Cruz, California, surrounded by many of the innovative and inimitable musicians of the beautiful coastal states, she studied classical violin intensely. Throughout her teenage years she continued to take part in the local and semi-local classical orchestra, youth symphony, and chamber music opportunities, honing her knowledge of that genre, and winning many awards and competitions. During these years Sumaia’s musical path widened, and between Scotland, Canada, and many of the United States, she actively sought out communities of folk and roots musicians in Appalachian Old Time, Bluegrass, and more recently, Jazz.
Her explorations of these styles began primarily at string camps where musicians of all ages and backgrounds come together and share tunes--often 24 hours a day--through dusty summer fingers.. She has spent numerous scattered weeks throughout the years soaking up tunes and traditions at these camps, and still attends under various roles; student, teacher, helper, coach, organizer. This was the door to her discovery of the community at Berklee College of Music, where she obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Performance on a full scholarship, with a minor in American Roots Music.
Now living in the Bay Area, California, Sumaia currently performs with Jayme Stone’s Folklife, with the Real Vocal String Quartet in Berkeley, CA, as a duo with award-winning Canadian fiddler, Adrianna Ciccone, and also with various other projects across the United States.
As a fiddler, Sumaia is always exploring the convergence of the many styles that breed modern fiddling.