LOS ANGELES, Sept. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The Daniel Pearl Foundation
congratulates teenage fiddle sensations Mike Barnett and Ruby Jane Smith,
winners of the 2007 Daniel Pearl Memorial Violins. Selected at the Mark
O'Connor Strings Conference in San Diego, California they will have full
use of these prestigious instruments for a year; including appearances at
special concerts during the sixth annual Daniel Pearl World Music Days
(www.danielpearlmusicdays.org) to be held October 1-15, 2007.
Eighteen-year-old Nashville native Mike Barnett has been described as
"one of the hottest, fastest rising musicians in bluegrass music."
Currently residing in Massachusetts Mike has performed at a variety of well
known venues including The Kennedy Center for the Arts, the Country Music
Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry; in addition to many fiddle contests
and bluegrass festivals across the country. His debut CD, Lost Indian is a
collection of bluegrass favorites recorded with some of Nashville's
greatest session musicians while a second CD, Rhymes with Orange, blends
original acoustic melodies and funk adaptations of traditional fiddle
tunes. Mike most recently joined the New England based "newgrass"
phenomenon, Northern Lights.
"It's an incredible honor to be a part of Daniel Pearl's legacy," said
Barnett. "Hopefully, the music will bring people together and touch
people's lives. Winning this award has made me realize that music is really
an international language; that no matter where you are in this world,
music can bring people together."
Twelve-year-old Ruby Jane Smith is both the youngest winner of the
Daniel Pearl Memorial violin and the youngest ever invited fiddler at the
Grand Ole Opry. A fast-rising star in the landscape of country, bluegrass
and Americana music, Ruby Jane exhibited an early connection to music.
After only six fiddle lessons at age eight, she won first place in the
first competition she entered - beginning a run of acclaim that has
included appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and a feature piece
on CBS News "Eye on America." She was the 2005 Mississippi State Fiddle
Champion and was featured in a 2006 documentary about the legendary fiddler
Jim Brock, with whom she has studied.
Commenting on receiving the strings violin award Smith exclaimed, "I am
so very honored to be awarded the Daniel Pearl Memorial Violin! I hope we
can all play for peace and harmony during Daniel Pearl World Music Days!"
The Daniel Pearl Memorial violins were crafted by Jonathan Cooper of
Maine in honor of the international journalist and talented musician who
played violin and fiddle wherever he traveled. Both present and past
winners have become musical ambassadors for the Daniel Pearl Foundation -
building international friendships through music and insuring that he is
"Always Remembered," the name of a special composition dedicated to Pearl
on the upcoming CD "A New Stage" by 2005 violin winner Samantha Robichaud
"We are constantly amazed by the combination of talent and spirit that
the Daniel Pearl violin winners exhibit," said Judea Pearl, Daniel's father
and president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation. "Their continuing enthusiasm
for the World Music Days mission of spreading 'Harmony for Humanity' unites
and empowers audiences year after year."
Daniel Pearl's murder by terrorists in Pakistan in 2002 touched
millions who never knew him. By developing innovative international
programs focused on journalism, music and respectful dialogue, the Daniel
Pearl Foundation seeks to counter the hatred and intolerance that took his
SOURCE Daniel Pearl Foundation