Courtesy of the artist.

Frank Fairfield

Frank Fairfield is a renowned musician specializing in Southwestern and ‘Californio’ string band music. Learning guitar from his Tejano grandfather, Frank inherited a passion for vernacular music, later honing his craft under the guidance of luminaries like the legendary blind fiddler Kenny Hall and the old Italian maestro Tom Marion. Fairfield’s musical journey is deeply rooted in Fresno, California, where he draws inspiration from the historic Happy Hayseeds, pioneers of vernacular string music. His repertoire reflects the diverse cultural heritage of California, blending indigenous traditions with influences from Spanish American and Italian American musicians.

Frank, a multi-instrumentalist, music teacher, and record collector, spent many years performing Anglo-American vernacular music around the country and the world performing at such notable venues as the Royal Albert Hall and the Kennedy Center, playing at festivals including Hardly Strictly Bluegrass and the Newport Folk Festival, appearing on NPR’s Tiny Desk concerts, and providing music for film and television including the animated miniseries Over the Garden Wall. He now focuses on teaching vernacular music and studying 17th- and 18th-century violin repertoire and performance practice. Frank lives and teaches in Los Angeles, California.

Living Cultures Grant


Californio String Band Music on Fiddle, Mandolin, Guitar and Bajo-Sexto

ACTA supported Frank in purchasing a new bow and guitar for teaching and cultural practice.

Frank Fairfield (playing violin) performs two tangos he learned from Tom Marion in November 2022, accompanied by Zac Sokolow and David Elsenbroich on guitar.

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