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Violinist Swil Kanim shares his spirit

  • Violinist Swil Kanim

    Michael O'Leary / The Herald

    Violinist Swil Kanim

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By Theresa Goffredo
Herald Writer
  • Violinist Swil Kanim

    Michael O'Leary / The Herald

    Violinist Swil Kanim

He has toured North America with the Indigo Girls, worked on the hit TV series “Northern Exposure” and was one of the stars in Sherman Alexie's film “The Business of Fancydancing.”
Swil Kanim, a musician from Bellingham, has performed in Korea and Japan and at countless school assemblies throughout the Northwest.
An American Indian violinist, Swil Kanim's name in the Lummi Tribe means “works for the spirit of the people.” He will work for the spirit of young musicians on Saturday when he hosts a benefit concert to help youth and the Everett Symphony.
Swil Kanim will perform solo and ensemble pieces with young musicians in a concert that starts at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Bethany Center, 2715 Everett Ave., Everett.
“His heart is with the young people, and helping young people to express themselves, and more importantly, honor themselves,” said Swil Kanim's wife, Lori Marshall.
Swil Kanim lived both on the Lummi reservation and in Bellingham, growing up in public schools and taking up the violin in fourth grade at the age of 10. He was the first to raise his hand when teachers asked for candidates for the new violin program.
“I loved classical music,” Swil Kanim said in a prepared statement. “It was my chance to be there and present with adults in a healthy way.”
At 47, Swil Kanim recently performed four sold-out concerts at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian in Washington. D.C.
“I felt honored for being who I am, my ancestors and future generations,” he said. “This was a certain and special level of respect and dignity I wish every native person in the country can experience.”
During the Showcase Benefit Concert for the Everett Symphony, Swil Kanim will begin his performance with storytelling and songs, all his own compositions.
He will be joined by top young musicians in a concert that emphasizes the interaction between featured artists, young musicians and the audience.
Concert proceeds will be used to support the symphony to help preserve symphonic music in the community.
In these narrated concerts, “audiences see and hear more than entertainment, they experience the artistic process,” symphony CEO Roger Pawley said.

Theresa Goffredo: 425-339-3424;

Swil Kanim
3 p.m. Saturday, Bethany Center, 2715 Everett Ave., Everett. Showcase Benefit tickets are $20 at or by calling 800-595-4849.
Story tags » EverettMusic

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