Gaelynn Lea is a musician and public speaker from Duluth, MN. She has been playing violin for over twenty years. First classically trained, she began learning traditional Celtic and American fiddle tunes at the age of 18. During her college years Gaelynn started sitting in with various folk/rock musicians and developed an improvisational style all her own. Eventually she also began singing and dabbling in songwriting. Gaelynn has played alongside many notable Minnesota musicians over the years, including Alan Sparhawk, Charlie Parr, and Billy McLaughlin.
Gaelynn Lea released her debut solo album entitled “All the Roads that Lead Us Home” in November 2015. It pays homage to the traditional fiddle tunes and beloved standards that Gaelynn has been playing for over a decade. But of course, there is a twist! Gaelynn used her Memory Man looping pedal to create winding layers of sound underneath these familiar melodies.
On March 3, 2016, Gaelynn Lea was named the winner of NPR Music’s second-ever Tiny Desk Contest. The video entry of her original song “Someday We’ll Linger in the Sun” rose to the top of over 6,100 submissions from around the nation, chosen as the unanimous favorite among the contest’s six judges. The very next week, Gaelynn performed a moving Tiny Desk Concert, at which the show’s host Bob Boilen said “there was hardly a dry eye.” She released a studio version of this track on May 5, 2016.
Gaelynn Lea has been actively performing throughout Northern Minnesota and Wisconsin since 2006, contributing to a number of musical projects in the Twin Ports. Currently her most active collaboration is The Murder of Crows, an atmospheric alternative duo with Alan Sparhawk. Together they recorded an EP titled “Imperfecta” in 2012. Their original song “When We Were Young” was featured on the Sundance Channel’s acclaimed drama “Rectify” in June 2014. Gaelynn also regularly performs solo sets of experimental fiddle tunes sprinkled with her original songs; her aim is to create a meditative, layered sound that allows the listener’s mind to drift. During the summer months you will often catch Gaelynn fiddling on the Lakewalk. Performing is in her blood!
Gaelynn also loves to do speaking engagements about disability, overcoming challenges, and the joy of music. Gaelynn has a congenital disability called Osteogenesis Imperfecta, or Brittle Bones Disease. In recent years, she has used her music as a platform to advocate for people with disabilities and to promote positive social change. Gaelynn believes society must make accessibility a priority so people with disabilities can participate fully in their communities and use their talents and gifts without discrimination.
I’ve been in a bunch of bands: Pigface, The Damage Manual, Killing Joke, and PiL. I performed with Ministry and Nine Inch Nails. I’ve had my label, Invisible Records for the last 20 years and I wrote a book on the business of Touring called Tour:Smart. I have four kids and a lovely wife.
Steve Silver reading from his first book “This Might Hurt A Bit”