What does the fiddle mean to me? Honestly not much, until last night that is (real talk). The violin has always been a back-up instrument in my eyes, one that sounds great while adding depth and flavor to a song, but never the main attraction. Gaelynn Lea changed my perception in a big way with a Celtic-fiddle flair, and a voice full of passion and love.
Normally I stroll into the Knit later at night, well after the street lights have turned on, but there was a excellent reason to be popping in shortly before 7pm. That reason was Gaelynn Lea, who won NPR’s Tiny Music Desk contest this year and subsequently, New Yorkers heart’s. Opening up the early show was the quick witted Alyson Greenfield, who despite technical problems, put on a short and bubbly set using an Omni-chord and keyboards. For her last song, Gaelynn joined Alyson and performed an impromptu duet. After the collaboration, Gaelynn remained on stage and started her set immediately, which was a nice treat.
Gaelynn started the show with a medley (in D major), then treated us to her NPR winning tune which was written for her husband Paul called “Someday We’ll Linger In The Sun,” which for some was tear inducing, but all while smiling. In between songs, Gaelynn treated us to the stories behind each tune, giving us some insight and in turn, helping us feel the music and the love.
Lea would go on to play for nearly an hour, and the audience was held at rapt attention as she layered violin with her looping pedal to create a lush sound that wrapped us in its wamth. The highlight of the evening was during “Bird Song,” when Gaelynn asked the crowd to help sing, and boy, did they sing; it was stunning to hear, expecially in a venue known for its high energy and racous gigs.
The set would end with a beautiful take on “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” and as the last notes rang out, we all looked at each other, and then to the stage where Gaelynn sat atop her wheelchair, and thought to ourselves – we are lucky, we are lucky to witness such a talent, such a positive force of energy from someone who has persevered through things we cannot imagine. Thanks for that Gaelynn.
Watch the Tiny Desk Session below, it’s beautiful and sincere:
Article: Shayne Hanley