Breathe, You are Alive!

from by Gaelynn Lea

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Just 6 months after winning NPR Music's Tiny Desk Contest and traveling the country with Tiny Desk On The Road, Duluth violinist and vocalist Gaelynn Lea is releasing a new 6-track EP, "The Songs We Sing Along the Way". This recording is a blend of Lea's original songs (including a compelling new version the Tiny Desk Contest winning number, "Someday We'll Linger in the Sun"), traditional fiddle tunes, and even her own poetry.

Lea identifies equally as a songwriter and a fiddler, so much like her debut solo album "All the Roads that Lead Us Home" (2015) she constructed this EP to be a winding exploration of both art forms. She once again utilizes a looping pedal to layer the sounds from her violin, developing a meditative sonic landscape that creates a kind of mental journey for the listener.

Unlike Gaelynn's solo album, which was extremely minimalist in its approach (Gaelynn's violin and vocals were the only sounds on the album), this time Gaelynn Lea chose to collaborate with Minneapolis songwriter, guitarist and percussionist Alan Church (BBGUN, Al Church and State). He skillfully added texture and color to each track as they improvised together in The Pearl Recording Studio in the Twin Cities.

This self-produced project was recorded and mixed by Zachary Hollander and mastered by Robert Hadley. Gaelynn Lea hopes this EP will provide her new, wider audience with a sense hope - these are personal tracks that speak to the often-messy human experience - and an appreciation of what the violin can do and has done for hundreds of years.


Breathe, you are alive!
Stillness is not the enemy.
It's the only balm.
It is the spark
That wakes you up.
who you are.

Who are you?
Are you what you do?
How you perform!
Different acts every hour -
are you brilliant, burning, beautiful?
Or are your fires uncontrolled?
Pulled in every direction,
can you admit you may be tired?
Exhausted, even.

Are you your fears?
Your wants?
Your needs?
Are you the good and bad words
you use to describe yourself?
Some of the time, at least.
Are you your inconsistencies?
Are you afraid to look at yourself,
Afraid to remember?

We make ourselves up,
Put ourselves out there
as works of Art
as entertaining shows
for the world to see
to judge
to notice.

You are a work of art,
but not how you think.
It's in your eyes when you laugh,
when you smile,
when you're angry,
when you cry.

You can't hide it -
it leaks out
it flashes across your face.

Your soul bursts through
in moments of true tenderness
When the empathy just kind of swells
Up from nowhere. From very deep.
You are in there.

Why are we so afraid of it?
Why do we try to bury it alive
In schedules and important deadlines
and hurrying?
We have let too much in
Crowded ourselves out
Forgotten our purpose,
Forgotten to show up.


Sit with yourself
Sit with a neighbor
Sit with me.
Notice, when you are quiet,
how the Divine

Notice all things.


Remember to
breathe, Love.
You are alive.


from The Songs We Sing Along the Way, released August 15, 2016
Gaelynn Lea: Violin, Vocals, Original Poetry
Paul Tressler: Vocals

Zachary Hollander at The Pearl Recording Studio: Recording and Mixing
Robert Hadley at the Mastering Lab: Mastering
Shawn Stigsell at Stigsell Creative: Album Art


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Gaelynn Lea Duluth, Minnesota

Gaelynn Lea is a haunting violinist and songwriter from Northern Minnesota.

She won NPR Music's Tiny Desk Contest Winner in 2016 and has been touring nationally & internationally ever since with her husband Paul in their 2002 Ford Econoline.

She is releasing her third full-length album, "Learning How to Stay" on September 7, 2018.

Gaelynn is also a disability rights advocate and public speaker.
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