Classically-trained violinist and songwriter Gaelynn Lea has been bewitching scores of fans with her contemporary takes on fiddle music, an approach that incorporates her love of traditional music, songcraft, poetry, and sonic exploration. Many were introduced to Gaelynn’s music when she was named winner of NPR Music’s 2016 Tiny Desk Contest and have been taken by her distinctive voice, ethereal violin-playing, individual technique and appearance. Gaelynn has a congenital disability called Osteogenesis Imperfecta (also known as Brittle Bones Disease). She plays violin in a self-developed method similar to traditional cello technique, while embracing artful electronics and looping effects. She’s been performing for over a decade, and has collaborated with Low’s Alan Sparhawk (whom she also recorded a duo album with in 2012), country legend Charlie Parr, indie-pop sensations Lucius, and others. Her powerful performances have found Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys and other lauded musicians singing her praises. Of Gaelynn’s moving Tiny Desk Concert performance, host Bob Boilen said “there was hardly a dry eye.”
Tom Kovacevic is the oud-playing Arabic-music cognoscente, whose dream-like dirges are crafted with an expressive subtlety that is rare to find. His 2014 debut on Immune Recordings is one of the most enigmatic and truly essential records to come out of the state of Maine in the last decade.