Duluth singer-songwriter wins NPR's Tiny Desk Contest

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A Duluth singer-songwriter won National Public Radio's Tiny Desk Contest, beating out 6,100 other entries.


The radio station asked people to send them a video of an original song, being played behind a desk of their choosing. And Gaelynn Lea, who plays and teaches fiddle, won the contest with her song "Someday We'll Linger in the Sun."


NPR's judges called Lea a "haunting fiddler," with Holly Laessig saying Lea's performance "was the one melody that stayed with me throughout the process. It's captivating and powerful."

"I was profoundly moved by Lea's song, particularly its serpentine, earworm melody and the tremendous heartache in her poetry," Robin Hilton, a co-host of "All Songs Considered," said.

Lea will now get to record a Tiny Desk Concert at NPR's "All Songs Considered" office in Washington, D.C., the Duluth News Tribune notes. These concerts are a popular feature on NPR and have included such artists as Hozier, John Legend, Wilco and Trampled by Turtles, the Star Tribune says.

Lea is a classically trained violinist who specializes in Celtic tradition and American fiddle tunes. She released her first solo album last year, her website says, and she's performed with several well-known musicians, including collaborating with Alan Sparhawk in The Murder of Crows.

Not only did her song wow NPR's judges and many on social media (see more below), but the 32-year-old, who is also a public speaker, uses her music as a platform to advocate for people with disabilities and promote social change, her website says. Lea has osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bones disease, which is a congenital disability.




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