Lea, a 32-year-old fiddler from Minnnesota, was born with brittle bone syndrome

By Alex Heigl
Updated March 03, 2016 12:55 PM

NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series is one of the true joys of the Internet, an intimate performance that takes place at Bob Boilen’s well, tiny desk.

And each year, the station holds a competition to get one lucky unsigned artist a spot at the desk. This year, the winner is Minnesota fiddler and singer Gaelynn Lea, and it’s easy to hear why.

Lea, a 32-year-old classically trained fiddler, lives in Duluth, Minnesota, and is influenced by Celtic and Appalachian music. Born with a congenital disability called brittle bone disease, Lea’s forced to hold her fiddle parallel to her body instead of the traditional under-the-chin grip, sort of like a miniature cello.

In the original song she submitted, “Someday We’ll Linger in the Sun,” Lea sets up a fiddle loop using a pedal, and then unwinds what contest judge Robin Hilton called a “serpentine, earworm melody.”

Keep your eyes peeled for Lynn’s eventual appearance at Boilen’s desk in the future, and head over to Lea’s website for more.