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NPR Tiny Desk Winner Gaelynn Lea Says Contest Changed Her Life

Gaelynn Lea
Gaelynn Lea

Gaelynn Lea of Duluth, Minnesota rose to national attention last year as winner of NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest. Listeners from across the country submitted their recordings to NPR Music with hopes of winning a spot on the national broadcast. Despite thousands of other entries, Lea was the unanimous choice of the judges, with a unique style combining traditional fiddle music with contemporary electronic loops, as well as an inspiring story.

Her performance a year ago on the NPR Music show changed her life forever, sparking a national tour that is now bringing her to the San Joaquin Valley for a performance Thursday at 7:00 PM at Bitwise in downtown Fresno. She joined us on Valley Edition to talk about how her life has changed, how she developed her unique approach to playing the violin and how she hopes to use her platform to speak as a disability rights advocate. We also hear some selections from her new EP "The Songs We Sing Along the Way." 



Joe Moore is the President and General Manager of Valley Public Radio. During his tenure, he's helped lead the station through major programming changes and the COVID-19 pandemic, while maintaining the station's financial health. From 2010-2018 he served as the station's Director of Program Content. In that role, he also served as the host of Valley Edition, and helped launch and grow the station's award-winning local news department. He is a Fresno native and a graduate of California State University, Fresno.