Disability Visibility

By Alice Wong: Disability Activist, Media Maker, Consultant


Conversations on disability politics, culture, and media.
United States
33 episodes
since Sep, 2017
explicit content


  Today’s episode features an interview with musician, performer, and songwriter Gaelynn Lea, winner of NPR’s Tiny Desk contest in 2016. Gaelynn talks about her activism, what it’s like on the road, accessibility in music venues as a disabled performer, and her new album Learning How to Stay which came out on September 7th, 2018. Transcript [Google doc]     [PDF] Related Links Bob Boilen. (June 28, 2018). Tiny Desk Contest Winner Gaelynn Lea Returns With New Music. NPR. Riley Cowing. (April 12, 2018). Violinist Gaelynn Lea Champions Disability Rights, but Music Comes First. Westworld.com HalfAccess.org, an organization dedicated to making live music accessible Lia Seth. (October 17, 2017). Accessibility and the Kids Who Go to Shows. Medium.com Taylor Ysteboe. (July 27, 2017). Punk’s Ethos of Inclusivity Leaves Out One Major Group. Vice. About Caucasian woman of small stature with dark brown hair. She is playing a violin positioned in front of her like a cello. Her eyes are closed, deep in concentration. Photo credit: Mark Brown Classically trained violinist and songwriter Gaelynn Lea has been bewitching scores of fans with her haunting original songs and experimental takes on traditional fiddle music. Her work most recently won NPR Music’s 2016 Tiny Desk Contest, a competition drawing submissions of original songs from more than 6,000 musicians across the country. On March 3, 2016, Gaelynn Lea was named the winner of NPR Music’s second-ever Tiny Desk Contest. The video entry of her original song “Someday We’ll Linger in the Sun” rose to the top of over 6,100 submissions from around the nation, chosen as the unanimous favorite among the contest’s six judges. The very next week, Gaelynn performed a moving Tiny Desk Concert, at which the show’s host Bob Boilen said “there was hardly a dry eye.” Gaelynn Lea’s musical reach has expanded significantly because of the Tiny Desk Contest. She began touring nationally in September 2016 with her husband Paul in their 2002 Ford Econline – and they’ve been on the road ever since! Gaelynn also does speaking engagements about disability, finding inner freedom, and the power of music. Gaelynn has a congenital disability called Osteogenesis Imperfecta, or Brittle Bones Disease. In recent years, she has used her music as a platform to advocate for people with disabilities and to promote positive social change. Website: https://violinscratches.com/ Twitter: @GaelynnLea   Support Disability Media and Culture DONATE to the Disability Visibility Project® Credits Sarika D. Mehta, Audio Producer Alice Wong, Writer, Producer, Interviewer Cheryl Green, Text Transcript Lateef McLeod, Introduction Mike Mort, Artwork Theme Music (used with permission of artist) Song: “Dance Off” Artist: Wheelchair Sports Camp Music “I Wait” by Gaelynn Lea, now available on Learning How to Stay (digital) or CD and other formats Sounds “VOCODER countdown” by Jack_Master. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons 0 License. “8 Bit Beeping Computer Sounds” by sheepfilms. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons 0 License.
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