Trailblazer: Sarah Neufeld
Today's Tuesday Trailblazer is Sarah Neufeld, violinist and composer based in Montréal, Canada. Best known as a member of Arcade Fire, she is also a founding member of the acclaimed contemporary instrumental ensemble Bell Orchestre and has performed and recorded with many other groups, including The Luyas, Esmerine and Little Scream. Neufeld's debut solo album Hero Brother, will drop in August 2013, and includes textures of contemporary electro-acoustic, avant-folk and indie rock music. Read on to learn how yoga and meditation influence her music, performance and focus and don't miss her performances at Wanderlust Vermont and Tremblant!
WL: What aspects of yoga / meditation / spirituality do you bring into your work?
SN: When I'm performing my solo pieces, I constantly bring myself back to my breath, and bring my awareness inward- its the state of being I need to strive for in order to channel and perform the music freely.
WL: How did you get involved with yoga?
SN: I started taking Ashtanga classes in my early College days. I didn't find the regularity of a daily practice until much later, when I found myself touring constantly. The practice became a sort of ground under my feet.
WL: What's your favorite pose?
SN: These days, before I go on stage, I hold a passive forward bend for a few minutes, and a few minutes of alternate nostril breathing; these both work wonderfully to calm my nerves and focus.
WL: What's feeding your wanderlust today?
SN: I'm on my first solo tour in Europe right now, as I answer these questions. My desire to communicate these pieces of music to people. It's exciting, and also a vulnerable act. Last night a man in Cologne thanked me for bringing something new and great to his world. That's pretty satisfying and humbling.
WL: If you could leave one legacy for your community what would it be?
SN: I'll get back to you in 20 years with that answer!
Check out Sarah's scintillating new album "Hero Brother" by sampling it here. You'll love what you hear, we know, so you'll want the buy link so that you can make it the soundtrack to your next home yoga practice. Check out her tour dates here, and keep up with this busy musician on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Of her new album, Sarah shares that she, "...
began composing solo violin music out of the desire to explore and push my relationship with the violin and to develop the seeds of pieces growing in my consciousness for some time. Over the past few years of cultivating a meditation practice along side the physical yoga practice, my vision as an individual artist has come into focus- collaboration with others has and will always be a large part of how I create, but I found a solitary place within myself to jump off from. I've played the violin for so long it is the natural extension of my voice- The nuance and complex personality; sonically, rhythmically and emotionally existing in a single instrument is fascinating to me. My love for minimalism, pop music and improvisation comes through these compositions; this is where I come from. Hero Brother is a gathering of characters in our collective mythology- the strong and weak; the secrets buried underground, played by one instrument, echoed by my own voice as plaintive companion."