Cool Things: Lindsey Stirling

Okay, enough with the plots and the characters and the cultural tidbits. We’ve had four weeks of Japanese pop culture, how about some American pop culture?

I have just the thing!

Lindsey Sterling is a violinist and performance artist who specializes in an interesting blend of classical violin and electronic synthesizer (and dance). While it’s not for everyone, her music is fun, catchy and brilliant. While Sterling’s violin playing may not be as technically proficient as you might find in a Philharmonic in the big city of your choice it does have the energy and fun of a good fiddler and for many of us that’s more than enough. More than that, the blending of her electronically amplified violin with heavy synthetic beats shows that the instrument still has a lot to contribute to modern music.

Now many people are going to hear a sample of her music and won’t like the synthetic elements. That’s okay. Techno isn’t for everyone and Sterling’s music is much more techno than classical. At the same time, don’t reject it out of hand just because it’s techno. Many excellent piano pieces were originally written for the harpsichord, the piano didn’t exist until later. There’s a constant evolution of instruments available and there’s no reason to deny them a seat at the table simply because they’re new. Just like the violin still deserves a place in modern music so new instruments deserve to be taken out tested and allowed to find their place.

What’s most interesting about Sterling’s music, beyond its fusion of old and new, is that it is original. By that I mean it’s not a new arrangement of classical music or pop music. Sterling’s pieces are largely new pieces written expressly for violin and synthesizer. That’s exciting, because it shows that there is a place for this fusion of old and new instruments outside of the purely derivative. In this sense it’s ground breaking and, in my opinion as a music lover,¬† that makes it worth attention.

Of course, Sterling has done a lot of covers of all kinds of music. It’s only sensible to pay your respects to the successful while striking out on your own, after all. But on the whole, Lindsey Sterling is a nice new take on techno music that is well worth checking out. As always, though, try before you buy. A good selection of her music can be found on her YouTube channel here:¬†