When I think of Ley Line’s music, I instantly think of what it means to connect. This Austin band’s mission is to bridge the listener and remote parts of the world. Ley Line does this by creating a tapestry of sound that blends language, rhythm, and stories. In action, this multilingual group expresses a deep reverence for the traditions that inspire it.
Uniting Two Duos
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Emilie and Kate formed their duo while traveling Brazil in 2012. Twin sisters, Lydia and Maddy, have participated in a number of musical ventures together throughout the years.
The two duos first met at Telluride Bluegrass Music Festival in 2013. A couple of years later, Emilie, Kate, and Maddy reunited in Austin to form Ley Line. Not long afterwards, Lydia also moved to Austin and joined the band, because she couldn’t stay away from her twin.
Behind the Name
In a video on the band’s website, Kate shares the meaning behind the musical group’s name. “Ley Line refers to a pattern that, when laid over the earth, connects important places of our civilization. How was it created, this world we live in? What is the intuitive pull that moves you to travel, to explore, to create community?”
All four women have traveled extensively, developing a curiosity about the world that is infectious. Singing in different languages (Portuguese, Spanish, French, and English) is a way for them to honor the places they’ve been, and keep the inspiration of those places alive in the present.
Whether it’s connecting with larger audiences or playing music in a living room, the magic of Ley Line is that every performance feels intimate.
The Festival Scene
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Ley Line has played Hill Country Fair in San Marcos and the 11th annual UtopiaFest. The group also curated the first ever Sonora Festival to take place in the United States. Sonora is a movement born in Brazil that quickly spread like wildfire around the world. It was founded to showcase female composers and musicians, empowering women in the arts and increasing their representation. This year, it was held at Cheer Up Charlie’s here in Austin.
Ley Line’s incredible wisdom allows them to serve as educators for diverse communities. The band members often work with nonprofits, to help raise money and educate musically.
Their most recent workshop, held at Pan Am Rec Center, was supported by Austin’s Cultural Arts Division. Along with other dancers and musicians, Ley Line guided participants through the musical styles of Brazil, Peru, Colombia, France, and Senegal before returning to the traditional folk styles of the United States.
The band plans to incorporate similar workshops into future tours, visiting schools to share their love of music and culture with younger generations.
The tour was self-managed, which is normally how Ley Line handles touring. It took an incredible amount of trust and hard work to map out the 3,000-mile journey, and translate everything to and from Portuguese. Although the band visited some of the same places Kate and Emilie had been to in 2012, much of the route was unfamiliar. Fortunately, many new and old friends supported Ley Line along the way.
What’s Next for Ley Line?
Ley Line is currently working on a second album, due in 2019. The ladies are beyond excited for the release, describing it as the “culmination of an important chapter of [their] journey as a band.” They have become “stronger, more focused, and more connected during the process of making this album.”
Stay updated on upcoming performances and tour dates by visiting Ley Line’s official website.
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