Basic Folk Podcast: Leif Vollebekk

Leif Vollebekk Basic Folk Podcast with Cindy Howes
Photo: Vanessa Heins

Montreal’s Leif Vollebekk emotional delivery creates a world of color in my mind. It’s not surprising that he has synesthesia, a perceptual condition in which the stimulation of one sense triggers an automatic, involuntary experience in another sense. Leif sees colors when he hears music, therefore, his music invokes colorful emotion.

Raised in Ottawa, he inherited a few instruments from family members and started playing. After graduating from college, Leif spent time absorbing the landscape and culture of Iceland. Upon returning to Canada, he moved to Montreal, where he lives now.

We touch on all sorts of topics in our conversation. He really opened up about his synesthesia. It was interesting to hear about how he discovered he had it and how he relates to other musicians who have it. He said he can tell right away if another musician has the condition. I’ll definitely be keeping an ear out myself now that he’s clued us in on certain distinctions.


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