Sarah Neufeld

Sarah Neufeld is an internationally renowned Canadian violinist and composer based in New York City. Best known as a long time member of Arcade Fire, she is also a founding member of the contemporary instrumental ensemble Bell Orchestre.

Leave it to internationally renowned, Juno Award winning, violinist, composer, long-time member of Arcade Fire and founding member of Bell Orchestre, Sarah Neufeld to helm her moving and emotional third solo album as, Detritus. It challenges the listener to push past the initial implication. Dig deeper. It’s in the organics of it all. The messiness of its inception and its influences. As the flowers bloom in the spring of 2021, and after a year of global sadness, here is the album that offers resistance, and inspiration to unite music and movement in an ongoing collaboration of purposeful healing.

Detritus offers a patient, gorgeous evolution of Neufeld’s sound: a soft and open-hearted musical landscape, where instead of being filled with striving, the sound is abiding and reflective. Neufeld, who trained in various dance modalities throughout her youth – brings her customary kineticism to these pastorals, like the song of shapes in motion. Yet the movements are different than they have ever been: inward-turning and outward-facing, deliberate and generous, acknowledging the world with a love that will not flinch. And to face realness. To Neufeld as she reflects on album opener Stories, are “the stories we’ve told ourselves that we can no longer believe.”


1. This is the strangest limbo we’ve all been living for the last year- I’m so curious how we evolve from this experience.

2. I just had a baby and have to say that newborns are the most mysterious enigma I’ve ever come across in my lifetime

3. I deeply miss the experience of playing music with people in real life with a real live audience.


1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?

The intangible has always been the source of my creative inspiration

2. How and when did you get into making music?

I started playing violin when I was 3, and remember improvising from a young age. That always excited me.

3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?

I’m always terrible at answering “favorites” questions, but I’ll list some albums I’ve loved for a long time:

Slowdive, Pygmalion
Aphex Twin, selected ambient works 85-92
Bach, The Goldberg Variations, Glenn Gould
Bob Marley, Exodus
Ethiopiques, vol. 21: Emahoy (Tsegue-Maryam Guebrou)

4. What do you associate with Berlin?

Art, music, history, amazing parks, atmosphere, amazing strange places like Teufelsberg (I recorded some pieces from Hero Brother there!)

5. What’s your favourite place in your town?

I lived in Montreal for over 20 years and spent a lot of time on Mt. Royal- it’s such a special place. I recently moved to Brooklyn and don’t yet have a go to spot, except maybe the Williamsburg bridge- I love bridges.

6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?

I’m really not sure, but hopefully it would be outside in nature.

7. What was the last record/music you bought?

José Gonzalez’s new single El Invento

8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?

Rival Consoles

9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?

Probably performing in Rio with Arcade Fire in 2017, though it’s hard to pinpoint.

10. How important is technology to your creative process?

As silly as it is to record music on an iPhone, I record all my ideas that way, as it’s always with me, and it’s incredibly useful/convenient.

11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?

I have a big brother! I have no idea how he feels about it, but he plays music as well.

Photo © Jason Lewis