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The sweet strings of Wanderlust at Whistler

Ambient electronic musician HANNAH performs at the yoga and lifestyle festival in Whistler

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Ambient violin player and composer HANNAH is one of the musical cornerstones of the Wanderlust Festival, coming to Whistler from July 31 to Aug. 3.

The festival (www.wanderlust.com) crosses North America during the summer, bringing yoga, meditation and life-affirming workshops and studies, along with a series of local and international musical artists.

Hannah, who performs under her first name only (surname Thiem), will lead her own workshops, contribute to others and hold public performances on July 31, Aug. 2 and 3.

Her first full tour with Wanderlust was in 2013, a year after performing during the Vermont and Lake Tahoe festivals.

"We formed a great relationship from the start. My introduction to Wanderlust was through Aarona Pichinson, an amazing yoga teacher in New York City. She brought me in as a musician for her yoga soundscape class and then Wanderlust started plugging me into a few classes. They love what I brought," Hannah says.

"Doing the full tour is really incredible. This year, I really feel the buzz happening."

The New York-based violinist has classical training and has performed with musicians as diverse as Moby and Kanye West. Previously, she had co-founded the electronic music projects Nyxyss and Copal.

Her latest album is BRYM, which can be heard on her website (www.hannahthiem.com).

Hannah brings her music to various events and moments during Wanderlust, including her Sonic Meditation Hikes.

"I'm really looking forward to doing those in Whistler because they are really special," Hannah says.

During the hikes, Hannah attunes participants to become aware of opening their six senses — the usual five of touch, sight, smell, taste and hearing, along with intuition, or the "third eye" — at the start. After about 20 minutes of quiet hiking they break for meditation, while Hannah plays.

"You get to the beautiful vista and I encourage everyone to get comfortable, however they prefer, and then I lead them through mediation, basically linking them to themselves, to the birds and the sound of nature and basically grounding them to the earth," she says.

"I encourage them to use this time to experience the music in whatever way they like... and then I play a 40-minute concert of organic sounds from my acoustic violin.

"It's music that is improvised, it incorporates other sounds of nature, such as bird sounds, bugs buzzing in the grass. And I move around while I'm playing, so it's almost like a surround-sound experience."

Hannah says that as people go further into the meditative experience, the moving music can be a "trippy experience."

The hike and meditation is open to all levels of experience.

"Even my eight-year-old nephew came along to the one in Colorado... Later we spent some time together as a family hanging out and it left a great impression on him. Some people get goosebumps and chills," she says.

Along with this workshop, Hannah will bring her music to those held by other Wanderlust participants, including famed yoga teacher Eoin Finn.

There will also be three more formal performances, the largest on Thursday, July 31 at 9 p.m., at the Greatest Place venue in the Whistler Conference Centre. Called the Wanderlust Spectacular, it is billed as the Cirque du Soleil of yoga, telling the story at the core of the festival. In it, Hannah will be performing with other yoga and music pioneers DJ Drez, Cameron Shayne, Shakti Sunfire, Hemalayaa, YogaSlackers, AcroYogis and Quixotic Dancers. The show is called the Wanderlust spectacular, billed as the Cirque du Soleil of yoga, telling the story at the core of the festival.

"It is a pretty incredible show, with all the talent and the teachers. It's a journey for the audience and very audience participatory as well," Hannah says.

She will be performing her song "Brym Al Mar" during the concert. She is also part of a violin-ballet duet with dancer Beau Campbell.

"It's a sweet performance," Hannah says. "I think Wanderlust does such a good job of offering many different types of experiences. I would not be able to do four yoga classes a day. Even for somebody who has never approached yoga before, there are so many opportunities to just get a taste of it. It's all levels and all walks of life."

For more information visit @hannahthiem on Twitter or her Facebook page.

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