Running With San Fermin

Most people who disappear into the Canadian wilderness end up with little more than a Grizzly Adams beard and maybe a case of Lyme disease. But when Ellis Ludwig-Leone decided to take an artist’s retreat in the Rocky Mountains after graduating from Yale, he emerged with a batch of songs that would lay the foundation for San Fermin, a rotating cast of characters that churns out beautiful, dramatic songs about young love and loss.


They’re a worldly, brainy band with an equal appreciation for The Dirty Projectors and Ernest Hemingway. In fact, they took their name from the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona, known for the Running of the Bulls and being an important part of Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. In an interview with The Current, Ellis explained that “San Fermin” was actually the working title for several instrumentals and the album before he decided to use it as the band name.

But while Ellis handled all of the band-naming and songwriting duties, he still needed over twenty musicians to record their first LP. Whether it was a horn section, a choir, or someone to play the vibraphone, bringing these songs to life in the studio and onstage is undeniably a group effort. But while the touring lineup may change from time to time, everyone who performs as part of San Fermin has a background in either classical or jazz performance that allows them to go above and beyond what the typical rock band is capable of.


Have you checked out San Fermin‘s self-titled debut? Under The Radar called it “brilliant” and Pitchfork raved that the album “dives into the complexities of young love.” Find out what everyone’s gushing about and give San Fermin a listen for yourself.