This week's artune is ripped from the headlines. More controversy for Russia and its official position on homosexuality: A new government-funded film — and its government funders — deny that Tchaikovsky was gay.
Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 12:10 pm
I won't lie to you. I love anthropomorphizing dogs. Maybe it's because I like dogs more than people, but need to believe they're somewhat human in order to sustain the kind of long conversations about life and music I have with my own yellow lab, Cornflake (not her real name), without feeling insane.
All of which is to say that when I saw this new video for the song "Boomerang" by Los Angeles singer Lucy Schwartz, I immediately fell in love.
Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 11:06 am
Jessye Norman's commanding soprano voice makes her the quintessential operatic diva for many listeners. But she frequently draws inspirations from jazz: She ranks singers like Billie Holiday, Mabel Mercer and Sarah Vaughan high on her list of influences.
Originally published on Sat September 21, 2013 9:24 am
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the gigantic packets of 401(k) information we chuck directly into the fireplace is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, a request from a reader who seeks cheerful music for the mopey, beardy indie-rock soul.
Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 4:53 pm
On Thursday's installment of World Cafe's Latin Roots series, Ernesto Lechner — co-host of the radio show The Latin Alternative — dives into balada, a romantic style of Latin music. Lechner starts by playing a couple of examples of the style from the late 1960s, when authentic balada drew from jazz and even the Brazilian genre of bossa nova. We'll also hear a modern rendition of the style from Babasónicos of Argentina.
More and more artists are collaborating online before meeting in the studio. Taking that creation live and on the road is a new and dicey proposition, one that the U.K. duo AlunaGeorge — made up of Aluna Francis and George Reid — has navigated extremely well. Amid a string of sold-out dates across the U.S., the pair stopped by Morning Becomes Eclectic and showed just how well songs like "Your Drums, Your Love" translate live.
Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 3:41 pm
Greece's premier has vowed not to let a neo-Nazi party undermine democracy after the killing of a Greek hip-hop and rap singer by a right-wing extremist.
"This government is determined not to let the descendants of the Nazis poison our social life or commit crimes," Antonis Samaras said in a national television address.
An extremist with possible ties to the right-wing Golden Dawn party has admitted to stabbing to death musician Pavlos Fyssas, who goes by the stage name Killah P. The incident has sparked outrage among many Greeks.
Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 11:47 am
Soulful roots-rock singer Jason Isbell has been writing revealing, introspective songs since his days in the Southern rock band Drive-By Truckers. After leaving the group in 2007, Isbell went on to record a string of studio albums with and without his new band, The 400 Unit. His hit "Alabama Pines" won Song of the Year honors at the 2012 Americana Music Awards.
Robbie Fulks has been recording since the mid-'90s, making music that's difficult to categorize. He's written country songs about how compromised most country music is, and while he's fond of folk and bluegrass, he pleases concert audiences with covers of hits by Michael Jackson and Cher. Fulks' new album, Gone Away Backward, is one of his most sustained and subtle efforts.