Palestinian performer Mohammad Assaf is a finalist on <em>Arab Idol</em>, which is filmed in the Lebanese city of Jounieh north of the capital Beirut.
Credit Anwar Amro / AFP/Getty Images
Palestinians have rallied around Mohammad Assaf's success. Supporters say his victory would be a win for art, which has been long neglected in Gaza.
Credit Anwar Amro / AFP/Getty Images
Posters of Arab Idol competitor Mohammad Assaf decorate his family's home. Both Mohammad's father, Jabar Assaf (right), and his best friend, Mohammad Abu Jabar, say a victory for the young singer from the Gaza Strip would be a win for all Palestinians.
In Palestinian territory, Mohammad Assaf's face is easy to find. Big posters of the dark-haired 23-year-old dreamboat smile at you along boulevards in Ramallah. And in Gaza, a giant banner of Assaf billows outside his family home.
Assaf's dad, Jabar Assaf, is bursting with pride.
"I'm very, very, very proud of my son. Besides singing so well, he is very polite, and he is studying at the university," Jabar Assaf says. "He's no street kid. I'm very proud."
So are many other Palestinians — including 16-year-old Abeer Ali.
Comedian George Carlin liked to say that art doesn't have a finish line. The trio behind Ghost Brothers of Darkland County are the embodiment of that idea. Each is a superstar in his chosen field: rock music legend, best-selling novelist, record producer — trades they could have been content to pursue to the grave. Instead, they went and wrote a musical together, 13 years in the making.
First things first: Aoife O'Donovan's first name is pronounced EE-fuh. It's worth knowing how to speak it out loud, because a lot of people are going to talk about O'Donovan's first solo album, Fossils, which comes out Tuesday.
The lead singer of the folk-country band Crooked Still recently performed a special set for NPR affiliate FolkAlley.com, which included the catchiest song on Fossils, "Red & White & Blue & Gold."
Alison Krauss recorded "Lay My Burden Down" a couple of years ago for her No. 1 country album Paper Airplane, but the song was written by Aoife O'Donovan. The singer, best known as the voice of the alt-bluegrass band Crooked Still, is releasing her first solo album this week.
Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 11:03 am
It's a middle-age milestone, dealing with a parent's death. Singer-songwriter Patty Griffin turns the experience into powerful moments on her latest album, American Kid. The album features songs inspired by everything from her dad exclaiming "Don't let me die in Florida!" to the gleam in her grandfather's eye on his own wedding day.
Joe Pug makes his third appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown. Pug first made a name for himself when he left the University of North Carolina (where he was studying to be a playwright) for Chicago to pursue songwriting full-time. As so many musicians have had to do, Pug took an innovative approach to getting his music to his fans: He mailed out free copies to anyone who asked. More than 15,000 did.
Suzzy Roche and Lucy Wainwright Roche appear on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Creative Arts Center in Morgantown, W.Va. A mother-daughter duo with impressive accomplishments in their own separate careers, the pair recently released Fairytale & Myth, their first musical collaboration.
Actor and singer Cheyenne Jackson is equally at home on Broadway and in front of the camera. He made his Broadway debut as the understudy for both male leads in Thoroughly Modern Millie, and his cabaret debut, a one-man show titled Back to the Start, was a sold-out hit. His love of music comes from digging through vinyl at yard sales around his family farm in Idaho, and his love of Broadway comes from the time he saw a touring production of Les Miserables in Spokane, Wash., with his French teacher.