How do you make a piano sing? Italian-born pianist Antonio Pompa-Baldi tackles the question on his new album, The Rascal and the Sparrow, a tribute to Francis Poulenc and Edith Piaf, two titans of French song who each died 50 years ago. Pompa-Baldi shared his thoughts on the project in this email chat with NPR Music's Tom Huizenga.
Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 11:38 am
Geoff Barrow of the revered English band Portishead recently maligned the fast-rising Los Angeles sister act HAIM with a snippy tweet: Hiam [sic] sound like Shania Twain ... When did that become a good thing? To which this critic replies: Who said it isn't?
It's the middle of the afternoon when we arrive at the tiny family apartment in a working-class neighborhood of Tunis. Um Ahmed cracks open the door when we arrive, ushers us in and quickly slams the door shut. She then closes a second steel gate, which she had installed after her son, Ahmed, was arrested.
I don't know what I'd do if my child suffered a life-threatening illness, but I'm guessing my response would involve music. That was a big part of how Boston musician Alastair Moock reacted when one of his twin 5-year-old daughters, Clio, was diagnosed with leukemia last summer. He sang traditional songs and made up new ones with Clio, which the two of them sang together in her hospital room.
Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 11:47 am
In hour one of Tuesday's installment of World Cafe, we talk with Elvis Costello and The Roots' powerhouse drummer Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson about how they met and came to utilize hip-hop techniques to make a non-hip-hop record. Costello and The Roots unveiled their collaborative album Wise Up Ghost last week — it's a project they'd made in semi-secrecy.
In Henry Dumas' short story "Will the Circle Be Unbroken?"three"afro-horns" have been forged from a rare metal found only in Africa and South America. One rests in a European museum; a second one is believed to be somewhere on the west coast of Mexico among a tribe of Indians; and a third is owned by Probe, a jazz musician. When Probe finally plays the afro-horn in public, the sound is devastatingly powerful.