Born in New Orleans and still in his mid-20s, Frank Ocean has already written songs for major pop stars. He sang on the Kanye West/Jay-Z collaboration Watch the Throne, and he's been part of the tumultuous Los Angeles musical collective known as Odd Future. None of which quite prepares a listener for the beautifully moody music that dominates his new album, Channel Orange.
Chicago-based journalist Catalina Maria Johnson hosts the 15th installment of World Cafe's Latin Roots music series. Johnson writes in Spanish and English for publications such as HOY, Revista Contratiempo, Gozamos and Nat Geo Music, and is a radio personality and host/producer for the radio program Beat Latino, which airs in Chicago, Mexico City and Berlin.
Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 2:45 pm
For his uncompromising and serious music, the 2011 Newport Jazz Festival was eager to present Charles Lloyd. He could bring any group he wanted, they told him. Lloyd said yes, and that he would bring Sangam, an East-West trio with one CD and few performances on the schedule. It was a coup!
Multi-instrumentalist Kelly Pratt has recorded and toured with bands like Coldplay, Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem and Beirut since 2006, but he's stepped into his own spotlight since forming the sunny pop band
Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 10:55 am
Sigur Rós could be forgiven for sounding better on record than in concert. The Icelandic band's songs either billow out deliberately or stomp majestically, and in every case entail the building of layers upon intricate sonic layers. Plus, singer Jónsi — he of the otherworldly voice, singing mostly in a ghostly language of his own devising — is no Mick Jagger when it comes to calling attention to himself.
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 4:17 pm
Throughout history, beer has been the drink of the populace. Traditionally, wine was reserved for the upper classes, due at least in part to the limited area in which grapes would grow, the subtlety of the flavors, the sheer price of production. Barley, on the other hand, grows much more plentifully than grapes do, in a much broader climate. It can be made much more inexpensively and in much greater volume, so beer supplied a vast peasantry with something safe, sustaining — and delicious — to drink.
Ibrahim Ahmad, the son of the owner of the Imperial Bagpipe Manufacturing Co., tests a bagpipe at a factory in Sialkot, Pakistan. The Pakistani city is the largest producer of the instruments most commonly associated with Scotland.
Credit Mike Shuster / NPR
Naeem Akhbar is chief executive of Halifax and Co., a more than 70-year-old bagpipe manufacturer in Sialkot. Here, he plays the most expensive bagpipe his company produces, which sells for $700 in Pakistan and more than $1,600 in Europe and the U.S.
Credit Mike Shuster / NPR
A lathe operator in the workshop of Halifax and Company turns out wood spindles that will be part of the pipes in toy bagpipes.
Bagpipes and Scotland? Aye, it's a natural association: Played for centuries, the instrument is especially identified with the Scottish military and traditional Scottish dress, tartan kilts and shawls.
But bagpipes and Pakistan? Nae, you say? Think again.
Turns out no place in the world manufactures more bagpipes than Pakistan. And no city in Pakistan makes more of them than Sialkot.