Music

Tiny Desk Concerts
2:03 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Laura Mvula: Tiny Desk Concert

Laura Mvula performs a Tiny Desk Concert on May 15, 2013.
Marie McGrory NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 6:24 pm

Listen to Laura Mvula's terrific full-length debut, Sing to the Moon, and you'll hear soulful pop music in Technicolor. The U.K. singer's sonic ambition is boundless: Her intricately layered songs straddle genres, locations and eras in ways that sound entirely original.

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Music Interviews
7:20 am
Sun June 30, 2013

John Scofield Returns To The Scene Of The Jam

John Scofield's latest album is the genre-fluid, continent hopping Uberjam Deux.
Frank Stefan Kimmel Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun June 30, 2013 12:43 pm

If you sample the first few notes of guitarist John Scofield's new album, Uberjam Deux, you might mistake it for something out of West Africa. But a spin through the tracks takes you to another hemisphere with a sound right out of Jamaica, then to American shores with a soulful homage to Al Green.

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Music News
7:20 am
Sun June 30, 2013

Taj Mahal: Still Cooking Up 'Heirloom Music' His Own Way

Taj Mahal is credited with helping popularize American blues over the course of his five-decade career.
Jay Blakesberg Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun June 30, 2013 12:46 pm

Taj Mahal has a degree in animal husbandry and agronomy, and planned to be a farmer. Music was just something he did.

"No matter what went down, music was always going to be a part of my life," the guitarist and singer says. "What ultimately happened is that, over a period of time, I just kind of looked around and when like, 'Wow! I'm actually making a living doing this.'"

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Deceptive Cadence
5:00 am
Sun June 30, 2013

Revved-up Vivaldi, Persian Bamboo And Soaring Spirituals: New Classical Albums

album cover for Corps Exquis

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 7:41 am

It's a brave new musical world. Between downloads, iPods, music sharing websites and the good old CD, we have more easy access to the songs and symphonies we love than ever before.

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Music Interviews
5:08 pm
Sat June 29, 2013

La Vida Bohème: Dance Rockers Harness Chaos And Conflict

La Vida Bohème's second album, Sera, draws upon a handful of musical influences, from disco to reggae.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat June 29, 2013 7:07 pm

Henry D'Arthenay grew up in Caracas, Venezuela — a country currently rife with political conflict. As lead singer of the Venezuelan alt-rock band La Vida Bohème, D'Arthenay used that chaos for fuel in constructing the band's latest album, Será, which was released in April.

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Music
9:05 am
Sat June 29, 2013

Sasha Dobson's Journey Out Of Jazz And Into Songwriting

Formerly a scat singer, Sasha Dobson has just released her first solo album of original songs, Aquarius.
L. Arthi Krishnaswami Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat June 29, 2013 3:44 pm

Smith Dobson was one of the most sought-after pianists of the Bay Area when he died in a car crash in 2001. He was part of a musical family — his wife, Gail, a jazz singer; his son a drummer. His daughter, Sasha Dobson, was a scat singer who followed the family's jazz muse until her dad's tragic death.

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The Record
7:51 am
Sat June 29, 2013

The Slow Hit Movement: Year-Old Songs On The Pop Charts

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Icona Pop, whose "I Love It" was released last summer, only recently moved into the Top 10 of Billboard's Hot 100.
Fredrik Etoall Courtesy of Big Beat Records

Originally published on Sat June 29, 2013 3:28 pm

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NPR Story
7:20 am
Sat June 29, 2013

A Tribute To 'Annoying Music' Host

Jim Nayder, host of the The Annoying Music Show and Magnificent Obession, died this week. Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon, left, remembers his good friend.
Courtesy Scott Simon

Originally published on Sun June 30, 2013 4:46 pm

Longtime Chicago radioman Jim Nayder brought ear-aching music from his Annoying Music Show to Weekend Edition for many years. He died on Friday at the age of 59. Host Scott Simon has this remembrance of his friend.

Jim Nayder was a sweet soul and a cockeyed wit in a world with too little of both. He said annoying music wasn't bad, so much as good songs recorded by big stars who should have known better.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
5:20 am
Sat June 29, 2013

Maya Beiser: Tiny Desk Concert

Maya Beiser performs a Tiny Desk Concert on April 9, 2013.
Marie McGrory NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 6:25 pm

Maya Beiser's Twitter handle — @CelloGoddess — says it all. She's a brilliant cellist with a stunning command of her instrument, and she's tightly tied to technology. Beiser takes the sound of her cello and runs it through loop pedals, effects and other electronics to make her instrument shimmer, drone and groove. Then there's her magnificent sense of melody.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:36 am
Sat June 29, 2013

Why Tchaikovsky's Bells And Cannons Sound Every July 4

The Boston Pops rehearses for its Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular on July 3, 2012, at the Charles River Esplanade.
Paul Marotta Getty Images

Originally published on Sat June 29, 2013 3:44 pm

The Fourth of July is just around the corner, and on the big day, Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture will be heard from coast to coast, complete with fireworks and cannons. But how did a Russian composition, depicting the rout of Napoleon's Army, end up as the unofficial soundtrack for our most quintessentially American holiday?

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