A new opera immortalizes the online spat between New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and the president of Estonia. Robert Siegel speaks with Eugene Birman, the composer, about his new work and the debate over austerity and stimulus.
Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 2:49 pm
The rapper Lupe Fiasco was escorted off the stage at an unofficial inaugural ball in Washington, last night.
As Politico reports, the Grammy-nominated rapper stayed on the anti-war song "Words I Never Said" for 30 minutes. Video posted by Now This News shows Fiasco dropping lines critical of President Obama, before the lights go off and men in black suits escort him off the stage.
In 2007, a dozen or so reggae and soul artists met in Los Angeles and eventually formed The Lions. Heavily inspired by the culture surrounding Jamaican music both old and new, the group is deeply rooted in soul, but also has a rough edge reminiscent of The Upsetters or The Rockers Band.
Members Deston Berry, Alex Désert and Malik Moore handle lead vocals, while Black Shakespeare produces the backing tracks. Guitarist Dan Ubick and bassist Dave Wilder also contribute, along with a mix of musicians who've played with Big Daddy Kane, De La Soul and Raphael Saadiq.
Sean Lennon, son of John and Yoko, is drawn to musical collaboration and repelled by hydraulic fracturing.
The 37-year-old just released two albums: the improvisational project Mystical Weapons and the score to the independent film Alter Egos.
Writing For Film
Lennon only appears in Alter Egos for a few seconds; the majority of his efforts went into writing the music, which he had to do twice. He describes the film as a "kitsch comedy about superheroes," and his first attempt at the music took a similar vibe.
The young musicians of Seguro Que Si will perform in this weekend's Inaugural Parade. Left to right: Daniel Chico (bass), Kevin Arguelles (piano), Maxwell Frost (timbales), Christopher Muriel (congas), Niyah Lowell (bongos), Annette Rodriguez (vocal), Sean Fernandez (trumpet), Robby Cruz (trumpet).
In the Inaugural Parade following the president's swearing-in on Monday, regimental and high school marching bands will appear alongside groups showcasing the nation's diversity. These include a float representing South Carolina and Georgia's Gullah-Geechee culture, plus Native American groups and a mariachi band from Texas. Bringing the salsa is Seguro Que Si, a high school band from Kissimmee, Fla.
Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 12:51 pm
On Jan. 20, 2009, Barack Obama was sworn in as the first African-American president of the United States. And Monday, President Obama will be sworn in again — this time on a most auspicious day, the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
In King's most famous speech, he said, "In spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream."
Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 3:08 pm
Soul singer Cody ChesnuTT strips his sound down to its solo essence in this performance of the lyrically rich "That's Still Mama," a song about remembering where you come from. ChesnuTT mostly dropped out of the spotlight during the 10 years that passed following his 2002 debut, The Headphone Masterpiece — a stretch which clearly inspired his new album, Landing on a Hundred.