The trio of Joe Dyson (drums), Max Moran (bass) and Conun Pappas (piano) met in New Orleans' performing-arts high school, and have all gone on to careers in music. Together, they've worked as Donald Harrison's rhythm section before they could legally drink, and in 2012 released a self-titled debut album as The Bridge Trio. Their new-school inspirations and grounding in New Orleans' musical community result in a precociously mature sound.
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the American Girl catalogs we never ordered is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, how first-time music-festival attendees can survive and thrive in an overwhelming setting.
Kendall Levinson writes: "Any advice for a young person going to his or her first music festival this summer? Any tips for preparation or survival would be appreciated."
Spanish flamenco singer Concha Buika says the key to her music is singing with a "beautiful idea" and "really big desire." Born on the Spanish island of Majorca to parents who fled their home in Equatorial Guinea, Buika performs music that transcends boundaries of language and race.
Originally from Minneapolis, José James began chasing his dreams of jazz singing at 17. He found his way to London and New York, and eventually ended up at The New School to study jazz vocals. James was always interested in a musical place where jazz, R&B, hip-hop and more can all come together.
Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 10:01 am
"Plastic Cup," the moody opening cut to Low's latest album, The Invisible Way, recalls a friend's substance abuse, a lifetime of dependence on others and a soul-crushing future of pointless drug tests. But in a strange new video for the song, director Ryley Fogg takes those themes in a dark and curious direction. Creepy, hooded figures intercut with black-and-white images of the band performing in period costumes.
On this day 50 years ago — June 12, 1963 — Bob Dylan's career was just taking off when he heard the news that civil rights activist Medgar Evers had been assassinated. Dylan responded with a song that he eventually performed at the March on Washington and the Newport Folk Festival.
Composer Mark Adamo has made beautiful music out of classic books. His Little Women is among the most produced American operas today. He also wrote the words and music for his operatic adaptation of Aristophanes' Greek drama Lysistrata.
His latest work, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, has proved more controversial. The opera, which premieres June 19 at the San Francisco Opera, tells the story of Mary, Jesus and his disciples.
Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 5:53 pm
Stephen King, John Mellencamp and T-Bone Burnett's collaboration on the musical Ghost Brothers of Darkland County began 13 years ago. Inspiration for the story came when Mellencamp bought a vacation cabin; he says he found out just after closing that the home was the site of the tragic death of two brothers and the girl they both loved.
When a band called The National made its debut more than a decade ago, it was considered an underdog in a busy independent music scene. The lead singer's melancholy baritone and the lush instrumentation didn't always fit the irony-laden swagger of the aughts. The National has endured, and these days it has a hard-won following. It headlines big concert halls and late-night talk shows.
Wallace Daniel Pennington grew up singing. His father played guitar and his mother played piano, and by the age of 9, the young man had a guitar of his own. The family attended church on Sunday and Wednesday each week, and to this day, Dan Penn says he remembers the entire Methodist congregation belting out hymns.