Music

The Record
4:55 am
Sun February 10, 2013

High School Marching Bands Lay Down The Beat Of Mardi Gras

The McDonogh 35 High School band marches in a parade to usher in the Carnival Season.
Keith O'Brien for NPR

Originally published on Sun February 10, 2013 9:18 am

In less than an hour, the McDonogh 35 High School marching band — including the flag girls, the dance team, the majorettes, the color guard and the actual band — needs to be on the parade route five miles away. It's the peak of Carnival season in New Orleans, and high school marching bands form the backbeat of Mardi Gras.

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Music News
2:03 am
Sun February 10, 2013

The Kentucky Fiddler Who Inspired Aaron Copland's 'Rodeo'

Fiddler Bill Stepp in Kentucky's Magoffin County in the 1930s.
Courtesy of Elsie Risner and Becky Arnett

Originally published on Wed February 13, 2013 8:29 pm

Sunday night's Grammys are an opportunity to rain accolades on pop music and perhaps witness the musical return of Justin Timberlake. But each year, the Recording Academy also honors recordings of "lasting significance" by inducting them into the Grammy Hall of Fame. One of them this year is Kentucky fiddler Bill Stepp's performance of "Bonaparte's Retreat."

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Music Interviews
5:32 pm
Sat February 9, 2013

A New Day For Singer Nataly Dawn

Nataly Dawn, known as the voice of the YouTube-savvy duo Pomplamoose, makes her solo debut with How I Knew Her.
Jeffrey Marini Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat February 9, 2013 6:51 pm

The video for "Single Ladies" has been viewed nearly 10 million times — not Beyonce's original, but a quirky revamp by Pomplamoose, a couple from California known for their lighthearted cover songs. Nataly Dawn is the voice of the duo, and she's about to release her first solo album.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
9:29 am
Sat February 9, 2013

Singer Erykah Badu Plays Not My Job

Karl Walter Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 9, 2013 5:47 pm

This week, Wait Wait comes to you from the AT&T Performing Arts Center in the Dallas Arts District. Turns out, singer Erykah Badu was a student at the high school for the performing arts directly across the street. We're guessing she used to gaze across the street and say to herself: "Someday I'm going to be in a theater that's not yet built, performing on a public radio news quiz." And today, that dream comes true.

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Around the Nation
6:24 am
Sat February 9, 2013

NYC Labor Chorus Tries To Hit Right Note, Attract New Voices

The New York City Labor Chorus performs in 2011 at the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi in Old Havana.
Courtesy of NYCLC

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 5:15 pm

Union membership is at its lowest point since the 1930s. New figures show a drop, and only about 11 percent of workers belong to unions today.

But these numbers don't deter the New York City Labor Chorus, which has been singing in praise of unions for more than 20 years.

Jana Ballard, the choral director of the labor chorus, is one of the youngest in the group. She's 38. The average age of the 80 members is about 65.

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Music News
5:45 am
Sat February 9, 2013

Frank Ocean's Big Year, And What Hasn't Changed In Hip-Hop

Frank Ocean performs at the MTV Video Music Awards in September 2012.
Kevin Mazur WireImage

Originally published on Sat February 9, 2013 12:11 pm

Frank Ocean is set to take a victory lap at this year's Grammys. He's up for six awards for his album Channel Orange, including best new artist, and he'll be performing as well. But just a few months ago, Frank Ocean's music wasn't the story — his sexuality was.

To review: After a listening party for Channel Orange last July, a BBC journalist pointed out that a few of the love songs referenced a "him" where you might have expected to hear "her."

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Favorite Sessions
4:53 am
Sat February 9, 2013

John Mark Nelson: A Teenager With Serious Talent

John Mark Nelson performs live on The Current in the Twin Cities.
Nate Ryan The Current

When people hear John Mark Nelson's music for the first time, there's often a sense of disbelief. With arrangements that recall the work of veteran songwriters, the 19-year-old Minnetonka, Minn., native has been recording sophisticated compositions since he was 14.

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The Record
5:25 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Famous Behind The Scenes, A Hitmaker Covets The Spotlight

Producer and songwriter Jeff Bhasker is nominated for four Grammy Awards this weekend, including producer of the year, non-classical division.
Ninelle Efremova Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 7:09 pm

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Monkey See
3:49 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Play-By-Play: Read Along With The Grammy Awards

Taylor Swift gives the opening performance at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards Sunday in Los Angeles.
Christopher Polk Getty Images for NARAS

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 1:11 am

With the conclusion of Sunday night's ceremony, Linda Holmes and I have now live-blogged fully one-eleventh of the Grammy Awards' 55 annual incarnations. Below is our original post and an archived live blog of the telecast:

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Song Travels
3:28 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Ryan Bingham On 'Song Travels'

Ryan Bingham.
Courtesy of the artist

Singer-songwriter Ryan Bingham has made the unlikely journey from rodeo circuit rider to Grammy, Golden Globe and Oscar winner for the soundtrack to Crazy Heart, a 2009 Jeff Bridges film featuring Bingham's original song "The Weary Kind."

In 2012, Bingham released his fourth studio album, Tomorrowland, on his own label. On this edition of Song Travels, Bingham performs selections from the new album, including "As I Do My Dancing" and "Too Deep to Fill."

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