Numbers are down at the American International School in Bamako, the capital of Mali.
In just over a year, the country has witnessed a rebellion, a military coup and the occupation by Islamist fighters of the desert northern region, recently largely liberated in a counteroffensive by French-led forces. Despite the troubles, the school is open and classes continue.
Teacher Paul Chandler is taking his combined class of 6th- and 7th-graders through their early paces, learning the Malian music they'll be performing at the annual school concert.
Some stories stand the test of time: Shakespeare's plays, the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, and the Child ballads.
If you're unfamiliar with them, they're not for children. They're Scottish and English folk songs from the 17th and 18th centuries and earlier. They're named after Francis James Child, the Harvard professor and folklorist who collected them.
How do you write something like Partita for 8 Voices, the a cappella vocal piece that is this year's winner of the Pulitzer Prize for music?
"Very late at night," says the composer, Caroline Shaw, speaking with NPR's Scott Simon. "Sometimes it comes from having a sound in your head that you really want to hear, that you've never heard before, and struggling to make that sound happen in any way you can."
Fresh Air pays tribute to Boston with a 1988 performance by the late jazz pianist Dave McKenna. From 1981 to 1991, McKenna had a standing gig at Boston's Grand Dame Copley Plaza Hotel. He was also a loyal Red Sox fan. He died in 2008.
Originally published on Sat April 20, 2013 6:07 pm
It's a perfect illustration of the current age of music fandom that this year's Record Store Day comes at the end of the week when Twitter introduced its music service — an online streaming music tool that tethers discovery to acquaintances who probably know your taste about as well as the checkout girl at the grocery store does.
Contemporary American rock musician and singer-songwriter from Willy Porter, along with vocalist Carmen Nickerson, stopped by the WDIY to talk about the importance of public radio, and to play a few songs, as part of our Public Radio Music Month celebration.
The last few years have found Mark Oliver Everett of Eels doing more than a bit of summing up. That includes an autobiography, Things the Grandchildren Should Know, as well as an anthology of the band's past work — all while putting out an inter-related trilogy of new studio albums.
Originally published on Sat April 20, 2013 10:09 am
The Divine Miss M — singer, actress and comedian Bette Midler — is Song Travels host Michael Feinstein's guest for an hour of pure radio fun. Midler opens a crate of favorite tunes from her record collection, from Louis Jordan to vintage Hawaiian music to Destiny's Child, along with stories from her multifaceted career.
Here, Feinstein presents her with a solo arrangement of "And I'll Be There," a song written for her by the legendary songwriting team of Alan and Marilyn Bergman.
On this Piano Jazz from 2008, bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding brings her neo-soul style to a set of standards with the aid of pianist Leo Genovese. Spalding is one of the most talked about artists in jazz today.
Shovels and Rope makes its first-ever appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. South Carolina natives Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst began playing music together in 2010, and in the years since, they've won the hearts of many roots-music fans, thanks in no small part to the married couple's heartfelt songwriting and passionate live performances.