Originally published on Sat September 8, 2012 8:17 am
100 years ago today, John Cage was born. In celebration of his birthday, we asked contemporary musicians across a wide range of genres and backgrounds — not only in classical music, but also pop, rock, metal, electronic and experimental — what they've taken from the late composer's musical and philosophical ideas.
One of Billie Holiday's most iconic songs is "Strange Fruit," a haunting protest against the inhumanity of racism. Many people know that the man who wrote the song was inspired by a photograph of a lynching. But they might not realize that he's also tied to another watershed moment in America's history.
Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 10:23 am
Sometimes known as the Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, the New York band Antibalas — which means "bulletproof" in Spanish — is a large group of talented musicians who play rhythm-intensive Afrobeat music. In a seven-year stretch, Antibalas has released four albums and withstood a five-year hiatus in which several members worked on the Broadway musical FELA!
Egypt's post-revolution art scene is documenting the country's emotional roller coaster of a transition through music and graffiti art. Since the uprising against Hosni Mubarak, small indie bands have popped up to sing or rap about the political situation in Egypt. The graffiti that lines Cairo's streets is also evolving with the transition.
Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 2:49 pm
Sometimes you just know that a band isn't going to have to wait long before it reaches the stardom you think it deserves. Earlier this year, a friend sent me the new album from Shovels & Rope before it had been released. I'd requested it after seeing a video for "Birmingham," which shows the duo's members — Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent — playing the song as their dog runs around. I had to watch the video again just to confirm that the song was as great at I thought it might be. The second time confirmed it, and I immediately started playing it on my show.