For many people, the definitive soundtrack of the mid-1990s was a band out of Virginia with unusual instrumentation and an unmistakable sound. Born and partially raised in South Africa, Dave Matthews was a bartender in the college town of Charlottesville when he founded the Dave Matthews Band in 1991. Two decades on, the group has sold 40 million records and become one of the biggest live acts in the world.
Leonard Cohen is known for distinctive, haunting and provocative songs. His music inspired one artist in the Bay Area with amounts to a vision: that there ought to be a community choir of men singing a cappella exclusively from the Leonard Cohen songbook. Lisa Morehouse spent some time with the group. They call themselves the Conspiracy of Beards.
LISA MOREHOUSE, BYLINE: The Beards, as they're known, don't all have beards, but they do stand out.
Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 5:29 pm
American folk music has a long tradition of songwriting duos who work miracles with just two voices, from Simon & Garfunkel and Ian & Sylvia to the contemporary likes of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, on through the distorted gutter-punk cigar-box-banjo shredding of Hymn for Her. There's always room for more.
The members of Sauti Sol rehearse in a cramped recording studio above a chapati restaurant off a noisy highway in Nairobi. Bien-Aime Baraza, Delvin Mudigi and Willis Chimano — the founding members, all 25 — have been friends since they sang together as part of a gospel ensemble in high school. When they graduated in 2005, they didn't want to stop singing, so they formed Sauti Sol. Sauti is Swahili for voice, while sol is Spanish for sun. "Voices of light."
Piano Jazz celebrates the centennial of the grandfather of the jazz violin: Stephane Grappelli. Born in Paris in 1908, Grappelli grew up very poor — his mother died when he was 4 and he spent time in orphanages and boarding schools (including one run by the famous dancer Isadora Duncan) when his father was called away to WWI. Father and son were reunited after the war.
This summer, All Things Considered has asked listeners and guests to share a personal memory of one song discovered through their parents' record collection.
NPR listener Mel Fisher Ostrowski wrote in to tell us about how Don McLean's "American Pie" helped her "bridge a gap between my long-deceased father and baby boy." Hear the radio version at the audio link above — and read a lightly edited version of Ostrowski's original letter to NPR below.
Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 12:35 pm
The members of the inventive, experimental rock band Animal Collective first met in school in Baltimore County, Md. After collaborating throughout high school and college, they released their debut album as a group, Here Comes the Indian, in 2003. More studio albums followed, including the 2009 breakout Merriweather Post Pavilion.