Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 8:30 am
Bassist Omer Avital came from Israel to New York in the early '90s and found himself among the top tier of straight-ahead modern jazz performers. The time in the big city led him to re-investigate his roots β his parents are from the Arab-speaking world β and in 2002, he returned to Israel to study traditional music and oud. Since returning, he's remained a monster bass player, but has also integrated his Middle Eastern musical interests into his composing.
Joy Williams and John Paul White call their Grammy-winning band The Civil Wars, but the two have built a gentle, harmony-rich folk-pop sound in which warm chemistry more than counteracts the tension under the music's surface. Though not a couple themselves β each is married, and Williams just had a baby β they convey many hallmarks of a loving union, particularly in the way she stares at him sweetly as they sing.
Ethiopia enjoys a rich tradition of enticing music, filled with asymmetric rhythms set to a haunting, five-note scale and sly double-entendre lyrics in the Amharic language. It's a shame that, for Western listeners, a full, clear picture of Ethiopian music has been elusive.
Members of the alternative rock and rap band Flobots say their new album was inspired by the Arab Spring protests and the U.S. Occupy movement. Circles of protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square gave them the idea for the title song, "The Circle in the Square." Three group members talk to host Michel Martin about the intersection of art and politics.
From the opening chugging guitar sound, this song could only be The Rolling Stones. For the first time in seven years, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood got together to record two new songs, and you can hear "One More Shot," which was recorded in Paris with Don Was producing, right here.
The same brain system that controls our muscles also helps us remember music, scientists say.
When we listen to a new musical phrase, it is the brain's motor system β not areas involved in hearing β that helps us remember what we've heard, researchers reported at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in New Orleans last month.
As we near the end of another year, the music industry has a few reasons to be optimistic. Digital music sales are expected to reach record highs this year, and legal streaming services continue to gain in popularity. But unauthorized music file sharing is still going strong.