Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 5:56 pm
This installment of the Latin Roots series for World Cafe explores bossa nova music, guided by Latin-music expert Ernesto Lechner. Lechner grew up in Buenos Aires, where his parents' record collection consisted of classical records and a solitary bossa nova LP. He later moved to Los Angeles, where he was immersed in Latin music and subsequently became a music journalist, publishing several books on the subject. Lechner co-hosts the radio show Latin Alternative and works as a contributing writer for Rolling Stone, L.A.
In the first generation of bebop musicians, Ray Brown was king of the jazz bass. Today, the "go-to" jazz bassist is Christian McBride, so we were delighted to have McBride stop by the KPLU studios for a performance with pianist Peter Martin.
Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 1:39 pm
In this edition of Sense of Place's New Orleans edition, it's all about Treme. The HBO series sets in stark relief the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as it follows the stories of a group of individuals, many of whom were inspired by real Crescent City residents, or are played by local actors.
Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 12:30 pm
Leftover Salmon makes its second appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown. The band formed in 1989, and its unique blend of country, bluegrass and Cajun music — combined with years of hard work and touring — earned it a place as one of the most beloved acts on America's summer-festival circuit. In 2002, the group lost founding member Mark Vann to cancer, but continued touring until 2004, when its surviving members announced a hiatus.
Featuring Patti Smith's former New York punk-era colleague Tom Verlaine on solo guitar, "April Fool" is one of the prettiest songs on Smith's new album, Banga. Verlaine sends out long, thin, delicate tendrils of sound as Smith's voice suffuses the melody with full-throated urgency. Although Smith has said, with typical art-democratic directness, that "almost everybody in the world can sing," a few songs on Banga make you aware of what a good voice she has.
"Candy Girl," from Trailer Trash Tracys' debut album Ester, sounds like a shoegazer's modern take on Berlin's "Take My Breath Away" — the song that soundtracked the makeout scene in Top Gun. Both tracks share a similar pace and constant beating snare, but Trailer Trash Tracys' members diverge from the '80s hit by throwing in a ton of fuzz, reverb and depression. "It's 7 o'clock and my heartbeat stops, my candy girl," Suzanne Aztoria sings, her voice detached to the point where she seems sedated.
Ice-T, the rapper and actor, wants people to think about the craft of making rap music. He has directed and starred in a documentary called Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap that takes viewers from Harlem into the South Bronx, to Detroit and South Central Los Angeles. In the film, Ice-T talks to musicians like Doug E.
I was born in 1970, sprung from one of the most aspirational generations America has ever produced: The Hip-Hop Nation. With decades of rap music anthems dedicated to our fantastical transition from poverty to prosperity, we rarely celebrate our wealth without looking back on our meager beginnings. The American Dream, for us, always represents the possibility of success and affluence on our own terms — with a watchful eye toward our hardscrabble origins.