Bob Boilen

In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.

Significant listener interest in the music being played on All Things Considered, along with his and NPR's vast music collections, gave Boilen the idea to start All Songs Considered. "It was obvious to me that listeners of NPR were also lovers of music, but what also became obvious by 1999 was that the web was going to be the place to discover new music and that we wanted to be the premiere site for music discovery." The show launched in 2000, with Boilen as its host.

Before coming to NPR, Boilen found many ways to share his passion for music. From 1982 to 1986 he worked for Baltimore's Impossible Theater, where he held many posts, including composer, technician, and recording engineer. Boilen became part of music history in 1983 with the Impossible Theater production Whiz Bang, a History of Sound. In it, Boilen became one of the first composers to use audio sampling — in this case, sounds from nature and the industrial revolution. He was interviewed about Whiz Bang by Susan Stamberg on All Things Considered.

In 1985, the Washington City Paper voted Boilen 'Performance Artist of the Year.' An electronic musician, he received a grant from the Washington D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities to work on electronic music and performance.

After Impossible Theater, Boilen worked as a producer for a television station in Washington, D.C. He produced several projects, including a music video show. In 1997, he started producing an online show called Science Live for the Discovery Channel. He also put out two albums with his psychedelic band, Tiny Desk Unit, during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Boilen still composes and performs music and posts it for free on his website BobBoilen.info. He performs contradance music and has a podcast of contradance music that he produces with his son Julian.

Longtime NPR fans may remember another contribution Boilen made to NPR. He composed the original theme music for NPR's Talk of the Nation.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
9:56 am
Mon October 8, 2012

Spirit Family Reunion: Tiny Desk Concert

Spirit Family Reunion performs at Tiny Desk concert on Sept. 18.
Ryan Smith NPR

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 12:20 pm

Spirit Family Reunion was my favorite find at this year's Newport Folk Festival. The group makes music I'd call "new old-timey," but which its members call "open-door gospel" — gospel music that's not tied to any particular religious denomination.

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All Songs Considered Blog
11:47 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Six Minutes Of Absolute Majesty

Henry Jun Wah Lee

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 10:53 am

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Tiny Desk Concerts
8:56 am
Thu October 4, 2012

Antibalas: Tiny Desk Concert

Antibalas performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Sept. 25.
Ryan Smith NPR

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 8:19 pm

There just aren't many bands like Antibalas. These are jazz players making dance music: Their music is big and fun, and their guiding spirit is Fela Kuti, the brilliant big-band leader and Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer. Afrobeat is a musical style featuring nearly endless songs, mixing funk and jazz, grooves and riffs, with the rhythm carried by not only the drums, but everyone. Everyone — horn players, bass players, guitarists — plays rhythm in Afrobeat music.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
5:24 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Kat Edmonson: Tiny Desk Concert

Kat Edmonson performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Sept. 17, 2012.
Ryan Smith NPR

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 5:46 pm

We first met Kat Edmonson nearly four years ago, when All Songs Considered put out a challenge to songwriters on the eve of Barack Obama's inauguration. We asked musicians around the country to capture the moment in song, and Edmonson, a native of Texas, wrote and sent us "Be the Change." It was clearly the best song we received, and she sang it with a unique voice and wonderful phrasing — so spot on.

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All Songs Considered Blog
1:14 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Song Premiere: Jozef Van Wissem & Jim Jarmusch, 'Etimasia'

Jim Jarmusch and Jozef Van Wissem
courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 11:27 am

Film director and screenwriter Jim Jarmusch is also a musician — not surprisingly, a very cinematic musician. His tastes in music are so much a part of his films: He often casts musicians in key roles and music as part of the storyline. Think about his film Down by Law, with saxophonist John Lurie and singer Tom Waits. Or Stranger Than Paradise, in which "I Put a Spell on You" by Screamin' Jay Hawkins is a key character. The list is pretty long.

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All Songs Considered Blog
4:38 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Frank Ocean And Bon Iver Surprise Lucky NYC Fans

Frank Ocean performs at Angel Orensanz Church. The special show was announced that day and a few hundred lucky fans were able to RSVP for free tickets.
Ryan Muir for NPR

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 10:54 am

Last night, two of today's most recognizable voices lifted the rafters of a glorious synagogue on New York's Lower East Side. The surprise show was announced with just about 12 hours notice, and lucky fans who answered an RSVP quickly filled the venue's few hundred spots.

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All Songs Considered Blog
4:50 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

All Tomorrow's Parties Forever?

Singer Ian Svenonius of The Make-Up performs All Tomorrow's Parties Festival on September 23, 2012 in New York City.
Ilya S. Savenok Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 24, 2012 5:29 pm

All Tomorrow's Parties is an extra special music festival. Oddly, it's not just about the music. It's about film, comedy, lecture/conversation and new friendships all bound together by everyone's love for eclectic and passionate music. This year, following a move from Asbury Park (which followed a move from its original Catskill mountain hotel home) to a giant pier on southern tip of Manhattan, it felt more like a convention than a camp. Gone was the coziness of hotel lobbies where artists and participants co-mingled at all hours.

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All Songs Considered Blog
5:47 pm
Fri September 21, 2012

Download Quirky Greatness From Alt-J

Courtesy of artist

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 1:55 pm

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All Songs Considered Blog
4:20 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Watch A Gorgeous New Animated Video For Wilco's 'Sunloathe'

'Sunloathe' from Wilco, with illustrations by Nathaniel Murphy
Nathaniel Murphy youtube

Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 11:08 am

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Tiny Desk Concerts
10:10 am
Mon September 17, 2012

Amanda Palmer And The Grand Theft Orchestra: Tiny Desk Concert

Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra during Tiny Desk at NPR. (Kainaz Amaria/NPR)
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 10:06 am

A primal, turbulent and artful slice of pop, the new Amanda Palmer record has won my heart. Theatre Is Evil's first song is a wall of well-defined noise that, I'll admit, had me throwing my fist in the air when no one else was around. It was the same feeling I had hearing David Bowie's "It's No Game" from Scary Monsters more than 30 years ago.

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