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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All Songs Considered
2:48 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

CMJ 2012: Discoveries Day Four

Performers in People Get Ready's Specific Ocean at New York Live Arts.
Ian Douglas Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 2:58 pm

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All Songs Considered
3:46 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

CMJ 2012: Discoveries Day Three

Little Green Cars play at the Union Square Ballroom during CMJ 2012 in New York City.
Bob Boilen NPR

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 5:53 pm

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All Songs Considered
2:38 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

CMJ 2012: Discoveries Day Two

Drummer Zach Hill of Sacramento-based band Death Grips, during the group's speaker-busting set at (Le) Poisson Rouge.
Loren Wohl for NPR

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 5:54 pm

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All Songs Considered
12:34 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

CMJ 2012: Discoveries Day One

Ben Gibbard performs at The HiFi Bar in New York City's Lower East Side during the CMJ Music Marathon.
Bob Boilen NPR

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 2:05 pm

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In Practice
10:03 am
Mon October 15, 2012

In Practice: David Byrne And St. Vincent

David Byrne and Annie Clark of St. Vincent
Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 1:55 pm

When I first heard that David Byrne and St. Vincent's Annie Clark would collaborate, I imagined a quirky, guitar-based dance band. I never expected an eight-piece brass ensemble or a theremin duet. What's brilliant about their album together, Love This Giant, is what makes collaboration exciting: the desire to explore and challenge. We find both artists outside their comfort zones, making music that couldn't have happened independently of each other.

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All Songs Considered Blog
8:03 am
Sat October 13, 2012

Song Premiere: The Daredevil Christopher Wright, 'A Man Of The Arts'

The Daredevil Christopher Wright.
John Hanson Courtesy of the Artist

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 11:15 am

The Daredevil Christopher Wright is a band featuring brothers Jon and Jason Sunde, along with the percussion and voice of Jesse Edgington. The band began in 2004 in Eau Claire, Wis., and put out a second full-length album, The Nature of Things, earlier this year. Now we've got a new song, "A Man of the Arts," which will appear on a split 7" single the group is sharing with the Brooklyn band Cuddle Magic. It may be too simple to say that what attracted me to this song was its vibe, but it's the truth.

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All Songs Considered Blog
12:48 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

RSVP Now: Flying Lotus, Death Grips, Buke & Gase And More In NYC

Flying Lotus, Death Grips and Buke & Gase.

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 10:51 am

Here's a pretty incredible night of music: Flying Lotus, Death Grips and (we're happy to announce) Buke & Gase, all on one stage at (Le) Poisson Rouge in NYC. It's also your chance to meet us. NPR Music is coming together with WNYC's Soundcheck during the CMJ Music Marathon for this show on Wednesday, Oct.

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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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