Music News

The Record
1:03 pm
Wed April 15, 2015

A Rational Conversation With Mac McCaughan And Waxahatchee

Superchunk frontman and Merge Records co-founder Mac McCaughan (left) will put out his first album under his own name next month. Katie Crutchfield just put out her third album as Waxahatchee on Merge.
Lissa Gotwals/Jesse Riggins Courtesy of Merge Records

Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 10:30 am

Read more
The Record
10:34 am
Tue April 14, 2015

José González On Finding Light In A Comforting Darkness

"There's always a light at the end of the tunnel" José González says of the songs on his album, Vestiges & Claws, released earlier this year.
Malin Johansson Courtesy of the artist

On his most recent album, Vestiges & Claws, José González treads a familiar musical path, offering listeners the same subdued-but-powerful austerity of his unobtrusive tenor paired with minimal instrumentation that's come to define his remarkable sound since his full-length debut with 2003's Veneer. While those compositional tendencies have thankfully remained undisturbed, Vestiges & Claws is a divergence in theme for González.

Read more
The Two-Way
9:47 am
Tue April 14, 2015

Soul Singer Percy Sledge Dies

Singer Percy Sledge died Tuesday.
Taylor Hill Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 5:06 pm

Singer Percy Sledge, perhaps best known for his hit "When A Man Loves A Woman," has died, Artists International Management Inc., his talent agency, said.

Sledge died of natural causes a little after midnight at a hospice in East Baton Rouge, La., according to a coroner. The coroner said Sledge was 74, though the Encyclopedia of Music as well as his talent agency says Sledge was 73.

Read more
Code Switch
2:14 am
Tue April 14, 2015

How Asian-Americans Found A Home In The World Of K-Pop

Asian music hitmaker Jae Chong, at work in a studio in Seoul. His work is all over Asian charts, but his passport is American.
Elise Hu NPR

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 6:33 am

Read more
History
5:25 am
Sun April 12, 2015

This Date In History: Wham! (Awkwardly) Opens Doors In China

Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 12:18 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Thirty years ago this month, the duo known as Wham! became the first pop group to rock Beijing.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WAKE ME UP BEFORE YOU GO-GO")

Read more
Music News
12:03 am
Sat April 11, 2015

From Ballrooms To Concert Halls, Mexico Kept This Cuban Style Alive

Salón Los Angeles is the oldest dance hall in Mexico City. It's here that well-dressed couples dance to danzón.
Courtesy of Betto Arcos

Originally published on Sat April 11, 2015 8:54 am

The Salón Los Angeles is the oldest dance hall in Mexico City. The classic 1930s ballroom is located in a working-class neighborhood near downtown, and every week, it sees dozens of well-dressed couples of all ages moving to an orchestra of saxophones, trumpets, trombones, clarinets and percussion instruments.

Read more
A Blog Supreme
2:25 am
Thu April 9, 2015

Remembering Ralph Sharon, Tony Bennett's Pianist

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 7:05 am

Pianist Ralph Sharon, the longtime accompanist for Tony Bennett, died March 31 at age 91. In the audio link above, Tom Cole has a brief report for NPR's Morning Edition, and below, Walter Ray Watson filed this remembrance for NPR Music.

Read more
Music News
5:05 am
Wed April 8, 2015

'American Pie' Lyrics Sell At Auction For $1.2 Million

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 10:20 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "AMERICAN PIE")

DON MCLEAN: (Singing) Bye, bye, Miss American Pie.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Read more
The Record
9:56 am
Tue April 7, 2015

A (Nearly) Comprehensive Guide To The Music Of 'Mad Men'

Megan Draper (Jessica Pare) and Don Draper (Jon Hamm) in an episode of Mad Men's sixth season.
Michael Yarish AMC

Pay a visit to New York City's Museum of the Moving Image to see its blockbuster show Matthew Weiner's Mad Men, and toward the end of the exhibit you will find a lonely kiosk.

Read more
Music Articles
9:39 am
Tue April 7, 2015

Billie Holiday: A Singer Beyond Our Understanding

Billie Holiday has become a mythic presence in absentia.
William Gottlieb Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 5:54 pm

Read more
Music
12:03 am
Sat April 4, 2015

Bringing Mothers In Prison Closer To Their Children, Through Music

Daniel Levy works with Vateya (left) at the Rikers Island prison in New York City in February 2015, as part of the Lullaby Project.
Chris Lee Courtesy of Carnegie Hall

Originally published on Sat April 4, 2015 8:30 am

Mothers in prison rarely get to see their children, let alone touch them or sing them a lullaby. But female inmates in New York City are getting a little help with the singing, thanks to Carnegie Hall. For the last few years, Carnegie has sponsored the Lullaby Project, which pairs professional musicians with women in jails, homeless shelters and city hospitals, to help them write lullabies for their children.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
2:43 pm
Fri April 3, 2015

Multifaceted Music Critic Andrew Porter Dies At 86

Critic and opera translator Andrew Porter directs singer Nikki Einfeld during a rehearsal of a Canadian Opera Company production of Mozart's Magic Flute in Toronto in 2005.
Tannis Toohey Toronto Star

Andrew Porter, a renowned music critic and scholar and translator of opera, died early today in London's Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. His twin sister, Sheila Porter, told NPR his death was the result of complications from pneumonia. He was 86.

Read more
The Record
11:23 am
Wed April 1, 2015

How To Be Alone: Musicians Confront Solitude

Sufjan Stevens' album Carrie & Lowell is out this week.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 11:15 am

Read more
The Two-Way
7:25 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Musician Joni Mitchell Is 'Awake And In Good Spirits' In Intensive Care

Musician Joni Mitchell attends a party before the Grammy Awards in February. Mitchell, 71, was found unconscious in her home Tuesday.
Jason Merritt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 9:04 am

After being found found unconscious in her home Tuesday afternoon, folk music icon Joni Mitchell has been hospitalized in Los Angeles. "She is currently in intensive care undergoing tests and is awake and in good spirits," according to her website.

Mitchell "regained consciousness on the ambulance ride," her website says.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
6:03 am
Wed April 1, 2015

A Sale Is Booming: Rare Stradivarius Drums Up For Auction

Timpani are also called kettledrums. These instruments crafted by Antonio Stradivari were, for a time, more kettles than drums.
DEA Picture Library De Agostini/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 8:40 am

Museum curators, instrument dealers and some of the world's most esteemed musicians will be clutching paddles today at Cloiduff's auction house in New York. They're gathering for what is expected to be an eight-figure sale of perhaps the rarest instruments ever to appear at auction: a pair of lovingly restored Stradivarius timpani.

Read more
Music News
5:14 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Colorado Lawmakers Don't Want Marijuana Going To People On Welfare

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 3:22 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Read more
The Record
3:31 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

Jay Z's Music Service, Tidal, Arrives With A Splash, And Questions Follow

Madonna, Deadmau5, Kanye West and Jay Z onstage at the Tidal launch event.
Jamie McCarthy Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 12:57 pm

Jay Z doesn't do anything small. His album drops feature entire new apps. His tours (with his wife, Beyonce, or collaborator Kanye West) gross hundreds of millions of dollars worldwide. So of course the launch of his recently acquired streaming music service, Tidal, would have to be just as big.

Read more
Music News
6:54 am
Sat March 28, 2015

The Tale Of Mingering Mike, Who Painted Himself A Music Career

Mingering Mike's Joseph War & Friend, 'As High As The Sky' (mixed media on paperboard).
Smithsonian American Art Museum

Originally published on Sat March 28, 2015 11:29 am

The Smithsonian American Art Museum has just added a handful of soul records to its collection — or at least that's what you might think when you first see the work of Mingering Mike. A self-taught artist, he grew up in a tough part of Washington, D.C., just a few miles from the museum, though his family didn't spend much time there. Now, his work is in the museum permanently.

Read more
Music News
5:39 am
Sat March 28, 2015

Influential Guitarist John Renbourn, Co-Founder Of Pentagle, Dies

John Renbourn performs onstage at the Royal Festival Hall in London June 29, 2008. The influential guitarist died at his home in Scotland Thursday. He was 70.
Barney Britton Redferns

Originally published on Sat March 28, 2015 11:41 am

Guitarist and composer John Renbourn co-founded the group Pentangle and went on to become revered by guitarists around the world. Renbourn was found dead of an apparent heart attack at his home in Scotland on Thursday, after failing to show up for a concert. He was 70 years old.

Read more
All Songs Considered
7:23 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Lower Dens' Jana Hunter Explains 'Escape From Evil,' Track By Track

Lower Dens singer and songwriter Jana Hunter writes that her band's new album, Escape From Evil, is typified by "warmth and physicality."
Frank Hamilton Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 7:28 am

There's something mysterious, almost opaque, about the songs of Lower Dens. The ones on the band's new album, Escape From Evil, are lush but distant, beautiful things held just out of reach.

Read more
NPR Story
3:04 am
Tue March 24, 2015

First Listen: 'Carrie & Lowell' By Sufjan Stevens

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 3:11 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Read more
Goats and Soda
3:00 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

Egyptian Singer, Meet Burundi Bassist. Play Among Yourselves!

A Nile Project concert in Al Azhar Park, Cairo, Egypt, 31 January, 2013.
Courtesy of Matjaz Kacicnik/Nile Project

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 6:23 pm

Late one night, Dina el-Wadi, a singer and musician from Cairo, arrived in Kampala, Uganda. She'd come for a gathering of musicians who live in countries along the Nile River.

She went to bed and woke up to pure enchantment: "I found a very beautiful woman singing in the morning in a very, very, very magical way. So I said, 'Oh, who is this girl that's going to sing with us?'"

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
10:11 am
Thu March 19, 2015

Sviatoslav Richter: The Pianist Who Made The Earth Move

Sviatoslav Richter, born 100 years ago in Ukraine, is considered one of the world's greatest pianists.
Sony Music Photo Archives

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 6:48 am

Read more
All Songs Considered
9:08 am
Wed March 18, 2015

NPR Music At SXSW 2015: Tuesday

A musician plays on the street in Austin on the opening day of the 2015 South by Southwest music festival.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 7:43 am

Read more
Music News
12:11 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Remastering 78s: A Company Brings Clarity To Pianist Artur Schnabel's Works

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Read more
The Record
1:18 am
Tue March 17, 2015

Winning In Country Music, With No Help From Nashville

Aaron Watson on stage during the National Finals Rodeo Cowboy Fanfest in Las Vegas in 2014.
Mindy Small Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 10:53 am

There's only one word to describe Aaron Watson's music: country. Watson, from Abilene, Texas, sings about rodeos, fence posts and family with a twang in his voice that would sound like a huge moneymaker if you're the kind of fan who stopped listening to country in the early 1990s, when George Strait and Garth Brooks were selling millions of albums and scoring hits on country radio.

Read more
SXSW Music Festival
1:17 am
Tue March 17, 2015

Doritos Stage Pulled From SXSW But Issues Remain

At SXSW 2014, pop star Lady Gaga performed on a stage made to look like a five-story-tall Doritos vending machine, which won't be returning this week.
Kevin Mazur WireImage/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 9:01 am

South by Southwest is in its 28th year, with its music festival starting Wednesday and featuring more than 2,200 bands from 62 countries.

Read more
Music
4:33 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

In South Africa, Soulful Music Delivers Serious Messages

The newest album by The Muffinz, Do What You Love, tackles heavy issues such as politics, race and education.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 5:21 pm

Read more
Animals
6:25 am
Sat March 14, 2015

From Bored To Blown Away: Feline Reactions To 'Music For Cats'

Originally published on Fri May 1, 2015 8:40 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Last week we invited you to bring your cat closer to your speakers, not to hear anything I had to say, but this...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SPOOKS DITTY")

Read more
All Songs Considered
9:07 am
Wed March 11, 2015

Hear Lydia Loveless Cover Prince's 'I Would Die 4 U'

Todd Cooper Courtesy of the artist

Last year, as an April Fools' Day joke, the label Bloodshot Records announced that it had brought together 21 affiliated artists for a roughed-up roots take on the music of Prince, to be pressed as a "purple swirl colored double vinyl LP" set.

Read more

Pages