Music News

Code Switch
3:54 am
Sat February 22, 2014

Iconoclastic Musician Takes Measure Of His Life: 'I Became A Fighter'

Fred Ho practices his baritone saxophone in a dressing room before a performance.
Joseph Yoon Courtesy of Fred Ho

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 1:43 pm

When I first walked through the door of Fred Ho's apartment in the Greenpoint area of Brooklyn, I asked, "How are you?" And he said, "Not good. I'm dying."

Ho has always been matter-of-fact and in-your-face. He painted himself green and posed naked for the cover his album, Celestial Green Monster. In the photo, he has a baritone saxophone placed strategically between his legs. He looks strong — like the Hulk.

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The Record
1:39 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Hearing Devotion In Pop's Details

Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons performs onstage at the Amnesty International Concert presented by the CBGB Festival at Barclays Center on February 5, 2014 in New York City.
Neilson Barnard Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 9:08 am

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The Record
11:34 am
Thu February 20, 2014

A Phony Article Epitomizes Hip-Hop's Struggling Underclass

The rapper Shirt created a counterfeit article designed to look like it was written by the New York Times critic Jon Caramanica and published on the Times' website.
NPR

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 12:32 pm

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The Record
10:31 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Computer Love: Beats Music Wants To Be Your Everything

Beats Music

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 2:21 pm

I have a new streaming music service in my life. Let's call him Beatsy. It's an open relationship — I'm still accessing other music streams, and Beatsy's positively promiscuous, winning the hearts of the music press and thousands of trial subscribers. But I don't mind. When I'm with Beatsy I feel special. Yes, he is a computer program — the world knows him as Beats Music, just one of many services that make it possible for me to listen to music stored in its cloud library via my phone or computer.

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Deceptive Cadence
9:42 am
Wed February 19, 2014

We Love Him For More Than Twizzles: Charlie White Plays Violin, Too

Ice dancing champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White visit the set of the NBC TODAY Show in Sochi on February 18, 2014.
Scott Halleran Getty Images

It's no secret that gold-winning American ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White have become favorite faces in Sochi. But it turns out that the charming White has done his share of woodshedding along with his hard work on the ice.

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Music News
3:14 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Music Education For Creativity, Not A Tool For Test Scores

Advocates are pushing for the virtues of music education that can't be measured numerically.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 5:58 pm

In a mobile classroom — basically a trailer outfitted with a desk and some chairs — music teacher Chris Miller works with a group of active kindergartners dressed in green and khaki school uniforms. He teaches them the basics: musical concepts, artists and styles of music.

"Everybody repeat after me," he says. "Wade in the water." Kids sing back, "Wade in the water."

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The Record
1:12 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Skrillex, King Of The Dance Club Hit-And-Run

Skrillex on stage at HARD Day Of The Dead on November 2, 2013.
Gabriel Olsen FilmMagic/Getty Images

It had been snowing all day and raining all evening when the doors opened at Output on Friday night right after 10 p.m. for Skrillex's appearance, so I felt ready for anything. Not that anyone was expecting too many surprises — a lot of hard, hiccuping beats and jackhammer bass, trap and dubstep and Dutch house, the lingua franca of mainstream nightlife the last few years — in short, what people mean by "EDM."

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Arts & Life
3:18 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Classical Music Piece Enhances Roald Dahl's 'Dirty Beasts'

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 9:03 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The children's author Roald Dahl died almost 25 years ago, and yet, today you can find more musical adaptations of his work than ever.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

"Matilda" is a hit on Broadway. A musical version of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" is running in London's West End.

GREENE: Over the weekend, the London Philharmonic Orchestra debuted the newest adaptation of Dahl's work, a classical piece for children based on a collection of poems called "Dirty Beasts."

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Race
3:03 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Pop Music Lags In Dealing With Interracial Love Anxieties

They're most likely not listening to a song about cross-cultural love.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 3:00 pm

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The Record
2:22 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

In The Digital Era, Hit Songs Aren't Everything

Billboard Hot 100. Each time it's played in public, the song's writers get a royalty, which is tracked and collected by ASCAP. Bigger hits usually translate into bigger checks." href="/post/digital-era-hit-songs-arent-everything" class="noexit lightbox">
American Idol winner Phillip Phillips, whose song, "Gone, Gone, Gone," went to No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100. Each time it's played in public, the song's writers get a royalty, which is tracked and collected by ASCAP. Bigger hits usually translate into bigger checks.
Buda Mendes Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 5:58 pm

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Music News
3:50 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Heavy Rotation: Shlohmo & Jeremih

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 6:22 am

Each month NPR Music asks public radio hosts and DJs to pick a favorite new song. Today we'll hear from Jason King, host of I'll Take You There, NPR Music's new 24 hour Soul and R&B stream. He's talking about his pick for Heavy Rotation: "No More" by Jeremih and Shlohmo.

Music News
12:03 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Collecting Money For Songwriters, A 100-Year Tug Of War

ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento, member Katy Perry and president Paul Williams at the 2012 Annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards in Hollywood, Calif.
Frank Micelotta PictureGroup

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 4:06 pm

A hundred years ago, the Italian operatic composer Giacomo Puccini was having lunch in New York with Victor Herbert, the leading composer of operettas in this country. Then, the band in the restaurant began playing music from Herbert's current hit, Sweethearts. Puccini became outraged, according to songwriter Paul Williams, the current president of the performing-rights organization ASCAP.

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Deceptive Cadence
6:03 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Fiddler On The Slopes

Violinist-turned-Olympian Vanessa-Mae checks out her fellow skiers in Sochi, Russia on Feb. 10.
Clive Rose Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 3:08 pm

Classical music has managed to take center stage at sports events in the last few weeks. Soprano Renée Fleming sang the National Anthem at the Super Bowl two weekends ago.

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Music News
4:13 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Singing To The Strength Of New Orleans

Alynda Lee Segarra is the lead singer and songwriter of the New Orleans folk ensemble Hurray for the Riff Raff.
Debbie Elliott NPR

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 6:00 pm

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Monkey See
9:52 am
Sun February 9, 2014

The Beatles, As America First Loved Them

It's been 50 years since The Beatles first appeared on Ed Sullivan, to an audience of screaming, hair-pulling, ecstatic (in the classic sense) teenage girls. Cutes in suits, you might call them, like (and, of course, nothing like) countless other bands of the time that wore skinny ties and shared microphones and said "oh" and "yeah" and "baby."

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Music News
9:20 am
Sat February 8, 2014

A Male Singer Shines In A Woman's World

Portuguese singer António Zambujo occupies a distinct place in the world of fado, a musical style better known for its female stars.
Rita Carmo

Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 10:05 am

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The Record
3:44 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

The Beatles' Yearlong Journey To 'The Ed Sullivan Show'

Ed Sullivan smiles while standing with The Beatles on the set of his variety show on Feb. 9, 1964.
Express Newspapers/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 2:25 pm

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The Record
8:36 am
Fri February 7, 2014

A Rational Conversation: Ambition Returns To The Music Video

A still from the 24-hour-long interactive video for Pharrell Williams' song "Happy."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 10:11 am

"A Rational Conversation" is a column by writer Eric Ducker in which he gets on iChat or Gchat or the phone or whatever with a special guest to examine a music-related subject that's entered the pop culture consciousness.

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Music News
3:55 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Violin Worth $5 Million Makes A Safe Return Home

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 5:55 pm

Police in Milwaukee have recovered a Stradivarius violin and arrested three suspects in its theft. The instrument, said to be worth approximately $5 million, was stolen in a brazen armed robbery from the concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra late last month. Mitch Teich of WUWM in Milwaukee reports on the violin's recovery.

All Songs Considered
2:13 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Playing SXSW 2014? Send Us Your Songs

Several of us loved The Soil and the Sun at SXSW 2013 — and we'd have never heard the band if it hadn't sent us an MP3 before the festival.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 3:23 pm

Every year around this time, the All Songs Considered team begins the process of listening to nearly 2,000 MP3s by bands playing the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas. We acquire them from any number of sources, as bands willing to circulate their songs for consideration make them available online. But every year, we wind up missing something. In pursuit of music by thousands of bands, hundreds slip past our radar altogether.

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Deceptive Cadence
10:18 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Update: 'I Have Begun To Hear A Little Again'

Takashi Niigaki stepped forward today in Japan as the ghostwriter for popular composer Mamoru Samuragochi — and added another twist to the breaking story.
Yoshikazu Tsuno AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 7:50 am

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The Two-Way
9:25 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Stolen Stradivarius Found By Milwaukee Police

A Stradivarius violin is pictured in December 2009 at the restoration and research laboratory of the Musee de la Musique in Paris.
Patrick Kovarik AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 9:26 am

Police in Milwaukee have recovered "Lipinski" – a 300-year-old Stradivarius stolen last month from a concertmaster as he was walking to his car with the rare violin.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, quoting law enforcement officials, says the instrument has been found:

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The Record
10:02 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Eightball, MJG And Rap From Memphis 20 Years On

MJG (left) and Eightball in an early, undated photo.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 2:08 pm

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Music News
3:19 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

Duke Ellington's Lost Opera, Forever A Work In Progress

Karen Marie Richardson (right) plays the title role in the Long Beach Opera's staging of Queenie Pie, the jazz opera Duke Ellington left unfinished when he died in 1974.
Bryan Frank Long Beach Opera

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 4:42 pm

Duke Ellington added more than 3,000 songs to the American music vault before his death in 1974. He also started composing what he hoped would be a great American street opera — which composers have spent 40 years adapting, trying to figure out what the Duke wanted for his unfinished opus.

But before you imagine soothing arias or boisterous trills and vibrato, let me stop you: Ellington's opera is very much a work of jazz.

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Pop Culture
7:42 am
Sat February 1, 2014

A Major Oscar Dust-Up Over A Song From A Minor Movie

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 3:45 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

When the Oscar nominees for best song were announced earlier this month, there were, of course, several well-known titles, including Karen O's "The Moon Song," from the movie "Her"; and Pharrell Williams' "Happy," from "Despicable Me 2." Then there was this...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALONE...YET NOT ALONE")

JONI EARECKSON TADA: (Singing) I will not be bent in fear. He's the refuge I know is near...

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Deceptive Cadence
7:42 am
Sat February 1, 2014

A Holocaust Tale Unfolds On Two Levels

Mieczyslaw Weinberg's opera The Passenger tells the story of an Auschwitz prisoner and a Nazi guard, whose lives continue to interweave after the the war.
Lynn Lane Houston Grand Opera

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 10:00 pm

Composer Dmitri Shostakovich called it a perfect masterpiece without ever having seen it performed. The Passenger, an opera about the Holocaust, was written nearly half a century ago, but was only given its first full performance just three years ago.

Now it's getting its U.S. premiere at the Houston Grand Opera. The opera is based on a story by a Holocaust survivor, with music by Mieczyslaw Weinberg, a composer who lost his entire family in the Nazi death camps.

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Monkey See
7:33 am
Thu January 30, 2014

A Story About A Little-Known Song In A Little-Known Movie That Got A Big Oscar Nod

The Oscar statue is seen at the entrance of the Hollywood & Highland Center before the 2012 Academy Awards.
Frazer Harrison Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 3:44 pm

Well, it's safe to say we're shocked — shocked — to find that Oscar campaigning was going on in here.

Tuesday night, the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences — the Oscars people — rescinded the Best Original Song nomination for "Alone Yet Not Alone," from the movie Alone Yet Not Alone.

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The Two-Way
4:54 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Pete Seeger, Folk Music Icon And Activist, Dies At 94

Pete Seeger closes out the 2011 Newport Folk Festival.
Anna Webber WireImage

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 9:00 am

  • On 'Morning Edition': A look back at Pete Seeger's life, from former NPR newscaster Paul Brown

Pete Seeger, "a tireless campaigner for his own vision of a utopia marked by peace and togetherness," died Monday at the age of 94.

As former NPR broadcaster Paul Brown adds in an appreciation he prepared for Morning Edition, Seeger's tools "were his songs, his voice, his enthusiasm and his musical instruments."

The songs he'll be long remembered for include "If I Had a Hammer," "Turn, Turn, Turn" and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone."

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Remembrances
3:02 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Folk Activist Pete Seeger, Icon Of Passion And Ideals, Dies At 94

Pete Seeger was an environmentalist, an activist and the most prominent folk musician of his generation.
Neilson Barnard Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 12:21 pm

A tireless campaigner for his own vision of a utopia marked by peace and togetherness, Pete Seeger's tools were his songs, his voice, his enthusiasm and his musical instruments. A major advocate for the folk-style five-string banjo and one of the most prominent folk music icons of his generation, Seeger was also a political and environmental activist. He died Monday at age 94. His grandson, Kitama Cahill Jackson, said he died of natural causes.

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The Record
2:09 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Collaborations And Congratulations: Navigating The Grammy Crossover

Kendrick Lamar and Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons onstage during the 56th Grammy Awards.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 2:13 pm

At the beginning of the 2014 Grammy Awards show, it seemed that one story would dominate the night. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, the Seattle duo whose highly accessible take on hip-hop became last year's indie-to-mainstream success story, took home three awards during the ceremony's pre-telecast portion.

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