Music News

Music News
3:31 am
Sun September 14, 2014

The Nile Project: Producing Harmony In A Divided Region

A group of Nile Project musicians play together at the Ndere Cultural Centre, Kampala, Uganda in January 2013. Left to right: Dina El Wedidi, Dafaalla El Hag, Lawrence Okello, Kasiva Mutua.
Julie Caine

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 11:32 am

In a quiet park in Kampala, Uganda, 14 musicians from seven East African countries sit together under a tree. They're working on an idea from Ugandan musician Lawrence Okello.

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The Two-Way
10:48 am
Sat September 13, 2014

A Talent That Bridged Genres: Jazz Pianist Joe Sample Dies

Pianist and composer Joe Sample, seen here at the 2010 Beirut Jazz Festival in Lebanon, has died at age 75.
NABIL MOUNZER EPA /Landov

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Remembrances
2:21 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Cosimo Matassa Made His Reputation Behind The Studio Glass

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 4:32 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Deceptive Cadence
1:26 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Listen To The Atlanta Symphony While It's Locked Out — Again

Robert Spano conducts members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, who are now locked out for the second time in two years after failed contract negotiations.
J.D. Scott Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

Alas, it is déjà vu all over again for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. At midnight Saturday, the ASO musicians and management failed to meet the deadline to agree on a new contract after eight months of negotiations. That means the players, while still employees of the orchestra, are effectively locked out of the Woodruff Arts Center (the orchestra's home) and will not receive paychecks until a new agreement can be ratified.

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The Record
7:00 am
Thu September 11, 2014

An Emerging Voice Of Americana (And Oklahoma)

Samantha Lamb Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 11:50 am

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Remembrances
2:59 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Jazz Arranger Gerald Wilson Dies At 96

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 6:24 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Music News
4:29 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Nonesuch At 50: A Record Label Without Borders

Björk's interdisciplinary project Biophilia was released on the Nonesuch label in 2011.
Nonesuch

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 10:08 am

Sometimes good things come in small packages. Nonesuch Records, which started as a tiny independent budget classical label in 1964, is celebrating its 50th anniversary with three weeks of concerts at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The label became a force in the recording industry by pioneering electronic music and world music, launching the ragtime revival and becoming a place where contemporary classical composers had a home. Now an industry powerhouse, Nonesuch still operates like an independent record company.

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NPR Ed
3:21 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

This Is Your Brain. This Is Your Brain On Music

Amir Pinkney-Jengkens, 8, is learning trombone through Harmony Project, a nonprofit that provides musical instruments and instruction to children in low-income communities. Recent research suggests that such musical education may help improve kids' ability to process speech.
Annie Tritt for NPR

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 9:55 am

Musical training doesn't just improve your ear for music — it also helps your ear for speech. That's the takeaway from an unusual new study published in The Journal of Neuroscience. Researchers found that kids who took music lessons for two years didn't just get better at playing the trombone or violin; they found that playing music also helped kids' brains process language.

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The Record
1:03 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Question Dot GIF: What Hometown Artist Inspired You To Make Music?

As a high schooler in Lafayette, Ind., Circuit des Yeux's Haley Fohr was encouraged by Pink Reason's Kevin Failure to pursue music.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 8:09 am

At the Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh, N.C., you're just as likely to see a line out the door for a homegrown act as you would for an out-of-towner. It speaks to the idea that, even as the Internet allows an infinite amount of ideas, a central group of artists can still foster community, competition, and a creative spark.

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The Record
7:45 am
Tue September 9, 2014

All Together Now: The Beatles Are (Back) In Mono

The Beatles with George Martin in January 1967 at Abbey Road Studios in London.
Apple Corps Lt Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue September 9, 2014 3:48 pm

By now, three-fourths of the way through The Beatles' sort-of-official 50th-anniversary year, Fab Four fatigue is understandable.

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Music News
3:09 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Kate Bush Sells Out 22 Shows In Less Than 15 Minutes

Originally published on Tue September 9, 2014 6:11 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Deceptive Cadence
2:38 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Enduringly Dramatic Italian Soprano Magda Olivero Dies At 104

Magda Olivero performing Francis Poulenc's one-woman opera La voix humaine at San Francisco Opera in 1979.
Ron Scherl Redferns/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 5:53 pm

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All Songs Considered
10:00 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Song Premiere: Barbra Streisand And John Legend Together

Barbra Streisand during a recording session in Burbank, Calif.
Jason Merritt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 10:11 am

Barbra Streisand, one of the most loved singers of all time and the best-selling female recording artist ever (according to RIAA statistics) has teamed up with the ever soulful, gospel-inspired singer John Legend on a song she originally recorded with Bee Gees singer and songwriter Barry Gibb in 1980.

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The Record
2:28 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Gustavo Cerati, Leader Of Latin Rock's Soda Stereo, Dies At 55

Gustavo Cerati performs in the Dominican Republic in 2007. In 2010, Cerati suffered a stroke while on tour. He was in a coma until his death on Thursday.
Ricardo Hernandez AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 5:03 pm

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The Record
6:03 am
Fri September 5, 2014

A Rational Conversation: Nostalgia, DJ Shadow And Afrika Bambaataa

DJ Shadow spinning in Seattle during the Hard Sell tour.
Arian Stevens Courtesy of Magnum PR

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Music News
2:36 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

An Old-School Entertainer, Making Jazz In The Present Tense

Stefano Bollani (center) and the musicians who back him on the new album Joy in Spite of Everything. From left: Mark Turner, Bill Frisell, Jesper Bodilsen, Morten Lund.
Paolo Soriani Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 10:20 am

When he sits down to do an interview, jazz pianist Stefano Bollani wants you to know who he is and what he's about.

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The Record
9:38 am
Thu September 4, 2014

Deal With It, Headbangers — Babymetal Is Here

Babymetal perform during the first day of the 2014 Heavy Montreal festival.
Tim Snow

Originally published on Thu September 4, 2014 3:47 pm

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All Songs Considered
6:03 am
Thu September 4, 2014

The Hopscotch 5

The no-frills punk-pop band See Gulls is one of many Raleigh bands playing the Hopscotch Music Festival.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed November 5, 2014 7:32 am

Life is full of choices. If you happen to be at the fifth annual Hopscotch Music Festival, taking place Sept. 4-6 in Raleigh, N.C., those choices would include the Dallas thrash-metal band Power Trip, supreme bummer (in the best way) Sun Kil Moon, L.A. electronic duo NGUZUNGUZU and the hooky-as-hell punk group Potty Mouth — and that's just on Friday past midnight.

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Music News
5:50 am
Sun August 31, 2014

Latin Indie Groups Cover Ricky Martin Hits

Originally published on Sun August 31, 2014 11:31 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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Music News
5:31 am
Sat August 30, 2014

Taking The Tuba Above And Beyond The Low End

On a new record called Connections: Mind the Gap, tuba player Bob Stewart sums up his career with a showcase of the instrument's versatility.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat August 30, 2014 10:33 am

On a hot, humid afternoon, Bob Stewart has called a rehearsal at his Harlem apartment. Six musicians are in a circle in the living room — on one side, trumpet and trombone; on the other, cello, viola and violin; and in the middle, the elephant in the room — Stewart's tuba.

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Author Interviews
3:23 am
Sat August 30, 2014

Hip-Hop In Print: Brooklyn Publisher Looks To 'Reverse Gentrify' Literature

Rapper Prodigy, shown above performing in New York City, published his debut novel, H.N.I.C., in 2013.
Mike Lawrie Getty Images

Originally published on Sat August 30, 2014 10:33 am

At this summer's Calabash International Literary Festival in Jamaica, thousands turned up for readings by big-name authors: Salman Rushdie, Jamaica Kincaid, Zadie Smith and Albert Johnson. Odds are the name Albert Johnson doesn't ring a bell. But if you're a hip-hop fan, you might recognize the author by another name: Prodigy. Off and on for the past 20 years, he's been one half of the acclaimed Queens, N.Y., duo Mobb Deep.

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Code Switch
6:02 am
Thu August 28, 2014

How The 'Kung Fu Fighting' Melody Came To Represent Asia

Carl Douglas strikes a pose as he promotes his 1974 song, "Kung Fu Fighting."
Michael Putland Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 30, 2014 7:33 am

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Monkey See
12:41 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

At The VMAs, Beyonce And Nicki Minaj Play With Personas

Beyonce performs on stage at the MTV Video Music Awards.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Sunday night, women gave the most memorable performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, and Stephen Thompson and I got together to chat about the provocations of Nicki Minaj, the royal Beyonce and more.

You can check out the video of all the performances for yourself, from the triple threat of Ariana Grande, Jessie J and Nicki Minaj to the 16-minute Beyonce-stravaganza that closed the show.

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Music News
5:34 am
Sat August 23, 2014

Music Video Awards Compete In An Era Of Reality TV

Originally published on Sat October 4, 2014 7:28 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Tomorrow, MTV will continue a 30-year tradition when it presents the annual "Video Music Awards."

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS")

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #1: And the winner is - Michael Jackson.

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The Record
6:34 am
Thu August 21, 2014

A Rational Conversation: Do We Really Need A Rock Festival?

No Age performing at FYF Fest at the Los Angeles State Historic Park in August 2013.
Mike Windle Getty Images for FYF

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 6:06 am

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

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The Record
1:35 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Taylor Swift Aims For Pop's Throne

A still from the video for "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift.
YouTube

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 9:52 am

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The Record
7:34 am
Tue August 19, 2014

Top 40 In A Summer Of Discontent

A still from the video for "Am I Wrong" by Nico & Vinz.
YouTube

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 10:54 am

To hear Ann Powers talk with NPR's Audie Cornish about some of the songs that might define the troubling summer of 2014, click the audio link on this page.

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Goats and Soda
3:01 am
Tue August 19, 2014

'Shadow' And 'D-12' Sing An Infectious Song About Ebola

Samuel "Shadow" Morgan.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue August 19, 2014 9:04 am

Ebola has been responsible for many hundreds of deaths, for fear, for panic, for disbelief and anger.

And for a catchy dance song: "Ebola in Town."

The producers behind this unlikely music are Samuel "Shadow" Morgan and Edwin "D-12" Tweh, who grew up in the shadow of war. They both spent time as kids in refugee camps in Ghana after fleeing the civil war back home in Liberia.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:14 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Met Opera Tentatively Settles With 2 Major Unions

The Metropolitan Opera has settled labor contracts with two of its largest unions.
Jonathan Ticler Metropolitan Opera

Originally published on Mon August 18, 2014 8:55 pm

A labor crisis threatening to shut down New York's Metropolitan Opera — the largest opera house in the world — appears to have been averted. Two of the major unions announced a tentative settlement this morning. While agreements with 10 additional unions need to be reached by Tuesday night, this represents a major turning point in a bitter dispute.

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Music News
3:03 pm
Sun August 17, 2014

The Man Who Was Gene Ween, Back From The Bottom

Aaron Freeman, formerly known as Gene Ween, released the debut record with his new band, simply called Freeman, this July.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon August 18, 2014 7:59 am

Aaron Freeman and Mickey Melchiondo grew up in New Hope, Pa., and quickly became friends, bonding over their love of music one day in the eighth grade.

"I remember going to his house and he was writing, you know, these punk-rock riffs," Freeman says. "I just started screaming into the mic onto a cheap tape recorder cassette, and that was it."

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