Music News

Youth Radio
1:24 am
Wed August 13, 2014

In Stockton, Calif., Punks Are The New Mall Rats

Frankie Soto is in charge of the "underground" rock shows at an empty storefront in Stockton's Normandy Village Shopping Center.
Brett Myers Youth Radio

Originally published on Fri August 15, 2014 10:03 am

Part of a series on the past, present and future of America's malls

I'm outside a strip mall in Stockton, Calif. It's got a big Asian grocery store, a pet shop and a secondhand store called D. Thrift. There are about 50 kids my age — all in their late teens and early 20s — talking and smoking in front of an empty storefront. It used to be a cellphone shop and before that a place that sold diet pills, but tonight it's the best underground rock show in town, headlining Stockton's own Satan Wriders.

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The Two-Way
8:22 am
Tue August 12, 2014

Musical Interlude: Pianist Wows Passengers At Prague Airport

Maan Hamadeh, a musician from Lebanon, put on an impromptu concert in a Prague airport after spotting a piano.
YouTube

Originally published on Tue August 12, 2014 12:17 pm

The piano wasn't fancy, and the acoustics were bad. But a performance of Beethoven's "Für Elise" at a Prague airport is drawing rave reviews. The impromptu concert was put on by a traveler who brightened the mood in a departure lounge and earned applause by taking on the classic in a variety of styles.

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Music News
2:14 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

'Calling All Fans': Korean Pop Invasion Rallies Americans In LA

Originally published on Mon August 11, 2014 6:51 pm

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

Music News
3:17 am
Mon August 11, 2014

First Listen: 'Tudo' By Bebel Gilberto

Bebel Gilberto's new album, Tudo, comes out Aug. 19.
Harper Smith Harper Smith

Originally published on Mon August 11, 2014 10:40 am

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

Music News
3:03 pm
Sun August 10, 2014

Fifty Years Of 'Farmer John': A Hit That Opened The Door For Chicano Rock

The Premiers in 1964. From left: Tony Duran, John Perez, Lawrence Perez, Frank Zuniga and George Delgado.
Warner Bros. / Courtesy of Mark Guerrero

Originally published on Sun August 10, 2014 5:34 pm

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Brain Candy
3:13 pm
Sat August 9, 2014

Pump Up The Bass, Feel Like A Boss

Hearing 50 Cent's "In Da Club" made music-listeners feel more powerful.
YouTube

Originally published on Sat August 9, 2014 3:15 pm

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The Record
9:51 am
Fri August 8, 2014

A Rational Conversation: Will Bikini Kill Ever Make The Rock Hall Of Fame?

Bikini Kill's Kathleen Hanna in 1993.
Jeff Kravitz Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 10:29 am

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Music News
2:02 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Your Favorite Songs, Abridged

A Top 40 radio station in Canada is promising listeners "twice the music" — by cutting songs in half.
nalexander iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 4:43 pm

Last Friday, a Top 40 radio station in Calgary, Alberta, introduced listeners to a new format. As one on-air stinger put it, "90.3 AMP: Now twice the music."

When they say "twice the music," though, they actually mean half the song. That is, this station plays songs that have been heavily edited: long opening riffs, instrumental breaks, even a chorus or two might disappear. The goal, the station's representatives say, is to keep listeners from getting bored.

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A Blog Supreme
11:20 am
Tue August 5, 2014

Newport Jazz 2014 In Photos

Cécile McLorin Salvant performed two sets at Newport, including one for a main-stage crowd on the festival's sunny opening day.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 8:50 am

The Newport Jazz Festival turned 60 this year, and expanded to three days to celebrate. Throughout last weekend, more than 45 bands performed at Fort Adams State Park in coastal Rhode Island, playing through abundant sunshine, pouring rain and anything in between.

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Music News
3:04 pm
Sun August 3, 2014

Met Opera's Union Lockout Postponed; Financial Analysis To Come

A worker unveils advertisement for future productions at the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center in New York City. The Metropolitan Opera's general manager Peter Gelb has threatened a lockout if there is no an agreement with unions to that represent musicians, stagehands and other employees.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 10:11 am

Labor negotiations for New York's Metropolitan Opera took a surprising turn Saturday evening. Twelve of the opera's 16 unions faced the threat of a lockout at midnight Sunday, but negotiations were put on hold for a week while an outside analyst takes a look at the Met's finances.

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Music News
6:34 am
Sat August 2, 2014

At The Cradle Of Country Music, A Monument You Can Hear As Well As See

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum takes its name from a recording session in 1927, which produced such future stars as Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family.
Malcolm Wilson Birthplace of Country Music Museum

Originally published on Sat August 2, 2014 9:40 am

When you exit Interstate 81 in southwestern Virginia and arrive in the small city of Bristol, you see what it looks like to age. The Art Deco Paramount Theater on State Street has not only the good bones, but also the healthy glow it did when it was built more than 80 years ago. Back then, this small southern city was an unavoidable stop for travelers.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:00 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Meet The Cast Of The Met Opera's Labor Drama

Members of the American Guild of Musical Artists and the American Federation of Musicians, two of the unions embroiled in contract negotiations with Metropolitan Opera management, rally this morning at Dante Park across from Lincoln Center.
Jeff Lunden for NPR

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 11:37 am

Think opera plots are tough to follow? Try wading through the complicated drama playing out offstage at the Metropolitan Opera. At its most basic, it's the story of management and labor unions fighting over a supposedly dwindling pot of money.

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Newport Jazz Festival
2:25 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

'As Long As They Want To Play': Newport Jazz At 60

Velma Middleton is accompanied by Louis Armstrong at the 1955 Newport Jazz Festival.
Paul S;ade Getty

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 2:22 pm

This year, the Newport Jazz Festival is celebrating its 60th anniversary. For most of that time, its guiding force has been producer George Wein, who remembers all too well the first event in 1954.

It was pouring rain. Wein was being urged to call it off but refused. The audience stayed, broke out their umbrellas, and the musicians played. The scene was caught by a photographer.

"And that picture went out all over the world," Wein says, "of people sitting for five hours in the rain, listening to jazz."

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Music News
3:03 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Making The Label Matter: A Record Company's Return From Obscurity

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 6:07 pm

Today, there's so much music being released that it can be hard to know what to check out, let alone buy. Mark Rye says that when he worked at a record label in the 1970s, the process was easier — in part because you could often guess what a record would sound like if you knew who released it.

"At that time, it was very much an identifier for the kind of music," he says. "So you would go into a record shop and you would look for what the new releases on certain labels were because those records were probably the kind of music that you would like."

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Deceptive Cadence
3:07 am
Thu July 31, 2014

On The Eve Of A Possible Lockout, Met Opera Talks Remain Contentious

A worker unveils posters Tuesday for the coming season of New York's Metropolitan Opera. The Met's fall schedule could be in jeopardy if failed labor negotiations result in a lockout Friday.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 6:12 am

At the Metropolitan Opera, drama is usually onstage. But for the past several months, it's been in the newspapers.

Contract deadlines for 15 of the 16 unions at the Met in New York are set to expire at midnight tonight, and negotiations will likely go down to the wire. A lockout shutting down the world's largest opera house seems imminent.

Management wants concessions from the unions to offset dwindling ticket sales. Union employees think they're being asked to pay for unchecked spending.

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The Record
9:34 am
Tue July 29, 2014

East Nashville Rocks

Andrija Tokic in his East Nashville studio, The Bomb Shelter.
Joshua Shoemaker Courtesy of the artist

How do you know you are in East Nashville? Follow the beards, a current joker might say. If you do, you'll find yourself in an area tucked in between Nashville's neat downtown and the city's eastern edge, separated from each by the twisting Cumberland River. To the west, tourists flock to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Ryman Auditorium — the "Mother Church of Country Music." The Opryland complex — the venerable stage and radio show's comfortably suburban home since 1974 — is to the east, where the city sprawls into malls, hotels and tourists attractions.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

The Great War At 100: Music Of Conflict And Remembrance

Austrian pianist Paul Wittgenstein (who later became an American citizen) lost an arm in World War I. He commissioned composers including Maurice Ravel to write pieces for the left hand alone.
Bettmann/CORBIS

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 12:37 pm

One hundred years ago today, the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia. The conflict drew in country after country and grew to an unprecedented scale. An estimated 9 million combatants lost their lives and more than 21 million were wounded in what came to be known as The Great War and, eventually, World War I.

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Deceptive Cadence
6:35 am
Sat July 26, 2014

War Of Words At Met Opera May Signal Shutdown

Bryn Terfel as Wotan in the Met's production of Wagner's Ring cycle, one of the productions that has been criticized by some as too costly.
Ken Howard Metropolitan Opera

Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 11:32 am

When an opera company is in the midst of contentious labor negotiations, the results can be dramatic. This week, the war of words between unions and management at New York's Metropolitan Opera, the world's largest opera company, escalated. An Aug. 1 shut down now seems likely.

At the center of the debate is the ballooning Met budget, which stood at $200 million in 2006 but has since climbed to more than $325 million. Met General Manager Peter Gelb asserts that union salaries and benefits are his biggest costs, accounting for two-thirds of the operating budget.

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Music News
3:02 am
Fri July 25, 2014

'Purple Rain' Taught Me How To Be In A Band

"I never wanted to be your weekend lover": Prince and his Purple Rain costar Appolonia Kotero.
Warner Bros. Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 8:54 am

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Deceptive Cadence
2:25 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Labor Conflict May Lock Out Met Opera Workers

Metropolitan Opera General Manager Peter Gelb has warned union workers of a lockout if a contract deal isn't settled by July 31.
Astrid Stawiarz Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 4:22 pm

The clock is ticking for the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The world's largest opera company may be headed for a shutdown. Most of the union contracts for the Met expire in a week. Yesterday, Met General Manager Peter Gelb sent a letter to the unions, warning them to prepare for a lockout if they don't come to terms.

For months now, the company and its unions have been at an impasse. Management has proposed cutting 16 percent of union members' compensation. Otherwise, Gelb contends, the company could go bankrupt in two to three years.

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The Record
6:52 am
Thu July 24, 2014

First Watch: Maddie & Tae, 'Girl In A Country Song'

Maddie Marlow and Tae Dye.
Republic Records

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 9:14 am

It's starting to seem like even the bros are tired of bro country. The truck-loving Florida Georgia Line has switched up its game with the chart- dominant "Dirt," a sensitive ballad about marriage and farming.

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The Record
3:42 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

A Rational Conversation: The Sound Of TDE's Success

Kendrick Lamar (right) onstage at the BET Hip Hop Awards 2013 in Atlanta with Ali, TDE's engineer and sometimes DJ.
Rick Diamond/BET Getty Images for BET

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Music
2:44 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Finding The Anthropology In Latin Dance Music

Jorge Drexler's new album, Bailar en la Cueva, ventures into new territory for him: dance rhythms.
Thomas Canet Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 8:36 pm

Jorge Drexler's songs have been called introspective and literate. He's been compared to Paul Simon. But a couple years ago, the Uruguayan musician began to wonder what it would take to write dance-oriented music. That's the assignment he gave himself on his latest album, Bailar en la Cueva, or "dancing in the cave."

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Music News
2:14 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Inside The Sun Records Sound, A Marvel Even Today

The 1954 Elvis Presley single "You're a Heartbreaker," recorded at one of the singer's early sessions at Sun Studio.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 6:17 pm

For more conversations with music makers, check out NPR's Music Interviews.

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Music News
2:42 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Teenage Songwriters Take On 'Bro-Country'

Maddie Marlow and Tae Dye, whose first single, "Girl In A Country Song," takes aim at one-dimensional representations of women in country music.
Kevin White Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 4:35 pm

No theme has dominated country radio playlists and charts more in the past couple of years than celebration of the sort of small-town good life that features trucks, beer and scantily clad women as the must-have accessories. The young country duo Maddie & Tae aren't fans of the third element in the "bro-country" trinity.

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All Songs Considered
5:03 am
Fri July 18, 2014

NPR Music Returns For 2014's Newport Folk Festival

Hurray For The Riff Raff performed at the 2013 Newport Folk Festival — and makes a return engagement this year.
Meagan Beauchemin NPR

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 9:39 am

The Newport Folk Festival has been around for more than half a century now — this is its 55th year, to be exact — and the event now routinely sells out months before its lineup is even announced. And why shouldn't it?

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The Record
12:05 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

For The Love Of Black Music

Jesse Boykins III had a rough slot at Essence Fest 2014: opening the first night on the main stage.
Erika Goldring Getty Images

Originally published on Sun November 16, 2014 1:53 pm

It still surprises me that a few of my colleagues who regularly attend music festivals like Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Budweiser Made in America still haven't heard of, or don't seem to know much about, the annual Essence Festival, held every July 4th weekend in New Orleans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

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The Two-Way
6:13 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Blues Guitarist Johnny Winter Dies At 70

Legendary blues guitarist Johnny Winter, seen here performing in Valencia in 2008, has died at age 70.
Diego Tuson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 9:08 am

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Code Switch
7:23 am
Mon July 14, 2014

How 'Ching Chong' Became The Go-To Slur For Mocking East Asians

An album cover for Lee S. Roberts and J. Will Callahan's 1917 song "Ching Chong."
The Library Of Congress

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 11:01 am

When Kwok-Ming Cheng went to a Whole Foods in New York City to pick up some pre-ordered sandwiches over the Fourth of July weekend, he wasn't expecting to get tapped with a new nickname.

"Are you Ching Chong?"

That's the question Cheng said he heard from a customer service representative at the grocery store.

It's a slur I and many other Asian-American folks have heard at some point in our lives. But every time I hear it, I can't help but wonder, "How is this thing still around? And where did it even come from?"

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Remembrances
9:04 am
Sun July 13, 2014

'Without Tommy, There's No Ramones'

Tommy Ramone, the original drummer for the Ramones, died Friday at the age of 65.
Ian Dickson Redferns/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 6:38 am

Punk rock music has lost one of its earliest pioneers.

Tommy Ramone died of cancer on Friday at his home in Queens, N.Y. He was the last surviving member of the original Ramones.

Tommy Ramone was Tamás Erdélyi before he became a "Ramone" and produced punk rock classics like "Rockaway Beach."

He was born in Budapest, where, as kid, he once had a memorable trip to see a movie about America.

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