Music News

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

During the the 1980s, when the traditional dance music of East European Jews known as klezmer was enjoying a revival, Pete Sokolow was called "the youngest of the old guys."

"Now I'm the oldest old guy," Sokolow says. "Most of the old guys are gone. Pincus is gone. Dave. Sidney is gone. All my old friends. I miss them."

Virginia Searches For A New State Song

Jan 21, 2015
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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Virginia has a rich history, which is a source of great pride. But one thing it does not have is a state song. It used to, but the song was retired in 1997.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CARRY ME BACK TO OLD VIRGINNY")

Every Thursday this year we're celebrating All Songs Considered's 15th birthday with personal memories and highlights from the show's decade and a half online and on the air. If you have a personal memory about the show you'd like to share, drop us an email: allsongs@npr.org.

Christian McBride likely doesn't need much of an introduction. He's a bassist who's worked with everyone from McCoy Tyner to Diana Krall to Paul McCartney.

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

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

What makes a song a hit? Is it a catchy beat, an amazing voice? Let's use this song as an example.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHAKE IT OFF")

Maybe you've noticed that many hit country songs sound the same. Nashville songwriter Greg Todd heard similar melodies, music beds and solos in six "bro country" songs — by Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Parmalee, Cole Swindell and Chase Rice — and mashed them up with some pitch- and tempo-shifting.

All this week, Morning Edition is talking about drums and drummers. For the fourth installment in "Beat Week," David Greene spoke with a master of an ancient tradition who has played with some of the world's most famous musicians.


Zakir Hussain can pinpoint the beginning of his musical life. It began one day in India in 1951, when he was 2 days old.

It was conductor Arturo Toscanini who said a voice like Marian Anderson's comes around only once in a century.

All this week, Morning Edition is talking about drums and drummers. The third installment in "Beat Week" explores the beats used in Afro-Cuban Santería ceremonies. Our guide is Felix Contreras, co-host of NPR's Alt.Latino podcast and an Afro-Cuban drummer himself.

Note: This piece is better heard than read. For examples of the music and a drumming demonstration, listen at the audio link.

Apple's innovative iTunes music service is still the market leader in music downloads, but after more than a decade of growth, sales of music tracks on iTunes have been declining. Last year saw the largest drop in sales — 14 percent. The drop is attributed to the increasing popularity of streaming music services such as Spotify, Pandora and YouTube. These services give fans access to millions of tracks from any Internet-connected device for a monthly fee or in return for listening to commercials.

All this week, Morning Edition is talking about drums and drummers. For the first installment in "Beat Week," David Greene spoke with a duo who shared drumming duties for the hardest working man in show business.

It's been a tough time for the music community of Memphis. For the past 50 years, much of the best music recorded or produced there wouldn't have happened without the vision of John Fry, the founder of Ardent Studios. He passed away on Dec. 18 at the age of 69. Music supervisor and producer Rick Clark offers this appreciation.

Quick: Name an American product that's had a worldwide impact, is more popular than ever, yet still looks the same as it did when it was introduced more than a half-century ago? Here's a hint: It might be the only musical instrument whose fame rivals that of the people who've played it.

Encore: A Basic Training Workout Mix

Jan 2, 2015
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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

If you are one of the many Americans who resolved to spend more time at the gym in 2015, we have a little extra inspiration to help you stick with your new workout plan.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PHYSICAL")

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