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The Musical Universe

 

Fabiano Do Nascimento: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

6 hours ago

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

Outlaw country is kind of tricky to define. It's a subgenre that really picked up steam back in the 1970s when artists like Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson wanted to go in a different direction from the polished mainstream country world.

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

All around the country, NPR member stations are not only a vital source of news but music, arts and culture, too. We are grateful that music stations never stopped providing their unique blend of programming for listeners during this ongoing pandemic. They also provided critical support for their local music economies.

We usually ask our stations to pick songs that are in heavy rotation on their broadcast logs for this series. But given that we're halfway through 2020, we wanted to know our station's favorite songs of the year so far.

This week, Bob Dylan's first album of new music in eight years, Rough and Rowdy Ways, rose to No. 2 on the Billboard albums chart, making him the first ever artist to have a Top 40 album in every decade since the 1960s. But Bob Dylan is not alone in making vital new music well into what some might call his "retirement" years.

Copyright 2020 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Songs don't necessarily mean something different now than they did before this roller coaster of a year started clicking down its one-way track, but you'll forgive us if we act like they do. Perhaps it's just that our needs over the first six months of 2020 have been more intense, but the songs to which we've turned have met them. These rallying cries, these tiny vacations, these serotonin infusions, these distillations of pain and strength and comfort, confirm the power and flexibility of this form.

Freddy Cole, whose debonair yet unassuming vocal style lighted his way through a distinguished jazz career in and out of the shadow of his older brother, Nat King Cole, died on Saturday, June 27, at his home in Atlanta, Ga. He was 88.

His manager, Suzi Reynolds, did not specify a cause of death but said he had been suffering of late from cardiovascular issues.

You gotta respect when an artist stays consistent with their artistry, no matter how long they're deemed to be "still bubbling," niche or just generally under the radar. Sometimes it's those who stay underrated for years and then finally "pop" who savor the success in more humble and innovative ways.

Sufjan Stevens has announced a new album, The Ascension, out September 25.

We committed the unpardonable crime of being mavericks who were successful, and everybody hated us. It would've been fine if we'd been just hacks and made a lot of money, that's OK. Or to be really original and starve, that's OK. But it's not OK to do both, and they didn't forgive us.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Bob Dylan was known as the voice of his generation. But at this point, he's speaking to several generations. With his latest album, Dylan has become the first artist to have a Top 40 new album in every decade since the '60s.

NOEL KING, HOST:

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

A choir of about 100 performers sang at a megachurch campaign event featuring Vice President Pence on Sunday. They did not wear masks while they sang.

Many epidemiologists and singing experts currently fear that singers may be superspreaders of COVID-19, due to aerosolization of the virus. Singing involves much more forceful and deep breathing than simple talking.

How can it be possible that we're only halfway through the year? On its relentless whiplash toward the middle, the first six months of 2020 have reframed, redefined, shocked, torn down, confounded and crumbled our expectations, our priorities, our concepts of distance and closeness, of responsibility, of tragedy, of joy. They changed how we listened to music, too: so often alone, through wires and screens and glitches and delays. But in six full months packed with moments where we needed music to cope with challenges new and old, there was so much to see us through.

A new visual album written, directed and executive produced by Beyoncé is on its way.

Black Is King will celebrate Black resilience and culture, and premiere globally on Disney+ on July 31, according to a press release. The album is based on the music of The Lion King: The Gift, the Beyoncé-curated soundtrack album for the Lion King animated remake released last July, in which she voiced the character of Nala.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

There is a lot of music in the recent Black Lives Matter protests. Let's hear some of it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BLACK LIVES MATTER")

RICHARD ALEXANDER: (Singing) Just know you ain't gonna break my soul - break me down today.

Dirty Projectors On New EP, Sharing Vocals

Jun 27, 2020

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Pride march, in recognition of the Stonewall uprising of 1969. Since then, Pride has evolved: from that small commemoration to community gatherings in progressive enclaves like New York and San Francisco to corporate-sponsored parades and ticketed events across all 50 states; from a space where people on the margins created fragile alliances to a mainstream festivity.

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Huey, the St. Louis rapper behind the hit song "Pop, Lock & Drop It," was shot and killed on Thursday night in Kinloch, Mo.

In the liner notes to John Coltrane's 1964 album Live At Birdland, Amiri Baraka (then writing as Le Roi Jones) contemplated the gift the saxophonist and his band offered with this music inspired by the horrific deaths of four Black girls in a Birmingham church bombing inspired by white supremacist hatred. "Listen," Baraka wrote. "What we're given is a slow delicate introspective sadness, almost hopelessness, except for Elvin [Jones], rising in the background like something out of nature... a fattening thunder, storm clouds or jungle war clouds.

2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Pride march, in recognition of the Stonewall uprising of 1969. Since then, Pride has evolved: from that small commemoration to community gatherings in progressive enclaves like New York and San Francisco to corporate-sponsored parades and ticketed events across all 50 states; from a space where people on the margins created fragile alliances to a mainstream festivity.

BEAM: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

Jun 26, 2020

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The country trio Dixie Chicks have changed the group's name to The Chicks in an apparent distancing from a name associated with the Confederate-era South.

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"Get ready for Oakland to meet New Orleans!" Fantastic Negrito, aka Xavier Dphrepaulezz, teased on Twitter.

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On Thursday, June 25, Bob Boilen hosted episode three of Tiny Desk Contest Top Shelf.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Pride march, in recognition of the Stonewall uprising of 1969. Since then, Pride has evolved: from that small commemoration to community gatherings in progressive enclaves like New York and San Francisco to corporate-sponsored parades and ticketed events across all 50 states; from a space where people on the margins created fragile alliances to a mainstream festivity.

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

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