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If you're an unsigned musician who has always dreamed of playing a Tiny Desk concert, you're in luck: Starting today, you can enter the 2021 Tiny Desk Contest.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Before Little Richard, there was Lloyd Price, a pioneer of rock 'n' roll.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PERSONALITY")

LLOYD PRICE: (Singing) 'Cause you've got - walk - talk - smile...

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Dawn Richard grew up in New Orleans. Her father sang in a funk band called Chocolate Milk. He still does.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FRICTION")

CHOCOLATE MILK: (Singing) Friction, baby.

SHAPIRO: As a kid, she was kind of alternative.

Trombonist and composer Curtis Fuller, a pivotal figure on his instrument since the '50s and a beloved mentor, passed away May 8. He was 86. His death was confirmed by his daughter, Mary Fuller, and by the Jazz Foundation of America.

"His sound was massive, striking and immediate, a waveform that was calibrated to overload the senses and saturate the magnetic tape that captured it," says trombonist and composer Jacob Garchik. "In our era of obsession with harmony and mixed meters, Curtis Fuller's legacy reminds us of the importance of sound."

When you listen to a song by Tune-Yards, it can be like listening to a beautiful, but abstract painting. There are layers and layers of sound, complex rhythms and melodies, and lots to interpret in the band's often socially conscious lyrics.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, 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.

Rapper Esoteric On New Album 'Super What?'

May 9, 2021

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

A benefit concert leveraged major star power in a Saturday broadcast to address the latest obstacles to resolving the pandemic: vaccine inequity and vaccine hesitancy.

During Global Citizen's "Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World," politicians, celebrities and musicians pleaded with the public to get vaccinated and discouraged world leaders from stockpiling vaccine supplies, as the world faces stark gaps in access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Natalie Bergman was already contending with grief months before the pandemic covered the world in it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LAST FAREWELL")

Cinco de Mayo has a history that few outside of the Mexican-American community know – and there are conflicting opinions about whether or not to even celebrate the day. As we consider the passionate conversations about the holiday's historical significance, we also will take any opportunity to, once again, celebrate the cultural ties between our two countries. We couldn't think of a better way to do that than with a weeklong Mexican Regional Fiesta!

So let's highlight the events of the week:

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.

Updated on May 7, 2021.

In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, we're trying to gather as many voices as we can to celebrate.

We want to know:

- What Mexican Regional means to you/your family?

- Who/What is your favorite Mexican Regional song/artist?

Fill out the form below and you might be featured on this week's episode or an upcoming digital story!

This form was closed on May 7, 2021.

Van Dyke Parks On Mountain Stage

May 6, 2021

Updated May 6, 2021 at 9:52 AM ET

Few American artists have concocted such a deliciously wild artistic and musical gumbo as 78-year-old Louisiana-raised, New York and California-tested Van Dyke Parks.

The Post-Brexit New Wave

May 6, 2021

When the British band Squid released the single "Narrator" in January, everything about it felt like a dare.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF HEART SONG, "BARRACUDA")

In 2000, MTV dropped the made-for-TV movie 2Gether, a parody about a fictional boy band of the same name and its rival, Whoa. 2Gether consisted of five members, each cast to fit a very specific type, including "the bad boy" and "the heartthrob." The not-a-real-boy-band boy band eventually became real enough – or rather, popular enough – to spawn a short-lived TV series spin-off and a second album, 2Gether Again. They even did a stint opening for Britney Spears.

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 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

To celebrate this show's 50th birthday, listeners are telling us about favorite stories they heard on our air.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Ed Ward, an incisive former critic and editor for Rolling Stone and longtime contributor to WHYY's Fresh Air, died this week in his home in Austin, Texas. He was 72 years old.

A Tulsan by way of Detroit, Austin and Los Angeles, Tori Ruffin is the founding member of Freak Juice, a funky, hard-rocking music collaborative that includes musicians Charlie Redd (bass), Stanley Fary (drums) and Christopher Simpson (vocals). Exhorting fans to "Get in the Blender," Freak Juice delivers music that owes as much to the party ethos of '80s hair metal bands as it does to the social justice messaging of Marvin Gaye. "It's kind of like Deftones meets Miles Davis with some funk and hip-hop thrown in," Ruffin says.

Owners of live-music venues, theaters, museums and other businesses covered under the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, or SVOG, can expect to see money by the end of May. This is according to an update from the Small Business Administration, which has been handling the SVOG program's bumpy rollout.

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.


I'm a little envious of those of you about to press play on this Tiny Desk (home) concert. The first time I heard this Argentine duo was love at first sight.

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

YouTube

Every year, we ask unsigned artists to send us their songs.

NPR's 50 Favorite Songs Of 1971

May 3, 2021

Today, NPR celebrates the 50-year anniversary of our first on-air original show. For five decades, NPR and our member stations have shared the responsibility — and privilege — to serve the individual listener and promote their personal growth. To honor our time spent together, we turned back the clock and reflected on the impeccable sounds of our genesis year.

On today's show, we're taking you back in time and letting you experience what the radio might have sounded like in 1971 when NPR got rolling.

Fifty years ago, on May 3, 1971, National Public Radio broadcast its very first original programming when All Things Considered went on the air. Today, NPR is celebrating that anniversary with special programming and looking back at the news, arts and popular culture of that year.

Tiny Desk Meets AFROPUNK was the opening event of AFROPUNK's "Black Spring" festival. The virtual celebration, hosted by Jorge "Gitoo" Wright, highlighted outstanding talent in Afro-Latin and Afro-Caribbean music across the globe. Our showcase featured four artists who honored their homes and celebrated the art their heritage has inspired.

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