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The Musical Universe

 

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

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Jeremiah Fraites is best known as the co-founder, drummer and songwriter with the indie rock band The Lumineers.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GLORIA")

THE LUMINEERS: (Singing) Gloria, I smell it on your breath. Gloria, booze and peppermint.

For all that feels unstable in the world right now, artists have kept making art — describing life and helping us make sense of things, each in their own way. Jazmine Sullivan, the Grammy nominee behind R&B hits like "Bust Your Windows" and "Need U Bad," has taken the past few years to herself, away from the spotlight, but she returns now with her first album since 2015, Heaux Tales.

We've invited singer songwriter Phoebe Bridgers to play a game about feeble bridges: three questions about bridges that have fallen over, collapsed or otherwise done a bad job of spanning things.

Click the audio link above to find out how she does.

Every January, I attend globalFEST at a New York City nightclub and see some of the most fantastic music I'll experience all year. Now, given the pandemic's challenges and the hardening of international borders, NPR Music and globalFEST moved the 2021 edition from the nightclub to your screen of choice and shared the festival with the world. We called it Tiny Desk Meets globalFEST.

Every January, I attend globalFEST at a New York City nightclub and see some of the most fantastic music I'll experience all year. Now, given the pandemic's challenges and the hardening of international borders, NPR Music and globalFEST moved the 2021 edition from the nightclub to your screen of choice and shared the festival with the world. We called it Tiny Desk Meets globalFEST.

Why Sea Shanties Have Taken Over TikTok

Jan 16, 2021

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

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Argh, the latest trend in pandemic distraction may be - shiver me timbers - sea shanties.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: (Singing) There once was a ship that put to sea, and the name of that ship was the Billy of Tea.

Every January, I attend globalFEST at a New York City nightclub and see some of the most fantastic music I'll experience all year. Now, given the pandemic's challenges and the hardening of international borders, NPR Music and globalFEST moved the 2021 edition from the nightclub to your screen of choice and shared the festival with the world. We called it Tiny Desk Meets globalFEST.

Every January, I attend globalFEST at a New York City nightclub and see some of the most fantastic music I'll experience all year. Now, given the pandemic's challenges and the hardening of international borders, NPR Music and globalFEST moved the 2021 edition from the nightclub to your screen of choice and shared the festival with the world. We called it Tiny Desk Meets globalFEST.

New York Dolls co-founder and guitarist Sylvain Sylvain died on January 13 at the age of 69.

I can think of no better summation of our shared experience over the last year than "A World Lost," the title of the piece that opens Maria Schneider's Data Lords. A slow, foreboding dirge in an oblong time signature, it instantly sets a tone of somber contemplation.

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

TONYA MOSLEY, 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.

The Tiny Desk is teaming up with globalFEST this year for a thrilling virtual music festival: Tiny Desk Meets globalFEST. The online fest includes four nights of concerts featuring 16 bands from all over the world. From Monday, Jan. 11, through Thursday, Jan. 14, we'll be streaming new performances at 8 p.m. ET on NPR Music's YouTube channel and NPR.org.

The 2020 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll

Jan 14, 2021

Below are the results of NPR Music's 8th Annual Jazz Critics Poll (my 15th, going back to the poll's beginnings in the Village Voice). These are the jazz albums that lit up a dark, unsettling year. Maria Schneider's Data Lords was the critics choice — no surprise, though relative unknown Sara Serpa's victory in the Vocal category in a year when both Kurt Elling and Gregory Porter released new albums was.

If you're old enough, you might recall the comic Godfrey Cambridge from late-night television in the 1960s, when he was one of a new wave of black stand-ups (others included Bill Cosby and Dick Gregory) who, though addressing racial issues in their monologues, came up through jazz clubs and beatnik coffee houses rather than the chitlin circuit, and positioned themselves more kin to George Carlin than integration-ready offspring of Red Foxx and Moms Mabley.

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

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Updated 12:45 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden may not have big crowds at his coronavirus-limited inauguration, but he won't be lacking for star power.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee announced Thursday that pop star Lady Gaga will sing the National Anthem and Jennifer Lopez will perform a musical number at the Capitol ceremony next week.

Thistle & Shamrock: New Year Sounds

Jan 14, 2021

Having finally left 2020 behind, get 2021 off to a good musical start with some brilliant fresh sounds. Fiona Ritchie has selected an hour's worth of great music from Celtic roots for you to discover including The Chair, John Doyle and cellist Ofra Harnoy.

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

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Playboy.

Glamour.

O.

Teen Vogue.

All these magazines have something in common.

They're no longer in print.

While these — and many other — publications have shifted to digital only in recent years, there's a print magazine bucking the trends and still going strong: Thrasher magazine. Created by skateboarders for skateboarders, Thrasher celebrates its 40th anniversary this month.

The Tiny Desk is teaming up with globalFEST this year for a thrilling virtual music festival: Tiny Desk Meets globalFEST. The online fest includes four nights of concerts featuring 16 bands from all over the world. From Monday, Jan. 11, through Thursday, Jan. 14, we'll be streaming new performances at 8 p.m. ET on NPR Music's YouTube channel and NPR.org.

The annual Kennedy Center Honorees have been announced: choreographer, and actress Debbie Allen; singer-songwriter and activist Joan Baez; country singer-songwriter Garth Brooks; violinist Midori; and actor Dick Van Dyke.

The Tiny Desk is teaming up with globalFEST this year for a thrilling virtual music festival: Tiny Desk Meets globalFEST. The online fest includes four nights of concerts featuring 16 bands from all over the world. From Monday, Jan. 11, through Thursday, Jan. 14, we'll be streaming new performances at 8 p.m. ET on NPR Music's YouTube channel and NPR.org.

In the 2019 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll, five of the top 10 new releases were recordings led or co-led by women artists — a startling 50%. In fact, it is the largest number of projects led by women in the top 10 since the annual poll began 14 years ago, surpassing 2018, when women comprised a third of those rankings.

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

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

It's a new year, and hopefully that means a lot of new great music is coming our way. We've asked some of our colleagues at NPR Music to highlight a few of the albums that they're looking forward to.

The Tiny Desk is teaming up with globalFEST this year for a thrilling virtual music festival: Tiny Desk Meets globalFEST. The online fest includes four nights of concerts featuring 16 bands from all over the world. From Monday, Jan. 11, through Thursday, Jan. 14, we'll be streaming new performances at 8 p.m. ET on NPR Music's YouTube channel and NPR.org.

The music of Aaron Frazer feels a bit like stepping into a time machine: It's got touches of Curtis Mayfield and Carole King, but it's also very much of this moment.

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

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

What we experienced in the U.S. this past week is upsetting on a number of levels. So as I've done before, here's some music to try help us cope and make sense of things.


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

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