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The Musical Universe

 

Regina Spektor On Mountain Stage

Apr 8, 2021

Regina Spektor is a name synonymous with the melting pot of music that rose out of New York in the early 2000s. This Russian-Jewish-American, punk-rocked, classically-popped songwriting prodigy has the Bronx Walk of Fame sign to prove it. The music phenom even had her own "Regina Spektor Day," proclaimed by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2019.

While creative industries, like everything else, are stilled by a global pandemic, it's reassuring to know that the stream of tradition and creativity is ever flowing and therefore always being replenished. We take a listen to what musicians have been up to in the way of new music to brighten our days. This week's episode features Kris Drever, the Kate McNally Trio and Antoni O'Breskey.

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

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

When the Rolling Stones released "Gimme Shelter" in 1969, everyone recognized Mick Jagger. But at the time, no one knew who that voice – you know the one – belonged to.

Every year, NPR Music participates in the SXSW music festival, whether it's curating a stage or simply attending hundreds of shows at the annual event in Austin, Texas. Last year, the festival was canceled due to the pandemic, but it returned this March as an online festival. We programmed a 'stage' of Tiny Desk (home) concerts and presented them on the final day of the festival. Now, we present to you Tiny Desk Meets SXSW: four videos filmed in various locations, all of them full of surprises.

The only true constants in the music industry during the tumultuous pandemic era have been fantastically sobering ones: lost livelihoods; interrupted career momentum; belated recognition of the brokenness of a system built on the exploitation of Black innovation and labor.

Every year, NPR Music participates in the SXSW music festival, whether it's curating a stage or simply attending hundreds of shows at the annual event in Austin, Texas. Last year, the festival was canceled due to the pandemic, but it returned this March as an online festival. We programmed a 'stage' of Tiny Desk (home) concerts and presented them on the final day of the festival. Now, we present to you Tiny Desk Meets SXSW: four videos filmed in various locations, all of them full of surprises.

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

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

She's only 23 years old, but H.E.R. speaks like a music industry veteran – and, in many ways, truly is one. The accolades piling up around her attest: The day after the singer won her fourth Grammy Award for the song "I Can't Breathe" from her album of the same name, she and her co-writers were nominated for an Oscar for the song "Fight For You," from the movie Judas and the Black Messiah.

It all started with a Tweet. I posed a question to our World Cafe followers:

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

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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

NOEL KING, HOST:

Every year, NPR Music participates in the SXSW music festival, whether it's curating a stage or simply attending hundreds of shows at the annual event in Austin, Texas. Last year, the festival was canceled due to the pandemic, but it returned this March as an online festival. We programmed a 'stage' of Tiny Desk (home) concerts and presented them on the final day of the festival. Now, we present to you Tiny Desk Meets SXSW: four videos filmed in various locations, all of them full of surprises.

On the last edition of Play It Forward, All Things Considered's chain of musical gratitude, Devonté Hynes – the English singer-songwriter, producer, director and genre-spanning creative force behind Blood Orange – spoke about experimental jazz artist Angel Bat Dawid's atmospheric track "London."

Growing up poor in Washington state, singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile learned about harmony and rhythm while performing as a backup singer for a friend's dad, who worked as an Elvis impersonator.

"It was pretty interesting education to be on the backside of the stage looking at audience faces," Carlile says. "I learned the things that they react to, how a smile is contagious. ... And I remembered thinking, standing back there in my poodle skirt going, 'Actually, I want to be that dude.' "

Every year, NPR Music participates in the SXSW music festival, whether it's curating a stage or simply attending hundreds of shows at the annual event in Austin, Texas. Last year, the festival was canceled due to the pandemic, but it returned this March as an online festival. We programmed a 'stage' of Tiny Desk (home) concerts and presented them on the final day of the festival. Now, we present to you Tiny Desk Meets SXSW: four videos filmed in various locations, all of them full of surprises.

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

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Washington, D.C.'s world-famous cherry blossoms were blooming this week, and they were beautiful. And also in full flower, new music from our friends at Alt.Latino. Host Felix Contreras joins us now. Happy spring, Felix.

DOHUK, Iraq — With rows of white tents filling a windswept hillside, the Khanke camp in northern Iraq shelters about 14,000 men, women and children from the Yazidi religious minority. They have been stuck here since ISIS invaded their home villages in 2014.

With its dirt roads and drab dwellings, the camp can be a bleak place. But the beat of a daf, a drum sacred to Yazidis, throbs underneath loud, energetic singing, rising over shouts of children in a trash-strewn playground.

Jon Batiste On His New Album, 'We Are'

Apr 4, 2021

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

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

DMX is in the hospital on life support after suffering a heart attack. The rapper's lawyer, Murray Richman, told The Associated Press on Saturday evening that DMX was admitted to New York's White Plains Hospital and that "he's quite ill."

Murray did not confirm reports that the 50-year-old rapper and actor had overdosed on drugs. He did not say what caused the heart attack.

DMX's agency did not respond to NPR's emailed request for comment.

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

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

And finally today, even though this year's Mardi Gras didn't feature the usual crowded musical parade, a new album is bringing the culture and celebration of New Orleans directly to you.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WILDMAN")

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

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE LAST CHANCE TEXACO")

RICKIE LEE JONES: (Singing) A long stretch of headlights bends into I-9. Tiptoe into truck stops.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This last year has been dark. For millions of people, Leslie Jordan's voice has been a ray of light. An Emmy winning actor before the pandemic, his quarantine video diaries have shot him to another level of fame.

He has almost six million Instagram followers and, now, he also has branded merchandise, a book on the way and a gospel album: Company's Comin'. The album has duets with some of the biggest names in country music: Dolly Parton, Chris Stapleton, Tanya Tucker, Brandi Carlisle and more.

For Tiny Desk Playlists, we ask musicians, creators and folks we admire to choose the Tiny Desk concerts they've come to love. For this edition, food expert and television producer Padma Lakshmi picks her five favorites.

Economic fallout due to the pandemic has been "catastrophic" for the performing arts, according to new data from the industry consulting group TRG Arts.

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

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Music festival season seems ready to go on in 2021. The Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival has posted its lineup, scheduled to run September 2-5. This year's event marks the 20th year of the Manchester, Tenn. festival, which, like everyone else, cancelled last year because of the pandemic.

Precious few have earned – just one, really – the honor to be proclaimed "the Grace Jones of jazz," but Lady Blackbird is not your average interpreter. Blackbird released a bold debut last year with her slow-burning version of Nina Simone's "Blackbird," while her second single, "Beware the Stranger," was a similarly intense reworking of "Wanted Dead or Alive," the rare groove classic popularized by the Voices of East Harlem. Last October, she released a gorgeously melancholy take on the James Gang's "Collage."

March's edition of Heavy Rotation, chosen by NPR member stations, features music from Hiatus Kayote, Jensen McRae, Lake Street Dive and more.

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