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The Musical Universe

 

In the last installment of Play It Forward, the series in which musicians give thanks for the artists who have inspired them, Ari Shapiro spoke with saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin.

A week before President Trump held his controversial campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla., was when Viviana Dark, a K-pop fan from Wisconsin (who has requested pseudonymity over concerns of online harassment), first heard of plans to "sabotage" the event. Users on TikTok, the exceptionally popular social-video platform, were urging others to reserve tickets to the rally, with no intention of actually going. "You know how a TikTok challenge happens? It was kind of like that. 'Everybody go do this!' And it spread like wildfire," Dark, 19, tells NPR Music.

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Updated on June 26 at 4:29 p.m. ET.

The listening party has ended, but you can watch the album stream and conversation for the next 72 hours.

Sweet Crude, a six-piece band from New Orleans, combines English and Louisiana French, a dialect that has evolved over hundreds of years, mostly in southern Louisiana. The band's percussive sound is the result of classical training and youthful enthusiasm.

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.

It's almost impossible to imagine that Chloe x Halle would have come as far as they have when they first went viral for a YouTube cover of "Pretty Hurts." Since signing to Parkwood Entertainment, the center of Beyoncé's business world, in 2016 when they were 18 and 16 years old, their pop-cultural reach has grown exponentially. In just four short years, the two young women have dropped two albums, several mixtapes and EPs, soundtracked a major motion picture and joined the ensemble of a popular teen show.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

On Tuesday, the National Endowment for the Arts announced its newest class of National Heritage fellows: 10 artists, ensembles and cultural workers who represent the richness and breadth of America's traditional arts. They range from one of the pioneers of the Memphis sound of Southern soul to an Ojibwe birchbark canoe builder.

In a week of rapid headlines, surprise releases and cautious re-opening of businesses, the world is attempting to get back to some semblance of normalcy. Still, on the other side of the 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak and the reinvigorated Black Lives Matter movement offer proof that nothing will really ever be the same. This week's Heat Check picks attempt to balance the high-wire of restoring the feeling without disregarding reality.

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.

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

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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


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.

Grateful Dead Launches Deodorant Brand

Jun 22, 2020

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Sudan Archives is a truly singular artist, inspired by Irish and African music, especially Sudanese music. The first time I saw her was in a crowd of people at Cheer Up Charlies during SXSW in March of 2018. The show was wild and wonderful: effects pedals transformed her violin into a full-on band, with electronic beats keeping it all moving.

The family of the late American rock legend Tom Petty has sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Trump campaign after it blasted the song "I Won't Back Down" at the president's rally in Tulsa, Okla.

In a statement posted to Petty's Twitter account on Saturday, the family said the use of the song was "in no way authorized."

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

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

In the song "Shoes," Toronto-based musician Jonah Yano sings about a memory of his absent father.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHOES")

JONAH YANO: (Singing) It's what I wonder. It's what I wonder. It's what I wonder...

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.


This is the most adorable thing you may see all day.

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As she is wont to do, Beyoncé surprised the world overnight with a new song, "Black Parade." Released in the final hours of J

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

For most artists, choreographing a Beyoncé music video might be a career peak. But for Teyana Taylor, who did it when she was just 15 years old, it was only the beginning. She was signed to Pharrell's label, Star Trak Entertainment, around that same time and since then, Taylor's grown up in the entertainment business, acting in movies, modeling, starring in reality TV shows, directing and dancing in music videos.

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When I think about the screen images that startled me into a new way of thinking, one always surfaces first.

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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Our Daily Breather was a daily series where we asked writers and artists to recommend one thing that's helping them get through the days of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic, which concluded on June 12, 2020. Here, we've collected some of the music recommendations that artists have shared with us throughout the series.


Angelica Garcia Finds Sanctuary In Ranchera Music

Virtuosity shows itself in many forms, but rarely do we see it exuberantly displayed on an electric tap board. Michela Marino Lerman's customized contraption allows her feet to mimic break beats, raging tabla solos and warm marimbas.

But at the very beginning of this unique performance, the tap dancer and bassist Russell Hall rattle our senses by taking us to America's city streets, sonically evoking the sound of "helicopters and tear gas." The couple thought about that name for this potent composition, before they landed on "The Race."

SAULT's new album, UNTITLED (Black Is), arrives just like its previous two releases — out of thin air, and with little information. Yet it's the group's most timely release, a robust collection of funk, soul, meditative spoken-word and protest chants meant to score the full spectrum of Blackness.

New Orleans music history is played out by an ensemble cast, as colorful, diverse and dynamic as a Sunday-afternoon second line. No single lineage can quite unlock the ongoing magic that remains far more than the sum of its parts. But one essential thread, which began before rock and roll and stretched past the birth of hip-hop, is the legacy of queer performers and tastemakers — from Bobby Marchan to James Booker to Big Freedia — who steered the sounds and the scenes.

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NOEL KING, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Noel King. A typical Yamaha DX7 synthesizer sells for less than $1,000. But this isn't any old DX7. It's the one Prince used on his 1984 album "Purple Rain." It's up for auction, and it is expected to bring in $25,000.

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