Zydeco Nation is an hour-long, music-rich documentary that tells the story about an epic chapter in modern American history. Starting during World War II, French-speaking Louisiana Creoles began moving across the country to Northern California in search of both jobs and freedom.
Calling all basses: Decca Records is on the hunt for someone who can sing a low E, nearly three octaves below middle C. The note is featured in a new piece called De Profundis (Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord — Psalm) by the Welsh composer Paul Mealor.
I'm really attracted to the depths of the human spectrum," Mealor tells NPR's Robert Siegel. "We're seeking to find the person that can sing the lowest note ever written in choral music — and not just that note, but the solo in this piece for bass solo and choir. So we're looking for someone very special."
This Sunday the annual Grammy Award winners will be announced. One of the biggest categories is Song of the Year, which goes to a songwriter. Every day this week, we'll give you a little intel on one of the nominees. Today, Bruno Mars' "Grenade."
For any Ani DiFranco fan amazed by her one fine album a year between 1995 and 1999, the many albums she put out in the '00s just weren't up to par. So her new record, Which Side Are You On?, comes as a surprise and a tremendous relief.
The first words out of her mouth are the most striking she's uttered on record in over a decade. The opening track, "Life Boat," is sung in the voice of a homeless woman who's pretty jaunty, considering:
Originally published on Wed February 1, 2012 11:30 am
The host and executive producer of Soul Train has died. The Los Angeles police department is reporting that Don Cornelius was found dead at his home in Los Angeles this morning from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Composer Philip Glass turns 75 today. His birthday is being celebrated with festivals and performances around the globe and the premiere of his 9th symphony at Carnegie hall tonight. Glass is easily the most famous composer of his generation. How many other composers have received commissions from the Metropolitan Opera and inspired a knock-knock joke? Philip Glass began playing works to tiny, often hostile audiences back in the 1960’s.
To the average American, Chinese music might evoke a stereotype, the atonal, plucky sounds of soundtracks to martial arts films, or the ambience in Chinese restaurants. But like Chinese culture, the traditions of Chinese music reach back thousands of years and pull from myriad styles that reflect the diverse landscape of the worlds most populous nation. And weaving through much of it is the distinctive strain on the pipa, the ancient, four stringed instrument sometimes referred to as the Chinese Lute.
This segment begins with a recording of a 26-year-old Gustavo Dudamel conductor of the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar in Leonard Bernstein’s Arrangement of Mambo. Dudamel is the most energetic young thing on the podium. Before being named music director of Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and principal conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony in Sweden, he was a violinist in the Bolivar Youth Orchestra in Caracas, Venezuela.
The “string-rock” quintet Darlingside is based in New England, but its lineage includes California pop harmonies, Appalachian root riffs, and classical arrangements all shadowing that full-on American mongrel we call rock music. After earning high praise and an eager following for a self-produced EP, Darlingside is rolling out a new subscription album, called Pilot Machines, throughout 2012. Darlinsgide
Every year, thousands of video-game fans flock to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area for a unique music festival called MAGFest. It's short for "Music and Gaming Festival," and it's designed to celebrate the music of video games.
When Joshua Bell was 21, he recorded an iconic piece of chamber music for piano and violin — the Sonata in A major by Cesar Franck. Today, Bell is 44 and he's recorded it again. It's on his new album, French Impressions, with pianist Jeremy Denk.
All Things Considered host Robert Siegel invited Bell to listen to his old recording for a little session of compare-and-contrast.
"Do you hear the same violinist?" Siegel asks, after playing for Bell the opening bars of his 1989 recording.
The Capitol Steps began as a group of Senate staffers who set out to satirize the very people and places that employed them. In the years that followed, many of the Steps ignored the conventional wisdom ("Don't quit your day job!"), and although not all of the current members of the Steps are former Capitol Hill staffers, taken together the performers have worked in a total of eighteen Congressional offices and represent 62 years of collective House and Senate staff experience. Since they began, the Capitol Steps have recorded 27 albums and have been featured on NBC, CBS, ABC, and PBS, an