Music

Theater
3:27 am
Thu April 5, 2012

A Fruitful Collaboration Still Yielding Broadway Hits

A crowd-pleasing revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar has transferred from Canada's Stratford Festival to Broadway.
Joan Marcus

Since they made their debut in 1971, it's been rare for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice to not have a show on Broadway. But now they're ramping it up, with the opening of Evita following fast on the heels of Jesus Christ Superstar.

"It's actually just a coincidence as far as I can tell, because the two shows came from totally different sources," Rice says. "And by sheer chance, they've arrived within two or three weeks of each other on Broadway, which is fun!"

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Music Reviews
3:10 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

Dr. John: Swamp Grooves From The Bayou Underworld

Dan Auerbach (left) joins Dr. John on the latter's new album, Locked Down.
Alysse Gafkjen

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 10:41 am

Right now, Dan Auerbach is living a rock-star moment, with his hard-hitting blues-rock duo The Black Keys selling out arenas all over the country. Lots of people want him on their records. So what does he do? He seeks out the 71-year-old Dr.

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Music Interviews
12:01 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Dr. John: A Rock Legend Gets Personal

Dr. John's newest album, Locked Down, comes out Tuesday.
Michael Wilson

In his 1995 autobiography, Under a Hoodoo Moon, Dr. John writes about his tumultuous music career, a decades-long heroin addiction and the time he spent in prison on a drug-possession charge. The book is candid in a way that most of his music is not — until now. On his new album, Locked Down, Dr. John takes a more personal approach.

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Word of Mouth
12:00 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Word of Mouth 03.31.2012

Photo by Beast of Traal via Flickr Creative Commons

Part 1:

Users, Unite!

This is the one union that will kick you out if you pass a drug test. Jesse McKinley wrote about the evolution and demands of the San Francisco drug users union for The New York Time.

New York Times Article  

Part 2:

The Cow Clause

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Word of Mouth - Segment
10:53 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Adam Cohen: Like a Man

Sometimes a family resemblance is so strong, you don’t even need eyes to see it.

Adam Cohen is the son of the famed Canadian musician, poet, and ladies’ man Leonard Cohen. After three solo albums, one release from his band Low Millions, and a four-year hiatus from music, Adam has returned with a new album, and a new appreciation for the family legacy.  The album Like a Man makes its U.S. release on April 3rd.

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Music News
12:01 am
Thu March 29, 2012

From London, Rock Hall Inductees 'Looked To America'

Donovan performs on Ready Steady Go! in 1965.
Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 11, 2012 2:31 pm

Today, Morning Edition begins a series of stories profiling the six new inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It's a diverse bunch, including two acts that originated in 1960s London: The Small Faces and Donovan.

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The Record
9:40 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Bluegrass Legend Earl Scruggs Has Died

Earl Scruggs shown during a show in Indio, Calif., on May 3, 2008.
Michael Buckner Getty Images

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Word of Mouth - Segment
10:54 am
Wed March 28, 2012

Nomad, rebel, expatriate, guitarist: Bombino

By now, you may have heard of Bombino, his album, Agadez was a hot seller on i-tunes and named one of NPR’s 50 favorite albums of 2011. Bombino, whose given name is Omara Moctar, is a guitarist from the Tuareg tribe, African nomads who have been persecuted by the government of Niger, especially, who reportedly fought for Gaddafi in Libya and are now considered rebels by the government of Mali, but their real fidelity is to eking out their lives in the desert

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The Record
12:01 am
Wed March 28, 2012

Alan Lomax's Massive Archive Goes Online

Alan Lomax (right) with musician Wade Ward during the Southern Journey recordings, 1959-1960.
Shirley Collins Courtesy of Alan Lomax Archive

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 2:53 pm

Folklorist Alan Lomax spent his career documenting folk music traditions from around the world. Now thousands of the songs and interviews he recorded are available for free online, many for the first time. It's part of what Lomax envisioned for the collection — long before the age of the Internet.

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Music Reviews
3:21 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

Baloji: Finding A Home In His Music

Baloji's new album, Kinshasa Succursale, was released in the U.S. on March 6.
Nicolas Karakatsanis

Rapper Baloji was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo but raised in Belgium. He's built a reputation for incorporating Congolese music into his mix, though he mostly raps in French, his deep voice full of cocky brashness. You can catch his vibe without translation, but it's worth reading the liner notes to get his messages, as well. Baloji raps with brazen ease about the indignities of life as an African in Belgium, but also the tragic, bloody history of his homeland on his second album, Kinshasa Succursale.

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Music Interviews
2:56 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

Dry The River: Songs Of Cardiac Anatomy

A veteran of punk bands, Dry the River's Peter Liddle (center) began playing acoustic guitar to keep quiet as a med student.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 3:43 pm

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Music Interviews
12:01 am
Mon March 26, 2012

Susan Justice: Sometimes You Just Have To 'Eat Dirt'

To get away from a strict religious family, Susan Justice fled to New York in 2001 to busk on the streets.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon March 26, 2012 10:21 am

In a busy New York subway station, a man serenades passersby with a beat-up guitar. A few of them look up from their BlackBerrys and toss a little change in his guitar case. It's a scene that plays out in subways and streets around the world.

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Folk Show - Tupelo Public Radio Project
8:00 pm
Sun March 25, 2012

Tupelo Public Radio Project Featuring Dar Williams

Dar Williams
(press photo) official website

Kate hosts Dar Williams at the Tupelo Music Hall in White River Junction, Vermont.

The Record
4:00 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

Reggae In The U.K.: A Steady Force

Music For 'Disenfranchised Working-Class Youth': The British reggae band Steel Pulse formed in Birmingham in 1975. Mykaell Riley is third from the left.
Echoes/Redfern Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 21, 2012 8:44 pm

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Music Reviews
4:37 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

'The Medium Is The Massage': A Kitchen Sink Of Sound

Artwork for The Medium Is the Massage.
Courtesy of the artist

Few 20th century thinkers predicted the 21st century era of social media and the Internet better than Marshall McLuhan. Beginning in the 1960s, the Toronto-based philosopher and scholar began to theorize about how television and radio were changing society, creating what he termed the "global village."

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Music Reviews
2:37 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Zieti: Music As An Act Of Resistance

Zieti member Tiende Djos Laurent with drum.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed March 21, 2012 11:24 am

From its start in the late '90s, Zieti faced tough odds. Arranging gigs in Abidjan, Ivory Coast was a high-risk, do-it-yourself affair for the band. And that was before the country underwent a military coup, a rigged election and a brush with civil war. Zemelewa was recorded by 15 musicians in four studios on two continents. For all that, you can sense the band's solidarity, as if merely making this record was an act of resistance.

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Music Interviews
5:14 am
Mon March 19, 2012

Tanlines: Grown-Up Problems, With A Beat

Jesse Cohen and Eric Emm of Tanlines.
Courtesy of the artist

Four years since they first began making music together, the Brooklyn-based duo Tanlines is finally releasing an album: Mixed Emotions, out tomorrow. The band is Eric Emm, who sings and plays guitar, and Jesse Cohen, who plays drums, keyboards and an assortment of electronic instruments. Cohen is also the chattier of the two.

"We use a lot of different drum kits that are in a computer," Cohen explains. "We also play a lot of stuff live, and a lot of time you can't really tell which is real and which is fake. That's sort of a thing that we like to play with."

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Giving Matters
12:00 am
Sat March 17, 2012

Monadnock Chorus

Todd Bookman, NHPR

The Monadnock Chorus has been sharing song and creating community for more than 50 years. Phyllis Scott joined the chorus in 1972.

PHYLLIS: Wherever I have lived I’ve felt the need to be singing. It’s just very fulfilling to me, it’s a wonderful way to make friends and it’s just part of me that’s all.

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The Record
12:01 am
Fri March 16, 2012

Ann Powers From The Streets Of Austin

Bruce Springsteen and the retooled E Street Band ripped through a nearly three-hour "secret" concert at the Moody Theater, the new home of Austin City Limits, during SXSW. Ever the showman, Springsteen crowd-surfed.
Michael Buckner Getty Images for SXSW

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 4:37 pm

The SXSW music convention takes over Austin, Texas, for five days each March. This year, NPR Music's Ann Powers is in Austin trying to catch as much of the action as she can. At South By Southwest's midpoint, Powers spoke to Morning Edition's Renee Montagne about the highlights so far (including that awesome Springsteen keynote, which you can listen to in its entirety), and what she's looking forward to seeing over the festival's second half.

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Here's What's Awesome
12:00 am
Fri March 16, 2012

Friday is for Memes: Defensive Nickelback Fan

Seriously, you guys, Nickelback is pretty good, right? Right? Anyone?

If you think Rebecca Black of "Friday" fame has had a tough run with web users, imagine being in the band Nickelback, the rockers the web loves to hate.

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Music Interviews
11:45 am
Thu March 15, 2012

Vijay Iyer: The Physical Experience of Rhythm

Vijay Iyer released his latest trio record, Accelerando, on March 13.
Jimmy Katz Courtesy of the artist

Listen to music from jazz pianist and composer Vijay Iyer, and you'll hear rhythms that pulse and shift, intricate patterns of notes, a wide range of references. There are lots of examples on his trio's new album, Accelerando.

Iyer, the son of Indian immigrants, started on violin at age three. He later taught himself how to play the piano — learning through improvisation, something he never did on the violin.

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Word of Mouth - Segment
10:30 am
Thu March 15, 2012

What's up at SXSW?

Photo by Nan Palmero via Flickr Creative Commons

Austin’s South by Southwest festival has turned over from movies and technology to music before drawing to a close this weekend. The annual event is a magnet for filmmakers, movie stars, internet execs, musical heavyweights, would-be rock stars and enough techies, coders and developers to give it the nickname of summer camp for geeks. Adam Jones is a kind of media-mashing guy himself.

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The Record
2:00 pm
Tue March 13, 2012

Cotton Mather's 'Kontiki,' The Album That Won't Go Gently

Cotton Mather (from left): Dana Myzer, Josh Gravelin, Whit Williams and Robert Harrison.
Todd Wolfson Courtesy of Fanatic Promotion

Originally published on Thu March 15, 2012 1:44 pm

More than a decade ago, an album came out recorded mostly on cassette in a house, never released on a major label — and until last month it had been out of print for almost that long. When Noel Gallagher of Oasis heard it, he declared it "amazing," and The Guardian called it "the best album The Beatles never recorded."

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Music Reviews
3:24 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Gospel Meets Jazz, With Unpredictable Results

Don Byron released Love, Peace, and Soul with his New Gospel Quintet on Feb. 21.
Till Krautkraemer Courtesy of the artist

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Winter Songs
4:42 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Winter Songs: A Family In Limbo Looks To Brandi Carlile

Brandi Carlile's song "Dying Day" took on new meaning for a Wisconsin woman hoping to adopt a child from Ethiopia.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 6:11 pm

This year's Winter Song playlist concludes with music that carried one woman though a difficult season that would change her life.

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The Record
2:00 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

Disney Songwriter Robert Sherman Has Died

Composer/lyricist Robert Sherman (left) and his brother Richard stand next to the car used in the 1968 film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The brothers wrote the songs for the movie, as well as a musical version that began running in 2002.
Ezio Petersen UPI/Landov

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 2:33 pm

Robert Sherman — one half of the songwriting team behind Disney movies and major hit musicals — has died. He was 86. The Oscar-winning Sherman Brothers, Robert and Richard, wrote some of the most enduring Disney songs of all time. Their output was astounding: Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Aristocats.

John Lasseter, of Pixar and Disney, once said, "You cannot forget a Sherman brothers song for your life."

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Music Interviews
12:01 am
Tue March 6, 2012

K'Naan: A Song 'More Beautiful Than Silence'

K'Naan's new EP, More Beautiful Than Silence, was released Jan. 31.
Courtesy of the artist

The last time Morning Edition spoke with K'naan, he had just gone back to his native Somalia for the first time in 20 years to highlight the effects of the famine there.

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Music Reviews
3:54 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

Bruce Springsteen's Hard-Bitten Pop Optimism

Bruce Springsteen's 17th album, Wrecking Ball, has a little taste of almost every style he's ever played, including classic E Street rock 'n' roll.
Danny Clinch

Originally published on Mon March 5, 2012 6:02 pm

Ever since The Rising in 2002 — and arguably since 1984's Born in the U.S.A.Bruce Springsteen releases have functioned as State of the Union addresses as much as pop LPs. Wrecking Ball does, too, beginning with its Occupy-era lead single "We Take Care of Our Own," an anthemic bit of wishful thinking which, like "Born in the U.S.A.," seems easy to misinterpret by 180 degrees if you don't pay attention to the verses between the chorus.

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Music Interviews
11:35 pm
Sat March 3, 2012

Suzanne Ciani, Trailblazing Synth Musician, Looks Back

Suzanne Ciani's new retrospective album, Lixiviation 1969-1985, presents long-form works alongside her many commercial projects.
Courtesy of the artist

Suzanne Ciani's start in music was traditional enough. She was classically trained, majored in music at Wellesley College, and got a fellowship to study composition at UC Berkeley. But when she arrived there in the mid-1960s, just in time to witness the student protests that consumed the Bay Area during that decade, her focus shifted.

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Music Interviews
10:31 am
Thu March 1, 2012

Monty Alexander: Jazz Piano Via Jamaican Pop

New York's Blue Note Jazz Club is currently hosting pianist Monty Alexander for a two-week residency.
Alan Nahigian Motema Music

The sound of one of this year's Grammy-nominated reggae albums, Harlem-Kingston Express Live, may seem perplexing at first. But don't let the blend of swing and dub confuse you: That's just the unique sound of pianist Monty Alexander.

Alexander's music has variously been described as bebop, calypso and reggae. But after 50 years in music and more than 70 albums, he's earned the right to call his music simply his own.

Alexander grew up in Jamaica playing the piano and the accordion, and he was versed in the up-and-coming popular music of the island.

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