Music

Monadnock Chorus

Mar 17, 2012
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.

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.

Friday is for Memes: Defensive Nickelback Fan

Mar 16, 2012

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.

Vijay Iyer: The Physical Experience of Rhythm

Mar 15, 2012

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.

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.

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."

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

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."

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

Mar 6, 2012

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.

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.

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.

Monty Alexander: Jazz Piano Via Jamaican Pop

Mar 1, 2012

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.

Kitty Eisele is supervising senior editor at NPR's Morning Edition. In this essay she remembers Monkees band member Davy Jones, who died Wednesday at age 66.

This is embarrassing to write, but years ago when my first crush erupted, I asked my dad to write a love note on my behalf to Davy Jones.

Music In Political Campaigns 101

Feb 29, 2012

It's true that you can still get by in rock 'n' roll on the strength of a unique voice. But it helps if said voice has something interesting to work with.

On the first three records by Heartless Bastards, that wasn't always the case. The Mountain, from 2008, had some terrific songs about a breakup, and a few that got bogged down in a rut. But on the band's latest release, Arrow, every song has a powerful, almost magnetic melody.

While we at StateImpact like to talk about trends and broad-brush movements in business and economics, occasionally it’s helpful to zoom-in and look at individual cases of business success.

Photo: NHPR

Fiddler Jordan Tirell-Wysocki and guitarist Matt Jensen join Kate in-studio on the Folk Show.

Tirell-Wysocki, a Canterbury fiddler who studied under Dudley Laufman and Carolyn Parrot will be appearing at the NHAMA (New Hampshire Acoustic Music Association) Spring Fling this Sunday, March 4 at the TupeloMusic Hall in Londonderry.

 

This week, weekends on All Things Considered begins a new series called "Why Music Matters": stories from fans, in their own words, about how music has changed their lives. In this first installment, Seattle resident Nathan Hotchkiss reflects on a sheltered childhood.

"My parents were very religious," he says. "I was limited to listening only to Christian music and classical. My father would stay away a lot, and my mother would be wrapped up in her own turmoil, and it would spill over onto me."

When some of the biggest names in R&B and hip-hop are clamoring to be on a jazz record, you know you're dealing with a special kind of jazz musician.

Just about three years after he violently assaulted her, R&B singer Chris Brown is back with pop star Rihanna — musically, at least. On Monday night, each released a new version of a previously released song. Both remixes feature the other party, and both are causing quite the stir.

Before the rise of Def Jam as hip-hop's definitive record label, there was Profile, which helped shepherd in some of the genre's early shifts in sound and style. A new two-CD anthology, Giant Single: The Profile Records Rap Anthology, chronicles the label's 15-year history and legacy.

Winterpills

Feb 21, 2012
Photo by woxy, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

All My Lovely Goners, the fifth release and fourth full length album from the indie rock outfit, Winterpills, who hail from the creative spring that is Northampton, Massachusetts.  Their songs have appeared on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, NBC’s Parenthood, and now, NHPR’s Word of Mouth.  Joining us from a studio in Amherst is Philip Price, guitarist and one of the leading vocalists for the band.

 

ClassicalNH Launched!

Feb 20, 2012

New Hampshire Public Radio has teamed up with Highland Community Broadcasting to make classical music more readily available to the Granite State and beyond.

This collaboration allows an expansion of services in the Capital Region and enables both organizations to take advantage of new technologies now available on HD Radio and online.

NHPR Folk Show 02.19.12

Feb 19, 2012

7 pm Hour

World Turned Upside Down-John McCutcheon-What It's Like-Rounder

Promised Land- Gina Forsyth-Promised Land-Waterbug

A Summer Wind, A Cotton Dress- Richard Shindell-Shanachie

Dishes- Rita Hosking-Burn-ritahosking.com

One of Those Things-David Mallett-Alright Now-North Road Records

The Phoenom-Chuck Brodsky-Subtotal Eclipse

Prodigal Daughter-Michelle Shocked-Arkansas Traveler

Dad's Song-Pharis & Jason Romero-A Passing Glimpse-Lula Records

Kate hosted Suzanne Vega live at Tupelo Music Hall in White River Junction on Friday, February 17. Listen to the complete performance!

Country Music Award winner Gretchen Peters had an eventful 2010: The BP oil spill washed up on her doorstep, a good friend committed suicide, and her son announced that he's transgender. The last of those in particular, she says, got her thinking about personal conflict.

Who'd have thought a 77-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter would be hovering near the top of the pop charts?

For his third symphony, the 26-year-old American composer Mohammed Fairouz decided to incorporate text in three languages. Poems and Prayers, which had its debut Thursday in New York, features passages in Arabic, Hebrew and Aramaic.

The symphony was commissioned by Northeastern University, where Fairouz teaches. The idea was to write something exploring the conflicts in the Middle East, so for inspiration, Fairouz delved into the region's poetry — both ancient and modern.

Sometimes I wonder: Do the members of young indie-rock bands know that they're walking stereotypes? There's the scruffy dude who's obsessed with everything vintage and analog, the Pavement-worshiping, whiny-voiced lead singer, the rhythm section that knows its way around every oddity recorded by The Kinks. That's pretty much how I pegged the Philadelphia sextet Dr.

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