Rachel Martin

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It was 100 years ago this week that Russian violinist Jascha Heifetz made his American debut at New York's Carnegie Hall in 1917. Considered by many to be one of the greatest violinists in history, he was just 16 years old at the time. NPR's Rachel Martin spoke with commentator Miles Hoffman about that appearance and the career that followed.

As part of NASA's twins study, astronaut Scott Kelly spent a year in space while his twin brother, astronaut Mark Kelly, stayed on Earth. That year on the space station makes Scott Kelly the American record holder for consecutive days in space. To get through that year, he had a routine.

Rupi Kaur has been called the "pop star of poetry." She's 24; she emigrated from India to Canada when she was 4. And she's famous for the raw, minimalist poems she posts on Instagram for her 1.6 million followers.

Bill Murray has come a long way since his early days as Nick the Lounge Singer on Saturday Night Live. He made screwball comedies like Caddy Shack and Stripes. Then he made serious films, like Lost in Translation.

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And I'm Rachel Martin in Berlin, Germany, where we are covering the run-up to the German elections.

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And it sounds like what could be a very good day for the sitting chancellor, Angela Merkel, right, Rachel?

Attica Locke's new novel Bluebird, Bluebird unfolds in rural East Texas along a stretch of U.S. highway 59. She describes it as "a thread on the map that ties together small towns like knots on a string."

During the Great Migration — the period during the 20th century when millions of African-Americans left the Southern U.S. — highway 59 was the road north: "That was the road to get out of Texas," Locke says.

Tori Amos is the kind of artist you might describe as a seeker. Since she started recording in the 1990s, Amos has used her songs to ask big questions about the world she observes. Time has made her powers of observation more acute, and on her new album, Native Invader, Amos takes stock of the present moment.

LCD Soundsystem is back. The New York indie band blended dance music and punk rock to critical acclaim in the 2000s. Six years ago, the band announced it was breaking up. The band's legendary farewell shows sold out New York's Madison Square Garden.

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Emily Saliers is perhaps best known as one half of the Indigo Girls. She's been performing with Indigo Girls' other half — her musical partner, Amy Ray — for over 30 years. And while that collaboration is still going strong, Saliers is now trying something new: putting out her first solo record.

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Hearing ALA.NI sing for just a moment feels like being transported back in time. On her debut album, You & I, the British-born, Paris-based singer's voice evokes greats like Billie Holiday and Judy Garland. But ALA.NI is not one for blindly indulging nostalgia: She's just staying true to the music she's always loved.

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Journalist Alex Tizon carried a secret his whole life.

"She lived with my family for 56 years. She raised me and my siblings, and cooked and cleaned from dawn to dark — always without pay," Tizon writes in an upcoming cover story in The Atlantic. "I was 11, a typical American kid, before I realized she was my family's slave."

Writer Vaddey Ratner is used to processing pain through fiction. Her best-selling debut novel, In the Shadow of the Banyan, was based on her experiences as little girl in Cambodia, where she and her family endured the brutalities of the Khmer Rouge and their killing fields. Ratner and her mother escaped Cambodia, eventually settling in the U.S., but her father disappeared not long after the Khmer Rouge came to power and his fate is still unknown.

Remember Precious? The 2009 film earned six Oscar nominations, including a best actress nod for newcomer Gabourey Sidibe. Precious was Sidibe's first acting job, and audiences ached for her character, a teen who is physically and sexually abused by her family.

Before Precious, Sidibe had been in two school plays — in the chorus. Since then, she has gone on to make a career for herself in movies and TV shows, like Fox's Empire.

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Readers may remember Emma Donoghue for her blockbuster novel Room — the one about a happy little boy growing up in horrifying conditions: Born into captivity. Mom abducted.

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