Music

Music

In this session of World Cafe, we've got four superstar musicians for the price of one: Carlos Santana, one of the greatest guitarists of all time; Cindy Blackman Santana, a virtuoso jazz and rock drummer who spent decades as the backbone on world tours for artists like Lenny Kravitz, and her now-husband Carlos; and Ron and Ernie Isley, the two main surviving members of the legendary Isley Brothers.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Donald Trump has revivified the silent protest begun last year by football player Colin Kapaernick, who began to kneel during the performance of the national anthem at the beginning of football games to draw attention to racially motivated violence and unrest in the country.

Saturday night, music legend Stevie Wonder told the crowd gathered in Central Park: "Tonight, I'm taking a knee for America ... but not just one knee — I'm taking both knees." Wonder's brief speech was met with deafening applause.

In her rise from the Bronx to the Billboard charts, Cardi B has been many things frequently deemed disposable in the annals of pop culture: an exotic dancer, an Instagram celebrity, a reality TV star. But now there's no denying her place in history. At 24, Cardi B has become the first woman rapper to score an unassisted No. 1 hit since Lauryn Hill nearly two decades ago.

This essay is one in a series celebrating deserving artists or albums not included on NPR Music's list of 150 Greatest Albums By Women.

It's hard to think of an artist who's brought more joy to more people, across more generations — and in more ways — than Steve Martin. In the 1970s, he won the hearts of young children for his playful appearances with The Muppets while simultaneously charming legions of older fans with his subversive standup routines. Later, as an actor, he wrote and starred in some of the most memorable comedies (and a few dramas) of all time, while writing books, plays and even a Broadway musical.

Celebrate Fall With Mountain Stage (Live)

Sep 24, 2017

Watch live as Mountain Stage welcomes the arrival of fall with a diverse group of songwriters and musical styles, hosted by Larry Groce. You'll hear Semisonic frontman Dan Wilson as he revisits songs he co-wrote with the likes of Adele and Chris Stapleton.

Charles Bradley, the "Screaming Eagle of Soul," whose late-blossoming career was built on fiery performances that evoked his idol, James Brown, died in Brooklyn on Saturday, Sept. 23, according to a statement by his publicist. In 2016, Bradley was diagnosed with stomach cancer, which spread to his liver. He was 68 yeas old.

This week, I went to the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore to sit in on a conducting class led by Marin Alsop, the music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. The Maestra was showing several Peabody students — aspiring young conductors — some of the fine points of leading an orchestra, as they led musicians through Don Juan, the dramatic tone poem by Richard Strauss.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

It's always kind of a miracle when two people find each other and fall in love. And that's what happened to my guests, the duo known as Amadou & Mariam. But their story is even more miraculous. They're both from Mali; they both lost their eyesight as kids — Mariam was 5, and Amadou was 16. They met each other at the Bamako Institute for the Young Blind in the '70s, fell in love with each other's musicianship and went on to get married and become global Afropop sensations.

Dave Douglas On Piano Jazz

Sep 22, 2017

A composer, improviser and trumpeter, Dave Douglas develops music that transcends the boundaries of traditional jazz. In 2000, when he was Marian McPartland's guest, he was JazzTimes magazine's "Artist of the Year." On this 2000 episode of Piano Jazz, Douglas talks about his album Soul on Soul, a stunning tribute to Mary Lou Williams.

Dego & Kaidi have one of those long-running, non-exclusive musical relationships the quality of which is impossible to deny and hard to explain if the context — London's multi-cultural club-life — is unfamiliar. Theirs is a classic example of how, given enough time, underground harmony solidifies into cultural bedrock.

Shilpa Ray is nothing if not honest. Her new album, Door Girl, captures New York nightlife in all its sordid, sweaty chaos and supplies caustic commentary on life in the unfeeling city.

If the Tiny Desk offers one lesson, it's that greatness doesn't diminish with less volume. The lesson doubly applies here.

During their performance, Bomba Estereo's Simon Mejia (bass and keyboards) observed that it was the quietist the band has ever played; they rose to the occasion with an intense performance that reflects their earliest days working smaller venues in Colombia.

The last time Macklemore released a solo album, it wasn't ironic to call him a conscious rapper.

The president had ascended to the nation's highest office despite losing the popular vote. The country was embroiled in an immigration debate stoked, in part, by the politics of fear. And a natural disaster in the making would soon highlight the systemic fault lines of race and class in America.

In 2005, The Language of My World touched on all of those social issues and more. It couldn't have come at a more appropriate time — unless it was released today.

Views From: Warped Tour's 23rd Year

Sep 22, 2017

What is more nostalgic — for those of us with a past mall-punk phase — than a trip to Warped Tour, the 23-year-old, youth-oriented, aggressively branded touring music festival that visits around 40 U.S. cities each year? Twice I've attended and twice I've gotten sun poisoning in the name of ­­pop-punk (and ska, and hardcore, and rap).

These days, David Crosby — one of the world's most recognizable rock stars — lives and works quietly in a ranch near Santa Barbara, Calif. with his three dogs—sometimes, he jokes, all named Fang.

Master P and his New Orleans-bred No Limit Soldiers proved to the music industry that Southern hip-hop was "Bout It, Bout It" in the '90s. But beyond the records that flooded the Billboard charts, it was the guerrilla street marketing he brought to rap — as the founder of one of the biggest independent record labels of all time — that changed the game.

Join host Fiona Ritchie and guests as they explore selections from the American Folklife Center's collection of about half a million sound recordings, including songs from Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and Carrie Grover.

As we have shown in so many previous episodes of Alt.Latino, the cultural interchange between the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean has been going on practically since there were people in these parts of the world.

Portland, Ore.'s The Decemberists and British singer-songwriter Olivia Chaney have teamed up to cover traditional English (and Irish and Scottish) folk songs under the name Offa Rex.

Since the beginning, Corbin — formerly known as Spooky Black — has, in his languid and gurgling and romance-afflicted music, foregrounded the landscapes of his home state, Minnesota. Flicking through the search results of his early videos, there's always a forest visible.

One look at (and listen to) the cross-dressing, Asian rock band SsingSsing and you would hardly think they're singing music inspired by traditional Korean folk. But SsingSsing isn't like any other band I've ever seen or heard.

It's one thing to be a Hollywood actor who can respectably warble your way through a karaoke scene now and then. It's another to be able to perform the lead in a Broadway production of a Stephen Sondheim musical. Sondheim's melodies are complicated, the vocal ranges they require are considerable, and the surprises buried in them are startling. They require not only a lot of sound, but a belly full of feeling.

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