Music

Music

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Jackie Evancho first commanded attention as a 10-year-old, when she was the runner-up on America's Got Talent. The young singer won over the judges and the country with her performances of classical arias and a voice that seemed to belong to someone far beyond her years.

Today's selections grapple with the existential crisis presented by string cheese, plus rapper Vince Staples shares a couple of his favorites from #NPRPoetry.

Hear Vince Staples' interview with Michel Martin.

Ikutaro Kakehashi, the founder of the Japanese music company Roland, died yesterday at the age of 87. The news was confirmed by the company in a statement.

Decades of hits performed by everyone from Marvin Gaye to Madonna used Roland's iconic inventions. Kakehashi was also one of the original architects of MIDI, a method introduced in 1983 of getting different musical machines to "talk" to each other and which is still in used regularly around the world.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

You must recognize this tune. It was the anthem for a generation of women.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I WILL SURVIVE")

GLORIA GAYNOR: (Singing) At first, I was afraid. I was petrified. Kept thinking I could never live without you by my side.

To prepare for his appearances on weekends on All Things Considered, DJ Betto Arcos travels the world looking for new music to bring back to our studios. This time, he shares several songs from his recent trip to Cuba.

Since its inception, hip-hop has been grappling with the timeless question Marvin Gaye posed on his seminal 1971 album: What's Going On?

This weekend happens to mark the 33rd anniversary of Gaye's own untimely death (on April 1, 1984) resulting from a domestic dispute with his father that happened just one day before the singer/songwriter's birthday. Gaye would've turned 77 this year.

While preparing for my departure from World Cafe as full-time host, I've been looking back on the last 25 years of the show.

The Flute Enjoys Its Hip-Hop Moment

Mar 31, 2017

The flute is featured in some of the biggest songs on the charts, from Future's song "Mask Off" to Drake's song "Portland." Brendan Frederick, director of content for the music site Genius, tells us about the history of that sound in hip-hop music.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MASK OFF")

Mose Allison On Piano Jazz

Mar 31, 2017

One of the most original and provocative musicians in jazz, pianist Mose Allison (1927 - 2016) was heavily influenced by the blues.

David Dye, Signing Off

Mar 31, 2017

Editor's note: Friday marks David Dye's last day as full-time host of World Cafe, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

A Tribe Called Quest's latest visual from its four-month-old reunion album, We got it from Here...Thank You 4 Your service, dropped Thursday and its a poetic distillation of hip-hop's generation gap.

Actor and singer Jack Black interrupted a performance with his band Tenacious D to break into an a cappella version of Prince's "When Doves Cry."

The moment came while the band was playing the song "Double Team" during the German music festival Rock Am Ring.

It goes without saying that we're living in strange times. The primary metaphor for our era — a theater of the absurd — is constantly invoked across the cultural and geographic spectrum. Well... dystopian times call for absurd pleasures. Just don't let it be boring.

Calvin Harris has a habit of making ubiquitous summer jams.

Five decades after The Byrds forged the Big Bang of country rock with Sweetheart Of The Rodeo, the impact's still being felt: An alt-country love letter to that influential LP was what tripped the trigger for rising Americana artist Pete Mancini's solo debut.

Manuel Cuevas moved to the U.S. from Mexico in the late 1950s to pursue his calling as a tailor.

He started sewing when he was 7 when most kids were occupied with other things, such as playing.

"The guys at school were more about playing ball and the slingshots," 78-year-old Manuel explained to his daughter, Morelia, at StoryCorps in Nashville. "That never interested me. I was really an outcast. I'd go to bed and I'd dream about fabrics and leathers and about the things that I'm going to make the next day."

For the past 40 years, John Lydon, better known as Johnny Rotten, has brandished his rebellious songs — first with the 1970s punk band The Sex Pistols, then with Public Image Ltd.

He's now 61 years old. He may be a bit rounder than he was in his youth, but he still has an impish glare and spiky hair. He's still punk rock.

A late March snow descends on a modest farmhouse in central Anatolia. An oil stove hisses away inside, as afternoon gives way to twilight.

A heavyset man with a thick black mustache adjusts his cap, takes a deep breath and fills the room with a piercing, impassioned cry. The small audience settles back for an evening of traditional dengbej singing.

For centuries, dengbej songs served as a combination news bulletin, history lesson and evening's entertainment. Master singers built up large repertoires of songs — and could recite the historical events they describe.

Kendrick Lamar dropped the presumptive first single — titled "Humble" — from his highly anticipated forthcoming album on Thursday night, just a week after teasing new music with a cryptic Instagram post.

"I pulled out Diamonds And Dirt, that record, and I looked at the album cover and there I had on a pair of silver-toe-tipped boots and a wife-beater with a bolo tie hanging around myself and a mullet hairdo. And I turned to my wife and I said 'Look at this poser.' "

Ryan Adams On World Cafe

Mar 30, 2017

Is Ryan Adams' new album, Prisoner, as heartbreaking as Heartbreaker, his classic 2000 solo debut? In this session, we do talk with Adams about breakup songs, but he says that some of the somber songs on Prisoner came at a different stage in his life. "Strangely, as heavy as the record is for some people, I wrote it when I was very much falling down a rabbit hole of feeling very romantic again in my life," he says.

Asa Taccone and Matthew "Cornbread" Compton made us wait five years before releasing Plural, the follow-up to Electric Guest's breakout debut album. It was worth the wait. The Los Angeles indie-pop group came out of the gate with the excellent single "Dear To Me," which was a highlight of the band's live set in the KCRW studio.

Set List

  • "Dear To Me"

Photo: Dustin Downing/KCRW.

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