Music

Music

Chronixx: Tiny Desk Concert

Sep 27, 2017

Reggae has long been the most vivid musical escape for me. Its soul-cleansing rhythms always feel familiar and cozy, like rushing into your lover's arms after a significant time away. This is especially true for roots reggae, whose staccato guitar licks, billowing bass, and sonic splashes on a canvas of negative space, are like salve for the soul. The mid-tempo pulse conjures up relaxed days on the beach, living amid nature's unrestricted beauty.

The lines seem to be blurring between Latin Alternative and the pop mainstream, judging by the Latin Grammy nominations announced this morning in Los Angeles.

Reflecting that alternative/pop duality were former Calle 13 frontman Residente and Colombian pop/urban vocalist Maluma, who both earned 7 nominations.

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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Sherman Holmes On Mountain Stage

Sep 26, 2017

Revered blues musician Sherman Holmes makes a special appearance on Mountain Stage's 900th episode, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. As a founding member, bassist and vocalist for the soulful Virginia trio The Holmes Brothers, Holmes spent his formative musical years playing a mix of gospel, R&B and rock 'n' roll with his brother Wendell Holmes and his like-a-brother Willie "Popsy" Dixon.

Charles Bradley died on Saturday at the age of 68, a mere six years after releasing his debut album, No Time For Dreaming. We were lucky enough to have him perform as a guest on the World Cafe in 2013 and in 2016, and we revisit those sessions today in memory of the beloved "Screaming Eagle of Soul."

The power in Wild Beasts' music has always been the drama, a dynamic seduced by complicated notions of sex and masculinity. Over 13 years and five albums, the English band has morphed from broody art-punk to, well, broody synth-pop, all the while finding beauty in dimly lit corners.

In South Louisiana, a great deal of formalized effort goes into the preservation and celebration of the state's Francophone culture; food, music, other crafts and folkways, and particularly language.

"However intimate we may get, we were never friends. Forget our future plans," croons Grave Pleasures' Mat McNerney near the end of "Mind Intruder," a new song taken from Motherblood, the upcoming second album from these Finnish goth-punks. Lustful and nihilistic, Motherblood has a way of wrapping political and personal obsessions together in compulsively listenable tunes.

Jhené Aiko is not of this world.

Somewhere between pop-oriented R&B and traditional soul, the singer-songwriter floats like an ethereal voice disembodied from typical format and genre distinctions. So when we talk one week prior to the unannounced release of her epic new album, it comes as no surprise that she's much more interested in easing into the big reveal rather than making a huge splash.

Updated Oct. 10, 1:47 p.m. with additional events and donation campaigns.

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.

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