We've got something quite different as our Sense of Place: Philly series continues. Philadelphia has a brass band called The West Philadelphia Orchestra. They specialize in Balkan music, and as they were rehearsing a number of years ago, a singer was passing by who knew the music they were playing from growing up — and she joined the band. Petia Zamfirova will be the first to say this eclectic group is not just about backing her singing. We'll find out how this band grew here, hear about their selection in the All Songs Considered Tiny Desk Concert contest and more.
We rarely invite Tiny Desk alumni back to the confines of Bob Boilen's work space, but we couldn't resist this time. Harpist Yolanda Kondonassis and Grammy-winning guitarist Jason Vieaux have both given solo Tiny Desk performances. Since then they've paired up for concerts and a new album of works composed especially for their combination of instruments.
Even if you don't know anything about jazz, it's quite possible you've heard the music of saxophonist Kamasi Washington: That's him on the latest albums by Kendrick Lamar and Flying Lotus. But that's only the very tip of his iceberg.
We are exhausted, but it's the good kind of exhaustion — the kind that comes from singing along with live bands, dancing and laughing hard with friends. And, if your name is Felix Contreras, it's the kind of exhaustion that comes from getting on stage and killing it on the congas along with Sergio Mendoza Y La Orkesta.
The latest installment in World Cafe's Sense Of Place: Philadelphia series features singer-songwriter Liz Longley. Now based in Nashville, she got her start in the Philly suburbs.
Longley played in local clubs before moving to Boston to attend Berklee College of Music. Her musical travels led her to Nashville, where she used a Kickstarter campaign to make the album she always wanted.
José González has kept himself busy over the past few years; between his work with Junip and his Secret Life Of Walter Mitty soundtrack, he's cranked out quite a bit of new material. But González took quite a while to release a new solo album, and the Swedish-Argentine singer doesn't disappoint with Vestiges And Claws. The stunning beauty of "Let It Carry You" really comes through in this live performance for KCRW.
Rickie Lee Jones needs no introduction. Seriously. The singer-songwriter is so elementally articulate, so gifted at grasping both the rawest and the most complicatedly cooked emotions in her compositions, that critical framing best comes after the experience of listening to her.
Carlos Nuñez makes his first visit to Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia University. A writer for the Los Angeles Times once wrote, "If it's possible to become a pop star playing traditional music on bagpipes and recorder, Nuñez could be the man." Nuñez has the rare distinction of being the world's premier player of the gaita, the bagpipes of Galicia — Spain's northwest region, known for its vibrant Celtic traditional music.
In Zhuangzi's Qi Wu Lun, the Daoist philosopher writes, "When the wind blows, every sound may be heard therein." Beijing's Chui Wan takes its name from that text — and similarly breathes in every sound to exhale a dazzling collage.
Karen Dalton's career was built on covering the songs of others. Patty Griffin writes songs that others famously cover. Both artists are considered masters of their respective crafts by their peers, but neither is a household name. Each has a voice that sounds like it couldn't possibly be made by the person making it.
Philadelphia is experiencing an exciting wave of young rock acts, but it's almost certainly never going to top the impact of Philadelphia International Records and the work of Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff and Thom Bell in the 1970s.
Daniel Bachman calls Durham, N.C., home now, but he grew up around the Rappahannock River in Fredericksburg. It's a quiet town in Northern Virginia that still has a pharmacy with cheap sandwiches and milkshakes; but, as Bachman pointed out to us, it has more tattoo parlors than music stores these days. That's not a judgment, just the way things are.
Bruce Lundvall, the longtime President of Blue Note Records who supported many top jazz artists over the last four decades, died yesterday, May 19. The cause was complications of Parkinson's Disease, according to a Blue Note statement. He was 79.
Girlpool have fun, but they don't mess around. The lo-fi punk duo spend the duration of their new video, for the title track from their debut LP, Before The World Was Big, cartwheeling and frolicking on a sun-drenched beach. Cares are few, trust falls are many, and a boardwalk Ferris wheel spins majestically over all.
Indie-folk band The Barr Brothers appears on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia University. After cutting their teeth touring the U.S. as members of The Slip, brothers Andrew and Brad Barr relocated to Montreal and joined forces with classically trained experimental harpist Sarah Page.
Between noon Wednesday and 4 pm on Sunday (all ET), we're turning over our R&B and soul channel to protest music. These songs are timely and relevant and useful. We live and work in hope that one day our need for them will not be so acute. "I'll Take You There" is curated and hosted by Jason King of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University.
The Philadelphia band Hop Along started out with a folk sound back in 2004, when singer-songwriter Frances Quinlan began recording during her senior year of high school. Hop Along took on more of a rock edge in 2008 with the addition of her brother on drums; the group later added bassist Tyler Long and guitarist Joe Reinhardt.
Rob Grote, Mark Larson, Connor Jacobus and Braden Lawrence formed The Districts in 2009, while they were still in high school; they released their debut album in 2012 and moved from Lititz, Penn., to Philly shortly thereafter.
Is Amy Helm's new song, "Rescue Me," about what it means to be in love? Maybe. Is it a song that acknowledges that we need to hang on to the people who are most important to us? Most assuredly. It's also a song that lets Helm's glorious, soulful voice soar over a gentle piano and thrumming electric bass.
They've made music together since they were young teens, coming together in Edinburgh from places as far apart as Ghana and Maryland. Young Fathers' hip-hop-infused poetry is intense; you can hear that on the group's new album, White Men Are Black Men Too.
When Mary Gauthier first began to make a name for herself as a musician in the late '90s, she was heralded as one of the most poignant and powerful songwriters of her generation — an amazing accomplishment for someone who wrote her first song at 35. Originally from New Orleans and currently based in Nashville, Gauthier has battled back from hard knocks and bad habits, bouncing between rehab centers and homeless shelters throughout her teens.
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