WUIS Xponential

All Songs Considered
11:18 am
Tue November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving Edition: Songs About Your Family

ABC-TV

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 1:04 pm

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Music Reviews
10:16 am
Tue November 26, 2013

After Ailing, A Favorite Conductor Stages His Comeback

Conductor James Levine in rehearsal with Russian virtuoso Evgeny Kissin.
Cory Weaver Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 3:15 pm

An extended ovation greeted conductor James Levine last May when he returned to performing after a two-year absence. In 2011, he resigned as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and cancelled his performances at the Metropolitan Opera. He'd been plagued by health problems, injuries and operations, and it was painful for him to move. Many of his admirers, even he himself, feared he might never conduct again.

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Deceptive Cadence
7:03 am
Tue November 26, 2013

As JFK Died In Dallas, Music Was Born In Boston

Composer William Jay Sydeman, whose first major orchestral premiere was with the Boston Symphony Orchestra on the afternoon of Nov. 22, 1963.
YouTube

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 6:30 pm

Fifty years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, it's still shocking to hear Boston Symphony Orchestra Music Director Erich Leinsdorf announce the horrific news to a stunned audience.

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Music News
1:03 am
Tue November 26, 2013

AK-47s, Accordions And Angels Of Death: Narcocorridos Hit The Big Screen

Edgar Quintero of the band Los Bukanas de Culiacan likens what he does in the narcocorrido genre to gangster rap.
Shaul Schwarz Cinedigm

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 12:28 pm

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World Cafe
4:25 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

World Cafe Next: Phèdre

Phèdre.
Maya Fuhr Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 1:43 pm

  • Hear Two Songs By Phèdre

This week's pick for World Cafe: Next is Phèdre, a Canadian band that also serves as a highlight for this month's Sense of Place: Toronto series. The group was named by singer Daniel Lee and bassist April Aliermo after Nancy Sinatra's alter ego in "Some Velvet Morning," the classic duet with Lee Hazlewood.

The band released its second album — the synth-laden, oozy and outrageous Golden Age — in October. Listeners can hear and download two songs from the record with today's podcast.

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World Cafe
3:42 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Stars On World Cafe

Stars.
Courtesy of the artist

This segment from Nov. 19, 2010, is part of our Vintage Cafe series, in which we revisit some of our best studio performances.

Originally formed in Toronto in 1998, the indie-pop band Stars features singer Torquil Campbell, keyboardist Chris Seligman, singer-guitarist Amy Millan and bassist Evan Cranley. After the release of 2004's Set Yourself on Fire in the U.S., Stars became a huge buzz band for songs like "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead" and "Ageless Beauty."

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Music Interviews
3:32 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

'Divided & United': Songs Of The Civil War Re-Imagined

An unidentified Union soldier holds a banjo.
Library of Congress via Flickr

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 5:59 pm

Divided & United is the name of a new, two-disc collection of songs from the Civil War. The selections tell tales of fear, loneliness, exhaustion and triumph. All recordings featured on the album, which was produced by Randall Poster, are new takes on old songs; historian Sean Wilentz wrote the liner notes for the record.

The collection features lesser-known songs of the Civil War, some by a songwriter named Henry Clay Work. According to Wilentz, Work was a key member of a group of composers that wrote the history of the era through song.

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Favorite Sessions
2:46 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

KEXP Presents: Nils Frahm

Nils Frahm performed live on KEXP Sept. 26.
Beth Crook KEXP

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 6:38 pm

"I always claim I that like to improvise, so I need to prove it," says Nils Frahm as he sits down before a setup completely new to him and cobbled together for this in-studio performance at KEXP. Lately, the young German minimalist composer has been exploring the spaces between things, between the extemporaneous and the rehearsed, between live and recorded, between intimate and public — and most definitely between classical music, electronica and pop.

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Mountain Stage
1:31 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Lucinda Williams On Mountain Stage

Lucinda Williams performs live on Mountain Stage in 2001.
Brian Blauser Mountain Stage

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 9:42 am

Lucinda Williams appears on this episode of Mountain Stage from Dec. 2, 2001. Williams' first appearance on the show in 1989 is often touted as her first nationally broadcast performance. Since then, she's enjoyed mainstream success while earning a place as one of alt-country's most beloved singer-songwriters.

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Microphone Check
1:06 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Bun B On Janis Joplin, UGK's Label Struggles And His Voice

Bun B getting ready to take the stage with the Houston Symphony two days after this interview took place.
Courtesy of Marco Torres

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 5:29 pm

  • Bun B With Ali Shaheed Muhammad And Frannie Kelley

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Tiny Desk Concerts
1:03 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Kronos Quartet: Tiny Desk Concert

Kronos
NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 1:26 pm

Sunny Yang joined Kronos Quartet in June 2013. Now, just five months later, the cellist she says she's learned quite a few new works — not just a handful, but about 70 pieces.

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Music Reviews
12:04 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Will The Real Llewyn Davis Please Stand Up?

Dave Van Ronk at the 1968 Philadelphia Folk Festival.
Diana Davies Courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 1:15 pm

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All Songs Considered
6:01 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Bruce Springsteen Releases New Single, 'High Hopes,' Ahead Of 2014 LP

Bruce Springsteen's new album is due out in January.
Mark J. Terrill AP

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 5:11 pm

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Music Interviews
1:03 am
Mon November 25, 2013

'Foreverly' Yours: Billie Joe Armstrong And Norah Jones Get Close

Foreverly, a new album from Norah Jones and Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong, was released today.
Marina Chavez Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 12:11 pm

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Music Interviews
4:01 pm
Sun November 24, 2013

In A Tale Of Two Sisters, The Story's In The Songs

The new Disney film Frozen is the tale of sisters Anna and Elsa, whose relationship is captured in music by songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez.
Courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

Originally published on Sun November 24, 2013 4:52 pm

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Favorite Sessions
11:09 am
Sun November 24, 2013

Folk Alley Presents: Mandolin Orange

Mandolin Orange performs live for Folk Alley.
Folk Alley

Originally published on Sun November 24, 2013 5:46 pm

There is no shortage of folk and country songs about whiskey. But what makes this Mandolin Orange tune so enchanting is its effortlessness. The words seem to fall right into one another, like cheery drunks into so many bar stools. Mandolinist Andrew Marlin wrote this song during a road trip with his friend. They thought it might be fun to write a stereotypical country song and didn't expect for it to be so catchy.

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Music News
7:21 am
Sun November 24, 2013

For A Few Musicians, Beating Songwriter's Block Is A Game

Singer and songwriter Bob Schneider invented "The Song Game" a decade ago, inviting a closed group of fellow musicians to submit a new song every week.
Chris Miller Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun November 24, 2013 12:50 pm

Bob Schneider finished writing "The Effect," a song from his latest album, Burden of Proof, in just a few days. That's how he does it: For 12 years, the Texas musician has beaten back the urge to procrastinate by writing a song once a week, every week. It began casually, just him and a friend sharing their songs with one another.

"I'll go home, write a song, you'll write a song, and then we'll come back here in two days and play 'em for each other," Schneider says. "That's basically how it started."

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Deceptive Cadence
7:03 am
Sat November 23, 2013

The Sound of Struggle Tempered With Terror: Penderecki At 80

In Penderecki's music there is a struggle between melody and dissonance.
Bruno Fidrych

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 8:27 am

There's a beguiling photo of Krzysztof Penderecki, who turns 80 today, inside the brochure of this week's Warsaw music festival that bears his name. It shows the lauded Polish composer standing in his immense garden, surrounded by a labyrinth of trees and shrubbery trimmed to symmetrical perfection.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
4:27 am
Sat November 23, 2013

Waxahatchee: Tiny Desk Concert

Waxahatchee performs a Tiny Desk Concert in September 2013.
Meredith Rizzo Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 1:28 pm

This might be as intimate as hearing Katie Crutchfield sing in her basement. That's where she and her sister would play guitar, write and sing songs 10 years ago, when she was 14. Katie and Allison Crutchfield had a band back in Birmingham together, The Ackleys; these days, Katie performs as Waxahatchee, while Allison's band is called Swearin'.

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World Cafe
3:51 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Memoryhouse On World Cafe

Memoryhouse.
Vanessa Heins Courtesy of the artist

World Cafe's Sense of Place visit to Toronto continues with a session from Memoryhouse, the duo of singer Denise Nouvion and composer-arranger Evan Abeele. When Memoryhouse formed in 2009, Nouvion, who had a background as a photographer, hadn't sung much. Abeele, on the other hand, had studied classical composition.

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World Cafe
3:21 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Amos Lee On World Cafe

Amos Lee.
Courtesy of the artist

On this installment of World Cafe, folk-soul musician Amos Lee returns to the WXPN studios to perform a rousing live set. Lee released his first album in 2005; six years later, Mission Bell made its debut at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart.

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Mountain Stage
3:14 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Ashley Monroe On Mountain Stage

Ashely Monroe performing live on Mountain Stage.
Brian Blauser Mountain Stage

Ashley Monroe makes her first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown. A native of Knoxville, Tenn., Monroe moved to Nashville and signed a publishing deal when she was only 20.

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Music Interviews
12:01 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Esperanza Spalding: Guantanamo Doesn't Represent 'Our America'

Grammy Award-winner Esperanza Spalding in her video 'We Are America."
ESPLLC

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 2:24 pm

Grammy Award-winning musician Esperanza Spalding has a problem with using the phrase "protest song" to describe her new recording, "We Are America." The song, along with its accompanying music video, demands congressional action to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.

" 'Protest' doesn't seem accurate to me," she tells NPR's Celeste Headlee. "We weren't thinking of a 'protest' song, we're thinking of a 'let's get together and do something pro-active, creative and productive' song."

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
10:33 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Kenny Werner On Piano Jazz

Kenny Werner.
Richard Conde

Pianist, composer and author Kenny Werner is known for his 1996 book Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within, which has become a university textbook for improvising musicians and other artists. His album of original compositions, No Beginning No End -- a meditation on loss, death and renewal — was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 2010.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:18 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Hear What Happened At Boston's Symphony Hall After JFK's Assassination

Conductor Erich Leinsdorf has the Boston Symphony Orchestra play the funeral march from Beethoven's Third Symphony after breaking the news of John F. Kennedy's death.
YouTube

Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 12:43 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
1:33 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Consumed By Violence, With Hope For Peace: Britten's 'War Requiem'

Benjamin Britten takes a cup of tea during rehearsals for his War Requiem at Coventry Cathedral, in Coventry, England in May, 1962.
Erich Auerbach Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 10:18 am

I'm a bit of a cynic when it comes to composer anniversaries but this year, marking 100 years since the birth of Benjamin Britten, has been absolutely fascinating for me. I am now living proof that such centenaries can indeed change the way we look at a composer and provide us with opportunities to explore their breadth and depth. In Britten I have found a new hero, a musically surprising and multi-dimensional citizen of the world.

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Alt.Latino
1:03 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

'A Fire That Cannot Be Extinguished': Calle 13 Teams Up With Julian Assange

Rene Perez Joglar of the Puerto Rican group Calle 13.
Martin Bernetti AFP/Getty Images

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JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater
11:58 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Highlights From The Umbria Jazz Festival On JazzSet

Mauro Ottolini at the Umbria Jazz Festival.
Courtesy of the Umbria Jazz Festival

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 9:11 am

The Umbria Festival in Italy turns 40 this summer. Umbria presents jazz indoors and out in two historic cities — Perugia in summer, Orvieto in winter. Marching bands parade; gospel choirs sing. Concerts start at noon, midnight and all the hours in between. (The New Year's Eve show in Orvieto begins at 1 a.m. on New Year's Day.) And the musicians can be delightfully unfamiliar, at least to American ears.

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World Cafe
11:46 am
Thu November 21, 2013

London Grammar On World Cafe

London Grammar.
Courtesy of the artist

World Cafe welcomes British trio London Grammar to WXPN's studios for Thursday's session. Vocalist Hannah Reid, guitarist Dan Rothman and multi-instrumentalist Dot Major initially met in 2009 as students at University of Nottingham.

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All Songs Considered
10:27 am
Thu November 21, 2013

The Good Listener: Can You Meet Your Favorite Band Without It Getting Awkward?

You don't get many opportunities to hug Bono — better do it right!
Courtesy of beth.anderson2007 via Flickr

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 9:38 am

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the holiday gift baskets from which our interns will receive their only sustenance is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, how to meet your favorite musicians without feeling like a complete stooge.

Helen Okolicsanyi writes via Facebook: "How can you not be awkward when you get a chance to meet your favorite musician in person? I never know what to say besides 'Love your music' without sounding like a fangirl."

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