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Singer Natalie Cole Dead At 65

Jan 1, 2016

Natalie Cole, the Grammy award-winning singer and daughter of legendary crooner Nat King Cole, has died. She was 65.

According to a statement from her family, Cole passed away last night at a Los Angeles Hospital "due to complications from ongoing medical issues."

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

A tradition that dates back to the 1970s, NPR Music presents an all-night broadcast of live jazz performances every New Year's Eve.

In a sequence of high-energy concerts, performers counted down to midnight and rang in the new year across four time zones, with performances in Boston; Newport, R.I.; New York City; Chicago; and Northern California. The broadcast featured previously recorded concerts from Anat Cohen, Wycliffe Gordon, Wynton Marsalis, Clark Terry, Snarky Puppy, Dianne Reeves and Allen Toussaint.

Hear the performances in the playlist below.

The Year In Pop Music

Jan 1, 2016
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's talk about pop music, where the biggest story of 2015 was this.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HELLO")

ADELE: (Singing) Hello, it's me.

INSKEEP: Adele's "25" may have outsold everything, but it was not the only story. Here is NPR Music's Ann Powers and Jacob Ganz.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

At the end of It's A Wonderful Life, George Bailey realizes he wants to live. And everyone from the mythical town of Bedford Falls comes barreling into his living room to tell him how much they love him and sing "Auld Lang Syne." But television ratings for It's A Wonderful Life have been declining for 20 years. Still, you must know "Auld Lang Syne" from other movies — or at least from New Year's Eve?

Even if you don't know the words, you know it. Or... do you? Is the iconic holiday staple slipping away?

Darlingside On Mountain Stage

Dec 31, 2015

Darlingside makes its first visit to Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of Ohio University in Athens. An acoustic band that takes its cues from '60s folk, bluegrass, classical and indie rock, Darlingside is known for its lush harmonies and cinematic lyrical turns.

What's a New Year's Eve party without music?

This week, Texas DJ Luis Espada (a.k.a. King Louie) of the Peligrosa collective visits Alt.Latino to share samples of the style they created — the one they call "screwmbia."

KCRW Presents: Foals

Dec 31, 2015

One of the U.K.'s most popular bands, Foals attacks stadium-ready rock with force and ferocity. The group's new album, What Went Down, reflects a musical aesthetic its members have built over the course of more than a decade together. This performance of the title track captures Foals' electrifying live sound nicely.

SET LIST

  • "What Went Down"

Though he possesses an unquestioned pedigree in straight-ahead house and techno circles, Alex Prat (a.k.a. Alex From Tokyo, co-founder of Tokyo Black Star) is a musical nomad who looks to reveal his wandering spirit at every turn. That's the vibe at the heart of "Mitokomon," the globally curious opening track from the Edo Express EP, the group's first new release in years.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.


How does a film conjure the unfathomable vastness of nature? How can it make moviegoers feel the harshness of a desolate place?

Join Fiona Ritchie to celebrate the season by exploring festive songs, carols and dances from traditions old and new. In this week's episode of The Thistle & Shamrock, hear music performed by Emily Smith, Maggie Sansone, Ashley Davis & John Doyle, Jennifer Cutting's Ocean Orchestra and more.

There's a place in Mexico City that's filled with thousands of musical instruments from all over Latin America — some of them more than 100 years old. It's not a museum or music school. It's an apartment. Actually, the collection's grown so much, it now fills two apartments. It's the result of a lifelong passion for the instruments and their history, as well as a determination to share them.

Calliope Musicals frontwoman Carrie Fussell says she envisioned "Party Master & the Space Brigade" as a light-hearted dance number about how aliens are just like us. And it was — until the Austin band brought their freewheeling live show to Bisbee, Arizona, where a performance of the song got them some stern advice. "I think it's very sweet that you are so positive about the aliens," a concerned concert-goer told Fussell, "but they are not all good!

In Memoriam 2015

Dec 30, 2015

Many musical voices fell silent in 2015. We lost soul singers and opera stars, blues and folk guitarists, saxophonists and percussionists, plus composers, conductors, producers, and other visionaries. Explore their musical legacies here.


Diane Charlemagne

Feb. 22, 1964 — Oct. 28, 2015

Podcasts would sound pretty bland without music. When done well, the medium's music cues are evocative and tone-setting. In rare cases, they can become iconic (think of the plinking chords that let you know you're listening to Serial). But for the most part, the music is meant to be invisible: You wouldn't sit down to listen to it or put it on in your car, and you're unlikely to ever know who composed it. So where does podcast music come from?

Spotify, the groundbreaking streaming music service, is facing a class-action lawsuit alleging that it violates the copyrights of thousands of independent musicians.

If the songwriters prevail it could cost Spotify tens of millions of dollars in unpaid royalties. And according to experts in the music industry, this may be only the beginning, because other streaming services reportedly commit the same violations.

World Cafe's Best Of 2015

Dec 29, 2015

More than 200 bands were featured on World Cafe this year, including many incredible sessions. This week on the show, we're re-airing eight of the best guest performances of 2015. Listen back to each one from the archives below.

Political violence has engulfed the African nation of Burundi. The U.N. Security Council has passed a resolution to try and prevent potential genocide, while refugees have been pouring into neighboring Rwanda. Among them is a group of musicians who fled their homes without any instruments.

How To Annoy Your Dad: Play The Harpsichord

Dec 29, 2015
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It's not every day that you get to hear a lively discussion about a musical instrument that was once said to sound like two skeletons copulating on a roof.

(SOUNDBITE OF MAHAN ESFAHANI SONG)

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Fans of music that is fast and loud - really loud - have lost someone important.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ACE OF SPADES")

At this point, the history of New Order is mythic.

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