Music

Music

The sound of Low has changed a lot since husband and wife Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker started the band in 1993. But its harmonies remain central to the band's music.

"As soon as we'd sing, and you would sing harmony, I thought, 'Wow this is beautiful,'" Sparhawk says.

The saxophonist Big Jay McNeely, a product of the thriving rhythm and blues scene in postwar Los Angeles, died on Sunday in California at the age of 91.

McNeely's honking saxophone and wild stage antics gave form to what would become rock and roll, directly influencing many of the genre's legends.

Doctors at the Charité hospital in Berlin say it's "highly plausible" Pyotr Verzilov of the Russian protest band Pussy Riot was poisoned last week, although it's unclear with what or by whom. Verzilov is currently being treated in Berlin.

"We have no indication — and this is important — that this was an infection or metabolic disease," the hospital's CEO, Dr. Karl Max Einhaeupl, told reporters at a news conference in Berlin. But "we cannot say anything about the question of how this toxin got into the body. It's not for us to answer this question."

When a relationship ends but love remains, it can be both frustrating and embarrassing.

Dessa, a well-known rapper, singer and writer from Minneapolis, knows the feeling well. She'd spent years trying to get over an ex-boyfriend, but she was still stuck on him.

Latino Heritage Month (Sept 15. -Oct. 15) is the perfect time to use our Spotify playlist to highlight the width and breadth of Latinx musical expression.

The five women on this week's list couldn't be any more different from each other in terms of style: An electronic pioneer from Argentina; a Brazilian jazz vocalist; our favorite Chilean rapera/soul singer; a Spanish flamenco-inspired pop vocalist; and a Mexican vocalist so versatile it's impossible to pin her down to one genre.

For 35 years, O.S. Arun has been a professional singer of Carnatic music, a classical genre popular in South India. It's an embellished form of singing frequently backed by the tanpura, a long-necked, stringed instrument that emits a constant drone. He's recorded several dozen albums.

The New York Philharmonic announced Sunday that it has taken action against two prominent musicians over unspecified "misconduct": the orchestra's principal oboist, Liang Wang, and its associate principal trumpeter, Matthew Muckey.

The orchestra said the decision came after a five-month internal investigation, led by a former federal judge. Both musicians dispute the Philharmonic's findings, and while the musicians' union reviews the orchestra's decision, the two have been placed on unpaid leave.

The Americana Music Association's 19th annual AmericanaFest in Nashville came to a close after six days of music showcases featuring over 225 performers, various panels including the keynote interview with k.d. lang, dozens of off-campus events and parties and the 17th annual Americana Music Honors and Awards ceremony.

It might sound hard to believe, but being a Beatle doesn't necessarily assure chart-topping success — but never underestimate the pull of Paul McCartney.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

The Philadelphia Folk Festival just celebrated it's 57th go round of concerts workshops, camping and folkie camaraderie on The Old Poole Farm outside of Philadelphia this past August. Each year, the Main Stage is open from Friday night thru Sunday, but World Cafe has been kicking things off with a special campers only show on Thursday nights for 11 years, since 2007 when we presented David Bromberg along with the Angel Band.

It's bee a while since Alt.Latino has published an all Spanish podcast and we were way overdue. And what an artist to start with: La Dame Blanche is a cigar-smoking, classically trained flutist who is making a name for herself as a rapera in the ever expanding and fascinating world of Cuban hip-hop.

Updated at 9:30 a.m. ET

A member of Russia's Pussy Riot protest group has been flown to Berlin for treatment after a suspected poisoning in Moscow.

Pyotr Verzilov, the group's unofficial spokesman, reportedly fell ill after a court hearing on Tuesday and was taken to a hospital in serious condition after experiencing hallucinations.

Smif-N-Wessun: Tiny Desk Concert

Sep 17, 2018

Brooklyn-bred hip-hop duo Smif-N-Wessun – consisting of partners in rhyme, Steele and Tek – illuminated the Tiny Desk with their signature, 80-proof poetry: straight, no chaser. Their music, inspired by their gritty and pre-gentrified Bedford-Stuyvesant and Brownsville neighborhoods, offers the vocabulary of veterans who survived the grimy streets. These original members of the Duck Down Records group Boot Camp Clik represent quintessential '90s true-school hip-hop from the bedrock, when Timberland boots were standard issue.

Copyright 2018 CPR News. To see more, visit CPR News.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

When you think of Nashville, you probably think of country music. Soul and jazz? Not so much. But Kandace Springs is aiming to change that. In 2014, Springs was signed to Blue Note Records, which is known for recording the jazz greats like Herbie Hancock, Art Blakey and Thelonious Monk. Springs owned that warm classic jazz sound on her debut album, 2016's Soul Eyes.

Ray BLK is here to hold it down for the ladies. The U.K. artist shines in her new video for "Empress," a cool, calm and vivaciously confident anthem about this woman's worth.

Michel Camilo On Piano Jazz

Sep 14, 2018

Grammy-winning pianist, composer and bandleader Michel Camilo is one of the most fascinating jazz artists working today. A prodigy from the Dominican Republic, he began his professional career at the age of 16 as the youngest member of the National Symphony Orchestra. In his twenties, Camilo moved to New York City, where he took the jazz scene by storm with his whirlwind approach to music, technical brilliance and post-bop Latin rhythms. In this 1989 Piano Jazz session, Camilo plays his own composition "Nostalgia."

Denver band Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats played a scorching set of funky soul songs as part of our Apogee Sessions series, including the track, "I'll Be Damned." It's an older song they recorded with producer Richard Swift for the deluxe edition of its latest record Tearing at the Seams. This was only the band's third time playing the song live and it was a hit!

As the seasons change, the melancholy of losing summer deserves its own soundtrack. Atlanta crooner 6LACK (pronounced "black") — who dropped a sleeper hit of a debut album in 2016 with Free 6LACK and in the time since has toured the world with The Weeknd and become a first-time father — has returned with his sophomore album, East Atlanta Love Letter, for just such a time.

The Thistle And Shamrock: The Long View

Sep 14, 2018

If you've been listening to Thistle for some years, perhaps you'll remember two unforgettable extended medleys of tunes; one from Breton harper and multi-instrumentalist Alan Stivell and the other from Irish fiddler Kevin Burke. You'll be delighted to make their re-acquaintance this week.

GoGo Penguin: Tiny Desk Concert

Sep 14, 2018

During his setup, GoGo Penguin's pianist Chris Illingworth asked if he could remove our piano cover to "access the inside" and, after a few rotations of a screwdriver, he soon handed me a long plank of black painted maple, which has no convenient place to rest in the NPR Music office. If you look closely at the piano innards during "Bardo," you can see a strip of black tape stretched over a few strings, opposite Illingworth's bobbing head. It mutes a group of strings, turning them into percussive jabs and dividing the instrument into more explicit rhythmic and melodic sections.

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