Music

Even this spring, when New York City was at the center of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S, the city's public parks never closed. Instead, they became a place where people went for a socially distanced refuge, often escaping into music with their headphones. Ellen Reid has taken that experience one step further: The Pulitzer Prize-winning composer has written new music for a GPS-enabled app called Soundwalk, specifically designed to accompany walks around Central Park.

Sam Smith Releases New Album, 'Love Goes'

2 hours ago

NPR's Scott Simon speaks to singer Sam Smith about their new album, Love Goes.

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.


The setlist for Spillage Village's Tiny Desk (home) concert reminds me of the bouts of pessimism and jolts of optimism I've had of late. Opening with the dreary, apocalyptic "End of Daze," leaping into titles like "Hapi" and "Jupiter," feels all too applicable in 2020.

It wasn't your typical crowd in the Rose Theater one afternoon last fall, for a sold-out concert by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. For one thing, every grown-up in the audience seemed to be accompanied by an excited child or two. Then there were the guest artists, whom everybody knew on a first-name basis: Big Bird, Elmo, Rosita, Oscar, Abby. Bert and Ernie.

Rodney Carmichael and Sidney Madden are the hosts of Louder Than A Riot, a new podcast from NPR Music that investigates the interconnected rise of hip-hop and mass incarceration in America.

For the first few months of the COVID19 pandemic, Spenser Murray was afraid to leave his house.

"I was literally scared to leave the house, like even just ordering groceries was like freaking me out," Murray says. "And I turned 30 during the pandemic and that was the point where I was still kind of really freaked out about going outside."

Our records show Bob Dylan songs have been performed over 130 times in Mountain Stage's 36-year history. In this set, we hear four great Dylan interpretations from our archives, all recorded live on Mountain Stage over the years.

Bruce Springsteen, who writes so often of people who lost something — a job, a family, hope — was recently inspired by a loss of his own.

Around the beginning of lockdown this spring, alone in my apartment, I developed a little nightly routine. It involved heavy pours from a jug of Carlo Rossi and repeated spins of The Caretaker's An Empty Bliss Beyond This World, the 2011 breakthrough from a cult favorite English musician otherwise known as Leyland James Kirby.

For Tiny Desk Playlists, we ask musicians, creators and folks we admire to choose the Tiny Desk concerts they've come to love. For this edition, comedian, actress and author Ali Wong picks her five favorites — and spoiler alert: She loves slow jams.

Copyright 2020 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

A hard-bop stalwart. An avant-garde original. A ceiling-shattering bandleader. A bebop-obsessive broadcaster. These are some brief descriptors for the incoming class of NEA Jazz Masters, announced this morning by the National Endowment for the Arts.

At only 25, trap star Lil Baby is one of the most popular musicians alive. His most recent album, My Turn, spent weeks at No. 1, and over the past few years he's had four dozen songs chart on the Billboard Hot 100, putting him in a dead heat with Paul McCartney and Prince.

Boston's music scene has produced its share of rock legends. For decades, the stages within its gritty clubs have given rise to big acts like Aerosmith, The Cars, Pixies and more. With time comes change: Towering, overpriced condos are pushing out the city's beloved venues, leaving its emerging talent fewer opportunities to perform. But for artists who never fit the mold of what's expected on those stages (read: white, straight, cis rock), this downsizing phenomenon is an all-too-familiar challenge.

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

Spencer Davis, the multi-instrumentalist and leader of the band that bore his name, has died at the age of 81. The Spencer Davis Group recorded such hits as "Gimme Some Lovin' " and "I'm a Man." Davis wasn't the lead singer on either song though, giving that job to a teenage Steve Winwood.

Davis died Monday while being treated for pneumonia, according to his tour manager and friend, Bob Birk, who worked with the musician for decades.

In a statement to NPR, Birk called him a "highly ethical, very talented, good-hearted, extremely intelligent, generous man."

Call it professionalism, but there are some things Cheryl Pilate just can't say. She's a criminal defense attorney in Kansas City, Mo., and toes a fine line between getting attention for her clients' stories and being bound by professional ethics.

"As a lawyer, frequently I feel — and I know many others feel — constrained in the language that we use, " she says. "We're mindful of our professional responsibilities and how we need to carry those out."

Copyright 2020 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Toshinori Kondo, an improvising trumpeter whose daring instinct and deep expressive resources slashed through a spectrum of experimental and ambient music, died on Saturday in Kawasaki, Japan. He was 71.

His sons, Sora Kondo and Yota Kondo, announced his death on his website, noting that he died peacefully. No cause was given.

Kingfish: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

Oct 20, 2020

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

Margo Price is new Nashville royalty, a crown princess that has carved out a lofty perch by being true to herself.

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Beabadoobee - how was that?

BEABADOOBEE: Pretty good. Beabadoobee. Beabadoobee - I mean, anyone can say it the way they want to.

SIMON: OK. Beadabee (ph) - could you say it one more time?

BEABADOOBEE: Beabadoobee.

In the 1920s, a renaissance happened in Harlem. Black artists migrated north, rejecting centuries of a tragic status quo. They inspired each other to make art that expressed an audacious new vision of Black beauty, Black hope, Black truth and Black pride. A century later, Black artists are coming together again, somehow, though not physically this time.

Welcome to Amplify With Lara Downes, where you can eavesdrop on my intimate conversations with visionary Black musicians who share what they're making in this time of transformation — of reckoning, reimagining and maybe rebirth.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Fall Compilation

Oct 16, 2020

The Thistle & Shamrock has debuted hundreds of new artists, many of whom have become well-known in the folk, roots and acoustic music world. This week Fiona Ritchie cycles back a little to revisit some releases and debuts from the summer. She delves further into the recordings, all highly deserving of more air time before another batch of new music is released.

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, NPR Music presents four very special Tiny Desk Home Concerts recorded especially for this week. This video from global superstar Ozuna is a world premiere.

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Sound And Silence

What can we discover when we allow ourselves to sit in silence and just... listen? Sound designer Dallas Taylor explores how tuning into silence is key for understanding the beauty of the sonic world.

About Dallas Taylor

How is the jazz community in Philadelphia responding to the global pandemic? Jazz Night in America found a few different answers to that question. In this video short, we'll explore how a performer, a private citizen and an entrepreneur are striving for resilience during a time of social upheaval and economic uncertainty. In the radio episode, we'll hear vibrant performances from a front porch, a backyard and a jazz club.

The 2000 film Requiem for a Dream celebrates its 20th anniversary this fall, and in that time there's at least one part of its legacy that's never faded: the music. The movie's haunted original score spawned a kind of breakout hit that would ripple through media for years to come, while also kickstarting a new career for its British-born composer, Clint Mansell.

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