Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 9:11 am
Bobby McFerrin has a wide range of musical abilities, from singing multi-octaves to serving as a classical conductor, but he didn't arrive there on his own. Inspired by his father's album Deep River, McFerrin pays tribute to music of the past on his new album, spirityouall.
Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 1:45 pm
Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale have contributed to roots music to an immeasurable degree throughout their careers. As songwriters and players, both solo and together, they've led bands, worked as sidemen and written great songs.
Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 8:11 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.
Robert Frost's famous poem "The Road Not Taken" begins with the line: "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood." Frost's traveler must choose between them. But slide that metaphor over to the world of classical music and you will discover hundreds of paths to explore.
A playful, electronics-infused Mexican rock band, Café Tacvba found itself in an unusual spot on the Stubb's stage at SXSW on March 13: namely, bookended by Nick Cave and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, both of whom roll around seductively in far seedier corners of rock 'n' roll. Singing in Spanish to a largely English-language crowd, singer Rubén Albarrán had to get his points across through giddiness-induced goodwill, not to mention the live-wire showmanship of a rock star with a 20-year pedigree.
Every year, an all-star assemblage of today's jazz musicians called the SFJAZZ Collective picks a different all-time-great jazz composer to feature. The band then applies its own arrangements to that composer's tunes.
Over the past year, Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep has been following the progress of singer-songwriter Neko Case as she works on a follow-up to her 2009 album Middle Cyclone. Inskeep spoke with Case last spring, right after an 18-day recording session in Tucson, Ariz. During that first installment, Case said she was struggling to get a feel for the songs she'd written.
Minnesota-born composer Maria Schneider has called New York home for more than 30 years, and she knows how to find nature in the middle of the city. Because her new album is called Winter Morning Walks, we walked to her favorite bird-watching spot in Central Park on a chilly February morning.
Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 1:28 pm
In October, pianist Jonathan Biss set out on a vision quest, a season-long immersion in music by Robert Schumann. Biss and the members of England's Elias String Quartet have been exploring Schumann and associated composers in cities throughout Europe and North America, including a Carnegie Hall concert webcast live on this page (and at WQXR) Tuesday, April 2 at 8 p.m. ET.
Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 5:04 am
Tonight marks the first night of Passover, the commemoration of the Jews' liberation from slavery. Like millions around the world, I'll be sitting down to Seder to celebrate, in my case with a completely religiously and culturally mixed-up mishpocheh. I'm not Jewish, but Passover is one of my favorite nights of the year. With all of its rituals, this holiday takes eating mindfully to a whole new and incredible level, with every foodstuff, prayer and movement geared towards revisiting and renewing the ancient story of bitterness and then emancipation.
Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan were doing just fine as solo performers. Then one night, Ryan walked into a bar where Pattengale was playing.
"I heard Kenneth perform a song that he had written from the perspective of a dead dog, only very recently having been hit by a truck," Ryan says, wryly. "And it was that sort of uplifting material that drew us together."
Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 8:51 am
Bruce Cockburn makes his 13th appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. When Cockburn first visited Mountain Stage in 1990, he was already regarded as one of Canada's most respected musicians.