Music

M. Ward On Mountain Stage

Jun 4, 2018

As a producer, collaborator and songwriter, Portland, Ore.'s M. Ward has a prolific output, to put it lightly: eight studio albums of his own; six She & Him albums with Zooey Deschanel; 2009's Monsters of Folk project; and Mavis Staples' 2016 album, Livin' on a High Note. He has recently carved out time to play his own live concerts, including his first-ever appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded in April 2018.

In celebration of her new album, Tell Me How You Really Feel, Courtney Barnett performed an intimate set for KCRW. "Charity" is an album highlight and will surely be a live staple and crowd favorite in the months to come.

SET LIST

  • "Charity"

In making a cover album of Talking Heads' Remain in Light, people kept telling Angélique Kidjo that the absurd songs had no meaning. But it didn't seem that way to her. She connected the music with folk songs from her home country of Benin and interpreted them through the same cultural lens that the band did.

Daniel Caesar and his band had a clear vision for their Tiny Desk performance. While already confined to a small space, they opted to congregate at the piano, where producer and music director Matthew Burnett sat to create what feels like a fly-on-the-wall moment. We're presented a purity that's nearly impossible to capture on an album.

Puerto Rico's Devastation Permeates Plena

Jun 2, 2018

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Finally today, we've been talking about the toll of last year's hurricanes on Puerto Rico, and it's everywhere, even in the music on the streets.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIENTO DE AGUA'S PERFORMANCE OF "PARA UN PLENERO")

How Bomba Music Helps Puerto Ricans Cope

Jun 2, 2018

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And we couldn't bring you to Puerto Rico without hearing a little music. Our colleague Adrian Florido is still here with us in studio. And, Adrian, I understand that you have brought us a piece about Bomba.

On Friday, June 1, Kanye West released his eighth studio album, titled ye, after revealing it during a live-streamed event held at a ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Later that day, two of NPR Music's critics, Rodney Carmichael and Ann Powers, discussed what they heard in the album's seven songs, and whether they could separate the music from the mania that surrounds it.


Rodney Carmichael: This is going to be the most polarizing album of the year. That's my one-sentence review. Of course, we already knew that, right?

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

We all have songs that bring memories. Fifty years ago, Laura Nyro wrote a song that put momentous and terrifying events into words. Martin Luther King, an apostle of peace, had been shot down. There was grief, unrest and uprising in the streets.

Black Thought has been a guiding force for The Roots since he co-founded the group with Questlove back in high school. The Philadelphia innovators have found success through many different avenues, and for almost a decade now have served as the house band for Jimmy Fallon's incarnations of Late Night and The Tonight Show.

Pianist, composer and bandleader Arturo O'Farrill was born into Afro-Cuban jazz royalty but growing up he rejected his famous musical heritage. Now, he travels the world sharing his late father Chico O'Farrill's legacy as a principal architect of the mash up of jazz and Afro-Cuban music in the late 1940s.

Ben Sidran On Piano Jazz

Jun 1, 2018

Ben Sidran is not only a nationally respected jazz composer, pianist and song stylist; he is also a scholar, radio/TV producer and jazz writer. When he was a guest on Piano Jazz in 1989, NPR listeners often heard his insightful commentary on All Things Considered as well as his own program, Sidran on the Record, which began in 1981. In this session, Sidran duets with host Marian McPartland on "What Is This Thing Called Love?" and sings originals, including "Get to the Point" and "Mitsubishi Boy."

Originally broadcast Spring 1989.

It's easy to imagine the rollout of Spotify's "hateful conduct" policy being studied by future students of business as an example of what not to do. On May 16, the leading music streaming service made the bold announcement that it would no longer help raise the profiles of artists whose conduct it deemed particularly egregious, doing so by editing them out of its human-curated playlists and excluding them from its powerful algorithm's suggestions. At the time, Spotify pointed to R. Kelly specifically as the first example of an artist affected by the policy.

Anyone who says you should never meet your heroes because they will disappoint you has never met John Prine. He is everything you love about his songs. He's warm, funny and wise — although you get the sense he's not trying to be. He cares about people and their smallest details and, as his lyrics might suggest, he'll find a way to work pork chops into the conversation.

The sun's season became official this past weekend — so what do you want to hear? Rooftop bops? Windows-down coasters? Sweated-through squall?

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