Music

On first glance, Omar Banos appears to be a normal kid. The 19-year-old Mexican-American from Hawthorne, Calif., is a vision in millennial aesthetics: all-white sneakers, long-sleeve T-shirts and Arial font.

And he's blowing up the internet.

Another group of high-profile players in the music business are calling on the Recording Academy (also known as NARAS, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) and its president and CEO, Neil Portnow, to make fundamental changes to address gender disparity within its ranks and at the Grammy Awards.

Natalia Lafourcade has developed a knack for releasing albums that her fans didn't know they were waiting for.

Pioneering DJ and rapper Lovebug Starski, who helped develop the nascent form of hip-hop in the Bronx in the late '70s, died Thursday afternoon of a heart attack at his Las Vegas home, his manager has confirmed to NPR. He was 57.

By her own admission, composer Florence Price had two strikes against her.

"To begin with I have two handicaps – those of sex and race. I am a woman; and I have some Negro blood in my veins," is how she began a 1943 letter to Serge Koussevitzky, the revered conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She added later, "I would like to be judged on merit alone."

Witnessing The Crossrhodes perform at the Tiny Desk instantly snapped me back to their early beginnings, just a few miles away from NPR headquarters. In 2001, on any given Monday night on U Street, music lovers would be treated to a magic show. Bar Nun's open mic night unearthed some of the finest MC's, poets and singers from the area, but they all took a back seat once the Crossrhodes stepped on stage. Week after week, the band passionately performed original material that jumped between society's woes and their own love lives, going from mere contestants to the main attraction.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Piers Faccini On Mountain Stage

Feb 8, 2018

To begin his first appearance on Mountain Stage, Piers Faccini takes us out of Appalachia through the sounds of the Middle East, West Africa and Europe, all of which are cradled throughout his music.

Born in England, raised in France and having an Italian father, Piers Faccini is trilingual and hones a multitude of skill sets. As a painter, poet, children's author and musician, Faccini shows his love of art and heritage in each of his works, no matter the medium.

Bursting with cheeky ferocity and razor-sharp rock 'n' roll chops, Thunderpussy burst onto the Seattle scene 18 months ago and quickly established themselves as one of the city's most exciting bands, based solely on their live show's reputation.

Over nearly 50 years of making albums, John Prine's been able to turn the sense that he's slightly underappreciated into a trademark. He's the secret favorite everybody can agree on, never quite in the middle of the conversation but always poking around in the corners for a modest truth that will linger after the noise dies down.

We do our best to turn our World Cafe studio into bluesman R.L. Boyce's porch at his house in Como, Mississippi. That's where Boyce sits and plays many days in the farming community south of Memphis in the Mississippi Hill country.

Romance isn't dead, it's just damn hard. We navigate gestures both small and grand like tributaries suddenly rushing into whitewater, and hope to hell that we come out the other side.

Angelina Torreano, the singer and guitarist for the Brooklyn-based Citris, had a particularly intense experience with one of the most old-fashioned romantic moves: a dude wrote her love poetry. And when the intensity wasn't reciprocated, things got weird, she writes an essay published with the song.

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