NPR Music

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

There is a lot that's disarming about Sunny War. She has that kind of raw, rare talent of a guitarist that stops you in your tracks.

Kyle Frenette, longtime manager of Bon Iver and a co-founder of Middle West Management, "an artist management firm founded on the acute quiet of Midwestern work ethic," is planning a pivot to politics. The Wisconsin native will formally announce his campaign to represent the 7th Congressional District of his state this Thursday, his campaign manager Christian Duffy confirmed to NPR Music.

The 2018 Tiny Desk Contest is now open! Starting today, you can submit your video via the entry form on our website. We'll be accepting entries through March 25 at 11:59pm EST.

When you're ready to enter, you'll need to:

  • Film a video of you (or your band) performing an original song in front of a desk (any desk).
  • Upload that video to YouTube.
  • Submit that YouTube video via our entry form.

River Whyless is a band whose members push themselves toward perfection while holding each other up and allowing for some risk-taking. This is a band not only of strong players and singers but something a lot of bands rarely have: multiple, talented songwriters.

Nashville rock is fun, loud and often trashy, but the best bands push themselves beyond mere noise into visionary territory. Idle Bloom is a band that's grown from its roots in the all-ages punk scene to become one of the city's most musically compelling and lyrically insightful ensembles.

Advisory: This interview contains profanity.

Rejjie Snow takes pride in being an anomaly. An Irish-born rapper with a world perspective, outspoken views and jazz-inspired beat selections, Rejjie, born Alexander Anyaegbunam, has always been an outlier.

The mosh pit is a moving masterpiece. In the sweat-stained mass, you engage a lineage that extends not just to Bad Brains but to a history of collective motion in riots, protests and crowds — motion that seeks change, devotion, sacrifice, sick stage dives. Step back from the vortex and the scene becomes psychedelic, a surging splatter of limbs and hair. A body falls, the mass makes space. A microphone drops from the vocalist to the audience, the mass moves forward.

Big Daddy Kane: Tiny Desk Concert

Feb 19, 2018

One of the greatest to ever bless the mic, Big Daddy Kane treated Tiny Desk to an office block party in the true essence of hip-hop. He performed a short set of classics, including "Smooth Operator," "Ain't No Half Steppin'," "Raw" and a bonus freestyle. Through his warm, engaging and devilishly self-effacing style, the pioneer used an interlude between songs to address the intergenerational divisiveness defining rap today and the importance of fans of all ages supporting whatever they like, while "focusing on what's positive and keeping that in the spotlight."

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

(SOUNDBITE OF HECTOR COCO BAREZ SONG, "BOMBULERIA")

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

John Corigliano is one of America's most acclaimed composers. He's won a Pulitzer, an Oscar and five Grammys, and he's still hard at work, having turned 80 on Feb. 16.

Fresh off its Golden Globe award for best animation, the Disney-Pixar movie Coco is a favorite to win an Oscar next month.

It's a sweet story of a small boy, Miguel, who dreams of becoming a musician despite his parents' objections. On the way, he finds family, tradition and a magnificent white guitar, encrusted with pearl details and a black skull.

A decade in the waiting, Nipsey Hussle's Victory Lap is more than an anticipated major-label debut — it's a testament to the independent grind he employed to cultivate a dedicated fanbase. This is same artist, after all, who had the audacity to price physical copies of his 2013 mixtape Crenshaw at $100 a pop, when a still woefully devalued music industry had rappers en masse giving away their music for free.

We are living through an amazing moment — a cultural shift spurred by the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement that is bringing with it a rising awareness among men (some, at least) of the abuse of, or blindness to, the power imbalance at the bedrock of our culture, and of the abuse and misconduct that imbalance breeds toward the women in our lives, at work or otherwise.

This week, from ThistleRadio's award-winning 24-hour music channel, we span the decades with classic, bedrock tracks of our playlist along with some of the newer artists helping to redefine the sound of today's Celtic-rooted music. Artists include Kris Drever, Dervish, and the Bothy Band. Enjoy.

Who in the pop world but Janelle Monae could pack dystopian Afro-Futurism, sleek runway style, action sequences, club hotness and tender love into thirty seconds?

Watching Betsayda Machado y Parranda El Clavo perform their Tiny Desk concert is like peering back in time. The music's roots extend to the Venezuelan slave trade, and while the vocals are in Spanish and not an African dialect, the instruments the group plays date back more than 500 years.

KT Tunstall On Mountain Stage

Feb 15, 2018

Hailing from St. Andrews, Scotland, singer, songwriter, guitarist and loop-expert KT Tunstall didn't come from a musical family, which is a rarity for Mountain Stage performers. Her family supported her, though, and Tunstall's 2004 album Eye To The Telescope would produce major pop hits "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" and "Suddenly I See." Both are included in this live set from Athens, Ohio, recorded on campus of Ohio University.

If the whole world's a jungle, Kendrick Lamar and company have a penchant for continuously scaling its upper heights.

How many relationships do you know of that have lasted for 70 years? If you're coming up short, I'll help you out; Clarence Fountain and Jimmy Carter, the two surviving original members of Blind Boys of Alabama, who began touring together in the 1940's.

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