A picture of the Durham Bulls mascot with the Merge Records logo.
Merge Records

It's a big year for Merge Records. The Durham-based label is celebrating its 25th birthday with a series of events, which has included concerts, limited release recordings and a 25K run.

Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance founded the label in Chapel Hill to promote their band, Superchunk. A quarter-century later, dozens of other celebrated artists have jumped on board, including the Grammy-winning Arcade Fire.

Over the Rhine
Darrin Ballman

Eight years ago, musicians and husband and wife Karin Bergquist and Linford Detweiler moved from Cincinnati to a brick farmhouse in rural Ohio. Linford had seen the house and loved it at first sight. Karin took a little convincing. But when she saw it, she was smitten: "Sure enough we rounded the bend in the road, and I saw it. It was an old, old brick house that looked like it had a lot of love in it at some point."

The space around the building was inviting and green with rolling fields. "It felt like home," Karin says.

A picture of musicians on a stage with the Converge NC logo
Converge NC

The ConvergeNC Southern Music Festival is underway on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  It's organized by students and faculty.

Co-founders Libby Rodenbough  and Gabe Chess spoke with WUNC's Eric Hodge about this year's event.

Chess said the desire to start a music festival on campus came after his freshman year of college, so he reached out to Bill Ferris at the Center for the Study of the American South, who found a lot of support from university leadership.



An alternative rock band from Chapel Hill, Clockwork Kids' music combines psychedelic sounds with soft folk and hard rock. The Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill has synchronized a space show inspired by the group's new album, "Rememory". Clockwork Kids will play the album live under the stardome for their album release party on April 3 at 7 pm. 

Eric Oberstein / Duke Performances

Scott Lee grew up on the Gulf coast of Florida. Once in a while, on a clear night, at the right time of year, he could walk outside, look 150 miles to the East, and see the glow of a shuttle launch from Cape Canaveral.

"As they rise upwards, they kind of start to curve," Lee said. " And it's a really interesting phenomenon, because they're still just going straight up. But to you, it looks like they're coming back down. So you start to wonder... 'Is something wrong?' "

Jazz vocalist Kate McGarry and her guitarist husband Keith Ganz have been collaborating for a decade. Kate headlined their New York City-based jazz ensemble that recorded five albums, including Grammy-nominated "If Less Is More, Nothing Is Everything."

Merge Records

Merge Records is celebrating their 25th anniversary this weekend.

Laura Ballance & Mac McCaughan of the band Superchunk founded the label. "When I see pictures about what we looked like and what the bands that we worked with looked like then it feels like a long time," says Mac. "But it did go by quickly. It's gone by fast."

Superchunk is still releasing new stuff. They debuted"I Hate Music" last year.

Southern Culture on the Skids are Chapel Hill's legendary "bards of downward mobility." If you have no idea what we're talking about, you're in for a treat:

Here's some of our top four favorite song/album titles:

Wake and District Public Safety Pipes and Drums/



This weekend, Raleigh’s streets will be flooded with St. Patrick’s Day revelers. And the sounds of the parade will be classic bagpipe and drum tunes played by the Wake and District Public Safety Pipes and Drums.

The group crashed a wedding last year, much to the guests' delight.

Joshua Starmer
Carol Bales

Joshua Starmer is a songwriter, a singer and a cellist. He can play just about anything, we suppose. At the end of 2012, he decided to spend 2013 writing and recording a song a month.

"It almost derailed every month. The very first month was make or break it. I was working on a song I thought was really good until January 28." Then Starmer, notes, he decided that song was about the worst he'd ever heard, and he scrambled to write something else.

The result is a remarkable collection.

Gregory Porter

A rising young star in jazz is headed to Durham Thursday night. Gregory Porter was a college football player when he was sidelined with an injury. So, he turned to music. He cut an album and was still an unknown singer when he was selected by Wynton Marsalis to do a residency with Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Composer Dan Asia smiling.

Poet Yehuda Amichai is one of Israel’s most acclaimed artists. His poems explore different aspects of the Jewish faith. American poet Paul Pines also examines the many components of Judaism in his work. American musical composer Dan Asia set both their works to music which will be performed tonight at Elon University

Fall G, Bin G and DJ Couleur at SKIFF 2013 is the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s first international film festival. SKIFF is organized by YoleAfrica and Alkebu Film Pro / Yole!Africa


 When we see The Democratic Republic of Congo on the nightly news, we see scenes of bloody conflict . Rarely do we hear from the people of Congo themselves. The Congolese arts organization Yole!Africa has a new project, Art On The Frontline, to promote the work of Congolese filmmakers and musicians. 

Children of the Horn

This coming Fat Tuesday, the streets of downtown Durham will be filled with the sounds and celebrations of Mardi Gras. The Durham Mardi Gras parades and parties will be accompanied by the sounds of local bands including Children of the Horn. But first, they perform live in studio. Host Frank Stasio talks with band members Wayne Leechford, Bryan McCune, Robo Jones, John Simonetti, Drew Lile and Todd Proctor.

Louis Armstrong Master of Modernism Yellow background behind black and white portrait of Louis Armstrong with trumpet / W.W. Norton and Company


Louis Armstrong is a integral figure in American popular music. And although many know him for his 1960s hits like "Hello Dolly" and "What a Wonderful World," his career in the 1920s and 30s really set a precedent for jazz vocals and instrumentals for future generations. 

João Ritter is the musician Élève.

João Ritter combines his technical computer skills with his musical ear to record, mix and master his own tracks.

James Phillips of the band Bombadil poses with the puppet made in his likeness for the show

What is ‘a marriage of concert, puppet show, music video and live film?’ It's a brand new show, premiering under the Duke Performances umbrella, called ‘Love’s Infrastructure.’

This weekend Durham hosts the world premiere.

Mallarme Chamber Players

The Mallarmé Chamber Players are bringing the North Carolina Historically Informed Performance, or HIP music festival to the Triangle this winter. The festival seeks to expose North Carolinians to the wealth of classical music created right in their backyard. Suzanne Rousso, artistic director; Stephen Jaffe, composer; Stephanie Vial, cellist; Andy Bonner, violinist; Joey McDonnell, violist speak with Host Frank Stasio about the HIP festival and classical music in the Triangle.

North Carolina Opera dress rehearsal.
Curtis Brown Photography

Crystal Manich is known for the magic she works with plywood, duct tape, stage levels, lights, and costumes. She's a theater director, with a passion for opera.

In opera, the stories are big, and the staging matters. One time she directed a production of Wagner's "The Flying Dutchman." "It is an amazing and complicated opera to put together," she says. In one scene, the Dutchman is singing an aria while a ghost crew works on the ship.

Dmitry Sikovetsky performs Diamonds in the Rough program aat the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra.
J Henry Fair


  Musician, arranger and conductor Dmitry Sitkovetsky has performed across the globe: from Ajerbaijan to Moscow and Los Angeles to New York. 

Dmitry Sitkovetsky
Greensboro Symphony

The State of Things will be Live at Triad Stage in Greensboro on January 21.

Frank Stasio will have a number of guests including the Azerbaijani violinist who has led the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra for more than a decade.

Musician, arranger and conductor Dmitry Sitkovetsky has performed across the globe: from Azerbaijan to Moscow and Los Angeles to New York.

For the last decade, he has served as music director of the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra.

Sikovetsky will perform live on the Triad Stage.

Anna Rose Beck
Anna Rose Beck /

When singer-songwriter Anna Rose Beck last appeared on our show, she was trading engineering studies at Duke University for a full-time career as a musician. Now she is fully devoted to her musical career and her newest album, Glass House in Outer Space, garnered a lot of support on the crowd-funding website Kickstarter.

Anna Rose Beck performs live in-studio, and talks with Frank Stasio about her new album. She is joined by Elana Scheiner on cello and Marc Harkness on guitar.


Earl Scruggs was a North Carolina native, a banjo virtuoso who was instrumental in the development of the classic bluegrass banjo sound.  There's a new museum, the Earl Scruggs Center in Shelby, North Carolina, which honors his legacy. Annmarie Reiley-Kay is the curator. We asked Annmarie what she's most excited by in the new collection. She immediately told us about two of his instruments.

The Super Earl

Heads on Sticks performs on The State of Things.
Logan Sayles

David Mueller is well known for playing bass in Birds of Avalon, a band which has been signed on a big label and toured internationally.  

Jazz great Branford Marsalis joins the State of Things to speak about his work.
Palma Kolansky

Grammy-award winning artist Branford Marsalis is one of the world’s leading jazz artists.