NPR Music & Concerts

Music features, reviews and "first listens" from NPR.  For WUNC's music programs,  Back Porch Music.

Three Jazz Pianists, A Generation After Apartheid

1 hour ago

In South Africa, the major art of resistance during apartheid was jazz: a melting pot where folk songs and hymns defiantly mixed with influences from South Asia, America and West Africa. South African jazz's central formula — its equivalent to the 12-bar blues — is a buoyant, four-chord progression that even seems to evoke a blending motion.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Made In America

Mar 26, 2015

Travel from the 1920s, with legendary fiddlers Michael Coleman and James Morrison, to the thriving 1970s session scene and hear the evolving sound of Irish traditional music in the U.S.

This week's show includes music from The Flanagan Brothers, Liz Carroll, Laurence Nugent, The Green Fields Of America and more.

There's something mysterious, almost opaque, about the songs of Lower Dens. The ones on the band's new album, Escape From Evil, are lush but distant, beautiful things held just out of reach.

The eyes of the pop music world are on Austin, Texas this week. Thousands of bands and fans have descended upon the city for the South by Southwest music festival. Austin is also home to its own music scene year-round — and one of its more unusual groups is tapping into a sound that has nothing to do with indie rock or hip-hop. They're called Riyaaz Qawwali.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Live From Ireland

Mar 18, 2015

Relive some great sets of Irish music, including years of performances presented by Fiona and featuring The Chieftains, Cherish the Ladies and more.

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There's only one word to describe Aaron Watson's music: country. Watson, from Abilene, Texas, sings about rodeos, fence posts and family with a twang in his voice that would sound like a huge moneymaker if you're the kind of fan who stopped listening to country in the early 1990s, when George Strait and Garth Brooks were selling millions of albums and scoring hits on country radio.

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