NPR Music & Concerts

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

All that is solid melts in the presence of funk. Maurice White — the prolific songwriter, singer, producer, arranger, bandleader, organizer and conceptualist at the helm of multi-platinum act Earth, Wind & Fire who transitioned on Thursday at 74 after a 25-year struggle with Parkinson's Disease — gifted us with years of optimistic, exuberant music that could instantly evaporate your frown into thin air.

Morris Robinson has the kind of bass voice that reverberates so strongly, you feel it in your concert seat. Listening to it, you assume he's been singing all of his life. And he has — but not opera.

When some Western musicians picture life in India, they seem to think you can't turn a corner without someone blasting you in the face with brightly colored powder.

So. Macklemore. I suppose we have to talk about Macklemore.

EL VY: Tiny Desk Concert

Jan 29, 2016

It's fun to see something truly new from someone whose work you love. Matt Berninger came to the Tiny Desk as lead singer of The National a few years ago, but this time he's collaborating with Brent Knopf from the bands Menomena and Ramona Falls. EL VY is their new project, and the two are perfect foils for each other — especially in this intimate setting, which highlights Knopf's playful piano and Berninger's resonant voice.

Brittany Howard, the lead singer, songwriter and guitarist with Alabama Shakes, says she still remembers the day she decided to start a band. She was 11 or 12 and attending a concert in her school gym put on by some classmates (including future Alabama Shakes guitarist Heath Fogg).

The Thistle & Shamrock: The Road Of Tears

Jan 27, 2016

The story of the refugee is retold in different corners of the world with each passing era. Along the trail, songs bear witness to the true-life immigrant experience. On this episode of The Thistle & Shamrock, Battlefield Band, Mick Moloney and Mary Black join the artists who continue the tradition of singing their stories.

Today, we celebrate the release of our 500th Tiny Desk concert. It's amazing that something that started as a bit of a wisecrack has been so widely embraced by artists and fans. In 2008 at SXSW in Austin, NPR Music's Stephen Thompson and I met up to see singer Laura Gibson. Laura was so quiet, and the crowd was so loud and rude — something about a March basketball game — that Stephen jokingly asked her to come play at my desk so we could hear her.

Pages