NPR Music & Concerts

Music features, reviews and "first listens" from NPR.  Find more music at WUNC's  Back Porch Music.

Great songs and tunes are always available to stream on ThistleRadio's 24-hour music channel. Span the decades on ThistleRadio with classic tracks from Battlefield Band and the Bothy Band, as well as Mary Jane Lamond, Session A9, Kris Drever, and Calan.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Dear Jean

Jul 4, 2018

Artists celebrate Jean Ritchie (1922-2015) by singing the songs she taught them and by passing along their wisdom. Host Fiona Ritchie explores the reach of Jean's songs and presents music from a commemorative CD featuring Robin and Linda Williams, Peggy Seeger, Kathy Mattea, John McCutcheon and many more artists who were proud to call "The Mother of Folk" their friend.

At the end of 2017's More Life, Drake mulled over the idea of staying mum in order to protect his creative process. "Maybe gettin' back to regular life will humble me / I'll be back in 2018 with the summary," he calmly mused on "Do Not Disturb." Now, music fans have once again found themselves amidst the summer Nor'easter of a Drake album rollout. After dropping No.

Hear the music and learn about the short life of an 18th century poet who wrote in the style of Robert Burns and composed well-loved songs that are still widely sung today. Artists featured include Dougie MacLean, The Tannahill Weavers, and Emily Smith.

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

Friends, a lot happened over the weekend. On Friday, Luis Fonsi proved once again that he can get millions of views with a well-drawled ayyyyy on any given beach in Puerto Rico; this time, he got an unexpected assist from U.K. grime star Stefflon Don. On Saturday, Daddy Yankee recruited the recently reunited old-school duo R.K.M. and Ken-Y for another go at it, now that reggaeton seems to (finally) be having its mainstream moment.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Combos

Jun 20, 2018

What goes with what? When it comes to Celtic music combos, almost anything goes, as long as it sounds good. So you be the judge when host Fiona Ritchie revels in the joyous sounds of multi-instrumental line-ups this week.

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

On Saturday, one of the highest-profile and most scrutinized marriages in pop music became an official collaboration with the surprise release of Jay-Z and Beyoncé's album Everything Is Love, credited to The Carters, alongside a video for the album's first single, shot in the Louvre. The album had been rumored since the release of Beyoncé's 2016 album Lemonade and Jay-Z's 4:44, both of which addressed fault lines in the artists' marriage, and in a summer of major hip-hop albums, this instantly marked a new high-water mark.

Danny Kirwan, the guitarist who joined Fleetwood Mac at age 18 and played on five of the band's albums, died Friday in London at age 68. His death was announced by Mick Fleetwood on the group's Facebook page; no cause was given.

Hear music from the acclaimed National Theatre of Scotland production The Strange Undoing Of Prudencia Hart, that celebrates traditional poetry, storytelling and music woven through a supernatural tale. Fiona Ritchie gets to the heart of the tale and explores the music that moves it along, inspired by Border Ballads and Robert Burns.

On Friday, June 1, Kanye West released his eighth studio album, titled ye, after revealing it during a live-streamed event held at a ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Later that day, two of NPR Music's critics, Rodney Carmichael and Ann Powers, discussed what they heard in the album's seven songs, and whether they could separate the music from the mania that surrounds it.


Rodney Carmichael: This is going to be the most polarizing album of the year. That's my one-sentence review. Of course, we already knew that, right?

Pianist, composer and bandleader Arturo O'Farrill was born into Afro-Cuban jazz royalty but growing up he rejected his famous musical heritage. Now, he travels the world sharing his late father Chico O'Farrill's legacy as a principal architect of the mash up of jazz and Afro-Cuban music in the late 1940s.

Few periods of country music history have received more popular attention (or rock press) than the outlaw movement. Decades later, its towering personas — Willie and Waylon chief among them — remain a subject of fascination, immortalized as leathery, long-haired stoners and speed freaks who operated entirely outside the law of the country music establishment. By the time the movement had run its course, it had become a marketing tool for the industry.

Whether it's your first or 50th time on the road, being on tour is a roller coaster. Phoebe Bridgers, a 2018 Slingshot artist, is not new to this wild ride — nor will she be hanging up her guitar any time soon. Her headlining tour, playfully named "The Farewell Tour" in support of her debut album Stranger In the Alps, has continued non-stop since its release in 2017.

Colombian band Bomba Estéreo has a hit on its hands, and the story behind its success is a testament to fan demand and the power of a great song.

Singer Kesha has lost the latest round in her long-standing and acrimonious legal battle with producer Dr. Luke, which began with a suit filed in California in October 2014 accusing him of drugging and raping her.

On Tuesday, the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan ruled that the singer cannot pursue a countersuit aiming to void her business contracts with Dr. Luke, born Lukasz Gottwald.

The Thistle & Shamrock: More New Sounds

May 30, 2018

This week there are rising names to discover and exciting new sounds from Cathy Jordan's Americana trio The Unwanted and Welsh band Calan.

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

Soul Queen Irma Thomas Becomes A Doctor

May 29, 2018

Irma Thomas is known to R&B fans all over the world, but she's most beloved in her hometown of New Orleans. Everyone in New Orleans calls her Irma.

After much anticipation, Pusha T's third studio album has arrived. And though it was years in the making and is, according to the rapper, a study in having the luxury of taking your time, the last week leading up to the project's release was a haphazard race to the finish line as much as it was a celebration of the long-awaited music.

In the history of world domination schemes, there hasn't been a conqueror that took over the Earth in Spanish since Christopher Columbus. J Balvin is ready to reclaim the music world for his people.

The Thistle & Shamrock: A Gentle Revolution

May 23, 2018

After fading into obscurity, the Celtic harp made a steady resurgence beginning in the 1970s. We present an hour of inspirational sounds from harpers William Jackson, Wendy Stewart, Moya Brennan and Alan Stivell, the latter having been credited with sowing the seeds of this gentle revolution.

All Bets Are On Jade Bird

May 21, 2018

The Thistle & Shamrock: Kickstarters

May 16, 2018

Join host Fiona Ritchie to hear vintage sounds from some of the trailblazers of Celtic music, artists who influenced a generation of musicians across the world.

Artists featured include Clannad, The Chieftains and Battlefield Band.

Last week, Spotify announced it was implementing a new policy in which it would stop promoting "hate content" and artists who engage in "hateful conduct" within its very powerful playlists and through its equally powerful suggestion algorithm. In the week since, the move has been greeted with celebration, derision and skepticism.

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