Music

Before he turned twenty-five, Van Morrison had written a rock and roll standard ("Gloria"), essayed arguably the greatest-ever Bob Dylan cover ("It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" — both with Them), made a top-ten American hit ("Brown Eyed Girl") and recorded two very different, very compatible LP masterpieces, Astral Weeks and Moondance — the former concerned with "childhood, initiation, sex, and death," per Greil Marcus in Stranded, the latter with rebirth, experience, love and living for its own sake.

Very few musical gatherings during the crowded summer festival season have been going on as long as CMA Music Fest, which launched under the name Fan Fair in 1972 and now descends upon Nashville just after the heat and humidity set in each June. One of the secrets to its longevity is that it's always been a place where country fans can encounter artists up close; folks who get a bit of face time with their favorite artists, maybe even a hug, are prone to keep coming back.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The practice of lulling a child to sleep through music must be about the oldest tradition imaginable. All parents have wanted their children to sleep at some point, if only to have a little peace and quiet — and to plot strategies for getting their own shuteye.

Pianist Alessio Bax knows all about sleep — and lack thereof. He's a first-time parent, and his 22-month-old daughter Mila is, like any child that age, a handful, not to mention impossibly cute.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

In 1970, a young business school grad — and failed opera singer — named David Gockley landed a job as business manager of the Houston Grand Opera. After two years, at age 27, he moved up to general director.

Over the next 30 years, Gockley transformed the company into a hothouse for new and revived American opera. During his tenure in Houston, Gockley presented 35 world premieres, including John Adams' Nixon in China, Stewart Wallace's Harvey Milk, Leonard Bernstein's A Quiet Place, Mark Adamo's Little Women and three operas by Carlisle Floyd.

Dâm-Funk's Time Machine Boogie

Jun 14, 2016

DJs can be a cagey bunch, protective of their knowledge, reluctant to reveal favorite digging spots to even their closest friends or, in the case of Afrika Bambaataa, peeling center labels off in the shower so that only he knew the groove, all so as to keep their secret weapons, well, a secret. But not Damon Riddick.

Shalimar the Clown is Salman Rushdie's eighth novel. Published in 2005, it tells the story of a young man who seeks revenge after he's jilted by the love of his life. There's intrigue, violence, and conflict between tradition and modern society — the sort of stuff that makes for grand opera.

Now, Shalimar the Clown is just that. Adapted by composer Jack Perla and Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright Rajiv Joseph, the opera premieres tonight at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.

Rushdie says the novel sprang from one tragic image.

It's been a while since we've heard from Lorde. Now, a new song the singer co-wrote with her fellow New Zealanders in Broods, has just come out. "Heartlines" is a bubbly, revelatory dance track with references to "jumping state lines" and midnight car rides. The artists not only share a country, but also a producer, Joel Little, who helps shape the sound of both Lorde and Broods.

Since it was founded by cellist Yo-Yo Ma 16 years ago, the Silk Road Ensemble — an artistic collective comprised of master musicians and other artists from more than 20 countries, spanning the globe — has become an incubator for inspiring cross-cultural collaborations.

Director Morgan Neville made one of the most memorable music documentaries in recent times. His 2013 film 20 Feet from Stardom, for which he won an Oscar and a Grammy, chronicled the paths of five undersung rock heroes: the backup singers who enlivened some of popular music's biggest hits.

Maracuyá means "passion fruit" in Spanish. For the DJ collective Maracuyeah, it's all about a passion for music — and connection.

At the D.C.-based group's fifth anniversary party, the dance floor at Judy's Bar & Restaurant is packed with a diverse crowd, from punk artists to recently arrived immigrants and buttoned-down, office types. Nohora Arrieta Fernandez, a Ph.D. student at Georgetown University who identifies as Afro-Colombian, says there's something for everyone here.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Miles Ahead

In celebration of the release of the Miles Davis film Miles Ahead at Cinematique of Wilmington this week, WHQR 91.3 FM will broadcast a new one hour radio special tonight, Tuesday, June 7th at 8 pm.

The special includes interviews with the film's director and star, Don Cheadle, film composer and pianist Robert Glasper, plus Miles’ son, Erin Davis, and nephew, Vince Wilburn, Jr. The special also includes several of Miles Davis’ classics, including "Seven Steps to Heaven," "Miles Ahead," and "So What." 

It's not quite right to say the news came as a shock when the Metropolitan Opera announced Thursday that Yannick Nézet-Séguin would become the house's new music director, beginning in the 2020-21 season. He follows in the footsteps of James Levine, who said in April that he was stepping down after leading the Met for four decades.

Soup to Nuts Live! welcomes long-time veteran of the Chicago blues music scene, Jon McDonald, on Thursday, June 23rd in the MC Erny Gallery at WHQR.

Barry Douglas knows a few things about handing down traditions. In this Tiny Desk performance, he passes along the musical heritage of his Irish homeland in the form of old Celtic songs he's arranged for solo piano.

Composer and author Paul Bowles first went to Morocco in 1931. He fell in love with the country, returning often and eventually moving to Tangier, where he lived from 1947 until his death in 1999. Among the things Bowles valued most about Morocco was its varieties of music.

On Thursday, May 19th local folk rock group The Midatlantic performed in the MC Erny Gallery at WHQR. On Friday, June 10th and Saturday June 11th, will air our Soup to Nuts Live! concert with The Midatlantic. Tune into HQR 91.3 to hear The Midatlantic's brand of music that combines progressive folk, Americana, bluegrass, and a hint of rock and jazz.

Friday, June 10th at 7 pm

Saturday, June 11th at 9 pm

Copyright 2016 WWNO-FM. To see more, visit WWNO-FM.

When the New York City Opera (NYCO) announced its final performances and imminent bankruptcy in September 2013, opera lovers, not just in Manhattan, were shocked.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Hey, Hey, It's 50 Years Of The Monkees!

May 23, 2016

The surviving members of The Monkees are about to celebrate their 50th anniversary. To mark the occasion, they're releasing a new album, titled Good Times! Here, NPR's Stephen Thompson tells Ari Shapiro about "Me & Magdalena," a new song written for the album by Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie.

Looking for a musically sensitive, responsive bandmate? Maybe you should try out Shimon.

The ongoing controversy in North Carolina over access to bathrooms has increased the general public's awareness of issues facing transgender people. One thing you might not think about is voice: How does that essential tool of communication change with gender transition? It's something that has deep emotional and psychological resonance. It's also something that's playing out in a growing number of transgender choruses across the country.

As a young child growing up in South Africa, Gillian Power sang in school and church choirs.

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