Music

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

For consumers, "free" is rarely ever free — especially when it comes to social media and other online platforms. In exchange for utilizing services like Facebook, for example, users allow information about themselves — everything from their ages and zip codes to the particular products, services and companies they like — to be collected, sliced, diced, and sometimes given to other advertisers, who pay for access to that information.

"...the Spirituals, in a limited degree, are still in the making."
-James Weldon Johnson

Headliners at the Essence Festival, which marked its 22nd Fourth of July weekend in New Orleans earlier this month, play in the middle of the Superdome, a cavernous arena that, as configured for the fest, seats about 50,000. Up on the stadium's plaza level, a cozier, less formal kind of show takes place. Four multipurpose party rooms deemed Superlounges, which each fit about 1,200 fans, serve as secondary stages.

When musicians Nick Walusko and Darian Sahanaja first met in Los Angeles back in 1983, they immediately bonded over their shared passions: movies, sci-fi and the mysteries of 1960s pop. The two spent countless hours poring over records by bands like Buffalo Springfield, The Mamas & the Papas and The Beach Boys, "just taking apart music and figuring out how all the parts work together," Walusko recalls.

In Colombia, Preserving Songs That Tell Stories

Jul 7, 2016

Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez once said that One Hundred Years of Solitude was a 400-page Vallenato: a traditional music of Colombia's Caribbean coast. The songs are mini-epics, filled with local characters and poetry. It's a style that stretches back 200 years and is still thriving today.

From its mesmerizing ebb and flow and the purity of the choristers' blend alone, you'd be forgiven for thinking this might be one of Henryk Górecki's many sacred choral works. There's a palpable air of serenity and reflection. But instead, it's a song about a little pony and a blue-eyed girl.

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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

Before the folk rock band The Lumineers released their newest album, Cleopatra, in April, they played a series of secret shows. Emphasis here on "secret."

"There was a large concern about the album being sort-of released via grainy video and leaked out online," said Wesley Schultz, the band's lead singer.

So the band decided to lock up people's phones — not take them away, exactly, but just lock them up for the show. Like a timeout.

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

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

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

NPR listeners first met fiddle player Sara Watkins in Nickel Creek — the trio of prodigies that brought a youthful spirit to a bluegrass world that reveres its elders. Once she started making solo albums, however, she figured out what maturity sounds like for her.

For this most American of holidays, how do we define our music? What makes it uniquely American?

In 1929 George Gershwin wrote that it's "something deeply rooted in our soil." Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Music Director Marin Alsop said, "It's highly energized, rhythmic music derived from the blurring of lines between popular and serious styles."

Sick of getting your view blocked at live shows by people holding up their phones? Apple was granted a patent yesterday for technology that can disable those cameras — at least in specific places.

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

The band Winger is perhaps best remembered for its late 1980s rock anthems, like "Seventeen." Its musicians could play. They wrote catchy songs, and of course, they had the hair. MTV viewers ate it up.

"Me being the Peter Pan of rock that I was, doing double pirouettes with my bass and you know, a real ham in the camera, it took off," says Kip Winger, the group's lead singer and bassist, who formed the band after touring with Alice Cooper in the late '80s.

Imagine being able to text your favorite music artists at their personal phone number. You might be able to tell them how much you loved their latest single. You might be able to tell them about yourself and later receive a happy birthday wish from them.

This is exactly what Grammy-nominated rapper and singer Ryan Leslie is doing with his company, SuperPhone. The app lets him manage conversations with 54,000 of his friends, family, fans and colleagues from his personal phone.

Keyboardist and composer Bernie Worrell, who helped shape the sound of the band Parliament-Funkadelic and influenced countless artists across a wide range of genres, died Friday at 72.

Worrell announced earlier this year that he had been diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer.

Musician and composer Frank Zappa was a lot of things: biting satirist, ferocious critic of societal norms, outspoken defender of free speech. He saw himself as not only an entertainer, but also a serious composer. And he saw no contradiction in being all of these things at once, to the consternation and confusion of the many journalists who interviewed him.

Pages