Gwen Thompkins

Host of Music Inside Out

Gwen Thompkins is a New Orleans native, NPR veteran and host of WWNO's Music Inside Out, where she brings to bear the knowledge and experience she amassed as senior editor of Weekend Edition, an East Africa correspondent, the holder of Nieman and Watson Fellowships, and as a longtime student of music from around the world.

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
8:23 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Spend An Hour With John Boutté

John Boutté at the 2008 Voodoo Music Experience.
Jason Saul WWNO

 

When John Boutté commits to a song, he tailors it like a suit from Savile Row, breaking down the lyrics then building them back up again to say exactly what he means. If a Paul Simon song conjures the image of early Americans sailing to the New World on the Mayflower ship, Boutté will sing the same song and mention early Americans who sailed on the slave ship Amistad. If Dave Bartholemew writes that the grass looks greener somewhere else, Boutté will sing that the grass is greener right here at home.

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Music
1:53 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

The Kentucky Sisters And Old-Time Tunes As Doorways To History

The Kentucky Sisters.
Jason Rhein Elephant Quilty Productions

Originally published on Sun July 6, 2014 1:46 pm

Did you know that John F. Kennedy was a Republican? Neither did I. But that's what one of my college students guessed in a course on news writing. I asked another kid what period followed the Industrial Age and she said, "The Golden Age?" We moved on.

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
2:00 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

David Egan: Unabashedly Experienced

Credit Denny Culbert / John Sellards Design via MusicInsideOut.org

Songwriters talk about a song being “honest.” And according to David Egan, that’s all about telling the truth about our battles and our triumphs — our loves and losses.

“We write music for grownup people,” he says. “Grownup music for grown-ass people.”

They’re the people you might see at the gas station, or in the grocery store. Or in the mirror.

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
1:58 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

The Irresistible Deacon John Moore

Deacon John at the House of Blues in 2009.
Credit Jason Saul / American Routes

Go ahead, we DARE you. Try listening to this week's re-broadcast of Music Inside Out with Deacon John Moore and NOT enjoying yourself.

As a guitarist, band leader and showman, Deacon John has been delighting crowds for more than half a century. This year, he's played the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and the White House. He's just that irresistible.  

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
4:32 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Dr. Michael White's Time Machine

Credit Derek Bridges / Flickr

What do you hear when Dr. Michael White plays his clarinet?

Can you hear the bayou? The river? The French Quarter? People sitting on their stoops waiting for someone to deliver the news? Penny parties?

That's not a clarinet in the doctor's hands; it's a time machine.

"I listened to Johnny Dodds' recordings. I listened to Sidney Bechet. I listened to George Lewis. I listened to Edmond Hall. I listened to Omer Simeon, Barney Bigard, and so many others," White says. "And you listen to that and you say, 'Wow, I would like to capture that feeling.'"

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
9:39 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Susan Cowsill: The Sound Of Happy

Credit Dennis Gardner

Like most girls her age, Susan Cowsill watched The Partridge Family every week on television. But unlike most girls her age, she was related to the Partridges, albeit in a Hollywood kind of way.

The show was modeled after Cowsill and other members of her singing family.

In the 1960s and early '70s, The Cowsills were regulars on television, appearing with Ed Sullivan, Johnny Cash and on their own programs. They also had a string of top ten hits, including "The Rain, the Park and Other Things," and "Hair."

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
11:45 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

David Egan: Unabashedly Experienced

Credit Denny Culbert / John Sellards Design via MusicInsideOut.org

Songwriters talk about a song being “honest.” And according to David Egan, that’s all about telling the truth about our battles and our triumphs — our loves and losses.

“We write music for grownup people,” he says. “Grownup music for grown-ass people.”

They’re the people you might see at the gas station, or in the grocery store. Or in the mirror.

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
2:00 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Terence Blanchard: A Voice For His Trumpet

Credit Bob Travis / Flickr

Listen to Gwen & Terence Blanchard

When the microphone switches on, some people freeze. They can’t think of a thing to say. But Terence Blanchard relaxes. 

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
6:23 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

The Zion Harmonizers On Music Inside Out

The Zion Harmonizers.
Credit Zack Smith

They are rooted in the quartet singing tradition and a capella harmonies from the turn of the last century. For nearly the half a century, the Zion Harmonizers have enjoyed an unparalleled platform at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, anchoring and curating the Gospel Tent.

In the church of New Orleans jazz, they’ve had the keys to the church of church.

Thank God. It’s wonderful.

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
11:40 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Music Inside Out With Givonna Joseph & OperaCréole

OperaCréole: Wilfred Delphin, pianist; Valerie Jones Francis, soprano; Tyrone Chambers, tenor; Crystal Morris, soprano; Givonna Joseph, mezzo soprano; Brandon Richardson, baritone; Aria Mason, mezzo soprano. Not pictured: Ivan Griffin, bass.
Credit Illinois State University

When John Boutté invited OperaCréole to join him on stage at last year's New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Boutté knew he'd hit on the right mix for yet another history-making performance. OperaCréole, which appears on Boutté's latest CD, All About Everything, is a new and formidable force in the area's musical pantheon.

Givonna Joseph is the founder of the group and knows the power and the glory of good music. This week, Joseph joins the mix at Music Inside Out for yet another history-making show.

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