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
3:46 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Songs For The Soul

Remnants of Mardi Gras
Credit Treewoman8 / Flickr

The excesses of the Carnival season are over. So this week, we're playing sacred music with a foothold in Louisiana. Some songs are religious. Some are not. But they're guaranteed to help you get ready for Easter, or Passover, or whatever day you have circled on the calendar.

Mahalia Jackson, John Boutté, Branford Marsalis, Irma Thomas, Allen Toussaint and Davell Crawford are in the mix. And so is the brass band that wants to know, "Whatcha gonna do for the rest of your life? Whatcha gonna do to make it right?"

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Professor Longhair
6:53 pm
Sat March 1, 2014

New Orleans Piano Legend's Home Finally Restored After Katrina

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 9:34 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Professor Longhair's house has been saved. Now, last year we brought you a story about the piano legend and the nationwide effort to rebuild his home following Hurricane Katrina. Henry Roeland Byrd, better known as Professor Longhair, is widely considered to be the father of modern New Orleans music. He died in 1980, but at carnival time especially, it's evident that Professor Longhair's influence endures. Now, his house will too. Gwen Thompkins brings us this story of music and more.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
5:15 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Highlights: Music For The Last Days Of Carnival

Credit Derek Bridges / Flickr

There’s plenty of music in the streets of New Orleans this week, so why should the airwaves be any different? (Or the internet, for that matter.)

We’ve put together a Highlights show with some of our favorite moments from recent programs: hand-picked, home-cured, house-made audio wonderfulness.

Sit back, click play, and enjoy. Oh, you can hear much more from each of the featured artists by following the links.  

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
4:21 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Professor Longhair's Legacy

Credit Shanna Riley

The name that our musical guests have most consistently mentioned is Professor Longhair. It began, well, at the beginning. Longhair, whose friends call him Fess, figured into the very first answer from the very first guest on the very first Music Inside Out.

Since then, others have conjured his name when describing the best of New Orleans music. As it turns out, Longhair — who died in 1980 — remains a guiding spirit to musicians and music lovers everywhere. So as a matter of duty and privilege, we’re spreading the joy.

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
2:14 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Treme's David Simon: 'I'm A Storyteller'

David Simon.
Credit American Library Association

He’s been telling the same epic story of the American city for years, one corner at a time — first on the pages of The Baltimore Sun, then in the books Homicide: Life on the Killing Streets and The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood.

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
9:29 am
Thu February 6, 2014

The Strange World Of Alex McMurray

Alex McMurray at the Bitter End in NYC, 2011.
Dino Perrucci

As noggins in New Orleans go, there is no noggin like that of singer-songwriter Alex McMurray. He's got more original characters in his head than a Hollywood film library. Why else would McMurray write a song about the man who shot the man who shot Liberty Valance? (Spoiler Alert: John Wayne is in the crosshairs).

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
2:00 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Scott Aiges And The Music Biz

Credit Guillaume Laurent / Flickr

With the 56th GRAMMY Awards this weekend, it's time to consider the business of music. Artist royalties, mechanical royalties, revenue streams and recording contracts have been the bread-and-butter of Scott Aiges.

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
2:00 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Wild Kingdom: Animal Music From Louisiana

A dog and its man at Laurence Square.
Credit Gregg Goldman

This program was originally broadcast in October, 2013

If this week's show doesn't bring out the animal in you, consult a doctor. You may be a vegetable... or a mineral... or a big block of cheese.

This is the time of year when pet lovers take their animals to church, when Lions and Tigers and Cardinals and Falcons take to the field, and when we turn to Louisiana songs about animals.

We've got birds, bees, a monkey, a horse, and even a cheetah. Yes, there are cheetahs in Louisiana. But the potholes slow them down.

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
1:29 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Three Movies & A Trumpeter

Credit Seán Collins (photo illustration)

Chances are good that you’ve got a little time on your hands these days and you may just find yourself in front of the DVR. We’ve picked three holiday films we like — for no other reason than we’d watch them again if you made the popcorn.

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
10:42 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Preservation Hall: Hallowed Ground

Credit Amanda Irizarry / Elephant Quilt Productions

Giants of traditional jazz played here; hell, they still play here: tucked behind walls with a patina worthy of the temple Preservation Hall has been through the years. 
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