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
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

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.

Music Playlist

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
6:08 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

The Pfabulous Pfister Sisters On Music Inside Out

The Pfister Sisters.

Harmony, thy name is Pfister!

This week, the Pfister Sisters sing out and occasionally act out during a rollicking hour spent on jazz vocal harmonies.

The Pfisters pay homage to the Boswell Sisters — one of the finest singing groups to ever come from New Orleans. In their day, the Boswells sold more than 75 million records worldwide.

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
5:52 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Music Inside Out With Luke Winslow-King

Credit Matt Robinson / Elephant Quilt Productions

What do you get when you combine modern jazz, the music of Woody Guthrie, Delta blues, and Antonín Dvořák's "American" String Quartet?

You get Luke Winslow-King.

Born and raised in Michigan, a crime landed him in New Orleans. But, ever the optimist, Winslow-King decided to stay. And yet, the road has been more of a home in recent years. Winslow-King is spending the final months of 2013 on a European tour.

“I play for people who still feel like there is something positive and exciting left out in the world to experience.”

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
9:49 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Rebirth Brass Band: Feel Like Funkin' It Up

Rebirth Brass Band at Underground Arts 1.11.14
Credit Wendy McCardle / wendymccardle.com

This is not John Philip Sousa's band music.

Don't get us wrong, Sousa is in the pantheon of them-who-haul-brass-through-the-streets, but we suspect the maestro might be surprised by the music today. Which, if you think about it, is good.

Otherwise, there would only be the old-timey brass band idiom and the genre would have lost touch with the people. Which is precisely where this music has always lived. With military bands and civic orchestras and parades and funerals and weddings, brass band music has always been popular music.

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
5:49 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

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
12:25 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Irma Thomas And The 'Irma Sound'

Credit Rick Diamond / Flickr

More than six billion people live on the planet, and yet relatively few human voices are recognizable to the naked ear.

Irma Thomas has one of those voices.

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