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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A Blog Supreme
11:35 am
Thu May 9, 2013

A Look Back At Jazz Fest, Where Ages Were Made

Allen Toussaint performs during the 2013 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Music Festival. He would also play a small club after the festival finished for the day.
Rick Diamond Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 1:41 pm

Some music festivals are known for certain specific things; others are known for a broad assortment. The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is known for everything. The city's arms are just that wide.

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
12:17 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Road-tested: Stories & Songs

Credit Seán Collins / Music Inside Out

This week, Music Inside Out features Louisiana musicians telling stories of their experiences around the world.

Alex McMurray, Shannon Powell, the Pfister Sisters and Jim McCormick couldn't sound more different on stage. But they're all road-tested, having talked, played, sung or cooked their way out of tight spots in Nashville, Germany, Greece and Japan.

Jon Cleary was born and raised in Britain, but didn't find the right groove until he reached New Orleans. His experience adds a whole new layer to the concept of "Home and Away."

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
1:00 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Jon Cleary's Alchemy of the Groove

Jon Cleary on Music Inside Out.
Credit larrybobsf / Flickr

Listen to Gwen Thompkins and Jon Cleary on Music Inside Out.

This week, we bring you that funky gentleman in the Ninth Ward, Jon Cleary, who  joins us to talk about his native England, his grandmother, the piano back home, his mother's songwriting chops, and a variety of other loves.

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
1:00 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

Shannon Powell & His Drums

Credit Ron Weinstock / Flickr

The only thing more fun than talking to Shannon Powell is listening to him play. Powell is one of the most charismatic drummers to ever grace a stage. His secret? "I'm happy," Powell tells Music Inside Out. "I was a happy child. I'm a happy spirit."

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
1:00 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Welcome to Alex McMurray's Strange World

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

Listen to the conversation with Alex McMurray

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. 

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
1:00 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

The Pfabulous Pfister Sisters

The Pfister Sisters.
Credit infrogmation / Flickr

Listen to Gwen & the Pfisters

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.

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
1:00 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Givonna Joseph's OperaCréole

Credit OperaCréole

Listen to Gwen & Givonna

Mezzo sopranos are often the bad girls of opera — the floozies, the gossips, the witches, the like. So how did a good girl like Givonna Joseph get mixed up with such characters? Turns out, bad girls have the most fun.

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
1:00 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Spend An Hour with John Boutté

John Boutté at the 2008 Voodoo Music Experience festival.
Credit 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 Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
1:00 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Songs of Betrayal

Credit MGM

Listen, but watch your back.

Beware the Ides of March!

Is any un-heeded warning more frightful? Poor Julius Caesar, he never saw it coming — and from so many in the Senate! Luckily, his assassination in 44 BCE has inspired this week's exploration of songs about betrayal.

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
1:00 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Music Inside Out's Greatest Hits

Thursday's show

Don't miss the Music Inside Out grand slam this week. We're playing some of the best stories, songs, and moments from our first season. Review with us, if you will, our musical guests and hip shakin' moments.

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