Boston's Debo Band takes inspiration from a golden era of popular music in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in the late '60s and early '70s. During a brief period of cultural freedom in Ethiopia, funk and soul music fused spectacularly with local traditions. Debo Band's debut album both honors and updates the sound of "swinging Addis."
For many years here at NPR, Gwen Thompkins was an editor and then went to East Africa as a correspondent. She's always had a great ear, so perhaps it's not surprising that her brand-new music radio show called "Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins" listens to music in a revealing way. The show is from Gwen's hometown, New Orleans, and every week she talks to people in Louisiana who have devoted their lives to music - songwriters, musicians, producers, you name it.
Gwen Thompkins joins us now from WWNO in New Orleans. Congratulations.
How do a Swedish producer and a Malawian singer end up collaborating? The partnership that became The Very Best was sparked several years ago, when Johan Karlberg stopped into a London secondhand store that was run by the Malawi-born Esau Mwamwaya, and the two started talking music.
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 4:13 pm
Saxophonist Branford Marsalis, oldest son of New Orleans pianist and educator Ellis Marsalis, released an album with his quartet this week. He spoke to weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz about the failings of modern jazz, his hopes for the next generation and leaving New York City to move back to the South.
Originally published on Mon August 27, 2012 12:02 pm
All summer long, Weekend Edition has been sampling the sounds of America's street musicians. The latest to catch our ear is Alexis Dawdy, a young violinist who returned to her hometown of Lansing, Mich., to study at Michigan State University — and do a little busking on the side.
"I'm actually not a music major. This is really a hobby that accidentally became a profession," Dawdy says. "I'm studying linguistics, and I'm 17 credits out from graduation. My goal is to do it debt-free, and this helps a lot. This pays for books and this pays for food."
More than half a century ago this week, on Aug. 12, 1958, some of the greatest jazz musicians of the day assembled in Harlem at what was, for them, the ungodly hour of 10 a.m. Fifty-seven players came to East 126th Street to have their picture taken for Esquire magazine.
Allen Toussaint says he'd rather let his piano do the talking. Lucky for us.
Toussaint's fingers have done the talking on song after song for more than 50 years, defining the modern-day New Orleans sound. He's written, produced and arranged chart-topping hits for scores of artists. And lately, Toussaint has been performing his catalog more often around the world.
This week, Allen Toussaint has plenty to say to Music Inside Out. Check out his major chords. And the minor ones too.
The Mom and Dad's Record Collection series on All Things Considered continues with a memory of music and family from the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and authorLeonard Pitts.
Pitts says his childhood mischief was set to the music of Nat King Cole, often courtesy of his mother's own voice. One afternoon, he remembers, she was singing "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" while he played out back.