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  • Ty Dolla $ign: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

    Credit: Courtesy of the Artist The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space. Superstar songwriter Ty Dolla $ign has too much history with NPR Music and too many hits under his belt to deliver us just any ol' Tiny Desk from home. He assembled a roster of frequent collaborators (including Skrillex) under one roof to perform some jams from his new album, aptly titled Featuring Ty Dolla $ign, as well as a few of his chart-topping singles. While many know Ty as pop's go-to feature artist, the Los Angeles native has steadily crafted his own diverse catalog, with more than a dozen albums, mixtapes and EPs to his name. With Featuring, he flips the script, roping A-list pop stars — like Post ...

  • Kassa Overall’s Video For ‘I Think I’m Good’ Is A Deep Exploration Of Contrasts

    YouTube "I was a joyous child, if I ever was a child," utters Kassa Overall as he walks along the shores of his hometown of Seattle in the video for "I Think I'm Good." The rising jazz drummer and producer explores such contrasts throughout the short film, which features selections from his album of the same name (released on February 28). In the video, shot in quarantine, Overall attempts to reconcile his youth, through old snapshots and poignant reflections of his childhood, with the looming present-day reality of racial inequity faced by Overall, his brother, reedist Carlos Overall, and countless Black men everywhere. Directed by filmmaker Noah Porter, with several cameos including Macklemore (Overall's high school classmate), the film turns its focus on its lead Miguel McDaniel, cast as a food delivery person (à la Uber Eats) making the rounds. As McDaniel approaches the steps of his first house, we hear Overall's stark opening on "Please Don't ...

  • GroundUP Family Dinner: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

    Credit: Courtesy of the Artist The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space. This three-act, 18-person Tiny Desk (home) concert was conceived by Michael League, Snarky Puppy's composer and bandleader. He and his cadre of artists on the GroundUP record label believe in two important points: that music and politics are inextricably linked, and the best way to connect people is through song. League's rolodex is impressive. If you're a jazz fan, you're almost certain to know many of the performers in this ambitious Tiny Desk, which includes (among others) Grammy winners Gregory Porter, Brad Mehldau and Chris Potter. The concert features three distinct ensembles, beginning with Becca Stevens ...

  • In Lara Downes’ New Series, Black Musicians Rise To A Pivotal Moment

    Enlarge this image In the first episode of Amplify With Lara Downes, the pianist (left) speaks with singer-songwriter, banjo player and MacArthur "genius" Rhiannon Giddens. Areon Mobasher/Courtesy of the artists Areon Mobasher/Courtesy of the artists How can a moment of protest and isolation inspire creative rebirth? That's the question renowned pianist Lara Downes is exploring as the host of a new video series for NPR Music, simply titled Amplify With Lara Downes. Downes says the mission of the series is to present intimate conversations with Black musicians who are experiencing creative awakenings during a time of transformation and uncertainty. She joined Ari Shapiro on All Things Considered to talk about it; hear the radio version at the audio link, and read on for an edited ...

  • ‘American Utopia’ Book Argues For The Reincarnation Of Hope In The American Project

    Enlarge this image A page from American Utopia. David Byrne and Maira Kalman/Bloomsbury Publishing David Byrne and Maira Kalman/Bloomsbury Publishing The New Wave musician and former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne cannot have known a pandemic was en route when he decided to convert his 2019 Broadway show, American Utopia, into an impressionistic, sweetly illustrated adult picture book — created in collaboration with the much-loved artist Maira Kalman. Enlarge this image American Utopia, David Byrne amd Maira Kalman Bloomsbury Publishing ...

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