music

Protest Music: Then and Now

Aug 25, 2015
Chion Wolf / WNPR

Music can be a powerful, transformative tool in the quest for social change. Protest songs are the songs associated with a particular movement. 

Earlier this month, Janelle Monáe and Wondaland produced the searing protest song "Hell You Talmbout." Nearly seven minutes long, it's a tribute to a long list of black men and women lost, and has been performed alongside protesters at Black Lives Matter rallies.

  B-52s founding member Kate Pierson has been having a very busy 2015. Earlier this year, she released her very first solo album, Guitars and Microphones. Produced by Tim Anderson, the record features writing from “Chandelier” singer, Sia — who also served as its executive producer — and guitar-work from the Strokes’ Nick Valensi.

If that wasn’t enough excitement - earlier this month, Kate married her long-time partner Monica Coleman in Hawaii. They co-own Kate's Lazy Meadow in Mount Tremper, NY. 

She has also been touring with the new album and will be doing a benefit for the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild Ceramics Expansion Project next Friday night.

Corey Lynn Tucker Photography / Courtesy Isabella Mendes

Just as she’s fluent and elegantly at ease in both Portuguese and English, the rising, young Brazilian-born, singer/songwriter and pianist Isabella Mendes is also much at home with her seemingly contradictory dual careers in music and engineering.

Dirk Knight / Creative Commons

Earlier this summer, we spent a full hour listening to candidates for "song of the summer." Now that summer is winding down, we’re still trying to figure out the winner. Was there a song you just couldn’t get enough of recently? We talk to someone who says for the first time in a long time, there was no "Call Me Maybe," "Blurred Lines," or "California Gurls" (for better or worse).

Also, one popular retailer for music (and everything else) is under harsh criticism. The New York Times reported on the working conditions at "The Everything Store."

In the final segment, we address tall person guilt. Should they feel obligated to stand in back?

hartfordsymphonyblog.com

The Hartford Symphony Orchestra is asking its players to take a big pay cut. Meanwhile, the musicians are looking for a better deal, and wonder, "How do you build the symphony by cutting it?" 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

With ongoing tensions between Palestinians and Israelis, life for musicians there can be challenging. Israeli political and military control over most of the West Bank can mean a separation between Palestinian artists and their audience. In Jerusalem, that sense of isolation can be even more acute. 

Courtesy of Chuchito Valdes

If Cuban pianist Chuchito Valdes is intimidated by the burden of being the heir apparent to his family’s dynasty of world-renowned keyboard kingpins, you’d never know it from his regal virtuosity and royal touch and tone crowned by a majestic expressiveness that can hurl sonic thunderbolts and release endless torrents of joy.

Rob Dozier / WNPR

This past weekend, over 50,000 people gathered in downtown Hartford to celebrate their cultural heritage.

Juanibb / Creative Commons

I have seen the future of music.

I think.

I’m speaking here of Apple Music, the new music streaming service just introduced by our good friends out in Cupertino.

thomaschapin.com

The Litchfield Jazz festival celebrates its 20th anniversary this weekend. Friday's opening night will include a special tribute to Connecticut jazz legend Thomas Chapin, who died of leukemia in 1941.

Avery Sharpe

When Avery Sharpe, the standout standup jazz bassist, was a little boy growing up in the still segregated South, he’d often tag along with his mother, a gifted gospel pianist and devout member of the Church of God in Christ, when she played sacred music everywhere from emotionally powerful services in sanctified churches and tabernacles to fervent tent revival meetings.

Matt Clark/Creative Commons

The Litchfield Jazz Festival celebrates its 20th Anniversary this year, and we’ll be broadcasting from the site of the festival’s jazz camp - which exposes young musicians to some of the best instructors in the world of jazz. The festival is also celebrating the groundbreaking Connecticut composer and saxophonist Tom Chapin - we’ll hear from those who remember him.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra is extending the contract of its music director, who last year became the orchestra's youngest conductor in a century.

Ray Hardman / WNPR

Musicians from the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and supporters gathered for a rally on Thursday at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts. 

Stephane Colbert / Dan Brubeck

With heartfelt devotion, drummer/composer Dan Brubeck pays tribute to his parents, the pianist/composer Dave Brubeck and the lyricist/librettist Iola Brubeck, with his new, consummately crafted, unpretentious release, Celebrating the Music and Lyrics of Dave and Iola Brubeck.

Hartford Symphony Orchestra / Facebook

In a previous post (“Saving the Hartford Symphony,” July 9), I offered a few observations about the situation at the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

Briefly, the situation is that the management, which is now essentially the Bushnell under an agreement struck 16 months ago, is proposing significant reductions in the number of services offered to many of the HSO musicians. The musicians, needless to say, are resisting.

David Redfern / Getty Images

Miles Davis, the innovative trumpet genius, and George Wein, the visionary festival producer/impresario, were not exactly as close, say, as Damon and Pythias, what with the seemingly inevitable bumps and disagreements that popped up now and then over the long, fruitful friendship and professional relationship between these two titanic forces in jazz.

Sheila Sund / Creative Commons

By the middle of the twentieth century, American popular song began to experience a sort of devolution. Gone were the days of songwriting greats like George Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Irving Berlin. Instead, what came over the radio were songs like "How Much Is that Doggie in the Window" and "Come on-a My House". 

Mike0112358 / Creative Commons

Summertime concerts at big venues in Hartford often mean underage drinkers.  To help combat the problem, the Hartford City Council just accepted a federal grant to pay for police overtime.

Rikard Westman / Creative Commons

The rapper and actor known as 50 Cent has filed for federal bankruptcy protection, days after a jury ordered him to pay $5 million in an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit.

WNPR/David DesRoches

There’s something a little bit different about Don Sawyer’s classroom. For one, it’s all boys, most of them sent here because they were at risk of dropping out of school.

Hartford Symphony Orchestra / Facebook

As you may have noticed, tensions between the management and the musicians of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra have been heating up as the two sides try to agree on a new contract.

Diane Orson / WNPR

    

As politicians continue to navigate the historic diplomatic thaw in relations between the U.S. and Cuba, musicians from both countries say they’re looking forward to more artistic exchange.

Jameziecakes / Creative Commons

A 2014 Nielsen report yielded some dismaying news for jazz connoisseurs: the once-coveted genre is now one of the least-consumed in the United States.

Why are so many turning away from jazz, and toward other styles of music like rock, pop, and country? 

This hour, a panel of experts and musicians weigh in, and share their thoughts on jazz's future both in America and abroad.

GUESTS:

Joyce DiCamillo

Classically trained and a member of the elite International Roster of Steinway Artists, the Stamford-born-and-bred pianist Joyce DiCamillo is most celebrated for her three decades of consummate mastery of the fine art of the jazz piano trio.

Diane Sobolewski / Goodspeed Opera House

So, you think it's easy to write a Broadway song? I say not so fast. 

The four aspiring writing teams that attended Goodspeed's Festival of New Musicals this past January say it's plenty hard. They spend a lot of time kicking around ideas, most of which never see the light of day. But, really, they have no choice. "If you can do anything else, you do do anything else," says Marcy Heisler, one half of one of our amazing teams.

Kelsie Bissell / WNPR

An African drummer, a hip hop artist, a traditional kora player, and Albanian artisans may not be what you expect to see during a fashion show, but organizer George Kingsley had a vision to feature more than just clothing at a multicultural fashion show at ArtSpace last month.

Summer in Hartford just wouldn’t be the same without the sizzling sounds and celebratory mood generated by the Monday Night Jazz Series and the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz, two free, major outdoor festivals that for decades have drawn tens of thousands to the city’s downtown Bushnell Park in July and August.  

Jeaneeem / Creative Commons

The Eagles first album touched a cultural nerve in 1971, with songs like "Peaceful Easy Feeling" and "Witchy Woman," a prelude to the hits to come. And, the music never stopped. Despite mounting criticism from critics and fans alike, within five years they rolled those hits into one of the biggest selling Greatest Hits albums of all time. 

Farewell to a Musical Hero, Gunther Schuller

Jun 25, 2015
NPR Fresh Air

When historians a couple of hundred years from now rummage around in the life of Gunther Schuller, they may conclude that he was actually several people. 

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