music

Eliseo Cardona

With his ability to pluck and bow powerful portraits of emotions ranging from the foot-stomping, rustic joy of a barn-packed hoedown (think of robust Regionalist murals by Thomas Hart Benton) to the contemporary solitude and loneliness of an urban dark night of the soul in New York City (think of Edward Hopper’s loners), Erik Friedlander is a one-of-a-kind cellist/composer.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Most of us don't have time to sift through the endless amount of content on Spotify, iTunes, YouTube and Soundcloud...but luckily, we don't have to.

Ville Säävuori / Creative Commons

It's hard to believe that 2014 is almost half over, and there is so much music you may have missed. Luckily, "The Internet's Busiest Music Nerd" is picking up the slack. If that ABBA's Greatest Hits album is starting to bore you, Anthony Fantano gives you some suggestions for new music.

Do you prefer your music to be locally grown? Chip McCabe also joins us to preview the Connecticut Music Awards, which highlights some of the very best Connecticut music each year.

Shana Sureck / WNPR

The little seaside town of Stonington has a storied reputation when it comes to one historic instrument. For the last 40 years, it's been a center of harpsichord production.

Linda Oh / Facebook

Linda Oh, the phenomenal young bassist who was born in Malaysia to Chinese parents, and raised in Western Australia, performs music from her acclaimed, atmospheric and aptly-named CD, Sun Pictures, as she leads her quartet at 8:30 and 10:00 pm on Friday, June 6, at Firehouse 12, 45 Crown Street in New Haven.

The Cause

Jun 3, 2014
brankomaster / Creative Commons

When you jump off a bandwagon, it rolls on
toward the cities’ high places,
and you’re left without music on an empty road,

nothing to guide you. Not even the moon
drenches each milepost. No joyous faces
when you jump off a bandwagon. It rolls on,

its pipers shrill, its drummers too loud,
yet you listen: thick notes, then thin traces
and you’re left without music on an empty road.

Just you versus you—your pro, your con,
your rabbits in hats, your sleeves, your aces
when you jump off. A bandwagon? It rolls on.

MaxiuB/flickr creative commons

As a result of repeated sound exposure while in the womb, it now appears a baby can later recognize these sounds, even the theme song of its mother's favorite television show. In other words, there is "neural memory." This is what we learned from a Science magazine story, examining the key findings of a Swedish study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (The author is cognitive neuroscientist Eino Partanen.) Does this explain something about the child musical prodigy? 

Diane Orson / WNPR

The word dulcimer means "sweet sound." There’s no better way to describe this American folk instrument.

Judy Sirota Rosenthal / New Haven International Festival of Arts and Ideas

The New Haven International Festival of Arts and Ideas has attracted visitors from all over the world to downtown New Haven. Organizers are now looking beyond downtown to the neighborhoods.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Our show is, as much as anything, about a sense of place, and about things that matter to people who live here. When we talk to artists and musicians, we want to know about the places that influence them. This hour, we have two conversations that are firmly planted with Connecticut roots.

Kerri Powers is a singer-songwriter who grew up in Massachusetts, even though her voice might read “West Texas.” She lives in suburban Connecticut now, but the songs on her new self-titled record might well fit in a small southern bar. This weekend, she’s performing at the Hartfolk Festival at the University of St. Joseph - we hear her music and get a preview.

Nicki Parrott

As part of his musical legacy, the late Les Paul, the legendary guitarist, electronic wizard and iconic guitar designer, played a key role in encouraging Nicki Parrott, the gifted Australian-born double bassist, to spread her wings a bit and also become a first-rate, expressive jazz singer.

Outside the concert hall at Occidental College, in Los Angeles' Eagle Rock neighborhood, children are invited to test out the instruments the Santa Cecilia Orchestra will play later. Alexa Media Rodriguez, 8, says she and her family have never before been to an orchestra concert. She heard about the orchestra when some of the musicians visited her school.

"I brought my dad, my stepmom," she says, "my sister, my brother and my sister's cousin ..."

That's the thing about this orchestra, says conductor Sonia Marie De Leon De Vega: The children are bringing the parents.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Can the culture of one nation ever understand that of another? Critics say Fox's newest reality show in which 12 witless contestants believe their in a fight to the near death for the attention of England's Prince Harry. "I Wanna Marry Harry" is said to represent a new low in reality television.

Peter Salo

While playing his weekly gig at Manhattan’s Caffe Vivaldi some four years ago, pianist Assaf Gleizner, a Tel Aviv native, decided to please his parents by mixing traditional Israeli folk music with the modern jazz fare that he and his fellow Israeli sidemen, Koby Hayon and Nadav Snir-Zelniker, were to serve that night at the popular West Village restaurant and live music hot spot.   

Shana Sureck / WNPR

If you ask Michael Fazio how long he’s been in the pipe organ business, he’ll say, “How do I get out of it?”

Asylum Hill Congregational Church

Long a welcoming haven for jazz, Asylum Hill Congregational Church embraces Duke Ellington’s sacred music Sunday, May 18, at 4:00 pm as it presents "The Best of the Duke Ellington Sacred Concerts" with full-scale, soulful re-creations blessed with four mighty choirs singing, a powerhouse jazz band swinging, and a tap dancer tapping in the historic Hartford church’s majestic sanctuary.

Diane Sobolewski

You could make the case that America’s obsession with sports really took hold thanks to baseball in the 1950s. When Broadway producer/director/writer George Abbott turned to "Damn Yankees" as his next musical in 1955, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Have you heard of West End Blend? You should.

Hartford may not be known for its funk, but nobody told this 14-piece band. Horns? Check. Rap? Got it. Hearty, soulful vocals? Yup. Toe-tapping beats? Of course.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

When you’re right in front of West End Blend, it’s hard to not be physically blown away by their powerful sound and deep grooves. The band is about to put out an EP that they hope will capture at least some of the live energy of their stage performances. We hear a special concert and conversation with West End Blend recorded at the TELEFUNKEN factory and studio in South Windsor.

We also talk to a local professor, just days before he leaves for Ukraine to be an elections monitor in their upcoming, very controversial vote.

Last month, Fender Musical Instruments announced it will close the Ovation guitar factory in New Hartford in the coming weeks. For now, that means all Ovation guitars will be made in factories overseas. 

Sissy Castrogiovanni

In the exciting, event-packed upcoming days, jazz gets happily hitched to lyrics sung enticingly and beautifully in Sicilian dialect by the young, sensational, Sicilian-born Sissy Castrogiovanni on Saturday, May 10, at 8:00 pm at Middletown’s Buttonwood Tree. 

Jack White has announced plans to release a version of his upcoming Lazaretto album on vinyl, with a whole bunch of special features that'll make you rethink the possibilities of the enduring format.

When NPR Music and WQXR present the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and May Festival Chorus' performance of R. Nathaniel Dett's The Ordering of Moses at Carnegie Hall Friday, there will be one significant difference from its first airing: it should be free of interruptions.

Lake Street Dive On Mountain Stage

May 5, 2014

Lake Street Dive makes its second appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va.

The four virtuoso musicians who comprise Lake Street Dive met as students at the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music. They became friends and formed a group to play outside of class; it was originally conceived as a "free country" project. That sound quickly morphed into one that includes influences from jazz, R&B and classic pop.

Joan Marcus

The Tony awards were announced earlier this week, and a musical that got its start at Hartford Stage leads all nominations.

The Cookers

Thanks to The Side Door Jazz Club, one of Connecticut’s newest and hottest venues, and the Hartford Jazz Society, the nation’s oldest jazz society in continuous operation, May gets off to an explosive start with performances by two powerhouse modern mainstream ensembles that believe in the aesthetic primacy of unabashedly hard-swinging jazz crackling with unashamedly soulful feeling. 

The Bee Trucker Song

Apr 29, 2014

I sometimes notice that people think we have a lot more time than we really do, getting a daily show on the air. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

It's not too often I get to write a song with Colin, but I love when it happens. We had about two hours until showtime when Colin dropped off the lyrics to the song we wanted to use as an intro to our show about bees -- specifically about how bees are trucked to different locations throughout the country. I could hear the tune in my head right away.

Duke Ellington didn't consider himself a jazz musician.

He said he was a musician who played jazz. And what a musician: pianist, bandleader, composer of more than 1,000 songs including standards like "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)," "Satin Doll" and "Sophisticated Lady."

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