If you want to reach people, sing to them, and make them sing. Experience tells us that singing changes people's relationships to reality, maybe even getting them ready to experience pain in a protest march.
Here's a term that was new to me anyway: "Collective Effervescence". It was coined by the sociologist Emile Durkheim to describe a lot of things, including the state we might achieve if we all got together and sang a song about our political aims. You see this in times of protest, from the streets of Ferguson to the streets around Tahrir Square. When people sing, or hear someone else sing, it activates them.
To enter, contestants just have to make a video of a performance of an original song. And -- oh, it has to be behind a desk of any kind or size.
Monday, January 19, is the last day to submit entries, so in case you've been thinking about it, fire up the iPhone and make a video! I'd really like to have bragging rights next time I'm at NPR HQ, knowing that a Connecticut artist took home the prize.
If you've ever watched "Nashville," you've heard the songwriting of "Big Al" Anderson. If you've ever listened to the band NRBQ (The New Rhythm and Blues Quartet), you've heard him loud and clear. And if you tune into this show, you'll hear this Windsor native and Jim Chapdelaine perform live, talk about the craft of songwriting for himself and for other people, defining an era with "No Good to Cry" with his band, Wildweeds, and more!
Many people were surprised by the news of a new relationship between the United States and Cuba. It was especially surprising for WNPR's Morning Edition host Diane Orson. When the news broke, she was returning from Cuba, and landed back in the United States. She shares her story and we hear the music of the Sarah LeMieux Quintet, who will brings us on an imaginary visit to a Paris nightclub.
If you've ever seen a photograph from the Civil War era, there's a good chance it was created using a process known as tintype photography. These pictures are honest and organic in nature, and they're beginning to make a comeback within the modern photography world.
Casting is an underrated art. There used to be an Academy Award for it, and there probably still should be. We honor actors, but not the people who pick the perfect actor for the role, so that actor doesn't have to act quite so much.
"Downton Abbey" is immaculately cast, and the choice of Elizabeth McGovern to play Cora, the Countess of Grantham, seems especially nuanced and inspired. Cora is an American Jew, a transplant to English nobility, who wears all the status and tradition comfortably without fully buying into it. McGovern herself is a transplant, married to a British director for 22 years, long enough to slip effortlessly into Cora's skin.
Today, a conversation and music from Dirt Floor Studios in Chester, Connecticut. It’s a music studio, carved into the woods, where the sound of the music they create is every bit as organic as the surroundings.
Back in 2010, a resolution was passed by U.S. House of Representatives making the second week of September "Arts in Education Week" -- a week designed to spotlight the role and importance of the arts in our schools.
Here are some songs from your life, "Backstreet Girl" by the Rolling Stones, "Joey" by Bob Dylan, "Road to Nowhere" by the Talking Heads, "Boy In The Bubble" by Paul Simon, "July Fourth, Asbury Park", better known as "Sandy" by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, "Wouldn't It Be Nice" by the Beach Boys. They all rely heavily on the accordion.
Amy Goodman’s radio, TV, and Web program Democracy Now! has a wide following among people who think the mainstream media doesn’t let us hear enough voices from those who protest against powerful interests. This week, she visits the Mark Twain House and Museum to discuss her new book The Silenced Majority: Stories of Uprisings, Occupations, Resistance and Hope.
This hour, we preview that event, with a conversation about the state of the news media today. We also listen back to a conversation with a Hartford-based guitarist who celebrates the music of her home country, Puerto Rico, while also exploring the classical repertoire.
Each year, the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center honors people whose writing advances social justice and inspires action. This year, the two winners of the Student Stowe Prize crafted essays on two issues that are very important in 2014.
Madeline Sachs, a high school student from Chicago, spoke on the inequity of juvenile sentencing standards, an issue that’s important as Connecticut lawmakers grapple with -- and still fail to implement -- a new law to come into compliance with a Supreme Court ruling on the issue. We hear some of her presentation and talk with a civil rights lawyer.
Maybe you think of the banjo as primarily a bluegrass instrument, but try not to forget that prior to about 1830, it was played pretty much exclusively by African-Americans, and it seems to have as ancestors several African instruments.
Today we make our annual trip to one of our favorite shows each year - broadcast live from the International Festival of Arts and Ideas -- a fifteen-day celebration of arts and creativity in downtown New Haven. Each year, the festival fills the city with live music, theater, film, lectures, tours, and conversation.
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.
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.
Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 11:00 am
11 min 16 sec
It's right there in the band's name, but the music of Quilt is truly a tapestry. Its songs are made of small bits of verses and choruses that, heard individually, may not seem to fit. But in the hands and voices of this band, they stitch together beautifully. Interweaving harmonies and guitar lines from Anna Fox Rochinski and Shane Butler set the tone for these tunes — soft and benevolent, dreamy and quivering, with poetry that's thoughtful and playful. The opening song at this Tiny Desk Concert, "Arctic Shark," questions and enchants.
It’s time for the next installment in our new series featuring local artists and musicians. This hour, we hear from folk-pop duo Chuck Costa and Mira Stanley of The Sea, The Sea. Their debut album, Love We Are We Love, dropped earlier this year. Both recently stopped by our studio to talk about and perform some of their new songs.
Later, we hear a tale from the sea. Kate Moore served as Keeper of Bridgeport’s Fayerweather Lighthouse for most of the 19th century. A Bridgeport historian and Coast Guard Ensign will tell us about her heroic and inspiring devotion to Long Island Sound’s busy seaway.
Photographer Chris Capozziello has been photographing his twin brother Nick for years. Despite being twins, there was a major difference between these two: Nick was born with cerebral palsy; Chris was not.
The photography of both brothers’ is featured in the book The Distance Between Us. The story it tells is about how both Capozziellos are living and coping with Nick’s condition. Both join us to talk about their project.
The ukulele was not always obscure. Two of the biggest stars of the 20th century used them as their principal instruments. One is a name you probably don't know, but George Formby was a enormous sensation in Great Britain on stage and in movies in the 1920s and '30s. He specialized in playing a banjo-shaped ukulele, and he trafficked in comical, mischievous songs full of double entendres.
Originally published on Thu August 21, 2014 9:50 am
16 min 13 sec
Singer-songwriters Aimee Mann and Ted Leo are often at opposite ends of the volume knob. But what started as separate sets during a mutual tour, then a few walk-ons during Leo's solo set, is now an adventure in collaboration and mutual songwriting — and the birth of The Both. Months after this Tiny Desk Concert, which we recorded in February, there's an album.
Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 3:42 pm
14 min 38 sec
Petra, Rachel and Tanya Haden are three sisters in love with the art of singing. Born in 1971 to a famous musical father (Charlie Haden is a world-class upright jazz bassist), they've separately taken on vastly different music projects. You may have heard Petra with The Decemberists or tackling the music of The Who a cappella. Tanya plays in Let's Go Sailing, while Rachel sometimes turns up with The Rentals and other projects.