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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. 

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.

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.

This week, we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, even if we aren’t Irish.

But sadly, this holiday meant to celebrate a heritage doesn’t really go too much deeper than green beer and shamrocks in the public consciousness.

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The musician Christy Moore said Ireland could never have the equivalent of a folk revival because it never let its traditions lapse. And that's very true. The are probably other places in the world as deeply attached to their traditional music, but I don't know where they are.

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This hour, we check back in with two musical acts that we’ve featured on the program before. Goodnight Blue Moon’s Elm City roots are evident in their music. Their new EP, A Girl I Never Met, features a song that’s based on a poem found in a Fair Haven history book. Goodnight Blue Moon join us in studio to talk about the new release and to play some music.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

"This song is about unrequited love - loving someone that just won't be able to give it back to you," said Goodnight Blue Moon's Erik Elligers. He's talking about a song off his band's new EP A Girl I Never Met called "Baby" and it's a song that has special meaning for us at WNPR.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

This hour, we check back in with two musical acts that we’ve featured on the program before. Goodnight Blue Moon’s Elm City roots are evident in their music. Their new EP is called, A Girl I Never Met and it features a song that’s based on a poem found in a Fair Haven history book. Goodnight Blue Moon join us in-studio to talk about the new release and to play some music.

We're also be joined by another Connecticut musician: Daphne Lee Martin. Her upcoming album Frost is a follow-up to last year’s Moxie, which we featured on the show last year. Daphne joins us to talk about Frost and to catch up on her success since she last joined us.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

There is nothing particularly new about the idea that music can be a palliative or a distraction from pain or physical discomfort associated with illness. But over the last 25 years or so, we’ve seen a rising tide of interest in some that lies well beyond that -- a frontier where music’s actual therapeutic and even, curative powers can be discovered.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

A lot of interconnected things were happening in the 1990s, an oncologist and hematologist  named Mitchell Gaynor discovered trough a Tibetan monk, the so-called singing bowls and began incorporating them into the guided meditation and breathing work he did with his patients.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Even though they just released their debut, self-titled album, Violent Mae still had new, unreleased material up their sleeves.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

It's been one year since the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School transformed Newtown, Connecticut, the country, and the world. Over the last year, there have been countless musical tributes to the victims.

This hour, we share some of the music that came out of this tragedy. 

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The birth of the band Violent Mae may not have been intentional, but the result has been memorable. This duo met on an organic farm in Connecticut and just released their debut album, recorded in Hartford. Violent Mae joins us in-studio for a live concert on Where We Live.

Listen to Violent Mae's self-titled album and you can get a copy of it when you contribute to WNPR.

MPR/APM, WFUV, KEXP

Public radio might be best known for shows like Morning Edition, This American Life, Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me and Car Talk, but did you know public radio stations across the country also feature some amazing music?

Thanks to the World Wide Web, many radio stations and shows put out beautiful videos of musical performances from not only local acts, but big-time national names.

John Mayer has a lot to be thankful for this year, including his return to the stage. A Grammy winner and a multi-platinum seller, Mayer is one of the most successful musicians of the past decade-plus — but a few events in his life have left him uncharacteristically quiet of late. He took a break from press after a pair of controversial interviews in 2010; not long after, he underwent surgery for damage to his vocal cords and had to stop speaking and singing publicly for more than a year.

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