The Umbria Festival in Italy turns 40 this summer. Umbria presents jazz indoors and out in two historic cities — Perugia in summer, Orvieto in winter. Marching bands parade; gospel choirs sing. Concerts start at noon, midnight and all the hours in between. (The New Year's Eve show in Orvieto begins at 1 a.m. on New Year's Day.) And the musicians can be delightfully unfamiliar, at least to American ears.
Bonnie 'Prince' Billy makes his first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded before a sold-out audience in Charleston, W.Va. A highly regarded singer-songwriter who remains willfully outside the mainstream, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy — one of the many stage names for Will Oldham — has been known to West Virginia audiences since 1987, when he co-starred in John Sayles' film Matewan.
Freshlyground has been one of the most talked about bands out of post-apartheid South Africa. One reason is the voice of lead singer Zolani Mahola. Mahola is a powerhouse; she and six other black and white musicians from around southern Africa make up the group. They came together in 2002 to forge a new sound, repackaging folk roots and classic African pop with a slick veneer of international pop production.
Virtually everyone writing about the Tokyo String Quartet's final tour this year is drawn to the word "bittersweet," and with good reason: After 43 seasons, the group gave its farewell Boston concert last week at WGBH. The quartet is rising to the emotional occasion by playing with heightened finesse and dimension, sounding better than ever.
Camper Van Beethoven makes its second appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded before a sold-out audience in Charleston, W.Va. Alt-rock pioneers in the truest sense, the band members first got together in 1983, led by singer-songwriter David Lowery in Redlands, Calif. The group's infectious and constantly evolving amalgam of pop, punk, ska, folk and country found an audience in the area's hardcore punk scene.
The 12th official Jazz Appreciation Month began when April did. But today, the Smithsonian Museum of American History, which founded the JAM campaign, kick started its own celebration with a series of performances, discussions and ceremonies.
Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 2:16 pm
For World Cafe's Sense of Place: Nashville edition, we knew we wanted to talk with Gillian Welch and David Rawlings to get their take on changes in the city over the last couple of decades. The country-folk singer-songwriters moved to Nashville in 1993 and have worked there ever since, recording at historic studios like RCA Studio B before buying the legendary Woodland Studios.
The folk-rock band Bahamas makes its first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded before a sold-out audience in Charleston, W.Va. Led by Finnish-Canadian singer, songwriter and guitarist Afie Jurvanen, Bahamas combines elements of classic rock and blue-eyed soul harmonies to create something evocative and beautiful.