Sory Kandia Kouyaté was one of the most celebrated singers in West Africa when he died suddenly in 1977. He was just 44, and given his spectacular voice, it's a safe bet that Kouyaté would have been an international star had he lived just a few years longer. Now, some of his finest recordings have been collected on a two-disc retrospective called La Voix de la Révolution.
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 3:22 pm
File this under Strange Bedfellows. The crazy-huge success of E L James' Fifty Shades erotic trilogy — which as of late May stood at more than 10 million sales in all formats and 60 physical printings, according to publisher Vintage Books — has made quite the impact in ... classical music, of all things.
Originally from Memphis but a resident of New York City for the past decade or so, singer-songwriter Megan Reilly has a fan in Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley, who helped her get her original record deal. Ever since, Reilly's country-inflected soft rock has evolved further into pop territory since her 2002 debut Arc of Tessa and 2006's Let Your Ghost Go.
Facing Bach's St. Matthew Passion, I often feel a combination of anticipation and dread. It's a great work, profound in its humanity and spirituality, with sublimely beautiful music. But it's a long haul, and if it's not a good performance, well, I'm stuck. And it can be not-good in various ways: either too solemnly pious or too much an exercise in musical style rather than emotional drama. A new DVD recorded in 2010 at Berlin's great concert hall, the Philharmonie, would be of major interest under any circumstances.
To honor Philip Glass' 75th birthday this year, we here at NPR Music commissioned Glass to create a short work that would be great fun for amateur and professional singers alike. A big part of what we do is to try to make all kinds of music engaging and accessible — and wouldn't it be great to invite anyone who wanted to come and sing in a world premiere by one of the most celebrated composers of our time?
Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 10:07 am
The career of Brazilian singer and songwriter Tim Maia was defined by two periods of exile that contribute to a story so crazy that nearly overwhelms his notable career. Round-faced and diminutive (a press release says he was five feet, seven inches tall, "6' with the Afro"), Maia released his first album in 1971. It was a huge hit. He died in 1998 at the age of 55, but Maia would have been 70 on Sept. 28. On Oct. 2, Luaka Bop will release Nobody Can Live Forever: The Existential Soul of Tim Maia.
Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 10:08 am
NPR Music will hit the road later this month and head north to Newport, R.I., where we'll live broadcast and webcast two weekends of concerts from the Newport Folk and Newport Jazz festivals. Our folk coverage begins with a live webcast of Wilco on Friday night, Jul. 27.