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Singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash curates a program exploring the importance of protest music as part of our shared cultural history. She talks of how the rich oral tradition of roots music embraces migration stories, loss, resistance, and how we are moving to something better, but that it might be painful. And ultimately, protest songs can show us a …
 
The Norwegian-born, London-based singer Kari Jahnsen records under the name Farao. Her 2015 debut album is called Till It's All Forgotten, and prompted comparisons with Tune-Yards, countrywoman Jenny Hval, and a few other musical outliers. But Farao’s blend of arty pop and unusual arrangements might actually fool listeners into believing they’re he…
 
Some songs you love because they communicate deep thoughts or powerful emotions. And sometimes you just want a ridiculously catchy hook. BRONCHO is certainly capable of the former, but in the case of its song "Class Historian," it wouldn’t matter if the band was singing about filing taxes, you might still be bouncing in our seats with that infectio…
 
Tennessee-based songwriter Amythyst Kiah loves both roots and alternative music; and her songs often clothe dark subjects - suicide of a loved one, a descent into alcoholism - in bluesy stomps and ecstatic rock. The singer, guitarist, banjo player, and scholar (she holds a degree in Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Country Music Studies), has made records …
 
The Brooklyn band Golden Suits is led by singer and guitarist Fred Nicolaus. You may know him from his earlier band Department of Eagles, or perhaps his duo with Grizzly Bear’s Daniel Rossen. Fred released the first Golden Suits album in 2013 and has just put out the band’s followup effort, called Kubla Khan. It’s full of catchy, often literate, oc…
 
Guitarist and singer Becca Steven's resume includes stints with the adventurous jazz bassist Esperanza Spalding, electrifying trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, and hip-hop inflected jazz vocalist José James. She’s part of New York’s new music scene, and has contributed to a compilation of Laura Nyro covers. So you might guess that The Becca Stevens Ban…
 
The late American pianist, composer, and “Legend of Jazz,” Randy Weston, stretched across history to forge connections to an African past, as he had done for decades. On his 2017 recording, The African Nubian Suite, Weston took as his subject matter the very origins of humanity – the fossilized skeletal remains of “Ardi,” a hominid who lived around…
 
Genius Indian tabla player Zakir Hussain, is one of the world’s exceptional percussionists. The son of Ustad Alla Rahka, Zakir is also a composer, improviser, and a great communicator in Persian, Gujarati, German, English, as well as in jazz, Afro-Cuban rhythms, Nigerian talking drums, or Indonesian gamelan. One of the most exciting ways that Zakir…
 
Pom Pom Squad is more than a punk band. Led by singer and songwriter Mia Berrin, their music is a romp through many musical styles: a seemingly disparate collection of punk and grunge, Motown, crooner jazz, and wall-of-sound 60’s pop all built on feelings - heartbreak and injustice and intimacy, and navigating the way through treacherous waters. Th…
 
Since his 2007 breakthrough album, Spiderman Of The Rings, Dan Deacon has assumed numerous roles. He’s a staple of Baltimore's Wham City art collective - and a classically-trained composer and film scorer. On stage, he’s a mad scientist tinkering with colorful electronics - and a ringleader encouraging his wild fans in absurdist dance-offs. Likewis…
 
Rachika Nayar is a composer and producer who uses her electric guitar as a sound source, creating rich layers of sound in real time. She then "mutilates" and "contorts" these sounds, processing them, arranging them into the finished pieces on her 2021 LP Our Hands Against The Dusk and its companion record, the 2021 EP Fragments, which could be cons…
 
It took Aoife O’Donovan a decade to record her debut as a solo artist, the 2013 album Fossils. But it’s not like she was sitting around twiddling her thumbs prior to that. She was busy playing with the high energy bluegrass band Crooked Still, or collaborating with Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile, and other stars of the strings. O’Donovan’s gorg…
 
Natalia Lafourcade had writer's block. Her 2009 album Hu Hu Hu had been a critical and commercial triumph, nominated for Grammy awards and hailed as one of the best records of the decade by tastemakers in the Latin music world. How to move forward? She returned to her roots to find inspiration, mining her home country of Mexico for fresh ideas and …
 
"Warm and melodic" aren't exactly words the members of Publicist UK are used to hearing. Each of them has worked in some heavy, aggressive bands on the metal and hardcore scenes. But together, in this new underground supergroup, they have created urgent and moody music that revels in melody and massive, insistent choruses. And if it's not all warm …
 
Singer-songwriter Laura Stevenson documents the turbulent and heavy stuff of life with warmth and fierce intensity. The multi-instrumentalist offers an album, “written as a sort of purge and a prayer,” of dynamic contrasts, clasping hands with blistering rage and working out how to deal with fear and pain. Laura Stevenson plays tunes remotely with …
 
The jazz drummer Jaimeo Brown formed his trio Transcendence back in 2013 – their first album, also called Transcendence, was built around samples of old southern singing married to an inventive mix of blues, jazz, and distant echoes of hip hop. Jaimeo Brown’s Transcendence released Work Songs in 2016, which takes more sampled sounds from America’s …
 
Forró In The Dark's music is meant to be played under the cover of night. The band is named after forró, a type of Northeastern Brazil dance music. The New York based Brazilian ex-pats give traditional music an update with jazz, rock, psychedelia, folk and charismatic and attentive rhythms. Since their formation in 2002 (beginning as a birthday ent…
 
Olivia Chaney is part of the latest wave of British folk music, although her definition of “folk” is as likely to include Baroque music, Norwegian jazz, and original songs as it is old murder ballads or sea shanties. Chaney plays an assortment of instruments, including guitar and piano, and has a strikingly pure vocal tone. Her debut full-length, T…
 
In Appalachia, a "holler" is a colloquialism for a valley or "hollow." So not only is the band name Quiet Hollers a fun oxymoron, it's also a sly shout-out to the band's roots in Kentucky. The group says it makes "weird, sad music for weirdos like you." But they named one of the standout songs from their 2015 self-titled record "Aviator Shades," wh…
 
Guatemalan-born, Mexico City-based cellist, singer, producer, and songwriter Mabe Fratti creates music using electronics, voice, and cello, and the sounds of nature. Fratti has a mighty array of effects, turning the cello into sound source capable of drone, full feedback squeals, percussive plucky samples, and talks about how she is "addicted to im…
 
The Brooklyn-based orchestral collective known as The Knights began as an informal gathering of friends to play late night chamber music. Founded by brothers Colin and Eric Jacobsen, the Knights have grown into a variable ensemble that brings the element of surprise back into orchestral concerts. Sometimes that’s in the way they present the music, …
 
Pulling from soul and funk, psychedelic rock and punk, New Orleans brass bands and "Gypsy-reggaeton," Mucca Pazza's repertoire is can be a bit proggy (Yes, Weather Report, Rush) and perhaps hard to march to. Chicago’s “interdisciplinary instrumental music and performance ensemble” – or circus-spectacle alt marching band joins us in-studio. (From th…
 
British quartet Sons of Kemet blends jazz, Afrofuturism, electronic music, hip hop and Caribbean rhythms in their music and is composed of sax/clarinet player and composer Shabaka Hutchings, tuba player Theon Cross, and two drummers - Tom Skinner and Eddie Hick. Their latest album Black to the Future comes packed with urgent social commentary, and …
 
The English outfit called Public Service Broadcasting builds its records around archival and documentary sounds, then layering in live drums, guitar, banjo, bass flugelhorn, and electronics. Their 2015 album The Race For Space was full of voices from the Apollo moon missions; and their 2017 album, Every Valley, is built around documentary sounds of…
 
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