It's possible to place countless movies and TV shows within a very specific time frame based on whether they feature certain songs: Baja Men's "Who Let the Dogs Out," Smash Mouth's "All Star" and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros' "Home" all provide a form of pop-cultural carbon dating, as well as signifiers of a tone that's both specific and universal.
Jazz bassist and bandleader Linda Oh says her new album, Initial Here, is an exploration of her heritage. She was born in Malaysia to Chinese parents, but as a toddler, she moved with her family to Australia.
Oh started taking piano lessons there when she was 4. Music was just a hobby back then, but once her uncle strapped a bass guitar around her neck, that's when she fell in love.
Oh cut her teeth playing bass in both jazz and rock bands all over her hometown of Perth in Western Australia.
Old Crow Medicine Show didn't count on the runaway success of its 2004 song "Wagon Wheel." In fact, say members Ketch Secor and Critter Fuqua, the Nashville band was just trying to finish a job Bob Dylan had started.
Avi Avital is one of the world's leading classical mandolinists, gracing concert halls from Tel Aviv to Munich to New York. But the young Israeli says he discovered the mandolin only by coincidence.
"When I was a kid, I had a neighbor who played the mandolin — the neighbor from upstairs," Avital tells NPR's Guy Raz. "It was one of those buildings where all the doors are open and all the neighbors are friends and more close than relatives. It was like one big family.
Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 12:32 pm
American soprano Evelyn Lear — whose roles ranged from title role in Berg's Lulu to Mozart to Sondheim — died at age 86 Monday at a nursing home, though the cause was not announced. (Her late husband of more than fifty years, the bass-baritone Thomas Stewart, died six years ago.)
In American-born producer Maga Bo's world, the berimbau — a type of bow native to Brazil — becomes an element in a time-traveling collage of organic sounds. On his new album, Quilombo do Futuro, vibrating strings, booming drumheads and vocal melodies that might go back centuries coexist with rhythmic sound effects and club-friendly beats.
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 4:27 pm
With Supreme blogger Patrick Jarenwattananon on vacation, we asked jazz music directors from around public radio to highlight songs that have been in heavy rotation at their stations. Today's pick comes from Gary Walker, music director at WBGO in Newark, N.J.