July 27, 1999 Banning Eyre reviews the first international release by Malian singer Kandia Kouyate. She is a "griot" singer, entrusted with the oral history of her people. On this wide-ranging recording, Kouyate sings some traditonal material, but also shows off her powerful voice in her first departure into dance and pop music.
July 15, 1999 Charles de Ledesma reviews the latest CD from the Chemical Brothers, called "Surrender". It's in the same vein as their previous two albums -- rich, multi-layered, electronic dance music, with many high-profile guest vocalists including Bernard Sumner from New Order and Noel Gallagher from Oasis. The Chemical Brothers are credited as the pioneers of "electronica," and Ledesma says this CD once again proves their talent for pushing electronic dance music in bold new directions.
June 29, 1999 Nick Spitzer reviews the latest CD by Steve Earle, a 25 year veteran of the Nashville country music scene. Earle got into drugs for a while, but says he's done with all that now. He's teamed up with one of this country's best bluegrass bands for a rollicking collaboration of country, rock and bluegrass called The Mountain.
May 3, 1999 Music Reviewer Will Hermes listens to music from energetic folk rocker Dan Bern. Hermes finds Smartie Mine, the new double-CD from Dan Bern, filled with rant and raves and lots of fun. The CD is self-released, something unexpected from someone with a contract with Sony Records.
March 15, 1999 Nick Spitzer reviews the CD "Blues After Sunset" by Henry Butler. Butler is a blind pianist, born and raised in New Orleans. Spitzer says Butler is the latest and perhaps greatest in a long line of Crescent City keyboard players known simply as "piano professors."
March 2, 1999 Tom Moon reviews the new CD Fuse by Joe Henry. He says that Henry's hip-hop influenced style is full of fragmented images — his favorite character in his lyrics is the dejected romantic who is endlessly rehashing messy exit scenes.
February 16, 1999 Music critic Tom Manoff reviews Lassus, the new recording from the Hilliard Ensemble, featuring music of 16th Century composer Orlando di Lasso. His music represents the appropriation of ancient pagan culture by Mediterranean Christianity. We hear the Hilliard Ensemble sing "Prohetiae Sibyllarum."
January 19, 1999 Banning Eyre reviews Fabrication Defect, a new CD from Brazilian singer/composer Tom Ze. Ze was part of a cultural and musical movement in the 60s in Brazil called "Tropicalia," but while others involved — like Caetano Veloso — went on to stardom, Ze drifted into obscurity. In the late 80s, David Byrne went out in search of Ze, and got him back into music. This is Ze's 2nd recording since Byrne "rediscovered" him. Eyre says Ze continues to shine as a fresh and inventive pop composer.
December 13, 1998 NPR's Tom Vitale presents a profile of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, a group known for its traditional and non-traditional guitar playing. After years of recording on small labels, the recently signed to Sony Classical and have a new CD called "L.A.G.Q." ("L.A.G.Q", Sony Classical, SK 60274.) 12:00 NOTE: Due to Internet rights issues, this segment has been modified from its original broadcast form.
December 3, 1998 Music critic Tom Moon has an overview of two boxed sets of compact discs: the much-anticipated "The Lennon Anthology," which compiles the work of John Lennon, and Bruce Springsteen's "Tracks," a collection of songs that did not make it onto Springsteen's albums. Moon says that both provide insight into how these singers engaged in the songwriting process. "The Lennon Anthology" is available from Capitol Records: "Tracks" by Bruce Springsteen is available from Columbia Records.
November 5, 1998 Music reviewer Tom Moon likes the latest release from singer Lauryn Hill, called "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill." He says it's a richly-textured modern album that incorporates the influence of many important musical figures, from Stevie Wonder to Marvin Gaye to Aretha Franklin. "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" is available on Ruffhouse/ColumbiaRecords.
August 17, 1998 Music reviewer Tom Moon looks at Lucinda Williams' new release Car Wheels on a Gravel Road . Fans have been waiting for the singer-songwriter to produce something new. Her last release was, Sweet Old World, in 1992.
August 5, 1998 Music critic Will Hermes has a review of the latest album by Chicago rock band Tortoise. He says that the music isn't exactly rock, as most people define it — but that it's definitely more interesting than most other current musical trends.
April 13, 1995 A new retrospective album of the '60s and '70s Hi Label hits has been released. Mitchell was one of the hit makers for the Memphis based label in its early days and later was the influential producer who made the sounds of soul greats Al Green, Ann Peebles and Otis Clay so well known.
December 6, 1993 The progressive rock stations of the late 1960s were good to Scottish guitarist John Martyn. Since that time, he's been known primarily to other guitar players, having faded from the airwaves. If Martyn is known beyond the world of musicians, it's for his song "May You Never," which was recorded by Eric Clapton. Now, Martyn is making something of a comeback.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/100012253/100017636" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
NPR thanks our sponsors
Become an NPR sponsor