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Australian Chamber Orchestra

The adventurous ensemble has been widely praised for its risk-taking attitude. Gathered around Bob Boilen's desk, a stripped-down incarnation of the group plays music by Ravel, then unpacks several Egyptian instruments for an original composition.

Zee Avi. Frannie Kelley/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Frannie Kelley/NPR

Zee Avi

The success of Malaysian-born singer-songwriter Zee Avi is an increasingly familiar but noteworthy story: Avi was discovered after she posted a few songs on YouTube. Within two months, she was signed to release her self-titled debut. Here in this intimate Tiny Desk Concert, Avi sings three hushed lullabies, including what has become one of her signature songs: a cover of Morrissey's "First of the Gang."

Bowerbirds' captivating set of handcrafted songs has a distinctively sparse, harmonious sound. Bob Boilen/NPR hide caption

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Bowerbirds

Bowerbirds' handcrafted songs creak and swell like wooden floorboards in an old house. With acoustic guitar, accordion and violin, the band's pastoral folk music has a distinctively spare yet harmonious sound. Hear the group, fronted by Phil Moore and Beth Tacular, perform a captivating Tiny Desk Concert in the NPR Music offices.

Frannie Kelley/NPR

K'naan

Though his appearance at the NPR Music office qualifies as the first-ever hip-hop Tiny Desk Concert, Somali-born rapper K'naan isn't one to adhere to a single genre.

Reid Mangan

Christopher O'Riley: Reliving A Love For Ravel

Ravel's piano suite Le Tombeau de Couperin harkens back to old music and old friends. Pianist Christopher O'Riley renews his love for the piece, which captivated him as a young conservatory student. Watch him perform the opening "Prelude."

John Vanderslice

Vanderslice is a songwriter's songwriter. His music, a beautifully finessed mix of acoustic instruments, analog drum machines and digital textures, is invariably thoughtful, carefully crafted and affecting. He's prolific, too: Vanderslice has released an album nearly every year this decade, and his latest (Romanian Names) is his most inspired so far. See him perform acoustic versions of his newest songs in this Tiny Desk Concert.

Katie Hayes/NPR

Raphael Saadiq

Looking sharp in his tailored suit, the Grammy-nominated R&B artist performed three acoustic interpretations of his soul-inspired tunes. He was joined by guitarist Rob Bacon in this intimate performance at Bob Boilen's desk.

Coburn Dukehart/NPR

Telekinesis

Reduced to a duo for this charming session in the NPR Music offices, Telekinesis is all heart: Without the insistent crunch of electric guitars or drums, the band's performance radiates sweetly awkward warmth. After opening with the unreleased "Plankton," the abbreviated Telekinesis showcases three gorgeous songs from its debut: "Coast of Carolina," "I Saw Lightning" and "Rust."