Liane Hansen speaks with banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck. The five-time Grammy winner has presented the instrument in jazz, rock, bluegrass and country settings. Now he's entered the classical world, playing everything from Bach to Beethoven to Chopin on a new cd, Perpetual Motion (Sony Classical SK 89610). Fleck also plays a selection for us from the studios of WPLN in Nashville.
Linda Wertheimer is joined in our performance studio by The Slackers, a ska band from New York City. The seven members are all Generation-Xers who are devoted to ska, a precursor to reggae born in 1950s Jamaica. The band gives a demonstration of the unique beat — or "off-beat" — that characterizes ska, and plays songs from the latest Slackers CD, called Wasted Days.
It's not not surprising that Rufus Wainwright would become a musician and singer. He is the son of singer-songwriters Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle (of the McGarrigle sisters). He has just released his second album, Poses.
Host Madeleine Brand talks with Asian fusion singer, Sheila Chandra, about her latest CD This Sentence is True. Chandra experiments with the voice as an instrument and blends vocal traditions from American gospel and English folk, among other styles.
In the 1980's, Ricky Skaggs was one of the top acts in country music with a dozen number one hit singles. But in 1996, he gave up his solo country career to return to his first love, bluegrass. Ricky Skaggs has a new CD called Big Mon a tribute to the father of bluegrass, Bill Monroe. The CD features Bill Monroe's songs performed by artists like John Fogerty, Bruce Hornsby and Joan Osborne. Ricky Skaggs work with the Dixie Chicks on his new CD was recently nominated for a Grammy award.
Listeners and reviewers have described them as having the voices of angels. Intense and haunting, they are four women who sing with no musical accompaniment and have been performing medieval chant long before it became popular again. Join guest host Melinda Penkava for a live performance and chat with the vocal quartet Anonymous Four.