Choc Quib Town, a hip-hop act from Colombia's Pacific coast, mixes in marimba and other traditional instruments with turntables and keyboards, creating a world beat-infused sound. In a session from KUT, the joy they bring to their craft is evident and infectious.
Though only 22, Stratton already has a considerable repertoire under his belt as he gets to work on his third album. Here, the singer-songwriter plays intimate, delicate folk music in a live session for WNYC's Spinning on Air. The performance as a whole is available to stream, and Stratton has also opted to release the live set as a free downloadable EP.
The young Polish pianist Rafal Blechacz has cultivated a deep connection to Chopin's music. Five years ago, at age 20, he swept all the awards at the International Chopin competition. Host Fred Child finds out how he did it, and asks him to play a Chopin Mazurka or two.
What better way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day than with an Irish jig? The members of Solas are all American, but they play Celtic folk music with authority. In a session from Folk Alley, the quintet performs an instrumental from The Turning Tide, and two songs featuring vocalist Mairead Phelan.
Adam Neiman lets his fingers do the talking, tearing into the dramatic Ballade No. 4 by Chopin. The young American pianist says the music tells a story that's both ferocious and tender. Neiman also plays a piece of his own in NPR's studio.
Because of her rigorous touring schedule, Spalding decided to give her band the afternoon off and showed up at KPLU's studio all by herself, with just her bass and her voice. As you'll hear, that was enough.
Brains, beauty and beats collide in the music of Nigerian-born newcomer Nneka. A small woman with an afro bigger than most, the singer was warm and engaging from the start of one of her first U.S. radio appearances.
In 1970, in Cold War-era Warsaw, an unknown American pianist named Garrick Ohlsson stunned the classical world by winning the International Chopin Competition. The composer's music has played a huge role in Ohlsson's career ever since. Hear him play Chopin in the WNYC studio.
At KEXP, there was no point in resisting Bomba Estereo's infectious groove. Colombian cumbia and champeta rhythms are at the root of the band's sound, while vocalist Liliana Saumet brings wild movement and color to the forefront in this session.
Making eiderdown-plush folk-pop songs buoyed by sweet harmonies, the Norwegian duo takes a surprisingly bold political stance on its recent album Declaration of Dependence. As its members' voices met in perfect confluence at WFUV, accompanied only by acoustic guitar, those in Studio-A quickly went from casual fans to happy acolytes.
When the continent-straddling bluegrass group launches into the Grammy-nominated "Crystal Merchant," a meticulously crafted studio session springs to life. Once the band plays, it's easy to forget the technique involved, because the music is so engaging. Here, the group pulls off a remarkable performance for Folk Alley.
Plenty of musicians can talk about Fender Stratocasters, righteous tube amps and fancy soundboards. But the real gear geeks are heavy into microphones. Before Sigur Ros frontman Jonsi Birgisson performed two acoustic songs from his upcoming album Go, WNYC's engineer showed him the station's impressive collection of vintage mics.