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The group doesn't overwhelm so much as it wears listeners down with a subtle charm offensive.

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Cowboy Junkies

The venerable band sounds as poignant and tender as ever in this performance at the NPR offices.

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Jolie Holland

Holland plays songs with an unadorned tone that makes the voice and lyrics all the more touching.

The Soweto Gospel Choir performs a Tiny Desk Concert on February 14, 2011. Kainaz Amaria/NPR hide caption

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Soweto Gospel Choir

The group fuses the music of many Christian cultures, with nods to African songs of celebration.

Afro-Peruvian band Novalima performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Jan. 12, 2012. Doriane Raiman/NPR hide caption

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At the NPR offices, the band plays in a lean, funky configuration that gets the room grooving along.

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Caveman writes guitar-based pop songs full of space and melodies you can carry around in your head.

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Kathleen Edwards

The Canadian singer performs four sweet, warm, relatable songs that soothe as they nourish.

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So Percussion

The ensemble employs all kinds of toys, from an amplified cactus to a mug filled with spare change.

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First Aid Kit

Sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg make charming, folk-infused pop music that lulls and enchants.

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Kayhan Kalhor

A soulful master musician from Iran, Kalhor performs a beautiful improvisation at the NPR offices.