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Zhang Junmin (second from right) and his band perform the Lao Qiang music special in northwest China's Shaanxi province. The character behind the stage means "drama"; Lao Qiang music used to accompany puppet plays and includes a strong storytelling component.

Read A Secret Folk Music Holds Firm In China's Badlands

July 19, 2013 – The nation's hardscrabble northwest is home to a centuries-old musical tradition called Lao Qiang.


Tupac Shakur on the set of Poetic Justice.

Watch 20 Years Ago, Tupac Broke Through

July 19, 2013 – In January of 1993, Shakur was 21 years old and about to drop his contradictory second album.


Cellist Angelique Montes, resident advisor Melissa Willams and clarinetist Tom Jeon arrive at Purchase College, State University of New York to begin their NYO-USA adventure.

Read Carnegie Hall's Barnstorming Youth Movement

July 17, 2013 – What does a new national symphony for teenagers mean to classical music — and to Carnegie Hall?

Jason Isbell was previously a member of Drive-By Truckers. His solo albums include Sirens of the Ditch and Here We Rest.

Listen Jason Isbell: The Fresh Air Interview

July 17, 2013 – On his new album, written after he got sober, Isbell finds a new level of emotional honesty.


Pusha T performs during the 2013 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, California.

Watch Pusha T's New York Doubleheader

July 17, 2013 – The Virginia rapper is building a solo career on a formidable reputation and fiery performances.

Sylvester's 1978 album Step II resulted in a couple of smash singles, "Dance (Disco Heat)" and "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)."

Watch Sylvester: 'Mighty Real' Disco Star Deserves A Modern Spotlight

July 16, 2013 – The disco star was not only a pioneer, but also someone with whom the times have finally caught up.


Touch Me I'm A Local Institution: Mudhoney plays from more than 500 feet above Seattle, on the roof of the Space Needle, as part of a set celebrating Sub Pop's Silver Jubilee broadcast by KEXP

Read Sub Pop Celebrates 25 Years Of Artisanal Music

July 15, 2013 – Sub Pop has managed to walk a fine line between corporate and grass roots, monolithic and local.

Cedric Mangum (left) leads the shout band as a junior member looks on.

Watch Shout Bands Stir Up Tubular Fervor In Charlotte

July 15, 2013 – No one knows exactly how trombones ended up in church, but it's an intensely vocal sound.


Amy Beach, with her 1896 "Gaelic" Symphony, was among America's early symphonic composers.

Read Tracing The Spirit Of The Early American Symphony

July 15, 2013 – Historian Joseph Horowitz guides a tour through the American symphony in its formative years.

John Paul White (left) and Joy Williams of The Civil Wars. The duo's second album will be released on August 6.

Watch Watch The Civil Wars Live Up To Their Name In A Behind-The-Scenes Video

July 15, 2013 – The Civil Wars' new album crackles with tension, as does the duo's fractured working relationship.

Ruby and The Romantics' hit song "Our Day Will Come" wasn't necessarily political — but it resonated with listeners' feelings about the civil rights movement in 1963.

Watch A Racial Divide, Diminished: What Was On The Radio In 1963

July 10, 2013 – Though pop charts in '63 were full of feel-good songs, white listeners started tuning into R&B.


Some of the 200 guitarists who took part in Rhys Chatham's A Crimson Grail at Lincoln Center's Out of Doors Festival in August 2009.

Read Electric Guitars Amp Up New Classical Music

July 10, 2013 – From minimalists to maximalists, composers have found new uses for the electric guitar.

Jay-Z (left) and Timbaland (who produced most of the album) at the release party for Magna Carta Holy Grail July 3 in Brooklyn.

Watch Jay-Z's 'Magna Carta' Is A Fait Accompli

July 9, 2013 – Even on cruise control, Jay-Z is revolutionary by his very existence.

Palsandae, a South Korean troupe, whose wild, very loud music is at times not far removed from the ecstatic free-playing of Sun Ra's Arkestra or the Art Ensemble of Chicago.

Watch A Music Festival Grows In The Rainforest

July 9, 2013 – Staged spectacularly in Malaysian Borneo, the festival raises consciousness and some questions.

The Benedict Music Tent in Aspen.

Read Music Is The Mission, Not Money

July 8, 2013 – The president and CEO of the Aspen Music Festival, Alan Fletcher, delivers some trenchant words.

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