Kuinka: Tiny Desk Concert Each year we get thousands of submissions for our annual Tiny Desk contest. Seattle's Kuinka was one of last year's entrants. While they didn't win, we loved them so much we invited them to come play.

Kuinka: Tiny Desk Concert

Every year for the past four years we've had a Tiny Desk Contest (there's one going on right now), and though only one band can officially win the competition, thousands enter. I inevitably end up discovering so much wonderful music while going through the submissions.

Last year I came across Kuinka (coo-WINK-uh), a band from Seattle, and fell in love. So, when we held a Tiny Desk party in Seattle last May, with our partner station KEXP, we invited Kuinka (and other local bands) to play. Kuinka's live performance knocked me out even more than the creative video they'd submitted for the contest.

Since then, Brothers Zach and Nathan Hamer, along with Miranda Zickler and Jillian Walker, have come to D.C. for an official performance at the Tiny Desk, bringing with them their great harmonies and unique blend of energetic, string-band music with a dose of synth.

The songs are performed here on relatively tiny instruments, including a ukulele, a drum pad, a small synth, a mandolin and a banjo, along with an electric guitar. But the performance is fleshed out beautifully with rousing vocal harmonies.

All three tracks performed here are from Kuinka's 2017 EP Stay Up Late, and each one has its own charm. Make sure you stay to the end because "Mistakenly Brave" is the most stirring of the bunch.

Set List

  • "Curious Hands"
  • "Spaces"
  • "Mistakenly Brave"


Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Maia Stern, Beck Harlan, Dani Lyman; Editor: Beck Harlan; Production Assistant: Joshua Bote; Photo: Jenna Sterner/NPR.