Soundcheck Soundcheck, hosted by John Schaefer, is WNYCs daily talk show about music. Covering all musical genres, Soundcheck celebrates the musical passions of performers, composers, critics, and the public radio audience. Listeners enjoy intimate conversations with and live performances by leading artists from around New York and around the globe.


From WNYC Radio

Soundcheck, hosted by John Schaefer, is WNYCs daily talk show about music. Covering all musical genres, Soundcheck celebrates the musical passions of performers, composers, critics, and the public radio audience. Listeners enjoy intimate conversations with and live performances by leading artists from around New York and around the globe.More from Soundcheck »

Most Recent Episodes

Ava Rocha's Forward-Looking Brazilian Pop

Brazilian musician Ava Rocha has quickly become a leading figure in Brazil's post-Tropicalia movement and is blazing ahead making inventive Brazilian pop. Her new album Trança means Braid, and it weaves together strands of rock, funk, post-punk abrasiveness, fuzzy and playful electronica, Afro and Amazonian grooves, and Brazilian styles like percussion-heavy samba, smooth bossa nova, and tropicália. She and her husband, the Brazilian guitarist and songwriter Negro Leo, often write and play together, and today they're playing a few stripped down songs for us. Watch the live session:

Trixie Whitley, with Marc Ribot, from the New York Guitar Festival

Hear the Belgian-born guitarist/songwriter Trixie Whitley, from the 2017 New York Guitar Festival, presented in The Greene Space. Her songs draw from her favorite styles – punk, electronica, R & B, and feel something like quietly watching the sun rise after a long, adventure-filled night. She was joined onstage by Marc Ribot for many of these tunes. -Caryn Havlik Set list: "Oh the Joy" "Fear for Permanence""Long Time Coming" "Fourth Corner" "Hotter | Burn"

Fantastic Negrito's Fiery Blues with a Punk Attitude

Self-described "lifelong hustler," Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz, is better known by his stage name Fantastic Negrito, and makes "black roots music for everyone" - blues with a giant undercurrent of punkass. Fantastic Negrito's songs tell of a hard life with some complete do-overs and a few near-death experiences. Coming from a crossroads with optional deals, his music might be informed just as much by California funk-punk (Bad Brains and Fishbone), hip hop, thrash metal, punk, Prince and his self-taught ways - specifically Dirty Mind (according to this Guardian interview) and the blues records he'd heard as a kid, visiting family in southern Virginia. Lately, his tunes have been placed and licensed for TV and film series (Empire, Hand of God, and in the case of his song "Working Poor," Bernie Sanders' political campaign.) But back in the early 2000's he had co-founded a record label, which grew into Oakland-based multimedia creative collective, the Blackball Universe cooperative, fed and financed with the publishing royalties of his own musical alter egos Chocolate Butterfly, Me and This Japanese Guy and Blood Sugar X. Fantastic Negrito's latest record, Please Don't Be Dead, references his own near-fatal car crash, and is driven in part by political and social issues in these broken and fractured times. The record is full of heavy riffs, cheeky songwriting, playful musicianship, and a whole lot of surviving. It brings Fantastic Negrito to the studio to play some of these tunes. -by Caryn Havlik Watch the full session here: Watch the individual songs below:

The Folk-Rock of Passenger, From Busking to 'Runaway" Hit-Maker

English singer-songwriter and folk-rocker Mike Rosenberg, formerly of the band Passenger, might be best known for his song "Let Her Go." Originally from Brighton & Hove, Rosenberg busked his way through England and Australia in the early 2000's and worked with a five-piece band until 2009, when he decided to continue under that name as a solo artist. He's played giant stages and summer festivals in Europe, opening for old friend Ed Sheeran. Mike Rosenberg, aka Passenger, joins us to play new songs from his forthcoming record, Runaway, in-studio. Watch the full session here:

Tropical Electronica 'DreamBow' by Balún

Brooklyn-based via San Juan band Balún came from DIY electrified bedroom pop that embraced punk on the island of Puerto Rico. Now, with an even wider range of influences, (please see their ethnomusicological, technological, punk, hardcore, and New York Philharmonic credentials) their "dreambow" tropical electronica harnesses Caribbean rhythms, grime/jungle/IDM, Puerto Rican folk music, shoegaze and is a playfully-informed take on global pop music. Balún joins us in the studio to play music from their brand-new record, Prisma Tropical. Watch the session here:

Jupiter & Okwess Spread Positivity Via Funk and Dance Grooves

From the Democratic Republic of the Congo comes Jupiter & Okwess, percussion-driven socially-conscious funky guitar-buoyed dance music. Led by "Jupiter" Bokondji, the self-dubbed "rebel general", incites partying but with positive messaging for the long-term, to work towards Congo's recovery from the kleptocracy of previous generations, to respect and protect women, combat injustice, and embrace unity. The highly danceable tunes represent not only Congolese pop but also other regional and local traditions combined with American and British funk, R&B and rockenroll (NY Times) - all delivered with irresistible and electrifying energy from a band who knows how to whoop it up on a dance floor. Jupiter & Okwess perform some of their latest tunes from the record, Kin Sonic, in-studio. Watch the complete session here:

Junun Featuring Shye Ben Tzur and The Rajasthan Express

Junun is a musical collaboration between India-based Israeli composer Shye Ben Tzur, a group of Indian musicians called The Rajasthan Express, and composer (and Radiohead's guitarist) Jonny Greenwood. The music is in the ecstatic Sufi music style known as qawwali (made famous by the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan), and it's devotional music—sometimes in Urdu, Hebrew, and Hindi, and is built on a percussion-dense and brass enriched groove with everything to love. The band has been opening for Radiohead on their current tour, but they join us to perform some of these ecstatic tunes in-studio. Watch the full session here:

Fluid, Borderless Solo Guitar by Marisa Anderson

Portland, Oregon-based Marisa Anderson channels the history of the guitar and stretches the boundaries of tradition. From spacious melancholic laments to transcendent minimalism, Anderson is coming from a place between country, blues, and drone. On her latest record, Cloud Corner, she touches on Tuareg scales from "desert blues," the finger-style picking of so-called "American Primitive," and chiming sad cowboy chords, while continuously moving and traveling on her guitar. She joins us in the studio to play songs from Cloud Corner. Watch the session here:

Orquesta Akokán Channels Golden Era of Cuban Mambo

Orquesta Akokán bursts and flows with the spirit of dance orchestras of the 1940's and 1950's of Havana on their debut record of nine tunes - all sparkling, blazing, soulful, and meticulously arranged and composed mambo originals. Together, singer José "Pepito" Gómez, producer Jacob Plasse, and arranger Michael Eckroth, along with Cuba's finest players, young and old, recorded the record live to tape in a three-day session at the legendary and revered Estudios Areito in Cuba – where percussion and piano absolutely pop, and the brilliance of brass is magnified. The recording is the first Spanish-language venture for Daptone Records, (the folks who brought you Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Charles Bradley, and other timeless artists) whose old-school techniques and attention to sonic detail ensure a living, breathing warmth. The big band collective Orquesta Akokán joins us to play some of these Cuban Mambo (and rumba, cha-cha and jazzy) tunes in-studio. Watch the session here:

Monsieur Periné Blends Afro-Colombian Styles with Vintage Swing, Live In-Studio

The Bogotá-based Monsieur Periné has taken the the Latin music world by storm since their start in 2008. The eight piece band takes the music of their native Columbia, and infuses it with sweet swing sensibilities of the 1920's and a good dash of modern pop styles. Their upbeat and lively arrangements are engaging, detailed, and above all such a joy to move to. Their excellent musicianship and energy has not gone unnoticed; they were given a Latin Grammy award as 2015's best new artist. They have not slowed down since then and recently released the wildly popular Bailar Contigo. They perform live in-studio. Watch here:

Monsieur Periné Blends Afro-Colombian Styles with Vintage Swing, Live In-Studio

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