Angelique Kidjo From Live With Carnegie Hall (April 2020)

Angélique Kidjo is a force of nature. The globetrotting Beninese singer has won numerous Grammys, collaborated with Alicia Keys, David Byrne, Philip Glass, and Branford Marsalis, and curated a recent Perspectives series at Carnegie Hall. But the finale in that series was cancelled in March 2020 – it was supposed to celebrate both Kidjo's 60th birthday and the anniversary of the independence movement in West Africa. From the online "Live with Carnegie Hall" series recorded in April 2020, Angélique performs several songs, including "Afirika," her tribute to the African independence movement. Set list: "Afirika" | Written by Angélique Kidjo and Jean Hebrail | Spirit Two Music, Inc. obo Ayeile Music Inc. (ASCAP) "Malaika" | Written by Fadhili William | Figs D Music (BMI) / Sanga Music Inc (BMI) | By arrangement with Concord "Bemba Colora" | Written by José Claro Fumero | Peer International Corporation (BMI) Watch the whole episode of "Live With Carnegie Hall: Angélique Kidjo"

Pianist Neil Cowley Envelops Himself in Sound

"Noise gives me comfort," says BBC Jazz Award-winning pianist Neil Cowley, whose long and varied career ranges from early classical training to stints in triphop and funk bands, and his acoustic groove jazz piano trio (dissolved in 2018). Oh - and there was that turn as Adele's pianist on some of her biggest hits. Neil's new album Hall of Mirrors is a solo effort, for piano and lots of electronics – treatments, field recordings and other surprising textures enabled by contact microphones, televisions, and pickups. Surrounded by lots of gear, Neil Cowley plays some of these mesmerizing new solo pieces remotely from his home in London.

Cellist Alisa Weilerstein Shares the Optimistic Wisdom of J.S. Bach

Bach's unaccompanied cello suites are an essential rite of passage for all cellists, being "some of the most frequently performed and recognizable solo compositions ever written for cello" (Wikipedia.) Alisa Weilerstein discusses what she finds to be the therapeutic and hopeful nature of Bach and her approach to the cello suites while making music at home. Weilerstein offers two movements of the suites as part of her "36 days of Bach," where she shared one movement from each of the six suites, recorded with an iPad, for 36 days in a row. This was recorded in May, 2020, as part of a special "Live With Carnegie Hall" Series. Set list: J.S. Bach: Cello Suite No. 6, Prelude; J.S. Bach: Cello Suite No. 6, Sarabande Watch the entire session at Carnegie Hall's site

Femi Kuti: Social Conscience with a Beat (Archives)

Nigerian musician Femi Kuti famously hasn't listened to another artist's music in over a decade. It's tempting to think that's because he's the son of one of Nigeria's greatest musical minds, the late superstar Fela Kuti—the weight of history, expectations, etc. But Femi says he keeps his ears quiet as a way to get in touch with his own deepest creative impulses. Femi Kuti's latest release is a 2021 double-album, with his son, Made Kuti, called Legacy+, and Femi's half, Legacy+, Stop the Hate, "honors Fela in a traditionally fun, sharply political, and affirming way." (Bandcamp) (This session was recorded in 2016.) Set list: "Day by Day", "One People, One World", "Nothing to Show For It"

Guitarist/Singer Benjamin Booker's Potent Cocktail of Punk & Soul (Archives)

Fiery guitarist/songwriter Benjamin Booker's ecstatic, gritty, and soulful sounds channel punk rock & vintage soul, gospel and blues. He plays in-studio. (From the Archives, 2017.)

Guitarist/Singer Benjamin Booker's Potent Cocktail of Punk & Soul (Archives)

The Many Musical Paths of Guitarist Gary Lucas

Guitarist Gary Lucas has played with Captain Beefheart, written hit songs with Jeff Buckley and Joan Osborne, and covered everything from 1930s Chinese pop to classical music. He even played with the Yale Symphony Orchestra for the premiere of Leonard Bernstein's Mass in 1973. Lucas has just released The Essential Gary Lucas (Knitting Factory), a 40-year retrospective of his career of writing, arranging, performing and exploring music: blues and classical, psychedelic and world music, jazz, folk, pop, and rock, klezmer and avant-garde. Lucas joins us remotely to play some key highlights - from trippy pedal-assisted electric guitar freakouts to 1930's songs from Shanghai film industry using Delta blues tunings on acoustic guitar. Watch "Rise Up To Be": Watch "Will o' the Wisp": Watch Janacek's "On An Overgrown Path": Watch "Shanghai Medley":

Anais Mitchell: From Hadestown to Our Own Place and Time (From the Archives)

Singer/songwriter Anais Mitchell might be best known for her take on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, Hadestown. In 2012, she came out with a record called Young Man In America — an album full of mythical characters and stories from our own place and time. Mitchell plays songs from 'Young Man in America,' in-studio. (From the Archives, 2012) Set List: "Ships" "Tailor" "Annmarie"

Anais Mitchell: From Hadestown to Our Own Place and Time (From the Archives)

Dusty Psych-Soul and Fiery Groove From Black Pumas (Archives)

Both old and new, Austin-based band Black Pumas is centered around guitarist and producer Adrian Quesada and 27-year-old songwriter Eric Burton. Grammy Award-winning Quesada has played in Grupo Fantasma and Brownout, and accompanied artists from Prince to Daniel Johnston. Burton grew up in church and then got heavily involved in musical theater. He arrived in Austin in 2015 after busking his way across the country from Los Angeles, and connected with Quesada on the phone. From idea to session to self-titled debut album, they've been making music that is neither retro nor derivative, with influences ranging from Sam Cooke to Neil Young and Ghostface Killah. Now a touring machine, Black Pumas brings their skillful combination of folky strum, sticky funk, dusty psych, and old soul to an in-studio session. (From the Archives, 2019) - Caryn Havlik Watch the session here:

Lake Street Dive's Crafty Retro Pop-Soul

Lake Street Dive brings the retro 70's pop with R&B groove, combining light with dark in a crafty way. Formed in school at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, all five members can sing, and admit to being "a geeky bunch", and "a bunch of nerds." The band did a lot of co-writing on these songs - a new love for them, and for each tune, they carefully considered their arrangements, including deployment of vocoder. With topics that tackle climate change, and the inequalities between men and women – things that are obvious, but need to be restated, the full five-member band plays songs remotely from their new album, Obviously. Set List: "Same Old News," "Being a Woman," "Hypotheticals" Watch: "Same Old News" Watch: "Being a Woman"

Sanya N'Kanta On Precious Time With Family

Jamaican-born, North Carolina-based singer and songwriter Sanya N'Kanta has written songs about race and immigration, but his new EP is about the simple pleasures of family and home. N'Kanta started off in music producing hip hop, but he's adept at all kinds of styles, with an impressive vocal range. He is a self-taught musician and multi-instrumentalist, and a self-avowed "studio rat", who has already completed another album, due early summer 2021. Sanya N'Kanta moved to North Carolina a few years ago from Chicago, after a long bout with illness. Later, he'd discovered that there had been a carbon monoxide leak that had been slowly making him sick, in the basement studio of his place in Chicago. On his recent EP, These Are The Days, he concentrates on the joy of family and focuses on feeling good, clearly full of gratitude for life, place, family, and home. Sanya N'Kanta gets the whole band together to play some of these songs, rooted in classic rock sounds, remotely, from North Carolina. - Caryn Havlik Set list: "Waste My Time", "North Carolina", "Hold On" Watch "Waste My Time": Watch "North Carolina": Watch "Hold On":

Oceanator, Heavy-Grunge-Pop DIY Superhero

Singer/guitarist Elise Okusami, who records as Oceanator (supervillain or superhero?), came up in the DC punk scene, playing drums, guitar, and bass. Her songs, while rooted in a rockenroll and punk community garden, also play with synthy-pop and even 1950's sock hop feels. Some songs feature chuggy-aggressive guitar and a voice like a sweaty hug in a mosh pit from a friendly stranger who picks you up after you've been knocked down. Oceanator has been riding out the pandemic in Maryland, and joins us from there to nerd out a little about recording, hint at the next record, and play some of her songs.

Elizabeth And The Catapult Takes on Connection and Loneliness

Elizabeth Ziman is a classically-trained pianist, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist who leads the long-running indie band Elizabeth And The Catapult. Her new album is sincerely, e – a wry, poignant, affecting response to the pandemic, mostly centered around her home's piano (which happens to belong to Rob Moose, violinist, arranger, and a member of yMusic.) For the podcast, Ziman talks about seeking more human connection, and the double-edged sword of being able to interact with fans or her mom more than ever - yet all of that interaction is through screens held in her hands, and leaves a feeling of emptiness. She walks us through the process of digitally cloning herself as a multi-instrumentalist for another tune, and the need to make the record sound "as human as possible" with a feel "of her home", as well as collaborating from afar with longtime Elizabeth And The Catapult producer Dan Molad. With a raw, rough-around-the-edges feel to certain songs which may bring to mind Fiona Apple's recent Fetch the Bolt Cutters, and with a Parisian café intimacy in others (melodica plus clarinet and it's really not a stretch), Elizabeth Ziman showcases her "effective and affecting songwriting" (John Schaefer) and plays some of her new songs remotely. – Caryn Havlik Set list: "Together, Alone"; "Pop the Placebo"; "The Birds and the Bees"; "The Muse" Watch "Together, Alone": Watch "Pop the Placebo": Watch "The Birds and the Bees":

LNZNDRF (members of The National and Beirut) Is All About The Musical Journey

LNZNDRF is a band composed of Scott and Bryan Devendorf of The National, and Ben Lanz and Aaron Arntz of Beirut. They improvise their CAN-influenced drone-fuzz psych jams, then edit and structure them into long-form songs, with or without vocals. With pieces named for an isolated 1000 year-old tree and the changing climate and topography of the Xeric Steppe, or life partners against the world, the sounds might range from New Order's non-dance floor hits with Krautrock undertones which may be well-suited for long road trips. LNZNDRF plays some of these expansive musical journeys from their latest, LNZNDRF II, remotely, and dreams aloud about playing basements of classical music venues and forests in the after-times. - Caryn Havlik Set list: "The Xeric Steppe", "You Still Rip", "Brace Yourself" "The Xeric Steppe":

LNZNDRF (members of The National and Beirut) Is All About The Musical Journey

The Altin Gün Experience: Turkish-Folk Meets Psych-Funk-Rock

Amsterdam-based Altin Gün plays songs rooted in traditional Turkish folk tunes and Anatolian rock that have fallen down the rabbit hole of psychedelic funk, combining baglama/saz riffs, vocal melodies, fuzzy bass, wah-wah guitars and analogue organs. On their latest, Yol (Road), the band (whose name means "golden day", sort of like a rent party involving gold pieces) has expanded its retro sound world to include dreamy 80's synth-pop instruments like Omnichord, and vintage drum machines that ought to be wearing sequins. Altin Gün plays a set for us with their full sound and light set up.

Rokia Traoré: The Malian Singer Showcases 'Beautiful Africa' (Archives)

It's impossible not to be transported by Rokia Traoré's voice and unique adaptation of rock. The daughter of a diplomat, Traoré spent her childhood traveling to Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, and France, and her travels exposed her to jazz, classical, Indian music and rock. Those early transformative experiences especially translated into her 2013 release, Beautiful Africa. Produced by John Parish (Sparklehorse, PJ Harvey), the guitarist and singer considers this album specifically as rock, with a twist of Malian influence that can be seen in her use of traditional instruments. In addition, Traoré performs primarily in Bambara, a major Malian language, and in French. She plays in-studio, in this 2014 session from the Archives.

Rokia Traoré: The Malian Singer Showcases 'Beautiful Africa' (Archives)

Regal and Moody Brass-Led Songs By CARM

CARM is the work of CJ Camerieri, trumpeter and French horn player of the band yMusic, and the result of a nickname earned in the midwest. On CARM's self-titled debut, his original songs toe and test the boundary lines between jazz, classical, pop, and the timeless sounds of Ennio Morricone. There are both wordless songs focused on the trumpet, and collaborations with vocalists/songwriters Sufjan Stevens, Shara Nova, and Justin Vernon, to name a few. CARM featuring Trever Hagen on electronics and second trumpet, performs remotely with a lot of looping and processing and textures from the Pablo Center in Eau Claire, WI. Set list: "Soft Night," "Nowhere," "Slantwise" "Soft Night": "Nowhere": "Slantwise":

Grandbrothers, Messing Around With Grand Pianos Since 2012

Minimalism, classical music, and electronic dance music all come together in the pulsating music of the German-Swiss duo Grandbrothers. Using live processing of the piano (the insides and all) as its primary source, the duo creates an irresistible groove under the influence of electronic dance music. The Dusseldorf-based duo Grandbrothers' ("Messing around with grand pianos since 2012") latest record is All the Unknown, and they perform some of those songs, remotely. Set list: "Ezra Was Right," "What We See," "All the Unknown" "Ezra Was Right": "What We See": "All the Unknown":

Django Django's Hazy Art-Pop Is of a Modern Vintage

Django Django is a quartet of British art-psych rockers who make hazy jangly electro-art-pop that hearkens to earlier times – say the 1960's 70's, 80's - and the sounds of today. Their songs veer from lo-fi bedroom creations, three-part harmony-driven sweet crooner delights, to space-rock flavored sexy sax solos that tease deep house music bangers. While some tunes may find many uses for vintage drum machines, lots of their songs also seem to head to the dance floor, leading parallel lives as club remixes. Django Django talks vintage gear and plays music from the latest record, Glowing in the Dark, invoking Steely Dan, Hall & Oates, Lee Scratch Perry, and Brian Eno along the way. - Caryn Havlik Set list: "Love's Dart," "Glowing in the Dark," "Asking for More" "Glowing in the Dark": "Asking for More": "Love's Dart:"

Las Palabras Finds The Words In Charming Minimalistic Tunes

Las Palabras is the plural-named solo project of Rafael Cohen, of the dance-punk band !!! (pronounced chk chk chk). Cohen, a Brooklyn-based musician by way of Washington DC (his band El Guapo was on Dischord Records), studied with Anthony Braxton in school, and lived in Mexico City until he was 10. In Las Palabras, (a Spanish phrase for "The Words"), he taps into his earliest musical memories of Guatemalan marimbas, Peruvian waltzes, Brazilian bossa nova, salsa, and reconciles these sonics with the musician he has become (Cohen's statement, Brassland.org). He plays some of these charming and whimsical songs in his native language, remotely for the podcast. Set list: "Condesa," "Juan Pared," "Pescador" "Condesa": "Juan Pared" "Pescador" Web Extra: "Cayendo"

Aaron Lee Tasjan Is What Folk-Glam Might Sound Like

Ohio-born, now Nashville-based Aaron Lee Tasjan makes up songs and plays guitar, mixing up folk, glam rock, psychedelia, and trenchant social commentary on his newest album, Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan! Which may or may not be "autobiographical to a fault." He takes a deep dive into classic pop music and glam rock, deflects comparisons to Marc Bolan and Syd Barrett and Robbie Basho ("But not Elliott Smith?" - Producer's note), and tells tales of opening for American country and blues-rocker Ray Wylie Hubbard. Aaron Lee Tasjan speaks to the missed connections brought about by proximity at in-person shows, and plays some of his new songs remotely for the podcast. -Caryn Havlik Set list: "Up All Night," "Sunday Women," "Don't Overthink It" "Up All Night": "Sunday Women": "Don't Overthink It":

Songwriter Langhorne Slim Re-Discovers Creative Joy To Banish Anxiety, Addiction

After 15 years and 9 albums of roots-rockin' goodness, the songs dried up for Langhorne Slim. But after dealing with addiction and an anxiety disorder, the music returned, and he captures it on the new LP Strawberry Mansion. He joins us to discuss the album and plays some of those songs for us. Set list: Panic Attack, Sugar Plum, Last One Standing, Morning Prayer Panic Attack: Sugar Plum: Last One Standing: Morning Prayer:

Songwriter Langhorne Slim Re-Discovers Creative Joy To Banish Anxiety, Addiction

The Quartet ETHEL Champions New Music, At a Distance

The New York string quartet ETHEL has been championing new music from often surprising corners of the music world for years. For this edition of the podcast, ETHEL plays new works by Lebanese violinist and composer Layale Chaker, joyful and eyeball-singeing electronic music by composer Dan Friel, and a piece by and with rock star Todd Rundgren. Also, members of the quartet share an inside view of quartet life, and the challenges of making music and advancing creative projects while at a distance. The video performances and chat were part of a program presented by our ground floor performance studio, The Greene Space.Set list: Dan Friel: "Valedictorian," Layale Chaker: "Vigil IV," Todd Rundgren: "I Saw the Light" Watch the entire show:

Scottish Songwriter James Yorkston: Having Fun and Trying New Things

Scottish singer, songwriter, and occasional novelist James Yorkston is a natural storyteller and a member of the Yorkston/Thorne/Khan group, a power trio of sarangi, double bass, and guitar. His latest album is a spontaneous collaborative record with The Second Hand Orchestra, a group led by Swedish music producer and bandleader, Karl-Jonas Winqvist. Yorkston joins us remotely, along with members of the orchestra, to play songs from "The Wide Wide River."

Gary Clark Jr.: Reinvigorating The Blues (Archives)

In the time since Gary Clark Jr.'s 2012 major label debut, Blak And Blu, he's played with Mick Jagger and blues legend B.B. King for the President at the White House, opened for The Rolling Stones, and played with Alicia Keys and The Roots. He's since released both 2015's The Story of Sonny Boy Slim and the 2019 album, This Land, which ranges from Delta blues to dub reggae, Stax-style soul anthems and Prince-like epics. Gary Clark Jr. plays a scorching and gritty acoustic set in-studio, (Archives, 2013.)