Studio SessionsMusicians perform and discuss their work in the studios of NPR and NPR Music station partners. Live music sessions, interviews, and the best new songs in rock, pop, folk, classical, jazz, blues, urban, and world music. Watch video sessions.
Under the St. Vincent moniker, Annie Clark weaves together songs that are at once pristine and abrasive, demonstrating her prowess not only as a vocalist and guitar player, but also as a composer and arranger.
St. Vincent On World Cafe
Garrick Ohlsson won the International Chopin Competition in 1970, and he's been playing the composer's music ever since.
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In 1970, in Cold War-era Warsaw, an unknown American pianist named Garrick Ohlsson stunned the classical world by winning the International Chopin Competition. The composer's music has played a huge role in Ohlsson's career ever since. Hear him play Chopin in the WNYC studio.
Led by The Black Keys' drummer, Drummer pays homage to the soul of Northeastern Ohio on Feel Good Together. With jittery guitars, cool synths and reverb-laden vocals, the group has created a cathartic experience.
Drummer: Keeping The Black Keys' Beat
Bomba Estereo performs at KEXP.
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At KEXP, there was no point in resisting Bomba Estereo's infectious groove. Colombian cumbia and champeta rhythms are at the root of the band's sound, while vocalist Liliana Saumet brings wild movement and color to the forefront in this session.
Cheery melodies, colorful lyrics and acoustic arrangements have earned the folk-rock band favorable comparisons to Modest Mouse and The Shins. Led by guitarist, pianist and singer Eric Johnson, Fruit Bats' members have developed a reputation for forward-thinking music.
Pianist Marcus Roberts draws on his strong improvisational skills and a deep respect for swing and ragtime influences to create his signature style. On this episode of Piano Jazz, he sits down with guest host Christian McBride for a discussion of Jelly Roll Morton, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and the future of jazz.
The dark sounds of The Courage of Others didn't come to Midlake easily: The band spent a year writing and scrapping new material before it even began to work on the songs that would make up the new album. The result sounds isolated and withdrawn without devolving into desolation: A glimmer of optimism takes shape in the layered harmonies and intricately arranged guitars. Hear a World Cafe session.
Midlake: Intimate And Grandiose
Kings of Convenience.
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Making eiderdown-plush folk-pop songs buoyed by sweet harmonies, the Norwegian duo takes a surprisingly bold political stance on its recent album Declaration of Dependence. As its members' voices met in perfect confluence at WFUV, accompanied only by acoustic guitar, those in Studio-A quickly went from casual fans to happy acolytes.
In 1979, Hart formed the post-hardcore punk band Husker Du with Bob Mould, and became an underground icon in the decade that followed. Shortly after the group split in 1987, Hart began a solo career, recording five solo albums between 1988 and '99 (plus two more as leader of Nova Mob). His newest record, Hot Wax, just arrived after a 10-year hiatus.
While performing in Boston's intimate coffeehouse circuit, Paul built a strong reputation while opening for John Gorka and eventually signing with a label. Paul quit his day job in 1992, ready to throw himself into his music career. Since then, Paul has won 14 Boston Music Awards, published a book, played thousands of shows and released 16 albums. His latest is titled The Day After Everything Changed.
When the continent-straddling bluegrass group launches into the Grammy-nominated "Crystal Merchant," a meticulously crafted studio session springs to life. Once the band plays, it's easy to forget the technique involved, because the music is so engaging. Here, the group pulls off a remarkable performance for Folk Alley.
Devendra Banhart (second from left).
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Banhart's first album since 2007 (and first for a major label), What Will We Be stays true to the essence of the singer-songwriter's colorfully weird folk style. The disc's downtempo gentility is immediately apparent, but he still throws some wild dance-rock curveballs.
Devendra Banhart: Warm But Warped
Rhiannon Giddens (from left), Justin Robinson and Dom Flemons of Carolina Chocolate Drops.
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Songwriter Stephin Merritt describes his band's new album, Realism, as a "Whitman's Sampler" a la Judy Collins. With bandmate and manager Claudia Gonson, he performs at NPR, and talks about creating a variety show of folk music.