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.
Billing itself as New Zealand's "fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo a cappella-rap-funk-comedy duo," Flight of the Conchords has already begun to take the U.S. by storm. The duo now has an HBO series by the same name. Hear an interview and in-studio performance.
The National's intricate wordplay, catchy choruses and elegant arrangements have earned the indie-rock band comparisons to groups both stately and unpredictable. The band combines countrified folk and traditional rock, with a doomstruck grace that gets under the skin.
The daughter of a literature professor and blues enthusiast, Williams had been marked to write powerful songs about strong characters right from the beginning. Hear an interview and in-studio performance with the roots-rock songwriter from WFUV's Claudia Marshall.
Alternating between carefree indie-rock and melancholy synth-pop, the North Carolina husband-and-wife duo The Rosebuds writes some of the year's catchiest hooks and sing-along choruses. Hear an interview with the band, as well as an in-studio performance.
When the young members of the Tarantella Quartet aren't rehearsing string quartets, one might find them out on the dance floor. "I've taken classes in jazz, tap and ballet," says violist Celia Hatton, "but Latin dancing was calling my name and I haven't been able to stop!" The group plays two of Ervin Schulhoff's Five Pieces for String Quartet. This segment originally aired on Mar. 21, 2007
She's only 11, but Anna Lee's huge talents and ambition make her one of today's best preteen violinists. Although Lee says she worries about her short stature, she has no doubts about her ability to play the violin. She performs Zapateado, op. 23 by Sarasate.
Pianist Gabriela Montero fields songs sung over the telephone and creates her own improvisations around them. This week, hard work on a sailing team inspired a listener to sing the song "The Weight" by The Band.
At 25, singer-songwriter Devon Sproule has already released four albums, lived on a rural Virginia commune, toured with the Dave Matthews Band and drawn from musical influences as diverse as Frank Zappa and Bikini Kill. Hear an interview and in-studio performance.
Devon Sproule: Easygoing Folk and a Splash of Jazz
Dax Riggs' rollicking "Living Is Suicide" contemplates the futility of existence dressed up as a garage-rock anthem. Prickly and ghostly, occasionally plodding, occasionally amazing and deathly serious, it's one of the year's most delightfully forbidding songs.
Rock-music veterans whose careers span more than 25 years, The Smithereens' members combine the sounds of Buddy Holly and The Beatles with shades of metal and prog-rock. This year brings Meet the Smithereens!, an album covering Meet the Beatles in its entirety.
The Smithereens in Studio on World Cafe - 04/11/2007
With a soulful, bluesy voice that draws frequent comparisons to Bonnie Raitt and Janis Joplin, Grace Potter and her band The Nocturnals appear to be on the cusp of wider exposure. Hear an interview and in-studio performance by the Vermont-based singer-songwriter.
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals in-studio on World Café - 08/24/2007
Ever since co-founding the L.A. punk band X 30 years ago, Doe has been considered one of the most influential figures in alternative rock. In X, he brought a country and blues sensibility to an otherwise abrasive scene, and he's continued in that vein as a solo artist.
An Etude is basically a practice piece, designed to improve a certain aspect of technique. But the Etudes Claude Debussy composed go far beyond that. Pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard unfolds the layers of colorful detail in Debussy's Etudes, in the studio with host Fred Child.
Both Carlo Corrieri and Tim Callobre have loved the guitar from early childhood—Carlo was six when a family friend gave him a small guitar, and Tim begged for lessons at the age of four. The teen guitarists join forces on two traditional pieces, "Le Rossignol," transcribed by Russ and Parkening and "El Paño moruno," arranged by Len Williams. This segment originally aired Feb. 7, 2007.