Performing at the NPR Music offices, the inventive folk-music veteran bookends a four-song set with her hits "Luka" and "Tom's Diner." But she also plays two terrific new songs, from album called Tales From the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles, that sound as sharp as anything she's done.
This three-song set features a 2014 tune called "Greens and Blues," a song yet to make it onto a Pixies release called "Silver Snail," and 1989's "Monkey Gone to Heaven," which melted hearts and seared minds with a new memory from a time long past.
Without her backing band, the expressive, powerful singer previews songs from her new album, Burn Your Fire for No Witness. Watch her and you'll see calm in her eyes; listen to her and you'll sense torment in her heart.
The pianist builds R&B with old-school values: singers who don't need software, live improvising, hand-built beats. They're jazz aesthetics, essentially — readily evident when members of his Grammy-winning Experiment band jam with singer Marsha Ambrosius.
Sisters Lily and Madeleine Jurkiewicz aren't the youngest musicians ever to play the Tiny Desk, but they come pretty close. Their music — a restrained, homespun mix of folk and pop with undeniably sweet harmonies — certainly ranks among the loveliest to grace the NPR Music offices.
La Santa Cecilia spreads joy every time its members plug in to do a show. They do it one dance step at a time, with cumbias, corridos, elegant mambos and plain old rock 'n' roll. The video here provides just a hint of the band's dynamic live shows, albeit a spectacular one.
Her voice feels old, but it's got power that's young and vibrant. In fact, Christine Salem sings songs that are old: They're work songs and chants from the maloya tradition on Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean.
The rapper, singer, poet and songwriter performs three tracks from this year's Parts of Speech with the aid of a full band. With backing vocals from Aby Wolf, Dessa overcame a bad cold to nail this forceful, whip-smart set.