Music

Yo-Yo Ma opened his recent Tiny Desk concert with the gently rolling "Prelude" from J. S. Bach's Unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 1. It's music Ma has lived with nearly all of his life.

"Believe it or not, this was the very first piece of music I started on the cello when I was four years old," he told the crowd, tightly squeezed between the office furniture on NPR's fourth floor.

Aretha Franklin is dead and we still, 50 years after she made her artistic and commercial breakthrough, can scarcely comprehend the still-shocking power of her singing.

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NOEL KING, HOST:

It is overwhelming and profound to imagine just how many molecules and how many mountains Aretha Franklin has moved with her music. From the deeply personal, private moments of listening she has summoned in every individual listener, to the church choirs who have sung her arrangements, to the collectives that have raised their voices to the gospel of her songs, and stretching all the way up to the divine.

The Minnesota Orchestra will play one of its most important gigs of the year this month — at the Regina Mundi Catholic Church in Soweto, South Africa. In doing so, it will become the first major U.S. orchestra to visit that city. The performance is part of a year of celebrations recognizing the centennial of Nelson Mandela's birth. It makes sense for the orchestra to play in the community central to the freedom struggle which brought down apartheid.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Today we are honoring and remembering this voice.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I NEVER LOVED A MAN (THE WAY I LOVE YOU)")

ARETHA FRANKLIN: (Singing) I tell you; I ain't never, I ain't never, no, no, loved a man the way that I love you.

Biographer On Aretha Franklin's Legacy

Aug 16, 2018

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NOEL KING, HOST:

We knew her as the Queen of Soul because that's what Aretha Franklin's music did. It spoke to the soul.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "RESPECT")

Just the mention of Aretha Franklin's name conjures up the memory of her undeniable voice. And with a career spanning more than five decades, touching gospel, R&B and pop, Franklin has earned her place in the history books and in the hearts of music fans.

Though the Detroit-raised powerhouse is known for chart-topping hits like "Respect," "Think" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," true fans know there's just as much beauty in the Franklin songs with a couple of fewer spins in the jukebox.

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.


"Lift Every Voice and Sing" is a song many African-Americans know from school or church. But if you didn't hear it there, you may know it from one of a few landmark performances.

The history of jazz in the 20th century is well known, but the course of the genre in the 21st century is still being charted. According to Nate Chinen, music critic for NPR Music and WBGO, jazz in the new millennium has enjoyed a type of Renaissance thanks to some key players.

Updated, 1:58 p.m., Aug. 10.

Mitski's Many Lives

Aug 10, 2018

Mitski Miyawaki says she's lived many different lives in her one body. On her new album, she's taking on the spirit of a charismatic, swaggering cowboy.

Advisory: This is a live stream. Language is unpredictable.

A love song about wildflowers by a would-be militant turned folk singer is the hit song of the summer on both sides of the India-Pakistan border in Kashmir, a Himalayan valley that's been the site of fierce fighting and territorial disputes for decades.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm David Greene. And this is one of Aerosmith's early songs.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MAJOR BARBARA")

AEROSMITH: (Singing) Major Barbara sits in the fields...

This week, two individuals became the focus of global celebration following an unlikely and joyous confluence of circumstances.

The viral story went that two elderly men escaped their care facility to attend a metal festival in northern Germany (or, as one headline put it: "Elderly Men Escape Retirement Home to Go RAGE!!").

Except they weren't, and they didn't.

HGTV is the winning bidder for the Studio City, Calif., house featured in the sitcom The Brady Bunch, with the cable network's parent company promising to "restore the home to its 1970s glory."

The CEO of Discovery Inc., which recently completed acquisition of HGTV, announced the news on a corporate earnings call.

Rest easy, friends. WHQR's locally programmed, produced and hosted classical music has been here from the station's beginning, and continues today on 91.3 HD2, 92.7, 102.3, and now 96.7! So, some of you may be wondering about the recent absence on weekday mornings of Pat Marriott, Bob Workmon and Jemila Ericson.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm David Greene. Country star Keith Urban was trying to buy food at a gas station, but...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHO WOULDN'T WANNA BE ME")

KEITH URBAN: (Singing) I got no money in my pockets.

GREENE: Why not, Keith?

Demi Lovato, who was hospitalized in late July following an unspecified overdose, has issued a statement addressing her ongoing struggles with addiction.

Fania Records has a singular place in music history, mostly because it practically gave birth to the genre that became known as salsa. The musicians, singers, composers and arrangers who made music for the label will tell you that the song forms already existed — guaracha, son, mambo, cha cha cha, merengue — but what they did was give it a 1970s New York City swagger.

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