Jazmyn Scott stands in front of a mural created for MOHAI by SPECSWIZARD who has been making art and beats in Seattle since 1978.
KUOW Photo/Jenna Montgomery

This week MOHAI opened a new show called The Legacy of Seattle Hip-Hop. The exhibit is not just about the history here, it’s also about how Seattle hip-hop fits into the larger culture.

For Daudi Abe, author of the upcoming book “Emerald Street: A History of Hip-Hop in Seattle 1979-2015,” it all began 36 years ago.

As part of a series called My Big Break, All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

A run-down bar in rural Alaska isn't any place for a kid. But when she was a child, that's where songwriter Jewel found her voice — on dingy stages at lumberjack joints.

Charles Corey of the University of Washington plays the chromelodeon, one of 57 instruments that composer Harry Partch created for his music.
KUOW Photo/Daniel Berman

The door to room 5 at the University of Washington School of Music is solid wood, nothing to distinguish it from other classrooms.

But inside this cramped space is a collection of unusual instruments, handcrafted to play one man’s music.

Hospitals have a free and powerful tool that they could use more often to help reduce the pain that surgery patients experience: music.

Scores of studies over the years have looked at the power of music to ease this kind of pain; an analysis published Wednesday in The Lancet that pulls all those findings together builds a strong case.

Macklemore's "Thrift Shop" made Amanda Wilde's list. Here  the Seattle artist performs at the Gorge Amphitheater in George, Washington.
Flickr photo/Dave Lichterman

Washington state is on the edge – the geographical edge of the continental United States and the cutting edge of music.

Say the name "Les Paul" to anybody born after 1960, and they'll probably think you're talking about an electric guitar. But the musician and inventor, who was born 100 years ago Tuesday, was also an accomplished jazz guitarist. Paul was never happier than when playing for a live audience.

Making Seattle Beats Since He Was 8 Years Old

Jun 1, 2015
Upendo Moore makes beats.
Courtesy of Upendo Moore

"Music is my life."

Upendo Moore finds it hard to go a day without wearing his headphones. He'll often put them on and make beats in class at Garfield High School, where he's a junior. 

Don't be fooled, though - Moore gets A's and B's. He is a very dedicated person, especially when it comes to music. "I wouldn't be able to live without it," he explained.

Dumi Maraire, the hip hop artist better known as Draze, will be performing at Northwest Folklife Festival this weekend.
Facebook Photo/Draze

Some of the roots of Seattle hip hop go back to Zimbabwe.

In 1968, Dumisani Maraire came to the University of Washington as an artist in residence to share the music of the Shona people. He was supposed to stay a year, but stayed and raised a family here. 

Now his two sons are active in Seattle’s hip hop scene: Tendai is half of Shabazz Palaces and Dumi Jr. is the hip hop artist “Draze.” Music was life for the Maraire family. 

Eli and Oliver Abrahamson at home in 2012.
KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

Memorial Day weekend in the Seattle area means barbecues, camping trips and the annual Northwest Folklife Festival.

This four-day festival of folk traditions convenes again Friday, May 22, at the Seattle Center. Attendees can experience everything from do-it-yourself drum circles to square dancing to a bevy of string bands.

Three years ago, we introduced audiences to the Oliver and Eli Abrahamson, two boys who got their musical start busking at Folklife. At the time, they and their parents performed together as the Smalltime String Band.

When Sam Swiller used hearing aids, his musical tastes ran to AC/DC and Nirvana — loud bands with lots of drums and bass. But after Swiller got a cochlear implant in 2005, he found that sort of music less appealing.

"I was getting pushed away from sounds I used to love," he says, "but also being more attracted to sounds that I never appreciated before." So he began listening to folk and alternative music, including the Icelandic singer Bjork.

It seemed as if he'd go on forever — and B.B. King was working right up until the end. It's what he loved to do: playing music, and fishing. Even late in life, living with diabetes, he spent about half the year on the road. King died Thursday night at home in Las Vegas. He was 89 years old.

Flickr Photo/Dr Case (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Moms have been canonized in song long before Taylor Swift’s “The Best Day,” The Backstreet Boys’ “The Perfect Fan” and Tupac Shakur’s “Dear Mama.”

During the Swing Era, these songs included the wistful WWII soldier’s ballad “Dear Mom” and Spike Jones and The City Slickers’ rendition of Milton Berle’s comical tune “Leave The Dishes In The Sink, Ma.”

Kurt Cobain, front man of the rock group Nirvana, is shown during a benefit concert at the Cow Palace in Daly City, Calif., April 9, 1993.
AP Photo/Sam Morris

Marcie Sillman talks with author and journalist Charles R. Cross about the new Kurt Cobain documentary, "Montage of Heck."