music | KUOW News and Information

music

We watched more than 6,000 videos. Ten judges weighed in. Now, the 2017 Tiny Desk Contest has a winner.

Seattle loves swing, as featured in a sidewalk sculpture on Capitol Hill.
Flickr Photo/ Steve Bernacki (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/bQqca2

Amanda Wilde speaks with historian Feliks Banel, a self-described huge fan of live local radio, about The Swing Years' place in Seattle radio history. 

music concert
FLICKR PHOTO/Avarty Photos (CC BY-SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/ffNvCc

Bill Radke speaks with Jonathan Zwickel, senior editor of City Arts magazine about local music you should be listening to. Zwickel puts out a monthly list of local artists for City Arts called "Attractive Singles."

Is Thunderpussy too offensive to trademark?

Feb 13, 2017

Bill Radke talks to Molly Sides and Leah Julius of the Seattle band Thunderpussy and their struggle to trademark a name that the federal government has deemed too offensive. A case currently in the Supreme Court will determine if their name, among others, will be given trademark status. The members discuss why a trademark is so important, the misconceptions about their name and why they struggle with other names, such as the Washington Redskins, that would also benefit from this ruling.  

My Twitter feed is still roiling. As I write this, it's been mere moments since my friends and colleagues (and a few assorted celebrities) started taking a break from praising the 2017 Grammys' most vital and viral performances — A Tribe Called Quest, Beyoncé, The Time, a bonkers Lady Gaga-Metallica mashup — to fume about Adele's sweep of the night's top three prizes.

Updated at 3 p.m. ET

Al Jarreau, a versatile vocalist who defied categorization for decades, died Sunday morning at the age of 76. Earlier this week, Jarreau had been hospitalized in Los Angeles "due to exhaustion," according to his official Facebook page.

It's perhaps the unlikeliest symphony orchestra in the world — an all-female ensemble from a strict Muslim society where it's often dangerous for young women to step outside of their homes unescorted. It's called Zohra — the name of a music goddess in Persian literature, according to its founder.

And they were performing at an unlikely venue — a hall attached to Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, a bombed-out ruin in western Berlin commemorating the horrors of World War II. It's just steps from where Berliners experienced their first ISIS-linked terror attack six weeks ago.

Does protest music matter anymore?

Jan 19, 2017
music concert
FLICKR PHOTO/Avarty Photos (CC BY-SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/ffNvCc

Bill Radke speaks with music critics Charles Cross and Gina Arnold about what makes a good protest song. They also discussed how protest music has changed over the decades. 

Wimps singer/ guitarist Rachel Ratner
KUOW Photos / David Hyde

Donald Trump’s promise to build a wall along the Mexico border has inspired plenty of protest. Including a song by Portland-based musician Kyle Craft, “Before the Wall."

“It's just one big question,” Craft said, asking “what does that wall represent, not only to people inside of it, but outside of it?”


On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with the late Ruth Brown, the original queen of rhythm and blues.

Brown’s career took her from the Apollo theatre to Broadway. She was the most prolific African American female R&B vocalist of the '50's, surpassing Dinah Washington for a time.

Quinton Morris, violin professor.
Courtesy of Quinton Morris

Quinton Morris is a violin virtuoso who wants to give back. The Seattle University teacher grew up in Renton and fondly remembers the support he got from the community. He says that encouragement is important for people of color who want to be classical musicians. Morris told Jamala Henderson how he was often discouraged.  

Blues singer Courtney Weaver performs in the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Kenneth Fiaui had always been jealous of his girlfriend. He was even jealous of her 4-month-old cat.

On the night he shot her, Courtney Weaver was preparing to go out with some friends for the evening. Fiaui didn’t want her to go.

British pop star George Michael, who died over the weekend at the age of 53, was famous for his sex appeal, his songwriting gifts and his enduring voice — and for his personal life, which was treated as tabloid fodder.

But not everything he did made headlines.

Since Michael's death, charities and fans have revealed that the iconic singer was also a dedicated philanthropist — making large donations, and working hard to keep them out of the public eye.

Jeannie Yandel talks to KUOW's Amanda Wilde about three local musicians from the 20th century who changed their industry through technology and innovation. 

Photos by Joan Marcus

David Byrne, rock star with the Talking Heads and member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, knew the stories of Imelda Marcos's thousands of pairs of shoes. But when he wrote a musical play about her life he left out the fact most people know about Marcos. Why did he chose her as the subject of his play?

The 32nd class of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, announced by the organization Tuesday, include its first solo rapper, giants of alternative and album rock, and a stalwart protest singer. Also being inducted are a pair of extremely influential producers, one with his signature band and one by himself.

Seven KUOW women participated in creating Lucia Neare's wail in Seattle on election night.
KUOW Photo/Robert Jacobs-Springer

Last week on KUOW, you heard the beautiful and heartbreaking story of Lucia Neare.

Neare was an orphan who became an artist who specializes in large-scale public performances. After learning the election results last month, she became despondent. 

The BOTS Act of 2016 is now on its way to President Obama's desk, after both houses of Congress approved the legislation that seeks to widen access to online ticket sales and foil scalpers who try to corner the market.

The ban applies to ticket sales for any public event that can be attended by 200 or more people; it targets software that routinely defeats attempts by venues to try to limit the number of tickets one buyer can purchase.

Brandi Carlile among the music collection at the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

"I am really upset with Trump voters right now," local legend Brandi Carlile told KUOW’s Bill Radke. "I’m a little concerned as to why they are [Trump supporters], but I am listening."

Lars Ulrich is the son of a Danish tennis pro — and he might have actually had a promising career in that sport himself. But at age 9, he saw something that would change his direction forever. He was at a tennis tournament in Copenhagen with his dad, and the hard rock band Deep Purple had invited all of the players at the tournament to their show.

Popular music, like every creative form, has produced iconoclasts and idols, whose charisma intersects with the historical moment to carry them into a singular space of greatness. Leonard Cohen was not that kind of star. He was the other kind, arguably more necessary: the companionable genius, compelled by the need to track the muse through the hallways of the everyday, to understand how profane existence can be shot through with profundity.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the CMA Awards, show producers worked a truly impressive number of performers into the Nov. 2 telecast, utilizing everything from moving medleys to photo montages and mentions of legends seated in the audience.

Kurt B. Reighley and Mark Mitchell together at the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Matt Martin

Bill Radke speaks with Mark Mitchell and his partner Kurt B. Reighley about why they decided to move to Tucson after living in Seattle for 30 years.  Mitchell is a costume designer and artist, Reighley is DJ El Toro on KEXP.

Larry Mizzell, Jr. at the 2010 Pop Conference.
Wikimedia Photo/Joe Mabel (http://bit.ly/2dj7Fcp)

This summer City Arts Magazine did a cover story on Seattle's Larry Mizell Jr.

The story put Mizell at the center of what the author called a black renaissance in Seattle.

Bob Dylan has won the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature. The prolific musician is the first Nobel winner to have forged a career primarily as a singer-songwriter. What's more, he's also the first American to have won the prize in more than two decades. Not since novelist Toni Morrison won in 1993 has an American claimed the prize.

Musician Yirim Seck.
YouTube

Seattle musician Yirim Seck straddles two cultures. It’s been a tricky balancing act.

Seck’s father is Senegalese; his mother is from Arkansas. They met and fell in love in New York, then moved to Seattle.


When Olympia was run by (musical) women

Sep 21, 2016
The band Sleater-Kinney is one of the most famous products of the 90s punk scene in Olympia, Washington.
Flickr Photo/peta_azak (CC BY ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/t3x8LT

Bill Radke speaks with Len Balli about the history of punk music in Olympia. Balli is the curator of a new exhibit at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma that displays called "A Revolution You Can Dance To." 

Don Buchla believed in the humanity of wires. The modular synth pioneer created an instrument like none other, one that relied on intuition, learning and, most importantly, human touch. He died September 14 after a long battle with cancer at the age of 79.

Pages