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Seattle Music Partners students provides free instruction and instruments to students at low-income schools. The hope is to level the playing field at Washington Middle School and Garfield High, which have renowned music programs.
Courtesy of Seattle Music Partners

On Thursday afternoons at Bailey Gatzert Elementary School, music lessons are everywhere you look. 

Woodwinds twittering in the breezeways. Violas plucking out pizzicato notes in the kindergarten room. And trumpets blaring in this tutoring space, where fourth-grader William Si Luong wraps up a tune with his tutor Arnie Ness. 

Naomi Wachira performs her song 'African Girl' at the Northwest Folklife Festival at Seattle Center on Sunday, May 29, 2016.
KUOW photo/Gil Aegerter

Naomi Wachira writes in one of her songs that she’s “trying to defy everything they said of us, we who have chocolate skin.”

Those words in “African Girl” speak to the clash of culture and identity that Wachira experienced after she moved to the U.S. at age 19.


Looking for a musically sensitive, responsive bandmate? Maybe you should try out Shimon.

So much about the band SHEL comes down to family. The group's name is an acronym for the four members — Sarah, Hannah, Eva and Liza Holbrook — who happen to be sisters. They grew up in Fort Collins, Colo. and were home-schooled by their mother, but it was their dad who really pushed his daughters to learn music and singing together.

Marco Collins, second from left, with Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic of Nirvana  when Nevermind was released. Far left, Susie Tennant Geffen, DGC rep for Seattle (and one of Kurt's longtime friends).
Courtesy of Marco Collins

At the height of his fame as a Seattle DJ, Marco Collins had one rule: be in bed by noon. That would give him enough time to rest after nights of drinking and drugs to be ready for his evening radio show.

Collins was a DJ for 107.7 The End, the city’s leading alternative music station in the 90s. A new documentary called, “The Glamour and the Squalor,” tells his story.

Woodie Guthrie, 1943
Public Domain

Jeannie Yandel speaks with Greg Vandy about his new book, "26 Songs in 30 Days: Woody Guthrie's Columbia River Songs and the Planned Promise Land in the Pacific Northwest." 

Fly Moon Royalty at the 2014 Treefort Music Festival.
Flickr Photo/Treeford Music Fest (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/mp78aK

Bill Radke speaks with legendary Seattle DJ Marco Collins about indie soul band Fly Moon Royalty. The band will be playing with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra at Benaroya Hall on May 13. 

Bill Radke talks with music critics Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot about the pivotal year of 1991 and how Nirvana's album "Nevermind" made Seattle the musical epicenter of the country. DeRogatis and Kot are co-hosts of Sound Opinions, which airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on KUOW.

Prince carefully guarded his public image in life, and now some Minnesota lawmakers are trying to ensure that his estate can continue doing so after his death.

A Minnesota House committee on Tuesday began debating a measure that would create a so-called Right of Publicity in the state, which would clarify the rights of artists to control the commercial use of their names, likenesses, images, voices and signatures, and to extend those protections even after they die.

Jazz bassist Buddy Catlett.
Screenshot from YouTube

Born May 13, 1933, jazz bassist Buddy Catlett was raised in Seattle where he came up through the Jackson Street scene.

Nicknamed Bumblebee, he played behind singers Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday, as well as with the bands of Horace Henderson, Count Basie and Louis Armstrong, among others.

Singer Hollis Wong-Wear.
Courtesy of Hollis Wong-Wear

Bill Radke talks to Hollis Wong-Wear, lead singer of the R&B trio Flavr Blue, about why she believes music and art can be an agent of change. 

The "monoculture" has supposedly been dead for at least a decade, but it ain't necessarily so. World-devouring pop music phenomena do still exist, but today that universe is made entirely of Beyoncé — a Michael Jackson/Madonna/Prince figure whom everyone who cares about popular culture is supposed to grapple with and have big thoughts about.

Portland's Music Community Remembers Prince

Apr 21, 2016

Three years ago, on April 21, 2013, Prince played the Roseland Theater in downtown Portland.

For those in attendance, it was a life changing moment, a musical revelation and a night they would never forget.

Exactly three years later to the day, on April 21, 2016, Prince Rogers Nelson was gone. Prince, one of the most talented musicians the world has ever known, was found dead at his Minneapolis home.

Harriet Tubman, 1911.
Public Domain

Bill Radke speaks with Ijeoma Oluo about her article in The Guardian in which she argues against placing Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.  She also shares her reaction to the news that Prince passed away Thursday at the age of 57. 

Seattle band Tacocat performs at Mississippi Studios in Portland, Oregon on July 17, 2015.
Flickr Photo/darklenzes (CC BY SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/wbRtLb

Bill Radke speaks with Emily Nokes from Seattle-based feminist punk band Tacocat about their decision to play a concert in Durham, North Carolina, to support the LGBTQ community.

Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam canceled their concerts after North Carolina passed a law that curbed legal protections for gay and transgender citizens.

What Song Changed Your Life?

Apr 18, 2016
Bob Boilen, Host of NPR's 'All Songs Considered'
Courtesy of NPR/Maggie Starbard

Jeannie Yandel speaks with Bob Boilen, host and creator of NPR's All Songs Considered, about his new book, "Your Song Changed My Life."

The romance of vinyl records.
Flickr Photo/Jonas Smith (CC BY NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/qtdqN5

Kim Malcolm talks to Martin Feveyear, music producer and mixer for Jupiter Recording Studio in Seattle, about why vinyl records have withstood the rise of digital musical.

Why Would More Than 500 Artists Sample The Same Song?

Apr 10, 2016

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode What Is Original?

Bruce Springsteen has canceled his show scheduled for Sunday in North Carolina as a show of "solidarity" with the people and businesses protesting the state's recently passed HB2 law, which requires that transgender people only use bathrooms that correspond with their sex at birth.

Seattle band Tacocat performs at Mississippi Studios in Portland, Oregon on July 17, 2015.
Flickr Photo/darklenzes (CC BY SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/wbRtLb

Bill Radke speaks with legendary Seattle DJ Marco Collins about Tacocat, a feminist punk band in Seattle. 

Margo Price knows hard times; her music practically aches with them. In the first song on her new album, she yearns to "turn back the cruel hands of time."

Over the past few years, pop songs have come to play so consistently in advertising that there are smartphone apps designed to listen and help you name that tune, and the word "sellout" has lost a lot of its bite.

As HÆLOS, Arthur Delaney, Dom Goldsmith and Lotti Benardout craft an undeniable, and ultimately danceable, blend of atmospheric synth-rock, spare electro-pop and elemental trip-hop, elevated by the trio's shared vocals.

Following last spring's Earth Not Above EP, the band is about to return with Full Circle, an album full of earthy yet emotive songs. Here's "Dust."

Set List

  • "Dust"

Watch HÆLOS' full performance on KEXP's YouTube channel.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis perform at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington in 2011.
Flickr Photo/Dave Lichterman (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1JzkR7A

Just a few weeks ago we and everybody else were talking about Macklemore's new song, "White Privilege II." It's uncomfortable on purpose, almost nine minutes grappling with Black Lives Matter movement, white privilege and racial guilt. Is Macklemore's young, white audience tuning in or heading for the exits? RadioActive youth producer Nina Tran talked to fan Rachel Davey on Friday night at Macklemore and Ryan Lewis show on Capitol Hill.

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