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Jesse Bonn, guitarist for the Maldives, performs with the band at the 2010 Ballard Seafood Fest.
Flickr Photo/Joe Mabel (CC BY SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/8i8p2F

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle legendary DJ Marco Collins about three local bands that go beyond the city's image of grunge music. 

Clockwise from top, left: Kaela Jackson (senior, Garfield), Julia Tanner (sophomore, Roosevelt), Kat Pompermayer (sophomore, Northwest), Ferdos al-Haider (freshman, Franklin), Beatriz Souza (senior, Interlake), Eliana Glass (senior, Roosevelt)
KUOW Photo/Daniel Berman

Essentially Ellington, a high school jazz festival in New York City, has released the names of 15 bands that will attend the contest finals in New York in May.

Three local high schools will be at Lincoln Center: Garfield High School and Roosevelt High School, both from Seattle, and Mount Si High School, of Snoqualmie. Those three bands also made the finals in 2015.

Clockwise from top, left: Colby Lamson-Gordon (junior, Lakeside), Susana Davidson (soph., Garfield), Bell Thompson (soph., Garfield), Lauren Martinez (Garfield), Kelly Barr-Clingan (director), Maia Nelson (sophomore, Garfield)
KUOW Photo/Daniel Berman

Kelly Barr Clingan is a woman on a mission.

That mission is music, specifically jazz.

Barr Clingan directs the bands program at Seattle’s Washington Middle School. She also plays trombone in a Mexican band. And she teaches classes for a nonprofit organization called Seattle JazzED.

I'm not sure there's ever been a record release as confounding as the one for Kanye West's The Life Of Pablo. He's changed its title and track listing several times in as many weeks, and even up until the very moment I'm writing this, it's not 100 percent certain what will be on that final album, whenever and wherever it comes out.

Beyoncé is one of a kind — the kind of star who can drop a surprise music video and see much of the Internet and social media instantly explode.

Advice For Macklemore: Pass The Mic

Feb 3, 2016
Gyasi Ross, activist and attorney, responded to Macklemore's White Privilege II with his own song.
Courtesy of Gyasi Ross

Seattle rapper Macklemore is the latest in a long line of white liberals who chose to play the white savior role and speak for brown-skinned people instead of providing the platform for them to speak for themselves.

The Slants
Courtesy of The Slants

In 2007 Portland bassist Simon Tam wanted to start a band that celebrates his Asian heritage, and he wanted a name that captured that pride and at the same time takes back a common racial slur.

Carrie Brownstein at The Neptune Theatre.
Courtesy of Jason Tang Photography

Musician, actor and writer Carrie Brownstein co-founded the band Sleater-Kinney and currently stars in the television series Portlandia and Transparent. She spoke with novelist Maria Semple about her new memoir, “Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl.”

Anna Tatistcheff recorded their conversation at STG’s Neptune Theatre on Nov. 6, 2015.

Please note, this talk contains unedited language of an adult nature.

Web Exclusive: Listen to the full, unedited event below

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

Bill Radke talks with musician and composer Ahamefule J. Oluo, one of several Seattle-based artists who collaborated on the new Macklemore and Ryan Lewis track, "White Privilege II."

Jonathan Nichols got a new phone number when he was in law school in Seattle. He told The Seattle Times he wanted an easy number to remember, with a local area code to help him in a job search.

Paul Guppy, Bill Radke, Erica Barnett and John Roderick.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Why would lottery riches ruin other people's lives, but not yours? Is President Barack Obama right that we’re too partisan?

Farewell, tipping. Farewell, David Bowie. Hello, The Long Winters' John Roderick,  journalist Erica “Crank” Barnett, Washington Policy Center's Paul Guppy and host Bill Radke on Week In Review.

David Bowie, shooting his video for Rebel Rebel in AVRO's TopPop (Dutch television show) in 1974.
Wikipedia Photo/AVRO - Beeld En Geluid (CC BY SA 3.0)/ http://bit.ly/1W13Zbk

Bill Radke speaks with Kurt Reighly, DJ El Toro on KEXP, about David Bowe's impact on the Seattle music scene. Bowie died Sunday at the age of 69. 

Legendary rock musician David Bowie, who influenced generations of musicians and fans, died on Sunday, two days after his 69th birthday.

Rock Icon David Bowie Dies At 69

Jan 11, 2016

Iconic rock musician David Bowie has died of cancer at age 69. The news was announced in a statement on Bowie's social media sites:

"David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18-month battle with cancer," it read.

Bowie's death was confirmed by his son, Duncan Jones, who tweeted, "Very sorry and sad to say it's true. I'll be offline for a while. Love to all."

Seattle's new cultural district designation made way for this large mural on a building in the Pike/Pine corridor.
KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

Is the live music scene under siege in Seattle? Writer Charles Cross thinks so.

Cross told KUOW’s Bill Radke that in the city that nurtured Nirvana, today’s bands are having trouble finding places to rehearse and play.

High Voltage Music co-owner Chris Lomba in his backyard shop in north Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

When Chris Lomba and his partners decided to open a music repair shop, they chose a storefront near the corner of Pike and Broadway on the edge of Seattle's Pike/Pine corridor.

"I've always liked the neighborhood," says Lomba. "Throw a rock and you're gonna hit a musician!"

There's a place in Mexico City that's filled with thousands of musical instruments from all over Latin America — some of them more than 100 years old. It's not a museum or music school. It's an apartment. Actually, the collection's grown so much, it now fills two apartments. It's the result of a lifelong passion for the instruments and their history, as well as a determination to share them.

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the #NPRreads hashtag. Each weekend, we highlight some of the best stories.

Do You Get A Grade For It? Unusual Class Offerings In Seattle

Dec 23, 2015
The hosts of this podcast, Hassan Abdi and Gerardo Ramos.
KUOW Photo/Jenny Asarnow

RadioActive introduces two Seattle-area classes that offer new and unusual training to students. Ardo Hersi covers a hip hop residency program at the EMP Museum featuring Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Kendra Hanna reports on a flirting class offered by the University of Washington's Experimental College. 

'White Christmas' composer Irving Berlin.
Wikimedia Commons

The most popular Christmas carol in America stands apart from the others in a number of ways.

An Asian-American rock-band with an eyebrow-raising name has scored a big victory in the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

The court ruled that their name — The Slants — is private speech and therefore protected by the First Amendment. The government, the court writes, has no business trying to regulate it by denying the band a trademark.

How much would you pay to see Adele in concert? Tickets to her sold-out Seattle shows in July are selling on StubHub for as much as $8,500.

Fans may be frustrated, but it’s perfectly legal.

It seems everybody loves Beyoncé. But not everyone can say her name.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was asked about the performer Wednesday by an audience member at a town hall in Iowa: "If you could choose, would you rather be the president or Beyoncé?"

Frank Sinatra was born a hundred years ago today. Even if you think his music just isn't your music, it's hard to get through life without uttering what I'll call a "Frank Phrase" from one of his songs at telling times in our lives.

"So set 'em up, Joe ... Fly me to the moon ... I've got you under my skin ... My kind of town ... I did it my way ... I want to wake up in a city that doesn't sleep ..." And that wry elegy for lost loves and lonely nights: "So make it one for my baby, and one more for the road."

KEXP DJ John Richards began the 'Mom Show' a decade ago after his mother died of cancer.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

When KEXP DJ John Richards lost his mom to lung cancer, he went on the air, played songs that he played at her funeral and talked about what he was going through.

A decade later, Richards still does that on the anniversary of his mom's death. But now listeners get involved too.

Wayne Horvitz is one of those musicians who does almost everything — from leading a small group of improvisers to conducting a big band, and from composing for symphony orchestra to running a nightclub. The Seattle-based keyboard player turned 60 this year, and he's celebrating by adding even more to his schedule: playing birthday concerts on both coasts.

Tenor Marty Mullin at Cantare Vocal Ensemble rehearsal.
KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

If you Google “Puget Sound community chorales,” more than 100 groups pop up, from small Eastern European folk ensembles to the 250-member Northwest Girls’ Choir.

John Luther Adams
MELANIE BURFORD FOR NPR MUSIC

A Grammy-winning recording by the Seattle Symphony has caught Taylor Swift’s ear: The pop star just donated $50,000 to the symphony after hearing its performance of “Become Ocean.”

Swift wrote to symphony music director Ludovic Morlot praising the composition and reminiscing about going to her local symphony with her grandmother.

Macklemore's latest effort with producer Ryan Lewis is "Kevin," a funk-flavored tirade against the ravages of addiction, with a particularly scathing indictment against overprescription of medication. The Seattle duo is joined by soul singer Leon Bridges for the hook. "Doctor please give me a dose of the American dream," Bridges implores. "Put down the pen and look in my eyes. We're in the waiting room and something ain't right."

A portrait of composer Claude Debussy painted by Marcel  Baschet, 1884.
Public Domain

Pop music has always  borrowed liberally from classical themes: think Al Jolson’s 1920 hit “Avalon” lifting Puccini’s opera “Tosca,” 1970s disco sensation "A Fifth of Beethoven” or Vitamin C’s more modern sampling of Pachelbel’s “Canon in D Major.”

But it's a two-way street! In fact, the first borrowing might have taken place on the classical side.  

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