music

Musician and author James McBride.
Flickr Photo/American Library Association (CC-BY-NC-ND)

As you listen to this episode of Speakers Forum, keep in mind that author James McBride gave this talk without any notes. In it he riffs on his family, career, books and life in America with thoughtful, humorous and inspiring improvisation.

New Seattle Opera General Director Aidan Lang
Facebook/Seattle Opera

The first sign that change has come to Seattle Opera is on the walls.

Many of the temporary partitions that for years divided the Opera's administrative office into a warren of cubicles are gone. The cramped room feels bigger, or at least roomier. There's space to breath.

New General Director Aidan Lang has performed a similar surgery on his corner office. Gone is predecessor Speight Jenkins' couch and stuffed animals. In its place are a neatly organized desk and a business-like round table and chairs.

Jon Osborne

“Welcome to the Stroke a Chord choir, my name is Tim Adams.”

Adams, a 49-year-old lawyer from Australia, was training for a marathon about four years ago when he suffered a massive stroke. He survived, but the stroke damaged the part of his brain that controls speech. The condition is known as aphasia.

But sometimes people who can't speak can sing, because the two acts are controlled by different parts of the brain. And that's how the Stroke a Chord choir in Melbourne can exist. 

Local musician Jamie Aaron, in a screenshot from one of her music videos.
YouTube

Ross Reynolds talks with local musician Jamie Aaron, who recently released her debut solo album "Velo Scene," about her inspirations.  Aaron will be playing January 23 at the Columbia City Theater. 

In the mid-20th century, whale populations were dwindling. More than 50,000 whales were killed each year by commercial whalers.

But then in the 1960s, a song — or rather, many songs — sparked a movement.

It started with some underwater equipment that, for the first time, captured the sound of humpback whales.

Composer-Poets

At his home in Vermont, biologist Roger Payne plays the audio that was discovered back then. He points out themes in the whales' song, and how they evolve over time.

KUOW Photo/Jenny Asarnow

When RadioActive's Noah Phillips Reardon was 13, her friend put Beat Connection's song "Silver Screen" on a mix tape. Noah played it over and over and over again. Four years later, she sat down with the Seattle band in KUOW's studio for this live performance and interview. 

Keyboard player and producer Reed Juenger explains the phrase he coined to describe today's iteration of the perennial artist's dilemma: Industrial Condo Sadness.

Ross Reynolds interviews Seattle jazz pianist, composer and bandleader Overton Berry about his long long career stretching back 50 years.

Berry played at clubs around the 1962 World’s Fair and performed during Seattle's funk explosion of the 1970s. 

File photo.
Flickr Photo/Lis Ferla (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks to Joel Beckerman about his new book, "The Sonic Boom: How Sound Transforms The Way We Think, Feel And Buy," and about his work as a composer and sound designer.

The people behind "Now I'm Fine," a performance that melds music, comedy and storytelling at On The Boards this week.
On The Boards

It was 2006, and Ahamlefule J. Oluo was not fine. 

"I was very young, in my early 20s," he says. "I had just gone through a divorce." 

His Nigerian father, a man he'd never met and only spoken with once on the telephone, had died before Oluo got to fulfill his wish of forging a relationship with him.

The Native American Music Awards recognize indigenous musicians from the U.S., Canada and Latin America. It is considered to be the Grammys of Native American music.

Morning Edition is celebrating its 35th anniversary this week.

Over the years, many stories, voices and sounds have come and gone on the show. But there has remained one constant — our theme music.

The Morning Edition theme was written by BJ Leiderman in 1979. At the time, he was a struggling college student who wrote jingles on the side. He gave a demo tape of his music to a friend who worked at NPR.

On that tape was one little musical phrase that eventually became the Morning Edition theme music.

Courtesy of Cey Adams

Ross Reynolds speaks with graphic artist Cey Adams about how Adams' career has paralleled the rise of hip hop and rap culture over the past 30 years. 

Eight years after his death, James Brown is suddenly everywhere.

Sleater-Kinney is back together, has a new album coming out Jan. 20 via Sub Pop records, and will go on tour early next year. The album is called No Cities to Love, and you can listen to the first single, "Bury Our Friends," right here.

Flickr Photo/Paul Elliott (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Forty years ago, busking, or playing music in the street for money, became legal in Seattle. Now, it's officially "Busking Week" to celebrate, and KUOW caught up with local musician Josh Philpott as he played guitar downtown.

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