Music

Music Interviews
5:40 pm
Sat May 16, 2015

In HBO's 'Bessie,' Queen Latifah Stars As Empress Of The Blues

Queen Latifah plays blues singer Bessie Smith in the HBO movie Bessie.
Frank Masi Courtesy of HBO

Originally published on Sat May 16, 2015 7:16 pm

A Mississippi car accident in 1937 cut short the life of Bessie Smith.

She was just 43 years old. But she'd already established her legacy as "Empress of the Blues" — a pioneering American performer who demanded respect and equal pay in a world dominated by men and controlled by whites.

She'd also achieved a degree of infamy for her boozing, her brawling and her sexual appetites.

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Music Interviews
8:46 am
Sat May 16, 2015

In 'Rhythm,' Bhi Bhiman's Music Isn't Limited By National Borders

Originally published on Sat May 16, 2015 11:23 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Bhi Bhiman grew up in St. Louis. He played baseball. He listened to Michael Jackson. He watched "Back To The Future." He grew interested in music, and today, Bhi Bhiman writes and sings songs that have an international character.

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All Songs Considered
8:03 am
Sat May 16, 2015

The Good Listener: Can I Deflate The Beach Balls At Concerts?

One letter-writer's nightmare scenario.
Shaun Lowe iStockphoto.com

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the package shipped Next Day Air but addressed to the guy who moved out of our house eight years ago is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives. This week: deep thoughts on beach balls at concerts.

Margaret H.W. writes via email: "Why do music festivals seem to hand out beach balls to drunk, high 19-year-olds? If I would like to listen to music WITHOUT beach balls, what are my anti-beach-ball options? CAN I DEFLATE THE BEACH BALLS?

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The Record
5:35 am
Sat May 16, 2015

B.B. King And The Majesty Of The Blues

B.B. King performs at the Newport Jazz Festival at Yankee Stadium in 1972 (the festival temporarily relocated to New York in the 1970s).
David Redfern Getty Images

Originally published on Sat May 16, 2015 10:42 am

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Music Interviews
2:03 am
Sat May 16, 2015

1,000 Songs From Holocaust Survivors Archived

Ben Stonehill and his sons Lennox Lee Stonehill and Bob Stonehill, taken in New York, circa 1948.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat May 16, 2015 11:23 am

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Music Interviews
3:04 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

B.B. King On Life, Plantation Living And His 'Droopy-Drawers' Sound

B.B King in 1996.
David Redfern Redferns

Originally published on Sat May 16, 2015 7:56 am

B.B. King, the legendary blues musician, died Thursday after spending much of the month in hospice care. He was 89.

Born Riley B. King in Indianola, Miss., in 1925, King began his life on a plantation, where he was born the son of a sharecropper. Speaking to Fresh Air's Terry Gross in 1996, King remembered an early life without telephones, electricity or any outside opportunities. "A lot of the people, including myself in the early years, just thought this was it, you raise your families and you get old, you die, your families take over, kids, what have you," King said.

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Music Interviews
2:03 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

Australia's Hiatus Kaiyote Carves Out A Crazy Path

Hiatus Kaiyote.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri May 15, 2015 6:58 pm

For more interviews from NPR Music, click here.

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All Songs Considered
1:29 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

Drum Fill Friday, With Purple's Hanna Brewer

Purple's Hanna Brewer laying down the party-rock beats.
Roger Ho Courtesy of the artist

This week's Drum Fill Friday comes from Guest Quizmaster Hanna Brewer, drummer for the Texas party-rock group Purple. The group is known for its rowdy live shows and healthy sense of humor, and is currently on tour for its debut album, (409).

Brewer, who also sings for Purple, shared a range of her own influences for this week's puzzler, from hip-hop to reggae, rock and pop. I'd give it three drum sticks out of five for difficulty. As always, good luck, careful listeners!

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All Songs Considered
11:38 am
Fri May 15, 2015

All Songs +1: How Music Can Really Save Your Life

While they're not splitting open a person's chest and massaging their heart back to life, musicians and the songs they make may actually be saving lives.

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The Two-Way
3:47 am
Fri May 15, 2015

B.B. King, Legendary Blues Guitarist, Dies At 89

B.B. King performs at Bluesfest Music Festival in Byron Bay, Australia, in 2011.
Mark Metcalfe Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 15, 2015 2:11 pm

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.

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