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It's hard to know what will happen when the string quartet Brooklyn Rider starts playing. Yes, these four guys love to play Debussy and Brahms, but they're just as likely to team up with a singer-songwriter or a Kurdish kamancheh player. Or write their own music. So we weren't sure what they'd do when they stopped by the NPR Music offices to play a Tiny Desk Concert. What we got was a bracing sample of their visceral fire.
Violist and From the Top alum Lauren Chipman enjoys erasing the borders between classical and pop music. She plays in a string quartet and an indie rock band, teaches classical music to kids and writes film scores. Watch a video of her story.
When Arcuragi came to the NPR Music offices to play a Tiny Desk Concert, many of us hadn't heard his music. After hearing him play three songs, many walked away dazzled by his voice. Arcuragi's voice is powerful, but without unnecessary melodrama.
The Transportation Security Administration says passengers flying into the United States from 14 countries will be subject to enhanced screening techniques, such as body scans and pat-downs. But on Monday, many international airports did not appear to be following the U.S. requests.
The adventurous ensemble has been widely praised for its risk-taking attitude. Gathered around Bob Boilen's desk, a stripped-down incarnation of the group plays music by Ravel, then unpacks several Egyptian instruments for an original composition.
The success of Malaysian-born singer-songwriter Zee Avi is an increasingly familiar but noteworthy story: Avi was discovered after she posted a few songs on YouTube. Within two months, she was signed to release her self-titled debut. Here in this intimate Tiny Desk Concert, Avi sings three hushed lullabies, including what has become one of her signature songs: a cover of Morrissey's "First of the Gang."
Ravel's piano suite Le Tombeau de Couperin harkens back to old music and old friends. Pianist Christopher O'Riley renews his love for the piece, which captivated him as a young conservatory student. Watch him perform the opening "Prelude."
Vanderslice is a songwriter's songwriter. His music, a beautifully finessed mix of acoustic instruments, analog drum machines and digital textures, is invariably thoughtful, carefully crafted and affecting. He's prolific, too: Vanderslice has released an album nearly every year this decade, and his latest (Romanian Names) is his most inspired so far. See him perform acoustic versions of his newest songs in this Tiny Desk Concert.
Looking sharp in his tailored suit, the Grammy-nominated R&B artist performed three acoustic interpretations of his soul-inspired tunes. He was joined by guitarist Rob Bacon in this intimate performance at Bob Boilen's desk.