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Music

Heavy Rotation: Our Panel's 10 Favorite Songs Of The Year (So Far)

Friday, June 27, 2014

NPR Music asked public radio hosts to choose highlights from the first half of 2014. These are their picks. Stream songs by Hawk House, Jack White, The Orwells, Zara McFarlane and more.

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Chasing The Elusive 'Quality' In Online Education

Friday, June 27, 2014

One in 3 college students takes an online class, but how do we know what they are getting out of it?

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Soundcheck

My World Cup Vacation: U.S. Loss Feels Like A Win

Friday, June 27, 2014

The United States Men's National Team may have lost 1-0 to Germany, but the Americans are still heading to the knockout round of 16, with a little help from Portugal's win over Ghana in the Group of Death. Soundcheck host John Schaefer breaks down what it all means, and suggests a new, cooler, nickname for the USMNT.

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Drum Fill Friday, With Mike Kinsella Of Owls

Friday, June 27, 2014

Our weekly puzzler for careful listeners: This week featuring fills hand-selected by drummer Mike Kinsella. Hear the fills (and some drum intros) and match them to the song.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Activists at Work

Friday, June 27, 2014

The musician Salman Ahmad is known as the "Bono of Pakistan.” He discusses his current music and his activism in Pakistan, where he’s helping to bring the polio vaccine to people in rural areas. Plus: a round-up of local news, including the officially defunct soda ban, labor deals and the reunification of a group of independent Democrats with their fellow party members; homeless people in Los Angeles can now legally live in their cars; and an anonymous Kenyan LGBT-rights activist discusses his work.

New Sounds

"Glory to Women"

Friday, June 27, 2014

For this New Sounds, listen to several groundbreaking female musicians from around the world.  There's music from Malian kora player, Madina N'Diaye, who has opened the way to a new phenomenon in Mali: women’s access to musical instruments traditionally reserved for men. In her song, “Moussow,” the lyrics translate as: “They think that women are incapable of doing all the things they do.  But I, Madina, play the Kora...Glory to women, glory to the women of Mali.”  We'll hear another tune from her album, "Bimogow."

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Soundcheck

Blind Boys Of Alabama; The Forgotten Life of Harry Nilsson; Mutual Benefit

Friday, June 27, 2014

In this episode: Since the Blind Boys Of Alabama was founded in the 1930s, the group has been a gospel institution. All these years later -- and especially with the recent album I'll Find A Way -- the soulful singers continue to not only honor traditional gospel music, but push the envelope and expand the definition of the genre.

Then: In the early 1970s, Harry Nilsson was one of the most famous musicians on the planet -- due in part to songs like "Coconut" and Everybody's Talkin'." Yet by the time he died in 1994 at the age of 52, most people had forgotten the reclusive singer's name -- even if they never forgot his timeless songs. Writer and radio host Alyn Shipton chronicled his enigmatic story in a new book, Nilsson: The Life Of A Singer-Songwriter.

And: Mutual Benefit is the stage name of songwriter Jordan Lee and a rotating group of collaborators. Lee is an Ohio native, who has spent time in Austin, Boston and now Brooklyn, and the light touch at the heart of Mutual Benefit derives from Lee's restless travels across the country. Hear Mutual Benefit play songs from the resulting 2013 record, Love's Crushing Diamond

Watch Mutual Benefit perform in the Soundcheck studio below:

This is an encore episode of Soundcheck. 

Studio 360

1914 Blues Challenge: Marc Anthony Thompson Picks a Winner(s)

Friday, June 27, 2014

For our latest listener challenge, we asked you to record your versions of one of 1914’s hit songs, “Yellow Dog Blues” by W.C. Handy — and you came through. Now our guest judge Marc Anthony Thompson (a.k.a. Chocolate Genius) reveals two winners.

Listen to the top entries

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Soundcheck

Everybody's Talkin' About Harry Nilsson

Friday, June 27, 2014

Writer and radio host Alyn Shipton chronicles the life story of enigmatic singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson.

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Soundcheck

Gig Alert: Benyoro

Friday, June 27, 2014

Six-piece Malian afro-pop band hits Meridian 23. Download 'Kaira.'

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Soundcheck

Watch: Mutual Benefit, Live On Soundcheck

Friday, June 27, 2014

Watch Mutual Benefit perform songs from its 2013 album Love's Crushing Diamond live in the Soundcheck studio.

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Soundcheck

Blind Boys Of Alabama: Pushing The Boundaries Of Gospel

Friday, June 27, 2014

Hear Blind Boys of Alabama perform in the Soundcheck studio.

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Latin Roots: New Music From Cuba

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Billboard's Judy Cantor-Navas joins World Cafe to discuss how the end of a cultural embargo has made music better in Cuba and beyond.

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All Things Considered

'Teenie' Hodges, A Sculptor Of Al Green's Sultry Sound, Passes Away

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A key architect of Memphis soul passed away this week. Guitarist and songwriter Mabon "Teenie" Hodges helped create the smooth, sultry sound made famous by singer Al Green.

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Miguel Zenón And Dafnis Prieto On JazzSet

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Saxophonist Miguel Zenón (from Puerto Rico) and drummer Dafnis Prieto (from Cuba) have both resettled in the U.S., and are reworking the music of their islands in studios and on bandstands worldwide.

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Julius Rudel, Longtime Director Of New York City Opera, Dies At 93

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The conductor served as musical and administrative head of New York's second-largest opera company at a time when American talent was flowering.

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The Jonathan Channel

Mary Rodgers, Broadway Composer & Author, Dies at 83

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Mary Rodgers was born into a musical family. The daughter of composer Richard Rodgers, she composed several musicals including: Once Upon a Mattress and The Madwoman of Central Park West. Also an accomplished writer, she authored several children's books, most notably Freaky Friday. She was 83 (January 11,1931 - June 26, 2014).

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A Catchy Synth-Pop 'Summer Jam' From Grimes

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The electronic musician Grimes, who has been working on an album, calls her new song, "Go," a summer jam that she couldn't wait to put out.

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Latitudes: International Music You Must Hear In June

Thursday, June 26, 2014

From unlikely marriages (J-pop and metal? K-pop and hip-hop?) to a case of intoxicated ecstasy, five songs you can't miss hearing.

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Fresh Air

Lana Del Rey's 'Ultraviolence' Has A Firm Grasp On Pop History

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lana Del Rey continues a time-honored pop tradition of developing a public persona that challenges fans to decide what's real and what's not.

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