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At a time when the country seems more and more divided, it can be a lot to ask of a person to "love thy neighbor," even when they don't necessarily love you back. It takes an aggressive kind of love to start engaging, and that's the idea that inspired the title track of Ani DiFranco's newest record, Revolutionary Love. The phrase is also the name of a book by DiFranco's good friend, activist Valarie Kaur, which encourages an understanding of one's adversaries.

Jon Peterson

A different time.. a different era… but a song with a message that is timeless!

 

Back in 1993, Jon Peterson (then, WCBE’s Music Director and Host of ‘Radio Free Columbus’) recorded a  local acapella trio named Gifts of Song in  Studio A.  Needing topical material for this past Saturday Night’s SHAKIN’ IT show that focused on the inauguration of President Biden, he remembered a short powerful piece called “Unity.” 

 

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Updated Jan. 29 at 2:30 p.m. ET

In May of 1970, at a San Francisco concert venue best known for reverberating with the sounds of the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane, three masters of Indian classical music took the stage for a celebration of Indian ragas. The concert was recorded by another legend of the time: Owsley Stanley, the man who designed the Dead's innovative sound system, as well as making what was reputed to be the best LSD of its day.

The great South African trombonist and composer Jonas Gwangwa, who was an ambassador for his country's music around the globe and an advocate against apartheid at home, died today. Gwangwa's death was announced in a statement published on the web site of the presidency of the Republic of South Africa. He was 83 years old.

The Morning Edition Song Project, where we ask musicians to write an original song about the COVID era, continues today with Lila Downs. The artist grew up splitting her time between Minnesota and Oaxaca, Mexico, and says that she always felt pulled between three different cultures — Indigenous Mixtec, Mexican national and American. So when she agreed to contribute to the series, her tricultural identity played a role.

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will make history during Wednesday's inauguration: Biden will become the oldest president in American history, while Harris will be the first Black woman and the first Asian American to hold the office of vice president.

Musicians from all genres plan to greet the Biden-Harris administration, with performances from Jennifer Lopez, Earth, Wind & Fire, John Legend and more. The complete list of performances is below.

Osvaldo Golijov is a MacArthur "genius" composer who's written for Yo-Yo Ma, Kronos Quartet and soprano Dawn Upshaw. But in 2012, he was accused of plagiarism, and he disappeared from the scene. Only now, nearly a decade later, is Golijov reemerging — with a work that could not have a more timely subject: it's a meditation on grieving and loss.

We've invited singer songwriter Phoebe Bridgers to play a game about feeble bridges: three questions about bridges that have fallen over, collapsed or otherwise done a bad job of spanning things.

Click the audio link above to find out how she does.

For over a decade, arts journalist Betto Arcos has been a familiar voice to public radio listeners, bringing them the sounds of the world — be it from a samba school in Rio or an amphitheater in Colombia, profiling artists who play unusual instruments or create cross-cultural mashups. More than 140 of those reports are collected in his new book, Music Stories from the Cosmic Barrio. Arcos spoke with NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro about learning in his travels how music creates community, and vice versa. Hear the radio version at the audio link, and read on for an edited transcript.

Why Sea Shanties Have Taken Over TikTok

Jan 18, 2021

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Argh, the latest trend in pandemic distraction may be - shiver me timbers - sea shanties.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: (Singing) There once was a ship that put to sea, and the name of that ship was the Billy of Tea.

Updated at 2:52 p.m. ET

Legendary music producer Phil Spector — who was convicted in 2009 of murdering actress Lana Clarkson — died Saturday at age 81. His death was announced Sunday by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which said that he had died of natural causes. His official cause of death is yet to be determined.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland reopens this weekend, offering free admission to healthcare workers and their families on Sunday. Admission to the museum will also be free on Monday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and celebrate music's role in the Civil Rights Movement. 

Updated 12:45 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden may not have big crowds at his coronavirus-limited inauguration, but he won't be lacking for star power.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee announced Thursday that pop star Lady Gaga will sing the National Anthem and Jennifer Lopez will perform a musical number at the Capitol ceremony next week.

Playboy.

Glamour.

O.

Teen Vogue.

All these magazines have something in common.

They're no longer in print.

While these — and many other — publications have shifted to digital only in recent years, there's a print magazine bucking the trends and still going strong: Thrasher magazine. Created by skateboarders for skateboarders, Thrasher celebrates its 40th anniversary this month.

The annual Kennedy Center Honorees have been announced: choreographer, and actress Debbie Allen; singer-songwriter and activist Joan Baez; country singer-songwriter Garth Brooks; violinist Midori; and actor Dick Van Dyke.

The music of Aaron Frazer feels a bit like stepping into a time machine: It's got touches of Curtis Mayfield and Carole King, but it's also very much of this moment.

For members of Luminous Voices, a professional choir ensemble in Alberta, Canada, rehearsing and performing safely during the pandemic has meant getting into their cars, driving to an empty parking lot and singing with each other's voices broadcast through their car radios.

This "car choir" solution is one that college music professor David Newman — an accomplished baritone himself in Virginia — came up with so that ensembles could sing and "be" together.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

In more than four decades of music, Barry Gibb and his brothers Robin and Maurice created almost too many hits to count as the pop powerhouse the Bee Gees. Today, at 74, Barry is the last living Gibb brother, and has continued on as a solo artist. If you've only ever associated his name with the disco era, his new album may surprise you: It turns out that the musician, who emigrated from the U.K. to Australia when he and his brothers were kids, has always been a big fan of American country music.

Singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman has won her case against hip-hop star Nicki Minaj over Chapman's claims that Minaj took her work without permission.

According to documents filed in U.S. District Court in California's Central District on Thursday, Chapman has accepted Minaj's offer of judgment in the case, and she will receive $450,000 from Minaj. As a result, the two have avoided going to trial.

Before Julie Andrews first sang "A Spoonful of Sugar," its songwriter found inspiration for the iconic Mary Poppins tune in an unlikely place.

The late Robert B. Sherman wrote it with his brother, Richard; many of the duo's songs are featured in classic Walt Disney films. At StoryCorps last month, Robert's son, Jeffrey, said that it was telling his father about getting the polio vaccine as a child that sparked the lyrics for the famous song.

Jeffrey, now 63, said his dad had a way with words.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

An investment firm is buying the rights to songwriters' music. Here's some of what Hipgnosis Songs Fund bought just this week.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "REFUGEE")

Slingshot's 2021 Artists To Watch

Jan 7, 2021

It's a new year, which means new opportunities for fresh faces to rise above the noise. NPR music partner stations spent the last three months listening to emerging musicians and selected 17 for our annual Slingshot list of artists to watch. Some have been honing their crafts for years and are finally primed for impact. Some released their first project in the past year. Packed with discoveries, our 2021 Slingshot list is a celebration of innovative artists, many of whom had a big 2020 and don't have any plans to slow down now.

Brandy Clark is known for her vivid character sketches. The Nashville artist put out an album in March 2020, right when the pandemic was starting to shut everything down. After her tour got canceled, Clark started seeing people less — a real problem for someone who likes to write about other people.

The 2021 Grammy Awards ceremony has been postponed, due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. The Recording Academy announced on Tuesday that the ceremony will not take place on Jan. 31, as previously scheduled, but is instead being pushed off until March 14.

Blues legend Robert Johnson has been mythologized as a backwoods loner, his talent the result of selling his soul to the devil. Wrong and wrong again, according to Johnson's younger stepsister, who lives in Amherst, Mass. She tells his true story in Brother Robert: Growing Up with Robert Johnson, a memoir about growing up with her brother she published in June.

Her name is Annye Anderson, but unless you're older than she is — and fat chance of that, as she's 94 — you better call her Mrs. Anderson.

In 1977, the first Jazz Alive New Year's Eve special was broadcast live from The Cookery and The Village Gate. The tradition continues with Toast of the Nation, NPR's annual holiday special that rings in the New Year with jazz.

A few months ago I was scrolling through my phone and found that Jon Batiste had shared my new single with his Instagram followers. I DM'd him my thanks and we chatted about the music and its composer, a Black woman named Florence Price who was a brilliant musical pioneer in the 1930s. We talked about the trailblazers who've come before us and about the work we do to honor their legacy.

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