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A horn made from a conch shell over 17,000 years ago has blasted out musical notes for the first time in millennia.

Archaeologists originally found the seashell in 1931, in a French cave that contains prehistoric wall paintings. They speculated that the cave's past occupants had used the shell as a ceremonial cup for shared drinks, and that a hole in its tip was just accidental damage.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Sixteen artists have been nominated for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. They are Mary J. Blige, Kate Bush, Devo, Foo Fighters, The Go-Go’s, Iron Maiden, JAY-Z, Chaka Khan, Carole King, Fela Kuti, LL Cool J, New York Dolls, Rage Against the Machine, Todd Rundgren, Tina Turner, and Dionne Warwick.

If you spun the dial of your AM/FM radio on any given day in the early 1980s, chances are you heard a Pointer Sisters' record. The group was in heavy rotation in a variety of formats whose playlists included Duran Duran, Bruce Springsteen and the Human League or Patti LaBelle and Earth, Wind and Fire. The electro-pop sound of the Pointer Sisters' "Jump (For My Love)," "Automatic" or "Neutron Dance" dominated the charts during the first half of the decade.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announced the nominees for its newest class of inductees on Wednesday morning: 16 artists and groups ranging from the reigning monarch of the billionaire boys club, Jay-Z, to the pioneering women of new wave group The Go-Go's, to the queen of rock and roll herself, Tina Turner.

The 2021 nominees also include Kate Bush, Devo, Foo Fighters, Mary J. Blige, Iron Maiden, Chaka Khan, Fela Kuti, LL Cool J, New York Dolls, Rage Against the Machine, Todd Rundgren and Dionne Warwick.

Sofía Valdés has had a remarkable journey during the first 20 years of her life. She was born in Panama to a musical family; her great-grandfather was legendary Cuban musician Miguelito Valdés and her great-grandmother Silvia De Grasse was a singer who performed with Louis Armstrong. It didn't take her long to follow in those footsteps. At age 8 she was playing guitar, and by 13 she was writing her own songs.

Will Liverman is a young baritone and a new, exciting voice in the opera world. He is also on something of a mission.

In school, the artist was rarely introduced to Black composers. It was a cumulative interest, patched together by YouTube clips and introductions from colleagues. Now, he wants to expose listeners to music that he feels doesn't get programmed enough in concert halls or receive enough airplay on classical radio stations.

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Most of us spent 2020 in a holding pattern — if we're lucky — but Phoebe Bridgers had a massive yea

Updated at 10:30 a.m. ET

Mary Wilson, one of the co-founders of The Supremes, died Monday at the age of 76, her publicist announced.

Wilson "passed away suddenly" at her Henderson, Nev., home, the singer's longtime friend and publicist Jay Schwartz said in a statement. No cause of death was given.

Wilson was a "trendsetter who broke down social, racial and gender barriers," Schwartz said in his statement.

"I'm missing Jim Weatherly already. He was about life and love," tweeted Gladys Knight.

Langhorne Slim is a singer-songwriter by trade — but for more than a year, he could barely write. Slim recalls only writing about a song and a half, and even then it was nothing presentable to others. He had quit drinking years before, but found himself addicted to prescription pills. "I had been numbing myself ... to the source of my own creativity," Slim says. "Really, to the source of love, you know?" So, Slim went into rehabilitation.

City Scenes: Austin On Pause

Feb 4, 2021

For every city, there was a specific moment in 2020 when things became real. Serious. In Austin, it's an easy time to pinpoint. Late afternoon on March 6, after days of statements to the contrary, Mayor Steve Adler canceled South by Southwest. In retrospect, this seemed like a no-brainer. Obvious, even. But at the time, it was controversial, almost unthinkable. Could something this big even be stopped?

John Coltrane composed these words in December 1964, as part of a poem he called A Love Supreme.

I have seen God – I have seen ungodly – none can be greater – none can compare to God.

Updated at 4:10 p.m. ET

Rising country star Morgan Wallen has been suspended by his record label, Big Loud. The label posted the news on its social media platforms Wednesday afternoon, saying, "In the wake of recent events, Big Loud Records has made the decision to suspend Morgan Wallen's recording contract indefinitely."

This decision comes after TMZ posted a video Tuesday night of Wallen using the N-word with a group of his friends.

Last fall, former President Barack Obama told Stephen Colbert that he was "shocked" Dolly Parton hadn't gotten a Presidential Medal of Freedom during his time in office. "That was a screwup," he said. "I think I assumed she had already got one."

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.

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