music

What sounds like music to us may just be noise to a macaque monkey.

That's because a monkey's brain appears to lack critical circuits that are highly sensitive to a sound's pitch, a team reported Monday in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

The finding suggests that humans may have developed brain areas that are sensitive to pitch and tone in order to process the sounds associated with speech and music.

After 18 years, Apple is killing iTunes — well, sort of. The media management software for most Mac users (and many Windows users) is being broken into separate pieces for separate uses: Music, podcasts and television will soon have their own apps on the new Catalina Mac operating system.

Apple announced the move on Monday along with new hardware, including a new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR, and entertainment and lifestyle features.

Courtesy of Tabou Combo

Tabou Combo is one of the biggest bands to come out of Haiti. They're celebrating just over 50 years of being what they call the “ambassadors of konpa.”

They've taken their infectious blend of Haitian rhythms to the U.S. Africa Europe and throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.

And there's a good chance if you grew up in a Haitian household, Tabou Combo was always in rotation.

Yvon Andre, better known as Kapi, is one of the founding members of the band. He spoke to WLRN’s Nadege Green.

Lolita De Sola has been singing about home. An emerging musician from Caracas, she made the hard decision last year to leave Venezuela and flee north to Mexico City. The move allowed De Sola to release her first album, Cattleya — which she says she couldn't have made at home given Venezuela's current political and economic turmoil.

"When you have a dictatorship or crisis, the first thing that goes away is culture," she says. "Because you need food. You need more, you know, basic stuff first. Then culture."

Vandaluna Media

Every evening, the members of the Latin Grammy-winning rock group Viniloversus gather at their studio near the Little River area of Miami. They are hard at work practicing for an upcoming tour. The band’s recording gear sits ready, with meters lit brightly on computer screens.

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It's common for many young musicians to join a youth orchestra for a variety of reasons: some join for performance experience that might help snag a scholarship; others for fellowship or for  the sheer love of the music.

But perhaps what's not as common is performing solely for a good cause.

The precision. The energy. The limitless swag.

Chris Kakol / Florida Grand Opera

A revival of the 1990s opera "Frida" has made its way to South Florida and follows the trajectory of legendary Mexican artist Frida Kahlo's life.

On Sunday night, the 61st Grammy Awards telecast did its best to balance several requirements — making amends to an entire gender, widening its palette of winners and honorees, and doing its best to award those who are affecting the mainstream now, not five years ago. Within the narrow lens of prime-time awards shows, it seemed to make some progress on each count, without drifting too far from its comfort zone.

Craig Morris / Courtesy

Frost School of Music associate professor of trumpet Craig Morris is nominated for a Grammy in the "Best Instrumental Classical Solo Performance" category, for his arrangement of influential composer Philip Glass’ "Three Pieces in the Shape of a Square," which includes moving around a geometric shape while playing his trumpet. 

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.


In 1998, songwriter Kandi Burruss — on hiatus from her R&B group, Xscape — took a drive around Atlanta with a girlfriend, looking for inspiration. In the car, Burruss was playing tracks she'd gotten from a fellow songwriter, Kevin "She'kspere" Briggs, a few days earlier.

Dan Perez/Sweat Records

Dorys Bello and Eli Oviedo are the musicians behind the beautifully haunting but soothing sounds of the Miami indie-folk band Dracula.

Italian singer Andrea Bocelli is a superstar. The Grammy- and Emmy-nominated tenor is one of the highest-selling vocalists in music. In 1999, Bocelli scored a Guinness World Record for simultaneously holding the No. 1, 2 and 3 spots on Billboard's Classical Top 10 chart. Since then, Bocelli has collaborated with everyone from Celine Dion to Ariana Grande. But on his latest album, Sì, Bocelli tries something he finds really daunting — recording with his 21-year-old son, Matteo.

NSU Art Museum / Courtesy

If you grew up in South Florida in the 80s you might remember 2 Live Crew's explicit hip-hop music blend or the Miami bass sound from The Dogs. These iconic South Florida rap groups helped shape a unique sound, influenced by the diverse abundance of cultures found in the region.

Nancy Wilson died Thursday after a long illness at her home in Pioneertown, Calif., her manager Devra Hall Levy told NPR. She was 81.

Born in Chillicothe, Ohio, in 1937, Wilson has recounted in interviews that she started singing around age 3 or 4.

"I have always just sung. I have never questioned what it is. I thank God for it and I just do it," she told Marian McPartland, host of NPR's Piano Jazz in 1994.

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