music

JORDAN STRAUSS / Associated Press

A Miami federal judge sentenced South Florida rapper Kodak Black to three years and ten months in prison Wednesday on weapons charges, far less than the maximum 10-year sentence he could have received.

“Young people do stupid things and I normally give them a break for that,” Judge Federico Moreno told Black. “The problem is that you have been doing stupid things since 15.”

For this edition of Heavy Rotation, take a listen to NPR member stations' most-loved songs of October. You'll find new music from Frank Ocean and the R&B stylings of Sampa the Great.

All songs from this month's Heavy Rotation are available to stream on the Heavy Rotation Spotify playlist at the bottom of this page.


Massive anti-government protests in Chile over the past few weeks have united demonstrators in song. Last week, up to a million people protesting in Santiago were joined by a cavalry of guitarists. They played a song called "El Derecho de Vivir en Paz," which once stood as an anthem for resistance against the brutal regime of Augusto Pinochet that began in 1973.

At the place where music, technology and politics converge, you'll find ... discord. A group of more than 380 musicians — including well-known indie artists like Ted Leo, Deerhoof, Damon & Naomi, Zola Jesus, Downtown Boys and Sheer Mag — pledged in an open letter on Thursday to cut all business ties with Amazon over the work of its gargantuan Amazon Web Services subsidiary.

Among all the other things that transpired at and around President Trump's reelection campaign in Minneapolis Thursday night, his team played the music of a hometown hero: Prince's "Purple Rain." Soon after, the estate of Minnesota's late musical hero made it clear just how unhappy it was — and

Legendary actress, singer and style icon Diahann Carroll died on Friday at her home in Los Angeles after a long bout with cancer. She was 84 years old.

Carroll's longtime manager, Ronni Lynn Hart, confirmed her death to NPR.

In her illustrious career, Carroll won a Tony Award and was nominated for an Oscar. But she is perhaps best known for making television history when she starred as the titular character on the NBC sitcom Julia, which debuted in 1968.

Updated at 8:15 p.m. Monday

Ric Ocasek, leader of the Boston-based rock band The Cars and an influential music producer, has died, a New York Police Department spokesman confirmed to NPR. He was found unconscious Sunday afternoon at his townhouse in Manhattan. (There is some confusion about Ocasek's exact age: The NYPD said that he was 75; public records list his age as 70.)

Ken Burns is our great explainer, television's finest illustrator. He's a filmmaker who gives us what we know from fresh angles, so that we can learn more and appreciate topics on a deeper level. Whether his subject is the Civil War or baseball, Burns has made an art of divining what most Americans know about a subject and then putting an arm around our collective shoulder and murmuring, "Yes, but have you seen this?"

Emily Michot / Miami Herald

On the Aug. 26, 2019 episode of Sundial:

Hollywood Nursing Home Arrests

E. Berken

When Merlin Oehrke walked into that diner last summer, he couldn't have guessed that his lunch would come with a side order of answered prayers.

The 89-year-old retired musician still doesn't know why he ended up in that particular diner – it wasn't one he normally went to. He sat down at the counter and spotted a teenage boy and middle-aged man nearby, going over some sheet music – his kind of music.

“A violin score. It looked like a violin concerto," he says. "I said, 'Lord, I think this is the person.'"

Courtesy of Marisol Blanco

For the last 12 years, Marisol Blanco has been fighting against numbers. 

Specifically, she has been hard at work dispelling the notion that dancing Salsa is about counting steps and following a mechanical style. "That's just atrophying the brain of dancers," she says.

 

For this Havanera, who hails from the the culturally rich Guanabacoa neighborhood, it's all about understanding the African history of Cuban music, how it has created its percussion and steps. Then the rest – and the body – just follows. 

Alexia Fodere / Miami Herald

Ultra Music Festival will return to downtown Miami, a remarkable development just two months after the homegrown event seemed destined to move out of the city, far from its longtime home on the waterfront.

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN

Like many Venezuelan expats living in South Florida, Kendall resident Paola Berriros still has family and friends suffering under the authoritarian regime of president Nicolás Maduro. She fled Venezuela when the country's humanitarian crisis was brewing 15 years ago. 

Now Berriros' 6-year-old daughter, Karina, has learned to play piano, violin and sing under Musicall - a South Florida non-profit that gives children from all backgrounds access to music education. 

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

For the last several weeks, Chicago-based composer and percussionist Ben Wahlund has been a resident artist at The Studios of Key West, absorbing the island and its people, both the tourists and the service workers who provide the only-in-Key West experiences for them.

Wahlund's observations and encounters have been transformed into a dozen musical compositions that he's calling "Mile Marker Zero."

WLRN's Nancy Klingener talked to Wahlund about his work and got a preview of some of the pieces he'll be performing on Saturday, July 13, at The Studios of Key West.

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