music

William P. Gottlieb/Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Fund Collection / Library of Congress

Johnny Mercer wrote the lyrics to songs like "Moon River" and "Accentuate the Positive" — music that is part of the Great American Songbook. 

Some Mercer songs — then new and recorded on a demo reel in the 1960s for a show that was never produced — were recently performed for the first time, in Key West.


Puerto Rican Singer iLe Brings Almadura’s Seductive, Revolutionary Rhythms To North Beach

Feb 19, 2020
Cesar Berrios

Fresh off of sold-out shows in New York and Boston, Puerto Rican singer and activist iLe (Ileana Mercedes Cabra Joglar) will bring her signature sound to the North Beach Bandshell this Friday.

Her 2016 debut album, “iLevitable,” won a Grammy Award for “Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album.” NPR called her second album, “Almadura,” “an ode to Puerto Rico, an homage to its history and a plea for political action.”

Jon Secada To Pay Tribute To Beny Moré At The Arsht

Feb 19, 2020
Tato Gomez

While growing up in Hialeah in the early ’70s, Jon Secada’s home pulsed to the iconic tropical sounds of Cuban singer, songwriter and bandleader Beny Moré.

“My parents would listen to that stuff all the time,” recalls Secada, now 58. “And as a kid, when you hear your parents listen to music, you never know what’s gonna stick with you.”

By the end of the 62nd Grammy Awards on Sunday evening, a major star had been crowned: 18-year-old singer Billie Eilish, who swept all four of the night's biggest prizes — Best New Artist, Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Album of the Year — along with honors for Best Pop Vocal Album.

But that rush of awards came only at the tail end of a long, strange and emotionally ambivalent ceremony held Sunday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Jazz Saxophone Legend Jimmy Heath Has Died

Jan 19, 2020

Jimmy Heath, a prolific saxophonist, composer and bandleader who played alongside some of the biggest names of jazz, including Miles Davis and John Coltrane, has died.

Heath died Sunday morning in Loganville, Georgia of natural causes, his grandson told NPR. He was 93 years old. His family was at his side, including his wife of 60 years, Mona Heath, his children Mtume and Rozie, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and his brother, drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath.

South Beach Jazz Festival

Happy New Year Sundialers, here’s a rundown of the Thursday, Jan. 2, episode of Sundial:

Tampa Bay Times’ Investigation Looks At The ‘Baker Act’

The Tampa Bay Times recently released an investigation about the ‘Baker Act,’ the Florida law that allows families to involuntarily institutionalize people considered impaired because of mental illness. The investigation revealed that the law is impacting children as young as 6 throughout Florida. 

It's no longer uncommon for pop songs to experience a slow rise to the top of the pop charts. Just this year, Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" followed a long and remix-strewn path to 19 weeks at No. 1, while Lizzo experienced huge hits with songs originally released in 2017 ("Truth Hurts") and 2016 ("Good As Hell").

NWS Archives

A national audience will see New World Symphony co-founder and Artistic Director Michael Tilson Thomas receive the Kennedy Center Honors for Lifetime Achievement this Sunday night.

Singer Marie Fredriksson, who co-founded the hitmaking Swedish pop group Roxette, died yesterday in Sweden. She was 61 years old.

Before she became one of the most recognizable voices of her era, Fredricksson grew up in a tiny village, where her mom was a factory worker and her dad a postman. There wasn't any day care, so he'd take her along while delivering mail and sing to her — the experience was formative.

Updated at 12:05 p.m. ET

The fast-rising rapper Juice WRLD has died at age 21 after a medical emergency at Chicago's Midway Airport. TMZ first reported the death, saying that witnesses saw him having a seizure after disembarking from a private plane.

The Cook County medical examiner's office confirmed his death to NPR, saying that the autopsy for Juice WRLD — whose real name was Jarad Anthony Higgins — will most likely take place on Monday.

The 62nd Grammy Awards nominations are here, and it appears to be Lizzo's year to lose.

The singer, songwriter, flutist and rapper was nominated across five of the night's top categories, including song of the year, record of the year, best new artist, best pop solo performance and best R&B performance.

Lil Nas X was nominated for best new artist, album of the year (for his debut record, 7), and record of the year, where his Gen Z opus "Old Town Road" is up against Post Malone, Bon Iver, Swae Lee, H.E.R., Ariana Grande, Lizzo and Billie Eilish.

Leslie Odom Jr. played Aaron Burr in “Hamilton.” Now’s he’s singing his own tunes on a new album of original songs.

Guest

Leslie Odom Jr., Tony and Grammy-Award winning performer, actor and singer.  His new solo album released in November is called “Mr.” He plays William Still in the new film “Harriet.” (@leslieodomjr)

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.

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