My father, world-renowned virtuoso violinist and teacher Roman Totenberg, whose professional career spanned nine decades and four continents, died early Tuesday morning at the age of 101.
His death was as remarkable as his life. He made his debut as a soloist with the Warsaw Philharmonic at age 11, performed his last concert when he was in his mid-90s, and was still teaching, literally, on his deathbed. This week, as word flew around the musical world that he was in renal failure, former students flocked to his home in Newton, Mass., to see the beloved "maestro."
Named as a World Cafe: Next artist just this past March, the charming sister duo First Aid Kit returns with a full-length World Cafe session. Swedish siblings Johanna and Klara Söderberg are barely into their twenties, but they already have an international reputation for their rich harmonies and simple, rousing folk songs.
Royal Thunder is at a crucial point in its young career. The Atlanta hard-rock band's 2009 EP was like the hard-hitting rookie batter who causes serious chatter; a heavy, '70s-style riff machine with pipes that could tear through walls. But fast-burning flames burn the fastest, setting up crazy expectations and jinxing long-term prospects.
On this edition of All Songs Considered, a strange mishap turns Robin Hilton into a robot ... and he/it is programmed to talk about how great a time the All Songs Considered crew had at our fantastic fun. concert. Hiltonbot 2.0 is good and all, but it could never take the place of flesh-and-blood, music-loving nerdery, so the show includes picks from the apparently-human NPR Music editor Jacob Ganz and All Songs Considered intern Dan Raby.
Chicha is a corn-derived liquor native to the South American Andes since ancient times. It's also a quirky style of pop music that developed in the Peruvian Amazon in the 1960s and '70s. All of that provides inspiration for the Brooklyn band Chicha Libre, which has just released its second album, Canibalismo.
Founder Olivier Conan developed a passion for chicha music while crate-digging through old vinyl in Peru. He says all pop-music innovators are really sonic predators.