Thao Nguyen, of the folk-rock group Thao & the Get Down Stay Down, has been on a musical journey since she started performing in her teens in Northern Virginia. Delicate yet fierce in her vocal delivery, she writes often about her social concerns — and it was a trip to a California women's prison that inspired much of her latest album, We the Common.
Ngyuen and her band are on the road for the first time in several years; she spoke with NPR's Jacki Lyden from a tour stop in Kansas City.
By the time John Denver died in a plane crash in 1997, he had written and sung a remarkable assortment of cherished music: "Rocky Mountain High," "Take Me Home, Country Roads," "Sunshine on My Shoulders," "Leaving on a Jet Plane" and many more. He was often mocked by edgier musicians for being a kind of musically soft, spongy Wonderbread of a singer-songwriter. But his songs have endured — and influenced more than one generation.
Richard Wagner was, and still is today, arguably the most controversial figure in classical music. A self-appointed deity and hyperdriven genius, Wagner is often considered the ultimate megalomaniac. He dreamed up and achieved a single-minded plan to change the course of classical music history.
On Sunday, voters in Venezuela will head to the polls, and in Caracas, the noise level is as high as voters' emotions. There is a background noise that accompanies everyday life in Latin America, a constant soundtrack: music blaring from food stands and cars, loud automobiles that are so run-down they defy the laws of physics, street vendors yelling product names. I've spoken to many immigrants to the U.S. who, like me, first arrived to live in the suburbs and found the absence of bochinche, or ruckus, maddening.