Arts & Culture

Interviews and stories about art, culture, music, books, food / dining and sports.

The Manchester Arena will reopen next month just three-and-a-half months after a bomb attack in the venue's foyer killed 22 people at the conclusion of an Ariana Grande concert.

As with the best Van Morrison songs, "Transformation" billows out from its oft-repeated refrain. The lead single off Morrison's upcoming Roll With The Punches (out Sept. 22) consists largely of the 71-year-old Irish singer belting "gonna be a transformation" over a triumphant soul progression. But if there's been a transformation in Morrison over his long career, it isn't evident here. This is a soaring bit of classic Morrison roots-soul — and his best outing in recent years.

On the same night that torch-bearing white nationalists wound up staging a rally at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Van Jones stood at a podium, in the nation's capital, telling a theater full of supporters why they should let love rule in the face of racial hatred.

When MF DOOM emerged from the ether just before the last millennium's end, with a metal faceplate masking his grill, a raspy voice and a vicious internal rhyme scheme, he quickly amassed a cult-like following.

His villainous persona, an amalgamation of comic book characters ranging from Dr. Doom to G.I. Joe's Destro, masked his true identity as he exacted revenge on an industry which had metaphorically disfigured him.

This July, on a beautiful summer day just after the sun set, Chile's Javiera Mena took the outdoor stage to perform her first show in the city of Philadelphia. Mena is a Latin Grammy and MTV Europe Award nominee whose been cranking out indie electro-pop for the past decade.

In the French Quarter of New Orleans, there's a tiny venue with old wooden floors where on a good night you can cram in around a hundred people. The audience sits right up in front of the band and it's so intimate that the musicians don't need microphones. It's a truly magical place, where the spirit of New Orleans jazz is not only alive but evolving. It's called Preservation Hall. And it's home to our guests – the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

Forebears: The Endearing Grace Of Lena Horne

Aug 16, 2017

This essay is one in a series celebrating women whose major contributions in recording occurred before the time frame of NPR Music's list of 150 Greatest Albums Made By Women.

It's only rolled out a few songs so far, but the Brooklyn band Frances Cone has already carved out a distinct sound — a sweet slow burn in which songs build gradually and carefully into something truly grand. The gorgeous "Unraveling," from a forthcoming album called Late Riser, really gets at what works about Frances Cone's music: Each cooed "ooooh" is in the exact right place, weaving together to form a warm and hypnotic tapestry.

The aftermath of the violent protest and counterprotests in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend continue to reverberate across the country — sparking discussions about race and the country's Civil War past.

Mourners gathered in Charlottesville on Wednesday to remember Heather Heyer, who was killed on Saturday when a car rammed into a crowd of people protesting the white nationalist rally. Attendees were asked to wear purple, Heyer's favorite color, in her memory.

Writers are drawn to oddballs and outsiders, in much the way that dogs out for a walk veer toward fellow canines. The endearing pre-adolescent narrator of Camille Bordas' novel, How To Behave in a Crowd, is the youngest of six siblings growing up in a small French village. He's the odd man out because he's the most normal of the lot: All of his older sisters and brothers have skipped multiple grades, and three of them earn PhDs during the course of this book.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Guest DJ Week: Björk

Aug 16, 2017

Note: Our week of Guest DJs continues with Björk. The Icelandic singer recently announced she'll be releasing a new album, possibly before the end of the year.

Good Booty

Aug 15, 2017

Here’s a game: Complete this lyric …

A-wop-bop-alu-bop-a-wop-bam-boom

Tutti Frutti, ______

“Aw rooty” is on the record of Little Richard’s seminal hit, but the original rhyme was “good booty.” And that’s where NPR music critic Ann Powers gets the title of her new book.

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