The Beatles may be an odd place to begin a Cate Le Bon conversation, but I remember being struck by the way four guys from Liverpool could sing without their English accents. That's true of most pop singers, whose words often come out sounding more American than anything else. But that's not true with Cate Le Bon. Her phrasing is completely tied to her Welsh dialect — in fact, her first record was in Welsh.
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When you hear a musical recording that's scratchy and distant, you might naturally assume it's old: a relic from the early days of sound recording. But what would modern music sound like were it subject to the same limitations that musicians faced in those days?
That's the question posed by The 78 Project, which gives musicians the chance to record using 1930s technology.
Coming up through the Greenwich Village folk scene, John Hammond collected the work of some of the greatest blues artists of all time. On his latest album, that music is presented as bare-bones and honestly as possible: just him, his guitar, his harmonica and a deeply appreciative audience.
The lilting voice of Rachel Ries comes to us courtesy of many different landscapes: the wide open spaces of South Dakota, the equatorial humidity of Africa, the bucolic green of Vermont and the managed urban chaos that is Brooklyn.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
RACHEL RIES: (Singing) Time, I forgiven you, time. You were songs in my head, so I threw you over my little shoulder and you land, you landed on the floor...
The basic story behind drummer Rudy Royston's first album sounds like that of many sidemen in jazz. He moved to the New York area. His talent got him into bands led by higher-profile artists like Bill Frisell, JD Allen, Ben Allison and Dave Douglas. And when it came time to document his own composing and arranging, he could rely on the network he had tapped into. Douglas issued Royston's album 303 earlier this month on his own record label, Greenleaf Music.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Finally, on this President’s Day, we hear, again, from a group that was a favorite of another president – former South African president Nelson Mandela. Now if you are a fan of world music, they need no introduction. Ladysmith Black Mambazo have been singing together for 50 years. They were brought together in 1964, after Joseph Shabalala, a young farm boy turned factory worker from the town of Ladysmith, had a dream.