Music

From jazz, to classical and world music, NEPM entertains, inspires and enriches lives seven days a week with its signature music programming. Our hosts provide in-depth knowledge about music they share and keep listeners up-to-date on music events happening throughout the region on air and on the Classical Facebook Group and Jazz and World Music Facebook Group  

Explore and experience a variety of music programming on NEPM 88.5FM:  

Find All Music Programs on NEPR

African drummer Alpha Kabinet Kaba better known as Bisko at home in Holyoke
Laura Kuphal / L.L. Art and Photography

Holyoke, Massachusetts, resident Alpha Kabinet Kaba was no stranger to pandemic when COVID-19 arrived in the United States. The native of Guinea saw his home country ravaged by Ebola in 2014 and lost three relatives to that contagious virus. A new outbreak of Ebola in Guinea this year appears linked to that original outbreak in 2014.

Khalif Neville performs on keyboard with his father Charles Neville on saxophone.
Courtesy of Khalif Neville

Pianist Khalif Neville is an heir of one of the most prominent musical families of the New Orleans music scene. Yet Khalif grew up far from there in Huntington, Massachusetts. That’s where his father Charles Neville moved his family in the 1990s.

Chilean flute player Gonzalo Cortes and Mexican guitar player Carlos Hernandez Chavez.
Raquel Obregon / NEPM

Raquel Obregón welcomes two special guests: Chilean flute player Gonzalo Cortés and Mexican guitar player Carlos Hernández Chávez. 

A sign directing visitors to the Charles Neville exhibit at the Springfield Museums.
Kari Njiiri / NEPM

“Horn Man: The life and musical legacy of Charles Neville,” which opened earlier this summer at the Springfield Museums, pays tribute to the Grammy-winning saxophonist who died of cancer in April 2018 at age 79.

Courtesy / Springfield Symphony Orchestra

The Springfield Symphony Orchestra announced Friday it will likely not produce any shows this season if it can't reach a contract agreement with union musicians by October 1. Earlier this month, the musicians accused SSO management of unfair labor practices.

A screen shot of a video and city entertainment permit posted to Facebook by an organizer of the Indie Soul Festival in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Screen shot / Facebook

Organizers of a music festival in Springfield last month, which was erroneously shut down by police, are dismissing an official apology from the city.

Singer Tinky Weisblat with pianist and composer Jerry Noble, after their July 31, 2021, concert in Charlemont, Massachusetts.
Submitted

I agree with the creator and star of “Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda, who said performers are “like Tinker Bell in the play ‘Peter Pan.’ We need applause to live.”

Audience members at the Springfield Indie Soul Festival in 2018.
Courtesy / Darryl Moss

Over the years, people have come to the annual Springfield Indie Soul Festival for more than just music. It's back this weekend at Riverfront Park, with room for a couple thousand music lovers alongside the musicians and vendors.

Unband performs music from "This is Spinal Tap" at a past "Transperformance."
File Photo / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

A decades-long concert tradition in Northampton, Massachusetts, is changing its name. Organizers say they want to be more inclusive.

Last summer, the Tanglewood Music Festival closed for the first time since 1943. It meant the cancellation of nearly 150 concerts due to the coronavirus outbreak. Now, the Berkshires are back in business and the Boston Pops are ready to return to Friday-festival performances.

Maestro Keith Lockhart has been leading the Boston Pops since 1995 and in his conversation with Dara Kennedy and Maya Shwayder, he discusses his personal difficulties during the show's hiatus, the current and future state of classical music and if a new album is on the horizon.

Author Aurie Irizarry.
Raquel Obregon / NEPM

Author Aurie Irizarry was Tertulia's guest on July 25, 2021. She speaks about her new book, "Mi Isla, Mi Gente y Mis Recuerdos," and shares her memories when she was a young girl, traveling quite often with her parents to the the town of Yabucoa.

Laurie Millman, director of Center for New Americans in Northampton was Tertulia’s guest on June 27, 2021. She spoke about their work in helping immigrants when they arrive in the U. S. and when they are ready to apply for citizenship, including free English classes.


In this file photo, Kevin Rhodes conducts the Springfield Symphony Orchestra.
File photo / The Republican / masslive.com

The Springfield Symphony Orchestra board and its musicians are waging a public debate over union contracts, including the length of the upcoming season.

Conductor Keith Lockhart leads the Boston Pops at Tanglewood in 2018, when crowds were not a threat to public health.
Hillary Scott / BSO Press Office

People are dreaming of a less sequestered summer, and with COVID-19 restrictions easing, the Berkshires will be a destination for many.

Business owners count on tourists coming to this relatively small region, rich in live music, theater and museums. For them, last summer was brutal. This year, it could almost feel like the old days.

CLARK / Creative Commons / FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/PHOTOS_BY_CLARK

Banjo camps and academic discussions of the centuries-old instrument have been taking place for years, according to Greenfield, Massachusetts, musician Michael Nix. But there are not many events that showcase how the picking and playing of the banjo has evolved.

Dr. Orlando Torres, Medical Director at Baystate High St. Health Center, Adult Medicine in Springfield was Tertulia's guest on April 11. 2021. He spoke about the vaccines for Covid -19 and the many misconceptions and misinformation in the Latino community.


Mr. Carreras, Director of Music at the Conservatory of the Arts Magnet School in Springfield was Tertulia’s guest on April 4, 2021. He spoke about his role as a director in all different manifestations of art, including choirs, bands, music and film productions.


Magos Herrera

Apr 1, 2021

Magos Herrera, born in Mexico City, is a jazz singer, songwriter, producer and educator, currently based out of New York City. Ms. Herrera was Tertulia’s guest on March 28, 2021. She spoke about her music and how she incorporates Latin American melodies and rhythms in contemporary jazz.


From performers to painters, artists of all genres have endured an economic year like no other. This month we’ve been asking them about their experiences for our series “The Creative Grind.”


Today we meet someone who’s something of a barometer for the battered live music industry in Boston. His name is Fred Mudge and he’s been a piano technician, fulltime, for about three decades.

“Three things throw a piano out of tune,” he explained. “Playing it. Temperature. And humidity.”

The Boston Symphony Orchestra, which owns and operates Tanglewood in Lenox, Massachusetts, has announced it will hold live in-person concerts this summer, for the first time since COVID-19 shut down arts events and venues worldwide.
BSO Press Office

The Boston Symphony Orchestra, which owns and operates Tanglewood in Lenox, Massachusetts, has announced it will hold live in-person concerts this summer. The BSO hasn't performed a live concert since March 2020, when COVID-19 triggered cancellations of arts events worldwide. 

Marcos Carreras

Mar 18, 2021

Marcos Carreras, Director of Music at the Conservatory of the Arts Magnet School, Springfield, was Tertulia’s guest on March 14, 2021. Mr. Carreras is the director of choirs, bands, music productions and film.


Charles Lloyd interview

Mar 15, 2021
A Dolly Parton mural in Asheville, North Carolina. Parton gave $1 million toward vaccine research this past year.
daveynin / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/daveynin

You might have seen the video of Dolly Parton receiving a COVID vaccine, developed with the help of her $1 million donation to research.

Before getting the shot, she sang new lyrics to her country hit "Jolene."

Claudia Acuña

Mar 10, 2021

Chilean jazz vocalist, songwriter and arranger, Claudia Acuña, was Tertulia’s guest on February 28,2021. She described her music as a fusion of traditional music from South America and jazz.


Martha Sager-Cutt, Director for Young Moms at Roca Inc. Springfield, was Tertulia’s guest on February 21, 2021. Ms. Sager-Cutt spoke about the mission of the program, its target population and skills provided to help young mothers to get out of violence and poverty.


The Calvin Theatre in Northampton, Massachusetts, is one of several venues owned by Iron Horse Entertainment Group. The company is rescheduling shows for later in 2021 and 2022.
Sam Hudzik / NEPM

In the last 10 months, New England’s rich arts scene has been hit hard.

Annye Anderson visits the site of her family home in Memphis, Tennessee, where she lived with Robert Johnson.
Preston Lauterbach / Used with permission

The first thing to know about Annye Anderson is unless you’re older than she is — and fat chance of that; she’s 94 — you better just call her Mrs. Anderson." class="wysiwyg-break drupal-content" src="/sites/all/modules/contrib/wysiwyg/plugins/break/images/spacer.gif" title="<--break-->">

“People say, ‘Don't you have a first name?’” Anderson said from the couch in her living room in Amherst, Massachusetts. “I say, ‘Yes, I do.’ And they wait for it. But I tell them, ‘Mrs. Anderson will do just fine.’”

Charlie Parker
William Gottlieb / Library of Congress

Today marks the centennial of Charlie Parker's birth. Born August 29, 1920, in Kansas City, Kansas, and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Parker died at the 5th Avenue home of Pannonica de Koenigswarter, the so-called Jazz Baroness, on March 12, 1955 at the age of 34. Now 65 years later, the saxophonist known as Bird (or Yardbird) remains one of the most heralded and mythical figures of 20th century music. Among Bird's many admirers, Lennie Tristano was especially respectful of his character and astute in his assessments of the saxophonist's music.

Ted Lee is founder of Feeding Tube Records, now located in Florence, Massachusetts.
John Voci / NEPM

In a former industrial building in Florence, Massachusetts — near jewelry designers, a T-shirt maker and a school devoted to archery — is Feeding Tube Records, a record store and label specializing in what the owners characterize as “weird music.”

With performance venues shuttered and summer music festivals cancelled fans are lamenting the loss of the communal experience known as the concert. But socially-distanced performances are cropping up at drive-ins, in parks, and at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.

The indie band Yo La Tengo traveled from New York to North Adams to play two shows on August 7 and 8 in the museum’s courtyard. We were curious to see what the experience would be like.

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