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  • Of Monsters and Men - "Dirty Paws"

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    8/28/12

    "Iceland has a long tradition of Nordic myths and folk tales, many involving spirits and animals transforming themselves into people. So, it'?s not too surprising that a band like Of Monsters and Men would call their debut album, '?My Head is an Animal,'? and create a song like '?Dirty Paws,'? about an epic battle between the birds and the bees and a four-pawed beast that saves the day.moreless
  • Piers Faccini Performs "Two Grains of Sand"

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    11/2/11

    "Two Grains of Sand" is the title track from Piers Faccini's previous album released in 2009. As you'll see in this acoustic guitar, solo performance, it's a sad, intimate, philosophical song with an oblique story of jealousy and violence. There's "a murder buried under autumn leaves" and a plaintive cry: "How can we turn to violence and burn/Forget all we've learned/ to darkness return."moreless
  • Interview with Abigail Washburn

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    9/29/11

    As if our debt to China weren't big enough, it turns out we also owe the Asian giant for inspiring Abigail Washburn, a true American original, to become a musician. It's a roundabout story. But you'll get the drift of it in her interview with SOUND TRACKS reporter Arun Rath, plus a sampling of her songs.moreless
  • Sharon Jones Sings "I'll Still Be True"

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    3/14/11

    We at SOUND TRACKS have loved Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings since we first heard their music. They've turned out four quality albums, including last year's "I Learned the Hard Way." But to really appreciate the excitement and precision of the band and the brassy, high-spirited personality of Jones, you've got to see them live. Next best thing: watch them on stage in this "Quick Hits" performance.moreless
  • Helene Grimaud Plays Liszt's Sonata in B minor

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    2/19/11

    Helene Grimaud describes herself as an agitated and unpredictable child who found her salvation in music. Now on her latest album, "Resonances," Grimaud takes on the challenge of playing Liszt's Sonata in B minor, what she calls "a monumental quest." In New York, at Steinway Hall, Grimaud performed this excerpt for "Quick Hits."moreless
  • Helene Grimaud Playing Bartok

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    2/19/11

    Helene Grimaud describes her new album, "Resonances," as a musical tour through the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, from Mozart to Lizst to Bartok. In this concise, moving piece, performed for "Quick Hits," she captures the spirit of Romanian folk music that inspired Bartok.moreless
  • Helene Grimaud Interview

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    2/18/11

    Helene Grimaud is a risk-taker. She may appear ethereal, even fragile, but she has the will of a tiger, or should we say, wolf, the species she has chosen to protect at a sanctuary she founded in 1999 in South Salem, New York, about two hours north of Manhattan. In her "Quick Hits" interview with SOUND TRACKS, Grimaud describes her love of wolves, overcoming illness, and the magic of performing.moreless
  • Ozomatli Performs

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    12/20/10

    Live from the Fillmore, San Francisco's legendary concert hall, Ozomatli breaks into a rambunctious version of "La Gallina" (the chicken). With lead vocals by Raul Pachecho and some blistering horns - Asdru Sierra on trumpet and Ulises Bella on saxophone - it's irresistible dance music. Segment presented by Sound Tracks: http://www.pbs.org/opb/soundtracks/moreless
  • Ozomatli: The Quick Hits Interview

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    12/20/10

    The guys in Ozomatli are old friends and it's obvious they're still having fun with their hard-charging, polyglot band. "Quick Hits" reporter Mirissa Neff caught up with them at a rehearsal on tour in San Francisco, where Wil-Dog Abers and Jiro Yamaguchi joined Uli in describing how strange it was to get a call from the Bush-era State Dept..moreless
  • KT Tunstall: Uummannaq

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    12/9/10

    Here's KT Tunstall on stage at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco during her current U.S. tour. This is KT in full "tiger suit" - the term she uses to describe the "armor" of confidence and swagger she puts on to perform. It's also the title of her new album. Segment presented by Sound Tracks.moreless
  • "Quick Hits" Interview with Meklit Hadero

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    10/18/10

    Sound Tracks "Quick Hits" reporter Mirissa Neff interviews singer/songwriter Meklit Hadero at the Red Poppy Art House in San Francisco. With that familiar flower in her hair and a megawatt smile, Hadero immediately puts a visitor at ease and opens up about her life and music - from her origins in Ethiopia to her love of jazz.moreless
  • Meklit Hadero Performs "Leaving Soon"

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    10/18/10

    Once upon a time in the music industry, when an artist released a new album, the promo guys would always ask, "What's the single?" For Meklit Hadero's CD, "On a Day Like This," we have a quick answer: "Leaving Soon." It's irresistible. This intimate performance at the Red Poppy Art House in San Francisco features Darren Johnston on trumpet. Serene Fang directed our nighttime shoot.moreless
  • Seu Jorge Performs "Cirandar"

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    9/22/10

    Definitely some hip beach music. The word "cirandar" refers to an old Portuguese dance. Think of this as Seu Jorge's serenade to the sea in which he asks an ocean goddess to "protect the fisherman" and "give the singers a good voice." We couldn't resist adding some nostalgic images of fisherman at work. It's unmistakably Brazilian, but it also has the undertow of that '60s surf guitar sound.moreless
  • Seu Jorge Sings an Impromtu Version of "Oluan"

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    9/22/10

    Just before his Boston concert, with the sun setting over the Charles River, and street traffic below, Seu Jorge pulled out his guitar and sang a song for us on the fire escape outside the Royale theater. It's called "Oluan," a term from the Yoruba culture and religion in northeast Brazil.moreless
  • Jovanotti: Dove Ho Visto Te

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    8/23/10

    Introducing this new song as a tango from his album "Safari," Jovanotti starts "Dove Ho Visto Te" ("Where I've Seen You") in a mellow groove before cranking up the tempo. The song is about a well-traveled man who finds a woman who inspires his music and words. In an ecstatic chorus, he sings, "Kiss me, eat me, leave me, take me, forgive me, use me, believe me, save me, feel me."moreless
  • Jovanotti: L'Ombelico del Mondo

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    8/23/10

    Italy's pop superstar, Jovanotti, performs his hit song, the dance party anthem known as "L'Ombelico del Mondo" or "The Bellybutton of the World" at San Francisco's Stern Grove Festival. Rome once called itself the naval or center of the world, and Jovanotti's song is certainly a celebration of Italy, but it's also a shout out to a new millennium and cultures from all over the world. Play it loud.moreless
  • Seun Kuti

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    1/4/10

    In March 2005, Seun Kuti joined world music star Youssou N'Dour in Dakar, Sengal for a festival of African music dedicated to fighting malaria. In "Mosquito Song," Seun chastises governments for neglecting to conduct adequate public health campaigns to prevent malaria, a scourge throughout much of Africa.moreless
  • Strongmen and Dissenters

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    1/4/10

    What is it with Russians and their authoritarian leaders? Stroll on Red Square with reporter Alexis Bloom and Putin look-alike Anatoly Gorbunov to explore Russia's love-hate relationship with their despots. Then meet Roman Dobroxhodov, a leading dissenter who dares to speak out against Putin.moreless
  • Fela! the Musical

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    1/4/10

    The story of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti is now a high-energy Broadway musical starring Sahr Ngaujah and directed by Bill T. Jones. Watch this scene to see why audiences are dancing in the aisles.moreless
  • Free Pack's Rehearsal

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    12/30/09

    After producing "A Man Like Putin," songwriter Alexander Yelin is continuing his pursuit of another mega-hit. These days, he is promoting an all-girl heavy metal band with a wolf-ish name, Free Pack. Check out their song, "My Day." The singer wishes her night could last forever.moreless
  • Quick Hits: Anoushka Shankar performs Si No Puedo Verla

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    This song renders the lyrics of a medieval Sufi mystic into Spanish: '?If I cannot see her, at least I can think of her, and so, be happy.'? But you don'?t need to understand the words to hear the beautiful sense of longing.moreless
  • Quick Hits: Anoushka Shankar performs ISHQ

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    The album version of '?ISHQ'? features a vocalist singing in Hindi, '?My body is an instrument, my heart is a melody.'? Here, Sanjeev Shankar takes on the vocal role on the shehnai, a double-reed instrument rather like a cross between an oboe and a soprano sax. This all-instrumental version shows off some exceptional percussion.moreless
  • Quick Hits: Anoushka Shankar performs Casi Uno

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    The featured singer in this piece, Sandra Carrasco, is a traveler herself, crossing the globe as an evangelist for Andalusian flamenco singing. The words she sings are Anoushka'?s, translated into Spanish by her collaborator, Javier Limon: '?I deserve to spend my life dancing while leaning on my true love'?s shoulder, dancing.'?moreless
  • Quick Hits: An Interview with Anoushka Shankar

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    Anoushka Shankar is a sort of musical gypsy, having grown up in London, Delhi and southern California, and touring the world in performances with her father, Ravi Shankar. Now she'?s repeating the pattern by traveling with her child on her own concert tours. As she tells Arun Rath, she was pregnant when she recorded the album, and the song '?Inside Me,'? is about her unborn son dancing inside her.moreless
  • Seun Kuti's Sax and Smile

    Segment

    8/22/11

    We couldn't resist including this video clip of Seun Kuti, just before he took the stage at San Francisco's Regency Ballroom. It's only a moment, but it reveals another side of his personality - smiling, sleepy, a bit shy - right before he becomes a force of nature leading a volcanic band.moreless
  • Ozomatli Performs "Saturday Night"

    Segment

    12/20/10

    A glimpse of Ozomatli rehearsing a performance piece called "At the Edge of Urban Identity." It's a kind of history of the band, a ballad of Ozomatli, narrated by their friend Josh Kun, who they call "our resident smart guy," maybe because when he's not fronting Ozomatli he teaches music journalism at USC in downtown L.A. Segment presented by Sound Tracks: http://www.pbs.org/opb/soundtracks/moreless
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