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New Sounds

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New York, NY




New Sounds is unlike any radio show you've ever heard: a whirlwind tour of new and unusual music from all corners of the globe. New Sounds combs recent recordings for one of the most informative and compelling hours on radio, and aims to make the world smaller. For over 25 years, host John Schaefer has been finding the melody in the rainforest and the rhythm in an orchestra of tin cans. Defying rigid categorization and genre pigeonholing, New Sounds offers new ways to hear the ancient language of song. With guest musicians from David Byrne to Meredith Monk to Ravi Shankar to Philip Glass to Christopher O'Riley to Bang On A Can, Schaefer presents performances (both in-studio and from the New Sounds Live concert series) and premieres new works from the classic and operatic to folk and jazz, and anything else in between. Each show has a theme, ranging from post-rock to klezmer to African blues to minimalism. The variety of cultures and styles explored is boundless. Music you may not have known existed and now can't live without.






WNYC Radio 160 Varick St. New York, NY 10013 212-433-9692


#3927: Classical Instruments, Contemporary Sounds (Special Podcast)

Hear music that begins with classical instruments, like the string quartet, piano, or an orchestra, but which is then augmented, enhanced by electronics, percussion, or preparation. Listen to works by English violinist, pianist, and composer Poppy Ackroyd, Netherlands-based composer Peter Adriaansz, and cinematic music from the augmented string quartet amiina. The versatile Dutch pianist Saskia Lankhoorn plays a specially-prepared piano over a bed of droning sine tones in a work by...

Duration: 00:56:05

#3928: With Guitarist Shane Parish (Special Podcast)

Guitarist and educator Shane Parish is a sonic adventurer, perhaps best known as the mastermind behind the Asheville, North Carolina-based avant instrumental jazz-mathpunk band Ahleuchatistas, formerly a quartet, now a duo. Besides the jazz and mathrock, their musical stew also includes elements Chinese folk music, minimalism, and lots of other stuff. But Parish has just released a solo record of “weird old Americana” entitled Undertaker, Please Drive Slow on John Zorn's Tzadik label,...

Duration: 00:56:24

#3912: With Zakir Hussain & Niladri Kumar (Special Podcast)

“Indian music does not stop and start with Ravi Shankar.” So says tabla master Zakir Hussain, who, along with young sitar virtuoso, Niladri Kumar, joins John in the studio for a live performance. Zakir Hussain, son of Ustad Alla Rahka, isn’t just a genius Indian tabla player and composer, as well as a virtuoso improviser - he is, bar none, one of the world’s great percussionists working in many genres. Zakir is a global citizen open to all kinds of collaborations, playing with everyone from...

Duration: 00:51:43

#3880: Americana Chamber Music (Special Podcast)

Listen to chamber music packed with strong Americana flavors for this New Sounds. There’s music from guitarist William Tyler, ETHEL in collaboration with the Native American flutist Robert Mirabal, violist/composer Jessica Meyer, and music from guitarist/composer Bill Frisell. Hear a work by the ETHEL cellist Dorothy Lawson, based on the Heart Sutra from the collaborative record by ETHEL & Robert Mirabal, “The River.” Also, from another maverick string quartet, Brooklyn Rider, listen to...

Duration: 00:49:23

#3886: West African Strings (Special Podcast)

Hear music that features the traditional string instruments of Western Africa, like the kora (folk-harp), ngoni (a lute-harp), and the guitar, which has become a traditional instrument in Mali and Senegal. Listen to the 22-stringed kora, steeped in seven centuries of Senegalese tradition, from Seckou Keita. Usually the kora has 21 strings, but in southern Senegal and Guinea Bissau, the 22-stringed kora survives, despite the legend of the first ever kora given to the griot Jali Mady 'Wuleng'...

Duration: 00:56:28

#3893: With Guitarist Guy Buttery (Special Podcast)

South African guitarist Guy Buttery visits the studio to perform music from his latest self-titled record. Hear virtuosic feats of bending, tapping, picking, harmonics, and other techniques and textures yet to be named for guitar. Dig into his latest record on which he has collaborated with South African musicians Vusi Mahlasela, kora-to-guitar wizard Derek Gripper, and blues guitarist Dan Patlansky, along with a piece for sarangi and mbira – “From Srinagar.” More pictures from the session...

Duration: 00:58:50

#3477: Music With Folk Roots (Special Podcast)

Listen to ensemble pieces which incorporate or draw from the folk music of several different parts of the world on this New Sounds program. Hear music that simulates the sound of Norwegian folk fiddling. It’s the work of Princeton University professor Dan Trueman, founder of the Princeton Laptop Orchestra and a Norwegian hardanger fiddle specialist together with So Percussion. Then, listen to Nordic klezmer/folk band Afenginn, who take what they need from other parts of the world and their...

Duration: 00:48:59

#3718: New Music from Ireland Part 4 (Special Podcast)

New Sounds returns to Ireland for the fourth part of our series on the country's contemporary music scene. For Part 4, host John Schaefer speaks with Derry-based composer Neil Burns whose work bridges atmospheric pop and contemporary classical music. Burns discusses his piece "Walls of Sound," a kind of audio tour of Derry, Ireland's city walls that includes processed environmental recordings and spare accompaniment. Neil Burns also shares how his atmospheric pop work has informed his...

Duration: 00:55:57

#3641: Music for Bowed Strings (Special Podcast)

For this New Sounds, listen to works for violin, cello, and the 10-stringed Hardanger d’Amore fiddle. There’s a work from Irish cellist Kate Ellis, (who is also Artistic Director of the Crash Ensemble,) from her solo record, “Jump,” a collection of new music for solo cello and electronics by 5 Irish composers. Listen also to an atmospheric mix of cello and voice from the Icelandic cellist/composer/singer Hildur Guðnadóttir. One of the tunes features the bass player Skúli Sverrisson,...

Duration: 00:50:28

#3858: Collaborative Works (Special Podcast)

Hear collaborative works of all kinds for this New Sounds, from string quartet to chamber ensemble; from piano duet to guitar music with electronics. Listen to a work, "Trying to Speak," by New York guitarist and composer Kaki King, in collaboration with the string quartet ETHEL, from King's multimedia masterpiece “The Neck is a Bridge to the Body.” When she performs the work live, images are projected onto the body of her custom guitar, while she works her finger-style virtuosic...

Duration: 00:46:03

#3582: Music From the Near East and North Africa (Special Podcast)

For this New Sounds, listen to works from the Near East and North Africa, in both arrangement and intent. Begin with music inspired by Marco Polo’s travels by oud player and Doctor of Byzantine musicology, Kyriakos Kalaitzidis. Hear some music from Tunisia by percussionist Imed Alibi featuring singer Emel Mathlouthi on the tune “Maknassy." Sample even more music for oud by Paris-based Palestinian Adnan Joubran along with another work rooted in the oud by Belgian Karim Baggili, who has roots...

Duration: 00:43:52

#3859: Cross-Cultural Collaborations (Special Podcast)

Listen to cross-cultural collaborations from Indo-Canadian singer Kiran Ahluwalia, who combines Indian and Pakistani grooves, Western jazz, and desert blues, together with her husband, the guitarist & producer Rez Abbasi. Also, listen to music from Pakistani-Brooklyn group Sandaraa (means “Song” in Pashto); it’s a collaborative effort led by klezmer clarinet virtuoso Michael Winograd, and featuring Pakistani vocalist Zeb Bangash joins forces with leading Brooklyn musicians on oud, drums,...

Duration: 00:56:35

#3853: Under the Chamber Music Umbrella (Special Podcast)

Hear works that fit under the umbrella of chamber music on this New Sounds from a choir of cellos (OK, celli) performed by Ashley Bathgate, music from the Chicago-based Eighth Blackbird, the Tallin Chamber Orchestra, & more. From a years-long collaborative cycle of music for cello, preview Stories for Ocean Shells by Australian-born Dutch-based composer Kate Moore. Listen to layers upon layers of Ashley Bathgate’s cello in the title track from that record, now out on Cantaloupe Music. Also,...

Duration: 00:50:40

#3830: Big Bands and Bands That Just Sound Big (Special Podcast)

Eco-Music Big Band album cover (ecomusicbigband.com) For this New Sounds program, all of the works feature larger ensembles, or have the sound of a big band. Listen to music by the 15-, sometimes 16-piece multi-generational big band founded by Fred Ho, and led by Marie Incontrera – the Eco-Music Big Band. There’s also music from Laura Jurd, the English trumpeter/bandleader along with music by the NYC-based trumpeter/bandleader/composer Jon Crowley and his sextet. Plus, folk and jazz...

Duration: 00:49:32

#3801: Unusual Cross-Cultural Collaborations (Special Podcast)

This New Sounds is full of unexpected musical dream-teams, like New York-based Raya Brass Band, whose latest record, RAYA, is full of informed cross-cultural takes on Balkan brass music – here a loping Ethiogroove or New York salsa woven into the New Orleans street party meets Macedonian, Greek, and Turkish wedding music. Listen to the seductive odd sevens of "Dren Gajda," which evokes the sound of the bagpipe, or gajda (which is also a bagpipe-accompanied Macedonian dance.) Then, there’s...

Duration: 00:45:04

#3838: New Music With Trumpet (Special Podcast)

Listen to new music with trumpet on this New Sounds, including music from the Paris-based Lebanese trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf, Iraqi-American trumpeter Amir Elsaffar, Ben Neill & his mutantrumpet, and music from trumpeter, bandleader, composer Dave Douglas. Hear more music from Lebanese-born, Paris-based trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf off of a brilliant new record that is an homage to the great Arab diva Oum Kalthoum; listen to another from a suite of pieces built around her song, Alf Leila Wa...

Duration: 00:57:57

#3750: North Meets South (Special Podcast)

North meets South, largely Europe meets Africa in music by French guitarist Titi Robin and Moroccan musician Mehdi Nassouli, the group Monoswezi, and the collaborative group Malithuanie. Listen to music from Taziri, a record by French guitarist “Titi” (Thierry) Robin and the young Gnawa musician El Mehdi Nassouli, who is also heir to a strong South-Moroccan Berber culture. In ‘Flamenhijaz,” a work which combines flamenco and the classical Arab scale, Hijaz, the two are joined by Francis...

Duration: 00:57:28

#3815: John Schaefer's Best of 2015 (Special Podcast)

Hear kora and cello music recorded on a rooftop in Bamako, Mali; the 1960s space race set to 21 century electronics; and folk songs from the shadowy “Traveller” culture of Scotland and England. In no particular order, hear some of the most memorable music that made waves this year, according to John Schaefer. There's music from Toronto-based Americana & Appalachian folk roots artist Kaia Kater, along with music from the song cycle, “Unremembered,” by composer Sarah Kirkland Snider. Also,...

Duration: 00:51:36

#3825: With Emily Wells (Special Podcast)

Multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Emily Wells joins John Schaefer live in the studio to talk through and perform songs from her brand-new album, Promise. The music comes across as a startling mix of styles; there’s live loops and samples as in electronic music – all analog, no laptop, yet there are also classical strings, but everything is layered in a way that might be more akin to hip-hop production than anything else. Emily Wells grew up in the church, and has classical roots....

Duration: 00:56:25

#3812: Groove-Based Jazz (Special Podcast)

Listen to music from the new record, “Hibernation,” by Norway’s doom jazz piano trio Splashgirl, which includes contributions from the Seattle-based musician Skerik on sax and electronics. Recorded in the bleak of Iceland, the music is doomy in a heavy way - completely expected, thanks to their continued close collaboration with engineer and producer Randall Dunn, who has worked with the likes of Sunn o))) and Earth. There’s also trio music from French-born pianist/composer Romain Collin,...

Duration: 00:48:16

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