Couple of recent music stories of interest from the realms of public radio:
1. This interview with Brazilian musician/actor Seu Jorge from Weekend Edition a few Saturdays back is really nice. It's a great introduction to his work, and includes a performance or two recorded in the studio. Bonus feature: Jorge's translator is the one and only Tracy Mann, publicist supreme, whom I first met nearly 10 years ago when we were both working for Ani D, but who has a whole side life working with Brazilian musicians, much to my current delight. Bonus bonus feature: links to several earlier NPR stories on Jorge that I had missed.
2. This edition of To the Best of Our Knowledge contains an interview with Bill Friskics-Warren, author of I'll Take You There: Pop Music and the Urge for Transcendence. I haven't read the book, but the discussion--about the spiritual dimension of rock and pop music--was intriguing. Some of the examples (Bono, Van Morrison, Al Green) struck me as fairly obvious, even if the second two of those happen to be among my all-time favorite musicians, in part for this very thing. Plus, it's always nice to hear "Listen to the Lion," no matter what the circumstances. What I found more interesting than the part about those Usual Suspects was the argument the author makes for the Sex Pistols, among others, as "negationists" whose refusal to believe in anything becomes a form of belief in itself. (Pardon my horrible paraphrase. Hey, I'm just a blogger.) I have a hunch the book may partake in what I'll call the Greil Marcus Syndrome--pop songs lifted out of their original context as commodities to serve the author's giant, overarching thesis--but I'm willing to give it a shot.
'Cuz I still haven't found what I'm looking for.
PS. If you're into this newfangled podcasting thang and haven't yet checked out NPR's music-related offerings (available via iTunes and on individual show sites), you really should. The offerings are immense and staggeringly diverse, and now there is no need to listen to the tedious, dreary news of our planet and its imminent demise in order to get to the good stuff. (Talk about the urge for transcendence!) Though I have to say, now that I can download gems like The World's "Global Hits" feature plus a dozen more on a daily basis, my sense of information overload just quadrupled.