The music of multi-instrumentalist Yann Tiersen breaks the constraints of form, yet each track is built around poignant, emotional melodies. Tiersen quickly abandoned the academy training of his early childhood, smashing his violin and adopting the electric guitar instead. He began recording in the summer of 1993, and first found commercial success in his native France with 1998's Le Phare, recorded in two months on the island of Ouessant.
In spite of the early hour and chilly air, Sauti Sol arrived at the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge in Austin, Texas, in good spirits — not to mention colorful jackets that provided a welcome contrast to the cloudy sky. There, the Afro-fusion quartet from Nairobi greeted the morning birds and joggers with a version of its recent single, "Love or Leave." The song amply demonstrates the group's signature acoustic sound, which is anchored by the guitar of Polycarp Otieno and vocal harmonies of Bien-Aime Baraza, Willis Chimano and Delvin Mudigi.
A Toronto-based jazz trio whose approach to the genre has angered aficionados and grabbed the attention of young fans, BADBADNOTGOOD carries on jazz's rich tradition of reinvention and provocation. Its two full-length albums cover material that's of interest to your average oddball twentysomething: experimental rock, video-game soundtracks and electronic music, among others.
A treasure of American folk music has died. Doc Watson passed away yesterday in Winston-Salem, North Carolina at the age of 89. He was born in Deep Gap, North Carolina, in the Blue Ridge Mountains in a three room house that he shared with eight brothers and sisters. During a long and productive career, he revolutionized not just how people play guitar but how people around the world think about mountain music. NPR's Neda Ulaby has this remembrance.