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Nora Brown and Stephanie Coleman: Tiny Desk Concert

There's a sweet moment between songs when Nora Brown and Stephanie Coleman reminisce about their love for traditional banjo and fiddle tunes. Speaking about "Across the Rocky Mountain," banjo picker Nora Brown says she first heard the song when she was about 10 or 11. That puts a grin on fiddler Stephanie Coleman's face, as she chimes in to say, "I had the same experience; we both were middle schoolers who were obsessed with old banjo players." It's this passion that these two have for traditional tunes that sparks me as a listener, and the audiences that come to see them. It's a body of work that's been handed down from player to player for centuries.

Tiny Desk fans may remember first meeting Nora Brown a few years back, when this 10th grader performed aTiny Desk (home) concert thirty feet below the surface in Brooklyn. Now, with her musical soulmate, the two perform a few songs behind my desk from their recently released EP, Lady of the Lake, including the title track and "Copper Kettle."

I think it's safe to say that none of the original creators of these tunes could have imagined a world where this music is so easily accessible. This music still feels inspiring, with emotions of yearning and joy that are still central to our being.


  • "Across the Rocky Mountain"/"The Old Blue Bonnet"
  • "Lady of the Lake"
  • "Copper Kettle"


  • Nora Brown: vocals, banjo, guitar
  • Stephanie Coleman: vocals, fiddle


  • Producer: Bob Boilen
  • Director: Kara Frame
  • Audio Engineer: Neil Tevault
  • Series Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Editor: Michael Zamora
  • Videographers: Kara Frame, Joshua Bryant
  • Audio Assistant: Kwesi Lee
  • Tiny Desk Team: Suraya Mohamed, Maia Stern, Ashley Pointer, Josh Rogosin, Hazel Cills 
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann

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In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.