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Anastasia Tsioulcas

A video of Russian President Vladimir Putin taking a turn at the ivories in Beijing is currently making the Internet rounds.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.


Multi-instrumentalist, composer, spiritual leader and the wife of John Coltrane, Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda (1937-2007) long stood in her husband's shadow. Some certain number of more casual jazz fans, if they have known her name at all, only know it from sidewoman credits on some of his albums, and not for her own performances and recordings.

Cuba Gooding, Sr. — the soul-singing frontman of the 1970s band The Main Ingredient and the father of actor Cuba Gooding, Jr. — died Thursday at age 72 in the Woodland Hills area of Los Angeles.

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles County coroner's office confirmed the death. Police found Gooding unresponsive in his car in southwest Los Angeles around 1:10 p.m. PT. The cause of death had yet to be determined, but a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department said no foul play was suspected.

Today, Amazon announced the debut of an on-demand music-streaming service called Amazon Music Unlimited. With a subscription model like Spotify and Apple Music, Amazon will charge standard subscribers $10 per month; for Amazon Prime subscribers, just $8 a month; and for users of its Echo devices, only $4 a month.

The news out of Greece in the past several years has been pretty bad.

One of the world's best-known and best-loved classical musicians has joined the ranks of artists refusing to perform in North Carolina. Violinist Itzhak Perlman canceled an appearance scheduled for Wednesday with the North Carolina Symphony in Raleigh to protest HB2, the controversial North Carolina law limiting civil rights protections for LGBT people.

In 2014, Sergei Roldugin told the New York Times, "I don't have millions."

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You never know who you're going to meet at a party. In the case of one young man and woman, a Halloween celebration in New York City led not just to a love affair — it became part of the fabric of modern Cuba.

I was going to Havana on a reporting trip to cover a contemporary music festival, and I needed a translator. Through a friend of a friend of a friend, I met Gabriela Burdsall. She's a member of Cuba's national modern dance troupe.

NPR's Audie Cornish spoke with Frannie Kelley of NPR Music's podcast Microphone Check about Kendrick Lamar's untitled unmastered. You can hear their conversation at the audio link.


Hip-hop fans received a surprise Thursday night: an unexpectedly released project from Kendrick Lamar called untitled unmastered.

The technology of the day has everything to do with how you get your music — and the music business is pushing more and more toward streaming.

With services like Spotify, Pandora, Tidal and Apple Music, there are a bunch of companies that want your ears — and your money.

It seemed like there was something for everybody at the 2016 Grammy Awards. Mark Ronson's high-spirited "Uptown Funk," featuring Bruno Mars, won Record of the Year. The songwriting award, Song of the Year, went to Ed Sheeran and Amy Wadge's "Thinking Out Loud," while Taylor Swift won Album of the Year for 1989.

The nominations for the 58th annual Grammy Awards, though, were pitched as something of a showdown between pop and hip-hop. In certain ways, neither won outright — but both genres' reigning queen and king emerged as winners.

A battle between upbeat, finely crafted pop and politically minded hip-hop seems to be what's shaping up for the biggest prizes at this year's Grammy Awards. The nominees were announced this morning, in advance of the awards ceremony on Feb. 15.

There's a kind of little village of artisans on Manhattan's West 54th Street. In a couple of plain looking office towers, there are a bunch of rehearsal studios, violin makers' workshops and other music businesses. Behind one of those office doors on the 10th floor sits Frank Music Company — Frank's, as everybody calls it.

She's probably not among your first, or second, or 10th, or 20th-round guesses, but the NFL just announced that American soprano Renee Fleming will sing the national anthem at Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2.

Stories of old friends finding each other again aren't all that surprising in the age of Facebook and Twitter. But sometimes, those reunions can lead to the opportunity of a lifetime. A chance encounter between a tourist and a mirror maker in an Algerian bazaar led to the reuniting of Jewish and Muslim musicians — friends who'd been apart for 50 years. Now they're touring the U.S.

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