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Music

Timmhotep Aku is an occasional NPR Music contributor and guest host for our +1 podcasts. This week he talks with writer, comedian and hip-hop lover Neal Brennan.

Comedy and hip-hop have a lot in common: Both are balms for the sting of the everyday struggle and both hold up a mirror to society's excesses, absurdities and injustices. These two worlds come together in the work of writer and comedian Neal Brennan.

Now and then, Alt.Latino offers programs that feature a single artist in conversation about life, art and anything else on their mind. But if we waited to speak with all of the artists who catch our attention one week at a time, it would take ... well, a long time.

So this week, we offer three shorter profiles of artists — some DJs, a musician and a pair of filmmakers — who are capturing Latino culture in three very distinct forms.

Editor's note: This is one of three segments in this week's episode of Alt.Latino. Listen to the full show.


Two years ago I got a crowdsourcing email from two guys making a movie about, of all things, the rich musical history of south Texas.

Orkesta Mendoza: A Border Story

2 hours ago

Editor's note: This is one of three segments in this week's episode of Alt.Latino. Listen to the full show.

Editor's note: This is one of three segments in this week's episode of Alt.Latino. Listen to the full show.


On her days off, Claudia Saenz scours used record shops, thrift stores and yard sales, keeping her eyes peeled for records her parents grew up on. They remind her of her childhood.

Swedish singer-songwriter Albin Lee Meldau has a profoundly arresting voice that delivers an emotional gut punch with every brooding phrase.

In his chilling new video for the song "Lou Lou," Meldau takes a single, wrenching scene and freezes it in time. Made with one unflinching, steadicam shot, it's an uncomfortably intimate look at the moment paramedics arrive to save a woman who's suffering a drug overdose. Nobody moves. Everything has stopped. It feels particularly helpless and hopeless.

Laura Marling On The Notion Of The Female Muse

5 hours ago

Laura Marling has always been a seeker. The English folk singer made her name as a teenager in early 2000's, writing delicate, contemplative songs that draw heavily from books and art. Marling says she was living in Los Angeles when she met her muse — or several of them, really.

"I think it was a time when I was meeting a lot of incredibly talented women, and wondering whether they have a unique approach to their discipline because of their femininity," she says.

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First Listen: Annie Hardy, 'Rules'

10 hours ago

Pouring tragedy into a work of music is nothing new. What's different each time around are the particulars. For Annie Hardy, the pain that inspired her debut solo album, Rules, is as personal as it is unimaginable. In March 2015, her newborn boy Silvio died of SIDS. He was 17 days old. Ten months later, her partner Robert Paulson—Silvio's father—died of a drug overdose.

It's somewhat rare to find three singers so in sync as The Wild Reeds' Kinsey Lee, Sharon Silva and Mackenzie Howe. Rarer still is the trio's songwriting skills; think Crosby, Stills and Nash.

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