Idan Raichel first met Malian guitar luminary Vieux Farka Toure in a chance encounter at an airport in Germany. Raichel, an Israeli pop star and keyboard player, had admired Toure's work— as well as that of his father, the late Ali Farka Toure — for many years before they crossed paths.
For more than 20 years, the indie-pop group The Magnetic Fields has been singing songs about love, though not always in the traditional sense. With a style that ranges from bitter to sincere to ironic, Stephin Merritt — the group's frontman, writer and producer — has created a growing cast of characters surviving love's vicissitudes.
In his characteristic deadpan, Merritt tells NPR's Linda Wertheimer that he owes the inspiration for many of those characters to a particular ritual of his.
During the course of his career, singer-songwriter Adam Cohen says he has twisted himself into creating commercially successful music — but not this record, not this song. "What Other Guy," from his third album Like A Man, didn't seem likely to generate mainstream popularity. And yet it did, more than any other song he has ever recorded.
The son of iconic singer Leonard Cohen, Adam Cohen says his latest record is a celebration and demonstration of his father's influence on his music.
With Love is singer Rosie Thomas' first full-length album in four years, and she's experienced many ups and downs in that time. One of the downs was an injury: Her thyroid broke, causing her to take a hiatus from music.
Simone (pronounced "Simon") Felice is a poet, a novelist and a musician from rural New York state who has lived through two near-death experiences. At 12, he suffered a brain aneurysm, and in June 2010, he underwent emergency open-heart surgery. He jokes, "I guess I came out of the factory a little defective."