Rafael Alvarez

Rafael Alvarez reads a work of fiction that’s become something of a holiday tradition here at WYPR. Alvarez' short story “Aunt Lola” is a tale about the power of memory in the kitchen of a Highlandtown rowhouse. It first aired on The Signal in 2005. 

Whether you're running or watching the Baltimore Running Festival this weekend, you might want to put your feet up and read a book. Check out these recent book-related interviews on "The Weekly Reader" , "Midday" and "On the Record." 

On this edition of "The Weekly Reader," we feature two novels that capture the unique physical and emotional landscape of 'The Big Easy,' Margaret Wilkerson Sexton’s "A Kind of Freedom" and C. Morgan's "The Floating World." 

The Book Concierge is back and bigger than ever! Explore more than 300 standout titles picked by NPR staff and critics.

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When Louis XV, King of France, first met the woman who would become his chief mistress, she was dressed as a domino, and he was dressed as a plant. It was 1745, and Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, the pretty young woman who would become Marquise de Pompadour, had been invited to a masked ball at Versailles. If this sounds like a chance meeting, it wasn't — her family had been strategizing to orchestrate this very moment for years.

Metropolis: 3/5/16

Mar 8, 2016

This Week's Playlist

  • St. Germain, "Sitting Here [Atjazz Remix]" (Nonesuch)
  • Grande & Preset, "You Dream Of" [Drenched]
  • Pomo, "Blue Soda (Pt. 2)" (Bastard Jazz)
  • Granville Sharp, "He Knocked Me Down [1807 Club Mix]" (White Label)
  • Vaults, "Midnight River [Vaults Remix]" (Universal)
  • Sofi Tukker, "Matadora [Medina Remix]" (Sofi Tukker, LLC)
  • Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, "The Right Stuff [Psychemagik Remix]" (Sour Mash)

DJ Session: Old School Dance Party

Mar 3, 2016

In this edition of the Here & Now DJ Sessions, John Hanson of KUTX in Austin joins host Jeremy Hobson to listen back to some songs from decades past that we’re still hearing on the dance floor. Hanson hosts “Old School Dance Party” on KUTX in Austin, as well as “In Black America” on Here & Now contributor station KUT.

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P-Funk Dives In To Artscape

Jun 12, 2015

George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic will headline the first day’s entertainment at this year’s Artscape. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake made the announcement Tuesday at the University of Baltimore Angelos Law Center.

Why is classical music so hard to enjoy on streaming services? In one word, it's metadata. Metadata is the information that coexists with every digital music file: each and every piece of information about a selection of music that a listener might find useful to know, and what makes the information in one file discernible from the next. In the case of classical music, relevant and important metadata includes the name of the piece of music, the composer, the album it's from, the performers, the label that released the recording and the year it was recorded.

(Note: If you have photosensitive epilepsy, this video features strobe effects.)

We met at a ping-pong party in Iceland. Brendan Angelides introduced himself as a musician and friend of Jónsi and Alex Somers, who were hosting the party. When I came home from the Iceland Airwaves music festival, I listened to the music Angelides makes under the name Eskmo, and was intrigued.

Todd Burge On Mountain Stage

May 6, 2015

Todd Burge appears on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the West Virginia Culture Center Theater. Host Larry Groce has introduced Burge many times as "West Virginia's premier singer-songwriter" — praise Burge does not take lightly. Drawing on his peculiar wit, nimble guitar playing and the occasional inclusion of ukulele, whistling and falsetto vocals, Burge's music conjures everyone from Tiny Tim to Richard Thompson, often in the same verse of a single song.

Lady Lamb On World Cafe

May 6, 2015

It's hard to get your head around the amount of work it must have taken to make the new video for Son Lux's "Change Is Everything." Conceived and produced by The Made Shop, the whole thing was painstakingly pieced together entirely with a foam white board, a whole bunch of map pins and old-school stop motion animation.

Sylvan Esso combines heady electro beats from Nick Sanborn and Amelia Meath's warm and graceful voice. They've hit a sweet spot with their self-titled debut. On their recent visit to KCRW between Coachella dates, the two delivered an excellent interpretation of their danceable single, "H.S.K.T."


  • "H.S.K.T."

Watch Sylvan Esso's full performance at KCRW.com.

Every Thursday this year we're celebrating All Songs Considered's 15th birthday with personal memories and highlights from the show's decade and a half online and on the air. If you have a story about the show you'd like to share, drop us an email: allsongs@npr.org.

Toro Y Moi On World Cafe

Apr 2, 2015

What For? marks a change from the sound of Toro Y Moi's previous album, Anything In Return; the emphasis this time is on guitar rather than on the electronics and keyboards of the last record.

Toro Y Moi's Chaz Bundick made his debut in 2010 with Causers Of This, and soon got lumped in with an assortment of "chillwave" acts — an oversimplification of his versatile sound. Here, Toro Y Moi plays songs from What For? live in the studio.

Cabinet On Mountain Stage

Apr 2, 2015

The Pennsylvania progressive bluegrass band Cabinet makes its first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. Together for nearly 10 years, the members of Cabinet came from diverse musical backgrounds that encompass everything from American Beauty-era Grateful Dead to old-time banjo and fiddle tunes.

During his debut performance on Morning Becomes Eclectic, Dan Deacon saved something special for the KCRW audience. The mad genius from Baltimore premiered "When I Was Done Dying," a standout from his new album Gliss Riffer. Deacon's new album features some of his most accessible and appealing material yet, and his live performances remain one of a kind.


  • "When I Was Done Dying"

Every year around this time, many of us on the All Songs Considered team — including Bob Boilen, Robin Hilton, Ann Powers and me — each dredge through nearly 2,000 MP3s by bands playing the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas. And every year, we wind up missing something. In pursuit of music by thousands of bands, hundreds slip past our radar altogether.

Imagine you're in a Tower Records in the late '90s. You head for the cash register with a credit card and two compact discs in your hand. Let's say one CD is by OutKast, the other by Smash Mouth (remember, it's the late '90s). The following week on the Billboard 200, America's premier album chart, both of the CDs you bought have been tallied.

Soon, you may not be able to ignore how many calories are in the breakfast sandwich or doughnut you like to stop for in the morning.

The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday will release new rules that will require chain restaurants with 20 or more locations to begin posting calorie information on their menus.

"Americans eat and drink about one-third of their calories away from home, and people today expect clear information about the products they consume," FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg said in a statement.

NPR Presents Water±

Nov 25, 2014

NPR Presents Water± brings together Tony-Award winning director Kenny Leon, award-winning NPR Science Correspondent Christopher Joyce, and award-winning theater writers Arthur Yorinks and Carl Hancock Rux with an original sound score by acclaimed violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR). The show starts its eight-city tour in New Orleans.

Martin Charnin

Nov 21, 2014

Tom talks with Broadway legend Martin Charnin, the lyricist and director of Annie.  Annie is at the Hippodrome January 20-February 1.

Ticket Information

Bromo Arts District on Facebook

Are You Important?

Nov 11, 2014

What if there were a science that could help you understand why high school was (for so many of us) so horrible? What if there were a science that laid bare the dynamics of cliques, "in" crowds and outsiders with the mathematical precision of a moon shot?

Well, there pretty much is such a science — and, as the age of "big data" rises, this new field called network science is opening vistas on everything from high school social webs to the spread of deadly diseases.

"Pink is clearly freighted with sociocultural significance. And much of it isn't pretty."

So writes philosopher Liz Camp in a blog post titled "The Socio-Aesthetics of Pink." In the post, Camp discloses her 2-year-old daughter's deep love of pink, exploring why she herself is so irked by the little one's palette-based passion. The post is part parental reflections, part hard-core philosophy and part cultural commentary.