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They came, they measured, and they returned to perform a show like no other. It was the great NPR Tiny Desk Takeover by Blue Man Group.

If you've not seen this performance ensemble and their production in New York, Las Vegas, Orlando, Boston, Chicago or Berlin, then you've missed a night of magical fun. These Blue Men may never say a word, but the performances make for poignant looks at who we are as humans. They also make unusual music on instruments of their own design.

Metropolis: 9/24/16

Sep 26, 2016

This Week's Playlist

  • The Weeknd, "Starboy [feat. Daft Punk]" (Republic)
  • Glass Animals, "Youth" (Harvest)
  • Trentemoller, "My Conviction" (In My Room)
  • Phantogram, "Run Run Blood" (Republic)
  • D.D Dumbo, "Walrus" (4AD)
  • The Seshen, "Distant Heart" (Tru Thoughts)
  • Janet Jackson, "Pleasure Principle [Classixx Recovery Mix]" (Virgin)
  • Gigamesh, "I'd Do It Again [feat. Gavin Turek]" (Our Label International)

The political endorsement song is a strange beast. It's something more than just a campaign anthem — the kind of track that pumps up rally audiences before a candidate's entrance onstage. Instead, this kind of tune is an odd hybrid: part commercial jingle, part aspirational anthem and, with nearly no exceptions, a soon-forgotten novelty. (One outlier: the sturdy Whig song "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" from the 1840 presidential campaign, which was most recently resurrected by They Might Be Giants in 2004.)

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

The Thistle & Shamrock: Archie Fisher

Apr 13, 2016

Revisit host Fiona Ritchie's time with legendary singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer and broadcaster Archie Fisher. This episode of The Thistle & Shamrock features music from across the decades of Fisher's remarkable career in the transatlantic folk scene.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The large instrumental band Snarky Puppy, which just won its second Grammy Award, is hard to pin down to one place. Its core is now in New York, but its members have toured and recorded all over the world, and their spiritual home is still Dallas, Texas. It's where they'd take in gospel performances in area churches; it's near where they initially met at music school at the University of North Texas in Denton. As bassist and bandleader Michael League explains, you can hear all those collisions in the pocket of their complex and beyond-category grooves.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Chansons

Feb 25, 2016

From the "chant de marin," or sea shanties, of Brittany to the songs of the voyageurs of the Canadian fur trade, enjoy the French songs that extend branches of the Celtic music tree from the old world to the new, with artists Le Vent du Nord, Hilary James, and Chris Norman.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Thistle & Shamrock: New Writing

Jan 20, 2016

From instrumental commissions to new works by singer-songwriters, hear a wealth of recently composed gems by Maggie MacInnes, Wendy Weatherby, Bill Whelan and more.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Join Fiona Ritchie to celebrate the season by exploring festive songs, carols and dances from traditions old and new. In this week's episode of The Thistle & Shamrock, hear music performed by Emily Smith, Maggie Sansone, Ashley Davis & John Doyle, Jennifer Cutting's Ocean Orchestra and more.

The Thistle & Shamrock: The Long View

Sep 24, 2015

Fiona Ritchie picks a few favorite extended arrangements of traditional tunes, including classic recordings by Kevin Burke and Alan Stivell.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Thistle & Shamrock: ThistleRadio

Aug 19, 2015

Hear classic tracks from ThistleRadio, The Thistle & Shamrock's 'round-the-clock music channel. The playlist includes music by Mary Jane Lamond and Wendy MacIsaac, Kris Drever, Dervish and Enya, among others.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Celtic Guitar

Aug 12, 2015

Virtuoso players from old world to new are raising the bar for Celtic roots-inspired guitar music. Hear from Sarah McQuaid, Tony McManus, John Doyle and other musicians who are helping shape the sound of the Celtic guitar.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Common Currency

Jul 22, 2015

Follow the instrumental links and song streams that connect musical traditions across miles and oceans. This week's episode features music by Joe Craven, Pauline Scanlon, Tim O'Brien, Colcannon and more.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Drawing meaning, guidance and solace from the sun, moon and stars, this week's selections on The Thistle & Shamrock look to the Northern and Western skies. Hear music from Liz Carroll and John Doyle, Kate Rusby, Ceilidh Minogue and more.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Made In America

Mar 26, 2015

Travel from the 1920s, with legendary fiddlers Michael Coleman and James Morrison, to the thriving 1970s session scene and hear the evolving sound of Irish traditional music in the U.S.

This week's show includes music from Liz Carroll, The Flanagan Brothers, Laurence Nugent, The Green Fields Of America and more.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Live From Ireland

Mar 18, 2015

Relive some great sets of Irish music, including years of live performances presented by host Fiona Ritchie with the energy and innovation of Eileen Ivers, the joy and virtuosity of Cherish the Ladies, and the pioneering cross-over spirit of The Chieftains.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Welsh Roots

Mar 4, 2015

This week, The Thistle & Shamrock host Fiona Ritchie presents acoustic roots music from Wales with Cerys Matthews, Robin Huw Bowen, Julie Murphy, Rag Foundation, Ffynnon, Ember and Crasdant. Discover a world of Welsh contemporary folk and new roots sounds in the land of St. David.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Love Songs

Feb 18, 2015

We've heard a lot about romantic love recently. Now, hear of a bond with landscape, language and the natural world, all in the finest Celtic-rooted music.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Songs Of The Bard

Feb 7, 2015

Hear a variety of artists in the intoxicating thrall of the songs — timeless and thriving — of Robert Burns, Scotland's National Bard.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Winter Heat

Jan 19, 2015

Hot instrumentals and passionate vocals from Kirsty MacColl, Salsa Celtica and Kila offer the perfect insulation against the threat of the coming winter's chill.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Dream Time

Dec 8, 2014

Kick back with some soothing voices and free-spirited instrumentals in an episode featuring Dougie MacLean, Maire Brenan, Karen Matheson and Davy Spillane.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Myth And Legend

Jul 30, 2014

Explore myth, legend and mystery this week, in ballads and tunes of Celtic origin and inspiration. This episode features Nuala Kennedy, Sinead O'Connor, June Tabor and more.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Season Of Light

May 7, 2014

Marked in early May, Beltane is one of four quarter-day festivals in the old year. Join our celebration of the natural elements — Air, Earth, Water and Fire — in a Beltane-themed hour of music.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Join Fiona Ritchie at the Swannanoa Gathering in the mountains of North Carolina for a conversational, musical encounter with multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and singer Brian McNeill. The musician chats about his globetrotting years with Battlefield Band, his song and novel writing, and his projects uncovering Scottish connections in North America and Europe. His travels always inspire new music, and McNeill shares songs and tunes with the audience.

The Thistle And Shamrock: Fiddle Styles

Oct 16, 2013

Sample a variety of fiddle flavors from the wide world of Celtic music.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Thistle And Shamrock: Gaelic Voices

Oct 9, 2013

Explore the branches of contemporary song sprouting from the roots of ancient vocal traditions.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Two Hours Of Jimi Hendrix On World Cafe

Mar 25, 2013

More than 40 years after Jimi Hendrix's death, the guitarist and singer's legacy continues to grow. His label recently released People, Hell and Angels, an album of 12 previously unreleased recordings that Hendrix was working on for a planned follow-up to 1968's Electric Ladyland.

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