Music

1Hood Media / Facebook

Celeste Smith wants people to know hip-hop has always been alive in Pittsburgh, whether people have seen it or not.

betaylor.com

 

B.E. Taylor, a musician whose annual Christmas concerts and recordings made him well known in western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, is dead of complications from brain cancer at age 65.

The general manager of a funeral home where Taylor lived in Wheeling, West Virginia, confirmed that he died Sunday. Funeral arrangements will be private.

The Aliquippa native's series of popular Christmas recordings began in 1991 and led to seasonal shows that drew thousands.

A family spokesman says he was working on "B.E. Taylor Christmas 4" at the time of his death.

Welcome to our sand box.

For months now, the NPR Ed Team has been playing with what we like to call "long listen" ideas — worthy stories that we can't tell in three or four minutes.

The Tamburitzans

Friday is a monumental day for one of Pittsburgh's longest running coed dance and music ensembles as Duquesne University's Tamburitzans officially split from the school to become their own nonprofit organization.  

Executive Director and former “Tammie” Robert Vukic said the move will secure the group’s financial future and preserve the Tamburitzan legacy as both an educational and cultural institution.

It was an economic choice, Vukic said, adding, “We’re the first 80-year-old start-up.”

Eddie Palmieri

Pittsburgh Jazz Live International, the city’s annual summer jazz festival begins this Friday with international artists scheduled to perform. For members of the region's fast growing Hispanic community, the chance to see their musical culture represented can be a powerful experience.

Ron Alvarado, chairman of the Pittsburgh Metro Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce said, “it galvanizes us as a community.”

What do Van Morrison's "Domino," the Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar" and Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On?" have in common? All of them were recorded or became hits in 1971 — the year music journalist David Hepworth insists is the best year in rock 'n' roll history.

At first it seems like a typical music video.

A big, calm-looking bearded man sits in a posh armchair and sings in an emotion-choked baritone, "I'm running, I'm running, I'm running."

He's Grammy Award-winning jazz singer Gregory Porter.

A little bit into the song, a rapper joins in: "I fight through the night just to find a stronger day."

nasaengerbund.org

About 1,000 singers from 70 choruses across the country have come to Pittsburgh for a celebration of German choral music.

This weekend’s festival marks the 62nd Nationales Sängerfest, which the Nord-Amerikanischer Sängerbund, or the North American Singers Association, holds every three years.

But it’s just the fourth time ever that Pittsburgh has hosted a Sängerfest since German immigrants first began arriving in the Bloomfield and Deutschtown neighborhoods in the mid-1800s.

John Marino / Flickr

Most of the people running the Pittsburgh Marathon this weekend don’t know who Jimi Miller is. But for some, he provides a much-needed boost of energy along the route.

Erica Dilcer / heatherkropf.com

When talking about working on the album “Chrysalis,” producer Jeff Berman sounds like he’s describing a painting.

“Sculpting out the motion of the piece,” Berman said. “The overtones of that piano. The way that interacted with the rhythm section and helped us sculpt the landscape, we created a musical environment for that tune. The guitars add another part that would add a certain internal motion.”

Prince's sister says that when the musician died suddenly last week, he left no known will. On Tuesday, she asked a Minnesota court to appoint a special administrator to oversee the estate, which may be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. But no matter who the heirs turn out to be, they will be facing some tough choices.

Prince always had an aura of mystery. His death at 57 has only added to the puzzle.

Guster / Facebook

It was love at first tweet.

At the request of the band, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto joined 91.3 WYEP's Brian Siewiorek on Wednesday to announce the headlining act for this year's Three Rivers Arts Festival.

Guster will take the stage Friday, June 10. 

The band, which hails from Boston, Mass. requested an introduction by the mayor after Guster played a short acoustic set in front of dumpster on the North Side earlier this year.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Ellen Gozion of Pittsburgh folk band The Early Mays saw her first crankie at a music festival in West Virginia.

“As soon as I saw them, I fell in love with them and I decided I would make one,” she said. “I knew that there had been scattered crankie (festivals) throughout the country, so I immediately thought we’re going to do that in Pittsburgh.”

It took several years, but the first ever Pittsburgh Crankie Fest is this weekend at the Wilkins School Community Center in Regent Square.

Legendary Musician David Bowie Dies Of Cancer At 69

Jan 11, 2016
Associated Press

David Bowie, the other-worldly musician who broke pop and rock boundaries with his creative musicianship, nonconformity, striking visuals and a genre-spanning persona he christened Ziggy Stardust, died of cancer Sunday. 

Appalasia

AppalAsia is one of those artistic ventures which, seemingly, could only happen in Pittsburgh. The musical blend of Appalachian and ancient Chinese folk music stems from three artists with very different musical backgrounds. 

Mimi Jong plays the erhu, a two-stringed, bowed instrument that has been a part of Chinese folk music for a millennium.

 

As the holidays quickly approach, Social Club has all the events to get you into the holiday spirit and all the places to buy your last minute gifts this weekend. 

Phipps Winter Flower Show is in full swing. Enjoy indoor and outdoor displays “decked” out for the holidays. The event runs from 5-11 pm all weekend.

    While we can always hope for an artisanal water party, we will live in reality and enjoy some of these amazing events going on in Pittsburgh this weekend! Josh from WESA and Rachel from Yelp Pittsburgh tell you everything you need to know post-Halloween. Let’s celebrate Christmas! Just kidding…not yet.

Pittsburgh Record Fest # 14 is this Friday at Spirit. Buy and sell vinyl and enjoy a night-time record swap! Join for music, booze and more!

November Food Truck Roundup is happening this Saturday at Brew Gentlemen Beer Co in Braddock. Enjoy some of the best food trucks Pittsburgh has to offer including Leona’s Ice Cream Sandwiches!

On The House: Pairing Music With Your Meal

Oct 28, 2015
Brooke Annibale

At a restaurant or bar, details make up a diner’s experience. Lighting, décor, music -- Brooke Annibale’s embraces each to enhance the experience of eating out.

She’s a Pittsburgh singer and songwriter, and works for the Big Burrito restaurant group as a music programmer. In this episode of On The House, the work of the behind-the-scenes DJ to countless meals at Mad Mex, Casbah, Eleven and Kaya. 

More than 125 bands on a total of 24 stages, with five outdoor stages and 16 separate venues, will play in the North Side the second weekend of July.

The third annual Deutschtown Music Festival takes place July 11, consisting of free live music from 128 bands performing a wide variety of genres.

Flickr user Carlos

As many Americans ready their grills and fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July, others are celebrating another American tradition: the barbershop quartet. Pittsburgh is the site of the week-long Barbershop Harmony Society International Convention running through Saturday.

It’s no longer four guys in boater hats and stripes, though those groups are still around – barbershop is a whole movement, encompassing many different kinds of groups from one or two men or women to 150 and more. Dallas-Based Vocal Majority is one of the big ones with 150 volunteer members.

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

The 2015 Three Rivers Arts Festival officially got underway at noon Friday in Point State Park.

Art and music lovers were already milling about even before 12 p.m., as the festival’s first band, locals Black Little Birds, sound checked.

A new collaboration plans to take the audience behind the scenes at the 56th annual Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival.

The new video series pairs the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust with Yellow Couch Studio for this year's theme, “Unseen/Unheard.”

Studio owner and producer Steven Foxbury said he hopes Yellow Couch Sessions Live! will create a cozy environment conducive to inspiring great performances.

Fun For Everyone (21 And Up): Social Club May 29

May 28, 2015

  

This weekend is full of fun for everyone over the age of 21. The Carnegie Science Center 21+ Event is Friday night from 6-10PM. Guests can roam the science center and learn the science behind one of everyone’s favorite beverages, coffee!

Thinking of another beverage you’d like to be drinking this Friday? Check out Wigle Whiskey’s Bourbon Release and Birthday Bash, held at Wigle’s Barrel House in the North Side from 6-9PM. Wigle Whiskey will be releasing the first batch of Pennsylvania whiskey in 30 years. There will also be cake, party hats and a piñata to celebrate Wigle Whiskey’s 3rd anniversary.

The Origins of "Hail to the Chief"

Feb 16, 2015
DVIDSHUB / Flickr

We’re all familiar with the tune "Hail to the Chief" as the President’s anthem. But what are the origins of the song? We’ll discover the history behind the president’s theme song with Deane Root, professor and curator for the Center for American Music at the University of Pittsburgh.

“It’s said to come from an old Scottish sailing song y a know there’s lots of islands around Scotland and as they would row to one island or another,they’d sing these songs and these tunes became part of the oral tradition. So in 1810 when Sir Walter Scott wrote his poem about one of those old legends, about an Arthurian legend, this song and many others were used in theatre productions.

Root also says that this song was not always used in a patriotic context.

“ It was used by tutors to learn how to play the violin and the fiddle and the flute and all these other instruments in the 19th century. It was sung by usually men in taverns ya know groups of people who just liked the tune and put whatever words they wanted to.”

Great Scott! Remembering Robert Burns in Pittsburgh

Jan 23, 2015
SummondByFellas / Flickr

When you hear someone exclaim, “Great Scott,” chances are they could be referring to Scotland’s favorite son, poet Robert Burns.

This weekend marks the 256th anniversary of his birth. We’ll preview dinners set to take place in his honor and discover why his legacy endures with Paul Thompson, president of the St. Andrews Society of Pittsburgh and Tim Wolfson, co-owner of Music Night on Jupiter, a grassroots local music event promotion company.

Paul and Tim tell us about Robert Burns and his importance to not only Scotland, but the world.

Take a look at the poems of Robert Burns below, more can be found at Robertburns.org

Untold Stories behind Holiday Songs

Dec 17, 2014
Pamla J. Eisenberg / Flickr

From “Jingle Bells” to “White Christmas,” many of our most popular holiday songs have interesting stories behind them. Pop culture contributor Joe Wos tells us the stories behind some of our favorite holiday songs.

Wos singles out “Jingle Bells” as possibly the first Christmas pop song. Originally intended as a Thanksgiving song, “Jingle Bells” became a popular drinking song and ultimately became associated with Christmas.

The 44th Annual Jazz Seminar and Concert Runs Next Week

Oct 24, 2014
Charlie Llewellin / Flickr

The 44th annual Jazz Seminar and Concert will take place next week. WESA Jazz host Bob Studebaker previews the event with Geri Allen, director of the Jazz Studies program at the University of Pittsburgh.

How Do Musicians Survive in 2014?

Sep 18, 2014
SouthernWI / Flickr

When Justin Currie was the lead singer for the band Del Amitri, he scored a top ten single in the U.S. and was heard regularly on top 40 radio.

But earlier this month he had sold only nine tickets to his upcoming solo show at the Club Cafe.

That's when he posted a desperate message on Facebook saying that he was going ahead with the show and that the people of Western Pennsylvania ought to show up. He joins us along with WYEP Program Director Mike Sauter to discuss the business model for the modern musician.

Thrival Innovation + Music Festival Returns to Pittsburgh

Sep 12, 2014
Thrival Festival Facebook page

The now two-day Thrival Innovation + Music Festival is being held this weekend in Bakery Square. While the music is the big draw, the organizers say the goal of the festival is to provide an outlet for entrepreneurs to get the word out on their projects as well as the opportunity to bring major national music acts to the city. 

Summertime in Pittsburgh, Sweet Simplicity and Spectacle

Jul 8, 2014
Taber Andrew Bain / Flickr

The July Fourth holiday weekend saw a number of activities in the city, from the Regatta to the annual visit of the Furries.

Betsy Benson, publisher of Pittsburgh Magazine says big summer events, such as the reopening of the Point State Park fountain and the arrival of the large rubber duck of last summer, have been big in Pittsburgh because of the attention they receive.

She says Pittsburghers really know how to enjoy the simplicity of these events, no matter how small.

“More people are swarming into the city, through tunnels and across rivers, for weekday and weekend activities. Yes, there are a couple of big events coming to town this summer, notably the USA gymnastics visit in August, but a lot of the activity is small stuff that just adds up. Like hundreds of people showing up to do yoga in Market Square. And the Furries, their presence makes any routine trip downtown a potentially odd and remarkable experience.”

Exploring 80 Years of a Summertime Classic with 91.3 WYEP Host Brian Siewiorek

Part of what makes any summer truly great is a catchy summer tune. 91.3 WYEP production director and host Brian Siewiorek guides us through the historic popularity of a classic summer song composed 80 years ago, Summertime by George and Ira Gershwin.

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