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Friday, November 19, 2010

NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts

Radio's great. You get to paint your own pictures and no place provides a broader canvas than NPR. But not too long ago I stumbled upon their Tiny Desk Concert and loved it. First of all, finding a venue for new music is not easy. The old independent radio stations are pretty much a thing of the past.

Into the breech steps NPR. And not only with music, but with video too. Like this one, featuring Lost in the Trees. NPR's concept: bring the performers into a corner of the office, move away the desks to create a little space and shoot it simply, focusing on the music. The resulting performance has a lovely, intimate quality. Watching it, you feel like you're one of the NPR staffers just out of frame, hanging out to listen. And the musical variety is broad and stimulating. You also have a front row view of the performers, you can feel their connection as they play together; see how they listen and play off each other. Really watch the creative process unfold as you listen to their work. Also, because it's an acoustic experience, there are no electronics for the performers to hide behind. And the video makes it clear, it's all about the music. The variety of performers mixes the old with the new. You can link to the series, which started in March of this year. The old ones are archived. A great, innovative use of video for a radio network. And something to brighten your work week.

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