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Last week, we launched the sixth Tiny Desk Contest, our annual search for great, undiscovered musical talent.

Phil Elverum's songs come full circle, swooping down like vultures and floating up like ashes from flames. Throughout his work in Mount Eerie and The Microphones, idealism comes up against realism, existence entangles with impermanence and love discovers new forms.

Joseph Shabalala, the singer who created the South African choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo and propelled it to worldwide fame, died Tuesday in Pretoria at age 78. The group became beloved globally as collaborators with Paul Simon on the album Graceland, and went on to win five Grammys.

It's not too late to make a musical resolution for 2020, right?

No, I'm not planning to spend any diaper money on rare 7-inches, or develop an unhealthy effects pedal habit. But I do need to get outside my musical comfort zone — and I want to get into calypso music.

Kate Bollinger writes smart, melodic indie pop music. It makes for easy listening, but there's real insight in her lyrics. Dig deeper and you'll discover a thoughtful songwriter coming into her own.

When guitarist Ian MacKaye, bassist Joe Lally and drummer Amy Farina played their first live gig together — a benefit, of course — in late 2018, at St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church in Washington D.C., they didn't even have a name. "Every band name has been taken, and they all have lawyers," MacKaye said that night. They were and are members of Fugazi, The Evens and The Warmers, bands thick with D.C.

Starting today, NPR Music is accepting entries to the 2020 Tiny Desk Contest. You can now submit your video via our website. We'll be accepting entries through March 30 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • To be eligible, you must be at least 18 years of age and a resident of the United States. You can't currently have a record deal.

Updated at 11:17 p.m. ET

Rafiq Bhatia started the new year by taking a fresh look at jazz standards in a four-song EP called Standards Vol. 1. The record subverts our expectations — for both a guitarist best-known as a member of the band Son Lux and for songs we know well, half of which were written by the great Duke Ellington.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

The Virtuoso

Feb 10, 2020

Turning the Tables is NPR's ongoing multi-platform series dedicated to recentering the popular music canon on voices that have been marginalized, underappreciated, or hidden in plain sight. In 2020, we will publish an occasional series looking closely at the careers of significant women in music, treasured albums or significant scenes. This is the first in the series; find all Turning the Tables content here.

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