NPR Music


Nov 19, 2021

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As a trans person, I liken my ever-changing relationship with gender to playing a video game.

Updated November 19, 2021 at 11:13 AM ET

NPR has been celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and most of the past half-century has featured a Thanksgiving recipe from Special Correspondent Susan Stamberg. She persists in the face of grins, groans, and gripes – "oh, no! That again!"

It's been more than a decade since the singer/songwriter Adele released her epic breakup album 21, which became one of the most overwhelmingly successful records in history and transformed her from promising talent to indelible superstar.

The time since has brought with it more success — an nearly equally successful third album, 25, a James Bond theme song, sold-out worldwide tours (all of them) — as well as personal growth and struggle. Just like all of us.

The biggest moments from the Latin Grammys

Nov 19, 2021

The 22nd annual Latin Grammys promised viewers the biggest night in Latin music and this year they delivered. After a year of socially distanced awards programming, this year's show felt like a massive family reunion. And like any good Latinx family reunion, there was unbridled joy and puro desmadre — in a good way! The celebration brought together Latin artists from all genres in a way that honored music titans often forgotten in English-centric events, and artists from a broad group of countries were represented among the 53 categories.

Musicians and artists turned out for the biggest night of Latin music at the 2021 Latin Grammy Awards.

NPR Music was there and we take a look at the scene on the red carpet.

"Frank Vignola is one of the most extraordinary guitarists performing before the public today," says Mountain Stage host Kathy Mattea, introducing a stunning guitarist she'd met some years prior at a concert in Italy.

Get to know Natalie Hemby. She is the proverbial girl next door, working behind the scenes in the Nashville music community writing songs for and with household names like Lady Gaga, Miranda Lambert and Kacey Musgraves.

The Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina is something of a musical philosopher. She likes to grapple with life's big questions as filtered through her deep faith, both in God and in the transformational power of music. "The art of music is capable of touching and approaching mysteries and laws existing in the cosmos and in the world," she said after winning a prestigious award in 2017.

The limitations of the 'sapphic anthem'

Nov 18, 2021

In a 2012 essay titled "On A Lesbian Relationship With Music," music historian Suzanne Cusick asked whether there exists a certain kind of lesbian aesthetic, and "a preference for certain kinds of music that somehow reflected the patterns of lesbian desire or lesbian pleasure." Search the words "sapphic anthems" or "wlw anthems" on social media, and the answer to Cusick's question seems to be a resounding yes.

Editors note: This story includes a brief mention of racial violence.

It started with an acceptance speech: Nikky Finney, a poet and professor from South Carolina, won the National Book Award in 2011 for her poetry collection Head Off & Split.