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Sometimes destiny seems to drop a little hint of goodness you could never imagine coming your way. For Cuban-born Aymée Nuviola and Puerto Rican-born Jeimy Osorio destiny played out to the tune of Celia Cruz.

Aymée Nuviola was a young singer with Pachito Alonso's orchestra when she met the legendary "Queen of Salsa" at a wedding in Mexico. It was a brief encounter that sparked an affinity between the two Afro-Cuban singers who were far from their homeland. Cruz offered up a little career advice and as she was leaving, took off her big, stone earrings and gave them to Nuviola.

My Signature Song: 'Defying Gravity'

22 hours ago

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Kaley Johnson of Fort Worth, Texas, has a dramatic signature song, one so important to her, it's almost part of her identity.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DEFYING GRAVITY")

Grief can feel like a new world emerging, swallowing up the reality you once knew and expanding into something entirely all-consuming. New York rapper Kemba used that monolithic feeling to create his major label debut album, Gilda, a record that pays tribute to his mother who passed away two years ago.

Kemba's mother raised him and his two brothers in The Bronx, N.Y., a place that gave him little choice but to be immersed in hip-hop

Steve Earle & The Dukes On Mountain Stage

Sep 20, 2019

One of the last of the hard-core troubadours, three-time Grammy winner Steve Earle made his seventh appearance on Mountain Stage on June 23 at the Cultural Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. The show occurred during FestivALL, Charleston's local arts celebration, and featured guest host Kathy Mattea.

Mattea, who used to sing demos for Earle, told the crowd about how she and Earle signed record label deals in Nashville on the same day (which happened to be her 24th birthday). She called Earle someone with "a big brain and a big heart underneath that gruff exterior."

Gang Starr, Hip-Hop's Chilliest Pair Of Heads, Returns

Sep 20, 2019

Gang Starr is back. After 16 years of silence, the revered duo of Guru and DJ Premier has put out a surprise new single, "Family and Loyalty." The song features posthumous verses from Guru, who passed away in 2010, DJ Premier's trademark string chops and light touch, and an acrobatic verse from J. Cole.

If you submitted the DNA of rock and roll to one of those ancestry outfits, you'd get traces of just about every kind of music that developed in the U.S. Spirituals, folk, blues, country and western music have all have contributed to that early 1950s explosion of what became known as rock and roll.

Next Wednesday evening, Plácido Domingo, the opera megastar who has recently been accused of sexual misconduct by 20 women, is scheduled to start a run of performances of Verdi's Macbeth at the most famous opera house in the United States: New York's Metropolitan Opera.

When you're lucky enough to work at a place where you talk to musicians, you get excited. It's easy to have a good experience talking with the people whose music you enjoy. It's even easier to tell random people how much you enjoyed the company of those musicians and the music they made. The problem, of course, is that it's easy to get hyperbolic and lost in the message.

When Leonard Cohen died in November 2016, the enigmatic icon left behind a catalog of dark, thoughtful treasures — 14 studio albums' worth of bleakly soulful, eminently quotable poetry. With help from an assortment of past collaborators, including his singer-songwriter son Adam, Cohen is set to return with a new collection of missives from beyond the grave. Titled Thanks for the Dance, it's due out Nov. 22, with a teaser dropping today in the form of a short piece called "The Goal."

When the first enslaved Africans landed on American shores in 1619, their musical traditions landed with them. Four centuries later, the primacy of African American music is indisputable, not only in this country but in much of the world. How that music has evolved, blending with or giving rise to other traditions — from African songs and dances to field hollers and spirituals, from ragtime and blues to jazz, R&B and hip-hop — is a topic of endless discussion.

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