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If you saw the first Heat Check Live on NPR Music's Instagram this past weekend, you rocked with us for a live DJ set of all your favorite new songs. Afterward, New York-based artist Linda Diaz, whose work has been featured on Heat Check before, reminded us why we create spaces for the playlist to exist: "Community is invaluable. Black joy is radical," she wrote.

You can probably guess that we recorded the original Broadway cast of Hadestown before the coronavirus pandemic made live theater (live anything) an untenable risk. The reminders are everywhere — in the way 16 performers bunch up behind the desk, singing formidably in close proximity as a large crowd gathers just off camera — that this took place in the Before-Times. To be specific, on March 2.

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

You've been telling us about the songs that are getting you through this stressful time. For Cara Robertson (ph) of Santa Monica, Calif., it's Nina Simone's cover of the 1970 hit "O-o-h Child."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "O-O-H CHILD")

Alt.Latino host Felix Contreras joins Weekend Edition host Lulu Garcia-Navarro for their monthly new music chat. The tracks featured this week come from several corners of the Latin music world and all center on themes of inspiration and emotional release, which Felix says is exactly what we need during these difficult times. Listen to the conversation in the audio player above and check out all of the tracks below.

Who Owns 'Boogaloo'?

May 31, 2020

In pockets of far-right and anarchist groups, there's a word often bandied about: "boogaloo." In January, NPR first reported that fringe movements including right wing militias and "patriot groups" had begun using the word "boogaloo" on social media as a thinly veiled code for a race-based or civil war.

In The Room: With Ms. Mahoganee, this time we had fun with this video with a twist of creativity and a universal love for Nina Simone, Mahagonee sings "Feeling Good" Click the link to watch it on YouTube!

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

Over her decades-long career, Tracee Ellis Ross has starred in beloved shows such as Black-ish and Girlfriends. But as she sees it, her latest role is her most daunting one yet. In The High Note, available to stream on Apple TV on May 29, she plays a superstar singer named Grace Davis, who's facing career stagnancy. Meanwhile, Davis' personal assistant Maggie (played by Dakota Johnson) has musical ambitions of her own as an aspiring producer.

D Smoke: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

May 29, 2020

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

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