Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 10:55 am
In 2012, writers who tackled musical topics dove deep, got weird, burrowed into a niche; we joyfully followed them to depths we never would have expected when the year began. We devoured works of criticism, history, biography and the Zen of John Cage and Tony Bennett.
Police officers detain a protester outside the lower house of Russia's parliament on Wednesday. This week, Russian legislators passed a bill banning Americans from adopting Russian children after the U.S. passed a law that rebukes Russia for human rights abuses.
Credit Evgeny Feldman / AFP/Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference in Moscow on Thursday. Putin has voiced support for a measure that would ban U.S. adoptions of Russian children.
Russian lawmakers have approved a measure that would bar Americans from adopting Russian children, a move that comes in retaliation for a U.S. law that seeks to "name and shame" Russian officials who violate human rights.
President Vladimir Putin has voiced support for the adoption ban, but it's not clear whether he'll actually sign the measure, which has potential pitfalls.
This year saw two releases from prolific Chicago indie-pop singer-songwriter Andrew Bird. Released in March, his new album Break It Yourself turned out to be one of All Songs Considered listeners' favorite albums of 2012 — another showcase for Bird's clever songwriting, eclectic musicianship and inventive loop-based approach to playing and recording.
Discovering Brazil has been a series of wonderful revelations for me. As principal conductor of the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra for the past year, I have been deeply moved and even changed by my exposure to this culture of passion and positivity.
Brazil's inherent societal belief that music improves quality of life, contributes to improved social behavior, and is an important vehicle to establish a peaceful society filled with tolerance and respect is a philosophy I once thought existed only in my utopian dreams.