Each month, NPR Music asks public radio personalities at member stations across the country to tell us about a song they can't get enough of. David Greene introduces listeners to member station WWNO's Gwen Thompkins — she's NPR's former East Africa correspondent. Her choice for July's installment of "Heavy Rotation," is "Ballet Class" by the Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet.
The headquarters of Fulcrum Acoustic is only an hour outside Boston, but finding the audio company can be tricky:Its address in Whitinsville, a quaint former industrial village in Massachusetts' Blackstone Valley, doesn't register on GPS. Fulcrum's founder, Dave Gunness, opened his workshop here five years ago and says people still have trouble finding it.
The name of the An-sky Yiddish Heritage Ensemble doubles as its mission statement: The quartet of performers and researchers has built a repetoire of old Yiddish folk songs dating back 100 years to the shtetls of Ukraine, in hopes of keeping that music from disappearing. Michael Alpert, who sings in the group, says it's part of a revival of Eastern Eurpoean Jewish culture that's be going on for nearly 40 years.
The bands Phish and Insane Clown Posse have spawned some of the most rabid fans in music history. Their world of obsession is not an easy one to break into, but on a warm December night in Miami back in 2009, pop culture writer Nathan Rabin went to see a concert that would inspire him to enter the orbit of these infamous groupies.
He wrote a book about them, You Don't Know Me But You Don't Like Me, and tells weekends on All Things Considered guest host Rebecca Sheir about his first-hand look at the two often-reviled sub-cultures.