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Critical Karaoke

"Critical Karaoke" is a monthly show about music and the ideas it inspires. We also produce daily music history segments called "A Day in the Life." Both currently air on KRCC
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Now displaying: January, 2016

"A Day in the Life" is a 2-minute podcast about music, history, culture, and ideas.  We release at least one new episode every weekday on an incredible range of genres and artists.  We hope you enjoy these quick listens!

Jan 29, 2016

Today in 1861, Kansas became the 34th state of the union. On today's "A Day in the Life," we explore the music of Kansas, from the homestead to the Moondog.

Jan 28, 2016

On this day in 1972, in Atlanta, the African American composer Scott Joplin’s opera Treemonisha had its first staged performance. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life," learn why it took more than a half a century after Joplin's death to first perform his only surviving opera.

Jan 28, 2016

It was on this day in 1941 that Osborne Ruddock, also known as King Tubby was born in Kingston Jamaica. On today's "A Day in the Life," we explore King Tubby's career from his days as a radio pirate to his innovative take on reggae that would become known as dub.

Jan 27, 2016

On this day in 1823, Edouard Lalo, one of the major voices in late-19th-century French composition, was born. We explore the music of Lalo and compare it with that of another famous composer who was also born on this day in 1756, find out the identity of the other January 27th birthday boy on today's "A Classical Day in the Life."

Jan 27, 2016

It was on this day in 1972 that the "Queen of Gospel," Mahalia Jackson died. On today's "A Day in the Life," we explore the life and career of one of the world's most influential gospel singers and civil rights activists. Find out what Jackson said to Martin Luther King, Jr. during his famous "Dream" speech at the March on Washington that caused King to improvise a section of the speech and thus transforming it into the "Dream" speech.

Jan 26, 2016

Today in 1934, vocalist Mabel Scott sang at the opening of the Apollo theater in Harlem. On today's "A Day in the Life," we track the beginnings of Scott's career and the beginnings of one of America's most legendary performance venues.

Jan 25, 2016

It was on this day in 1759 that Scottish poet and lyricist, Robert Burns was born. This is also the day that people around the world celebrate "the immortal memory" of the Bard of Ayrshire at Burns Suppers where pipes are blown, haggis is cut, toasts are made, verse is read and songs are sung.

Jan 22, 2016

Today in 1839, composer and pianist, Frederic Chopin, wrote a letter containing his Preludes to piano maker Camille Pleyel. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life," we read the letter and listen to the music Chopin composed while living on the rain-soaked island of Majorca. 

Jan 22, 2016

It was on this day in 1965 that Jeffrey Townes, better known as DJ Jazzy Jeff, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On today's "A Day in the Life," we track the career of the other side of the Fresh Prince.

Jan 21, 2016

Today in 1988 Christopher Rouse's Symphony No. 1 had its first performance, with David Zinman conducting the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life," we explore Rouse's expressive, at times gut-wrenching and despair-soaked first symphony.

Jan 21, 2016

It was on this day in 2010 that Canadian novelist and musician, Paul Quarrington passed away. On today's "A Day in the Life," we dive into the music of Quarrington and his collaborations with Rheostatics and Dan Hill.

Jan 20, 2016

Today in 2005, Philip Glass's monumental Symphony No. 7, also known as the "Toltec" symphony premiered. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life," we explore the inspiration and symbolism of the piece.

Jan 20, 2016

It was on this day in 2013 that Barack Obama was sworn in for his 2nd term as President of the United States. On today's "A Day in the Life," we recall the music of the inauguration and the musical preferences of the president himself.

Jan 19, 2016

Today in 1609, Duke Vincenzo Gonzaga of Mantua wrote a letter to Italian composer, Claudio Monteverdi, asking him to return to the Duke's employ. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life," we explore Monteverdi's relationship with his benefactor and the music that resulted from it.

Jan 19, 2016

It was on this day in 1943 that American singer-songwriter, Janis Joplin was born in Port Arthur, Texas. On today's "A Day in the Life," we explore Joplin's musical beginnings at the University of Texas and beyond.

Jan 18, 2016

Today in 1947, a new radio show took to the airwaves titled, "This is Jazz." On today's "A Day in the Life," we delve into the kind of jazz that the host of "This is Jazz," Rudi Blesh, was jazzed about.

Jan 15, 2016

It was on this day in 1981 that the American police drama Hill Street Blues debuted on NBC with its iconic theme song. On today's "A Day in the Life," we take a listen to the TV theme song catalog of the creator of the Hill Street Blues theme, Mike Post.

Jan 14, 2016

It was on this day in 1968, that American jazz saxophonist and composer, John Coltrane was to have held a concert at Philharmonic Hall—now known as Avery Fisher Hall—in New York City. Appearing on the bill with Coltrane would have been Yusif Lateef and Babatunde Olatunji. Find out why the concert didn't take place and hear what we think it could have sounded like on today's "A Day in the Life."

Jan 13, 2016

Today in 1822, Ludwig van Beethoven began what would become his final piano sonata. On today's "A Day in the Life," we explore the music and confront the claim that Beethoven invented jazz.

Jan 12, 2016

It was on this day in 1928 that the 20th century's most thrilling pianist, Vladimir Horowitz, had his debut performance in America. Learn how his performance was received on today's "A Classical Day in the Life."

Jan 12, 2016

Today in 1981, the American rock and roll outfit, Blondie, released "Rapture." Not only was the song the first to reach number one on the Billboard Chart that featured a rap vocal, it was also the first rap music video ever broadcast on MTV. On today's "A Day in the Life," learn who had cameo appearances in the video and eclectic group of folks who have sampled the song.

Jan 11, 2016

It was on this day in 1990 that American composer William Bolcom's 5th Symphony had its world premiere with the Philadelphia Orchestra. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life," we explore Bolcom's influences - from ragtime to Richard Wagner.

Jan 11, 2016

It was on this day in 1813 that Spanish jack-of-all-trades Don Francisco de Paula MarĂ­n planted the first pineapple on Hawaii. On today's "A Day in the Life," we follow the pineapple's journey and explore the music it has inspired, from Crowded House to Rick Ross.

Jan 9, 2016

On this episode of Critical Karaoke we are talking about music that needs to be visually encountered to fully connect with the intended experience of the music itself.  That is, music that you have to see to believe.  Our challenge is to describe these visual aspects and elements--these live moments of performance--in a purely audio realm.  We explore the musical/visual magic of Parliament Funkadelic, Snarky Puppy, and the Theremin to figure out what is really going on behind the sounds...

Jan 8, 2016

Today in 1833, the Boston Academy of Music was founded with the goal of training vocal music teachers. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life," we explore its short but influential existence and its first professor, a man who would become known as the "Father of Public School Music."

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