What’s your favorite kind of music? If you are like me, you might be open to experiencing various types, but at a loss for how to explore outside your favorite genre. Here’s something that can help…

Have you heard of National Public Radio (NPR) Music’s Tiny Desk Concert series? If not, get ready: it’s a delightful way to see musicians of every genre in their purest state.

Essentially, they set up in a tiny corner of the NPR office, furniture pushed aside, walls adorned with books and tapes as if it were any other day, and the musicians play in honest simplicity.

You’ve never seen Cat Stevens, Moon Hooch, Jackson Browne, T-Pain, Robert Cray or the hundreds of other performers in such modest yet compelling surroundings. No lavish stages, light shows, fireworks, or adoring crowds; just pure, unadulterated, raw music.

So… where do you start? If you’re not sure, go ahead to NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts 1 to browse their offerings, or check out our curated selections below!

Let’s start with the best 50 Tiny Desk Concerts:

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If you’re looking for something a little more specific, Ever Widening Circles and I have you covered there too! Below, here are three of my personal favorites, that are wildly different genres but absolutely remarkable, with an NPR introduction to get you into the mood and swing of things!

Yo-Yo Ma’s Goat Rodeo

The genre-bending cellist Yo-Yo Ma,  heads a dream dream team of string players – Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile, and Stuart Duncan – who borrow heavily from bluegrass. The quartet, along with singer Aoife O’Donovan, perform three songs from their album The Goat Rodeo Sessions, live at the NPR Music offices.

Something a Little Different: The Musical Stylings of Gyptian

If you’re looking for something completely different, look no further: allow us to introduce Gyptian.

Gyptian, who has already conquered radio from Kingston and (French) Guyana to London with his song Hold You, won the hearts and minds of all who listened at NPR Music’s Washington, D.C., office within moments of walking in the door. And he will you too! Take a listen.

A Third, Distinct Flavor: Beirut

Still not convinced that there is something you’ll love (either already or soon to be)? Check out one more pick from my favorite listing, the music of none other than Beirut.

Beirut arrived at the NPR Music offices dusty and exhausted following a weekend at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Tennessee, but following some much-needed showers, the band brought infectious joy to its short set behind the Tiny Desk.

There are three Tiny Desk Concerts to get you started!

If you see why we loved sharing this odd format with you, be sure to check out the NPR Tiny Desk Concert YouTube channel where you can get lost in the variety of genius there.

I don’t know about you, but I can easily slip into a “musical rut,” because of the instant access I have to my favorites. But Tiny Desk Concerts allows me to expand a bit without any risk at all. It’s almost like meeting someone new who has unusual tastes and who can transform mine!

Stay open, curious and hopeful!

~ Dr. Lynda

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Notes:

  1. Boilen, Bob. “Tiny Desk.” NPR.org. NPR, n.d. Web. 01 May 2015. <http://www.npr.org/series/tiny-desk-concerts/>.
  2. Logfella. “Best of NPR Tiny Desk Concerts.” YouTube. NPR, 15 June 2014. Web. 01 Mar. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKd0HNg1kFQ>.
  3. “Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile And Stuart Duncan: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert.” YouTube. NPR Music, 29 Nov. 2011. Web. 01 Mar. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7EcT5YzKhQ>.
  4. “Gyptian: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert.” YouTube. NPR Music, 13 Jan. 2011. Web. 01 Mar. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fz7NoHyviUU>.
  5. “Beirut: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert.” YouTube. NPR Music, 21 Sept. 2011. Web. 01 Mar. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0UISCEe52Y>.

Dr. Lynda is a dentist, artist, global traveler, and philanthropist who looks for potential and shares it with the world.