Celebrating Black History Month With Great Performances At The Tiny Desk

Celebrating Black History Month With Great Performances At The Tiny Desk

NPR Music’s Tiny Desk series is celebrating Black History Month with emerging and established artists who are performing a Tiny Desk concert for the first time. All videos and content courtesy NPR Music. To view the entire series of Tiny Desk shows, head here. We hope you enjoy. 
Kirk Franklin

For nearly 30 years, Franklin has been widely regarded for revolutionizing gospel. He incorporated secular music, particularly hip-hop, while preserving the message and integrity of traditional gospel. Here, he and his powerhouse choir pace through a decades-long, sixteen Grammy award winning discography.

 

Davido

Nigerian Afrobeats star Davido comes to us from his estate in Lagos with an intimate four-song performance that takes us on a mini-retrospective of his career. He and his band create a sultry vibe with a unique rendition of “Gobe,” his smash 2013 single, to open the set.

 

Sampa The Great

Initially raised in Botswana, Sampa The Great moved to Australia as a young adult and established herself in Sydney’s hip-hop scene. There, she released two mixtapes, 2015’s The Great Mixtape and 2017’s award-winning Birds and the BEE9, all the while generating buzz. 

Bartees Strange

For his Tiny Desk, Bartees Strange keeps the bluesy rock and roll bravado of “Boomer” and the loping smooveness of “Mustang,” stripping down the drum kit to include a sheet music stand as an extra cymbal.

 

Rae Khalil

She hit our radar and was featured on All Songs Considered last year, but gained national attention as a contestant on Netflix’s music competition show, Rhythm + Flow. As an emcee, she enunciates and bends her words unlike anyone in the game and if the bars don’t hook you, her expansive vocal range most certainly will. 

2 Chainz

First coming up from Atlanta’s hip-hop scene as one half of Playaz Circle, 2 Chainz landed a solo record deal and guest verses on Kanye West’s “Mercy” and Nicki Minaj’s “Beez in the Trap” in 2012. And, through guest verses and singles, his music’s been dominating the charts ever since. 

Rick Ross

This Tiny Desk marks just the second time Ross has performed with a live band. On “Super High,” from his Teflon Don album, drummer Rashid Williams and bassist Thaddaeus Tribbett lay down the foundation for Ross’ smooth cadence and signature nonchalance. 

KeiyaA

Just like this awe-inducing Tiny Desk (home) concert, KeiyaA’s debut album, Forever, Ya Girl, appeared last year with kismet timing, unveiling her as a fully formed star. The 2020 release is a meditation on the thin line between solitude and loneliness.

Meshell Ndegeocello

Shot in vivid black and white, the concert includes songs from throughout her career framed by her thoughts on the importance and influence of James Baldwin: “He deserves flowers every day.” 

GIVĒON

GIVĒON’s strength as a singer-songwriter is his ability to make his listener feel suspended in time. As fans quickly discovered on his breakthrough “Chicago Freestyle” feature last year, the peaks and valleys of GIVĒON’s tone and the satisfying patterns of his runs don’t just serenade. 

Melanie Charles

 A Brooklynite proud of her rich Haitian heritage, Charles is conscious of the giant shoulders upon which she stands and takes steps to both honor and advance this music. Behind her, smiling pictures of her guardian angels, Mary Lou Williams and Billie Holiday. 

Immanuel Wilkins

Candles and books rest on a trunk at the bottom right corner of the wide shot. There, too, are special photographs of alto saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins with family in his childhood home in Philadelphia. “One of the brightest things about this pandemic was going home to spend time with my mother, father and grandmother after being on the road for a while.” 

JLCO Septet with Wynton Marsalis

Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra Septet recorded their Tiny Desk (home) concert at Dizzy’s Club, or what they call “the house of swing.”