Soundcheck is WNYC’s daily talk show about music. Covering all musical genres, Soundcheck celebrates the musical passions of performers, composers, and critics as well as the public radio audience. Hosted by John Schaefer, listeners enjoy intimate conversations with and live performances by leading artists from around New York and around the globe.

Soundcheck is WNYC’s daily talk show about music. Covering all musical genres, Soundcheck celebrates the musical passions of performers, composers, and critics as well as the public radio audience. Hosted by John Schaefer, listeners enjoy intimate conversations with and live performances by leading artists from around New York and around the globe.
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New York, NY




Soundcheck is WNYC’s daily talk show about music. Covering all musical genres, Soundcheck celebrates the musical passions of performers, composers, and critics as well as the public radio audience. Hosted by John Schaefer, listeners enjoy intimate conversations with and live performances by leading artists from around New York and around the globe.






WNYC Radio 160 Varick St. New York, NY 10013 (212) 433-9692


Quantic's Dancefloor-Ready Jazzy Grooves

British producer, musician, and DJ Quantic (aka Will Holland) builds up jazzy, groovy, and dancefloor-ready music around funk guitar and bass riffs, keyboards and synths, punchy drums, sometimes featuring a vocalist, sometimes not. Sometimes he’ll explore traditions from somewhere else: Caribbean, Latin America and Africa, or from other times: psychedelia, experimental and rhythmically rich sounds of deep funk and soul. His latest is called, ‘Atlantic Oscillations’ and Quantic has...


Pianist and Programmer Dan Tepfer - Man Vs. Machine

Dan Tepfer is a sought-after composer and pianist who also studied computer programming and physics. His album of improvisations on Bach’s Goldberg Variations drew a lot of attention some eight years ago. Now, he’s released Natural Machines, a record of music for pianist and computer that responds to his real-time improvisations according to “simple rules” - musical algorithims that he programmed. Dan Tepfer joins us to explain what he’s done, and to do some of it on a Yamaha digital piano,...


A-WA's Timeless Yemeni-Jewish Traditional Songs Meet Arabic Pop

The Israeli band called A-WA had a huge hit on its very first attempt when their song "Habib Galbi" (“Love of My Heart”) – which blended traditional Yemenite folk music with modern dance beats – became the first Arabic-language song to ever become the #1 song in Israel. It was also a viral hit throughout the Arabic-speaking world. Even Pitbull got into the act, featuring on a remix of the song. A-WA is led by a trio of sisters from a Yemeni Jewish family who sing in Arabic and English. Their...


Blick Bassy Heals By Remembering The Stories

France-based Cameroonian musician Blick Bassy’s quiet and beautiful songs fall somewhere on the spectrum of blues, folk-soul, and pop, and embody a deep reverence for the traditional music of Cameroon and other parts of Africa. On his latest, record, 1958, dedicated to the memory of Ruben Um Nyobé, Felix Moumié and the other heroes of Cameroonian independence, Bassy embraces a listener (mostly in his ancestral language of Basaa) over minimal cello, trumpet, trombone, keyboards, and...


The Sweet, Slow Burn of Nakhane's 'Anti-Gospel' Pop

London-based Xhosa singer, actor, musician, and author Nakhane (born Toure) grew up on a musical diet of Mozart, Handel, and South African choral pieces, along with Marvin Gaye and the O’Jays in South Africa, eventually wrenching himself away from a conservative Christian upbringing to accept, then embrace his sexuality. Now a leading voice among queer musicians, Nakhane seduces, swaggers, and charms with his tender falsetto in his sometimes dance-leaning, grandly orchestrated “anti-gospel”...


Sinkane's Funk Exploration of the Immigrant's Journey

The Sudan-born, Ohio-raised and Brooklyn-based singer and musician Ahmed Gallab records under the name Sinkane and the latest Sinkane record, Dépaysé, is an irresistible mix of western and African funk, Sudanese folk music, 1960s psychedelia, with pop, rock, soul music besides. Dépaysé is a French word that means being taken out of your homeland, being dislocated and as Gallab writes, the record “is the story of an immigrant’s journey of self-discovery in the Trump era.” Sinkane, as an...


Ambient Chamber Space Pop By Big Bend, In-Studio

Big Bend is a collaborative project led by pianist Nathan Phillips, who assembled a rotating cast of musicians, including ambient zither player Laraaji, the renowned slide guitarist Susan Alcorn, and many others. Although Phillips is a composer, the Big Bend project grew out of improvisations, and the resulting songs live in a gray area between art song, pop song, and ambient music. Nathan has assembled a version of Big Bend, with guitar and strings, and they'll perform songs from his...


Tamino's Intimate and Confessional Pop, In-studio

Belgian singer and songwriter Tamino is of Egyptian and Lebanese descent and has had recent success as a model. Comparisons to Jeff Buckley and Thom Yorke might be inevitable; his is a voice that feels like a cuddle, with an incredibly rich falsetto at his high end. That Tamino's vocal lines and riffs sometimes incorporate Arabic quarter notes and that he brought in a group of Middle Eastern instrumentalists, known as “Nagham Zikrayat,” to record on his debut, Amir, hearkening to the...


Arabic Poetry-Infused Chamber Jazz by Layale Chaker and Sarafand

Violinist and composer Layale Chaker has done something exquisite in her music with the Ensemble Sarafand from the record, Inner Rhyme: she has gone about capturing the “shape and essence of epic testimonials on life, death, war and love that make the heart of Arabic poetry.” (Layale Chaker) It’s an alchemical wedding of music derived from the form, rhythm and structure of Arabic sung poetry using chamber music instruments: her violin, along with piano, cello, double-bass, and hand...


Australian Bass Virtuoso Tal Wilkenfeld Shines a Light

Australian-born Tal Wilkenfeld has made her sizable reputation by playing bass for some of the music world’s biggest stars – Prince, Mick Jagger, Jeff Beck, the Allman Brothers. In March she released her first album of her own singing and songwriting, Love Remains, and perhaps unsurprisingly, it went right to the top of Billboard’s Heatseekers chart. Tal Wilkenfeld joins us in-studio with her band to play some of these tunes in-studio. Set list: Killing Me Corner Painter Watch the session...


Baroque-Pop and Folk-Leaning Songs From Henry Jamison

It would be easy to label the Vermont-based singer/songwriter Henry Jamison as a folk musician. After all, his voice sounds a little like Nick Drake, and he’s covered a song by Canadian folkie Gordon Lightfoot. His songs are full of vivid and arresting imagery, and on this record, Gloria Duplex, he addresses toxic masculinity, drops in some feminine wisdom, draws on an Irish folk ballad, and distills psychological writings. The record was produced by Thomas Bartlett, aka “Doveman”, and...


Saying What Must Be Said, The Oddysy Combines Funk, Bass, Beats, And Samples

The Oddysy is a funk/rock/hip hop duo comprised of KJ (Kevin Jacoby, formerly of the psychedelic salsa band La Mecanica Popular) and DJ Johnny Juice, a Rock N Roll Hall of Famer best known for his work with Public Enemy and Rob Swift. They’ve got a lot to say about frustration and anger, protest and resistance. Recently, they released music dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr., and his refusal to meet violence with violence, featuring a verse by the hip hop legend Chuck D, of Public Enemy....


The Playful Arty Post-Punk and Swirling Psych of Michelle Blades

Michelle Blades was born into a well-known family of salsa musicians in Panama – you may have heard of her Grammy-winning uncle Ruben Blades. But she grew up as a multi-instrumentalist nomad who is now based in France. Her own music draws on rock, especially the psychedelic end of things and the angular arty sounds of post punk. Michelle Blades and her band play some music from her recent record, Visitor. Watch the session here: Michelle Blades - Visitor by Michelle Blades


Guitarist Sarah Louise's Experiments in Drone-Folk

North Carolina based composer and guitarist Sarah Louise is also one-half of the duo House and Land. Her music evokes forests and creeks and frogs, and when she’s on a 12-string acoustic guitar, combines both drone and folk (somewhat reminiscent of the fingerpicked styles of “American Primitive” guitar (think John Fahey, Jack Rose, Gwenifer Raymond, or Glenn Jones). She’s also recently released an album, Nighttime Birds and Morning Stars, built around improvisations on electric guitar, which...


Qasim Naqvi's Experiments in 21st Century DIY Modular Synth

Composer and modular synth experimenter Qasim Naqvi, who is also a drummer and one-third of the electronic jazzers Dawn of MIDI, writes chamber and electronic music for film, dance, theater and ensembles. His latest creation, two years in the making, “Teenages”, is for his own custom-built modular synth, which he encourages to behave “almost autonomously” (The Quietus). The combination of machine, (dare we say AI?), and subtle guidance by the composer will be on display as Qasim Naqvi...


Flamenco Guitar Pyrotechnics of Rodrigo y Gabriela

The Mexican guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela first made a name for themselves busking in Dublin, Ireland, even though they spoke no English at the time. With roots in flamenco, classical, and thrash metal, they perform technical feats of wonder in both originals and incredible covers. The latest record from the duo, Mettavolution, their first in five years, contains driving numbers, some incredibly fleet-fingered virtuosity, and a mind-altering psychedelic cover of a Pink Floyd tune. Rodrigo y...


Nick Waterhouse Wants to Make You Boogie

With his heavy horn section, electric backing vocals and a crack band, California soulful rocker Nick Waterhouse serves up a neo-noir concoction of modern rhythm and blues with surf-rock. Inspired by crate-digging in record stores for 45’s, Waterhouse has embraced the mid-century sound and is looking to make folks boogie. He and his retro-modern band play songs in-studio from his latest record, his fourth, a self-titled affair, Nick Waterhouse. - Caryn Havlik Watch the session here:


The Soulful Melancholy of Heather Woods Broderick

Multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter Heather Woods Broderick’s talents have been put to use by Sharon Van Etten and Laura Gibson; and she’s been a member of Efterklang and Horse Feathers. Her latest record, Invitation, is a grand and mysterious adventure into quiet and dark introspection. Piano riffs anchor this baroque-folk pop, and string arrangements might reflect the swells and whispers of her new digs around the impressive coastal landscape of Oregon. Or, as Western Vinyl puts...


Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi Transport as They Discover Common Roots

Multi-instrumentalist, composer and songwriter, host of the podcast Aria Code, and MacArthur Fellow Rhiannon Giddens’ latest collaboration is with the Italian pianist and percussionist Francesco Turrisi. Entitled there is no Other, the twelve songs explore the connections between European, Arabic, African-American and Mediterranean sounds and at once offer opposition to "othering" and “a celebration of the spread of ideas, connectivity, and shared experience” (Nonesuch Records). The duo’s...


The Eels Tear Things Apart To Find the Beauty Inside

Through his band the Eels, singer/songwriter Mark Oliver Everett has drawn on the tragedy and turmoil in his life and counters it with humor and hope. He is the son of a quantum physicist who developed the Many Worlds Theory, who now has a son himself. Eels’ latest, The Deconstruction, brings the feelings with a bit of wry optimism, and plenty of reflecting. It brings Mark Oliver Everett, aka E, to the studio to play some stripped-down versions of his songs and perhaps tell tales of the...