Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova sit inches apart, sharing a well-worn guitar, singing deeply personal love songs. It’s a scene familiar to the millions who’ve seen their Oscar-winning film Once, and to the thousands who’ve crowded into venues when they tour together as The Swell Season. But this particular performance took place in a cubicle at the NPR Music offices in Washington, D.C. – an intimate concert, in an unexpected venue, that makes its debut today as part of NPR Music’s “Tiny Desk Concert” series.
The Swell Season’s engrossing “Tiny Desk” performance is streaming now at NPR Music, where there are also video and audio podcasts of the concert available for free download: www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=111679769
During the concert, Hansard and Irglova played nearly 35 minutes of mostly new material – moving beautifully through six new songs from their new album Strict Joy, out October 27. After performing three songs – and turning the audience into an impromptu orchestra – Hansard kept asking to play longer; not surprisingly, he met little resistance. The Swell Season also performed the first-ever “Tiny Desk Concert” encore, delivering a gut-wrenching version of “When Your Mind’s Made Up” from Once.
For the “Tiny Desk Concert” series, NPR Music invites musicians to perform a live concert on an unlikely stage – the desk of Bob Boilen, host and producer of NPR Music’s All Songs Considered – with equally unlikely results. There are The Avett Brothers, rocking rootsy songs from their forthcoming record; British superstar Tom Jones belting out songs with gusto normally reserved for 20,000-seat venues; and Laura Gibson, whose soft vocals were the inspiration for the series to begin with. Coming soon to the Tiny Desk: Somali-born rapper K’NAAN, soul singer Raphael Saadiq and indie-pop singer John Vanderslice, among others.
The "Tiny Desk Concert" series is one feature of NPR Music, a free, multimedia music discovery Web site at www.npr.org/music The site offers content from NPR and 12 NPR Member public radio stations, including live performances, studio sessions, first listens to new albums, interviews, reviews and blogs. The site's continuously expanding sections are dedicated to rock/pop/folk, classical, jazz/blues, world and urban music. NPR Music culls from NPR's and the stations' extensive music archives to present thousands of features; more than 250 new features are added to the site every month.