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KEXP DOCUMENTARIES

KEXP DocumentariesWe bring you a musical subject in the time it takes to play just one song!

KEXP Documentaries are written and produced by Michele Myers. Executive Producer is Kevin Cole. Created in collaboration with Experience Music Project and The University of Washington. And made possible by a grant from the American Music Partnership of Seattle.

NEW! KEXP Documentaries Lesson Plans for the series "Masters of Turntablism" and "Hip-Hop – The New Seattle Sound"


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Electronic Innovators

Electronic Innovators
In collaboration with the internationally-acclaimed Decibel Festival, KEXP Documentaries presents "Electronic Innovators".

Electronic music first made its way into pop culture through soundtracks to science fiction films in the 1950s. The German band Kraftwerk and English artist Brian Eno took plugged-in music to the people in the 70s with cinematic, space-filled albums. In the 80s Detroit’s “Godfathers of Techno” The Belleville Three started a legacy of innovation in that city that continues today. Bristol favorites Massive Attack and Portishead mixed electronic sounds with soul, hip-hop and reggae in the 1990s, creating a more accessible pop style and attracting millions of fans. Legendary French group Daft Punk propelled the rave movement into the pop charts with catchy, danceable hits. Underground beatmaker Trentemoller and experimental artists Aphex Twin, Amon Tobin and Bjork continue to be on the forefront of this still-futuristic music style. And in 2011 newcomer James Blake’s self-titled release marries soul music and dubstep, bridging the gap between pop and electronic music.



Grunge

Grunge
KEXP Documentaries presents a new series – “Grunge” – in collaboration with Experience Music Project’s “Nirvana” exhibit.

In the 80s a new form of alternative rock called “Grunge” mixed heavy guitars from metal, the attitude of punk and pop elements like stop-and-start dynamics and memorable melodies to create a sound that rocked the world. Ten bands are profiled in this KEXP Documentary series: Green River, The Screaming Trees, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, The Melvins, Tad, Mother Love Bone, Mudhoney and Alice in Chains. Join us for a fresh exploration of this dark music and how it influenced the sound of today’s alt-rock.

Poets and Music

Poets and Music
KEXP Documentaries presents Poets and Music! A 10-part series of radio stories that explore the interplay between the beat and the word. With episodes on our favorite KEXP poets who record with musicians, including: Jack Kerouac, Tom Waits, Ursula Rucker, Jim Carroll, Ken Nordine, Patti Smith, William S. Burroughs, Saul Williams and Gil Scott-Herron.

Sirens of Jazz

Sirens of Jazz
KEXP Documentaries presents Sirens of Jazz! An inside look at KEXP’s favorite female jazz vocalists. Each short radio story in this 10-part series will profile the woman’s history and best music mixed with commentary from today’s authors, DJs, scholars and musicians. From top vintage soloists Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone, to experimental singers Betty Carter and Cassandra Wilson, to crossover crooners Ernestine Anderson, Peggy Lee and Astrud Gilberto.

Hip Hop: The New Seattle Sound

Hip Hop: The New Seattle Sound
Listen Thursdays at 3pm or Saturdays at 4pm on KEXP or click above to hear: KEXP Documentaries presents a new series – “Hip-Hop – The New Seattle Sound”
In the 1970’s when hip-hop was created in the Bronx, the sounds reached Seattle’s youth culture and inspired a new kind of dance party. Groups like The Emerald City Boys and Sir Mix-A-Lot came up in the 80’s and 90s, along with a hip-hop radio show hosted by Nasty Nes. This music sparked interest but the culture never fully came into its own.
Well, the time is now. KEXP Documentaries introduces you to a whole new generation of hip-hop artists making history in the Emerald City. Nationally-recognized acts Blue Scholars, Dyme Def, Ra Scion and TheeSatisfaction bring in their finest tracks and talk about how songs create culture. Local heroes Macklemore, D. Black, Fresh Espresso and Shabazz Palaces share the secrets and struggles of keeping their rhymes real and relevant. And the producers who are at the center of the scene, Jake One and Vitamin D take us to the place where it all comes together, musically and in the community.
NEW! Check out KEXP Documentaries Lesson Plans using episodes from this series.

Blues for Hard Times

Blues for Hard Times
KEXP Documentaries presents a new series–"Blues for Hard Times" with UW Music History Professor Larry Starr!

"A musical tour of the last century"--"Blues for Hard Times" brings us back to the city blues of Bessie Smith. Takes us for a walk in the worn shoes of country bluesmen Blind Lemon Jefferson and Robert Johnson. Introduces the electric guitar into songs by Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters and Chuck Berry. And follows the blue note into pop music with artists like Patsy Cline, Ethel Waters, Big Mama Thornton and Booker T.

This 10-part series of short radio documentaries will be part of a class taking place at University of Washington that’s open to the public as part of the Simpson Center and Seattle Arts and Lectures’ Wednesday University program. You can sign up for this class at Seattle Arts and Lecture – lectures.org. The first class starts March 31st.

Civil Rights Songs

Civil Rights Songs
Our series "Civil Rights Songs" takes you on the scene to the civil rights era of the 1950s and 1960s and beyond. During these hard times, African-Americans fought for equality and justice. Early on, musicians like Billie Holiday and Pete Seeger helped spread the news of crimes by recording songs like "Strange Fruit" and "We Shall Overcome". When marches and protests began in the 50s and 60s songs sung by Nina Simone, Odetta and Dylan helped to pull people of all races together. And artists like James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Sam Cooke stepped proudly into the spotlight with "Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud", "People Get Ready" and "A Change is Gonna Come". Songs that remind us that the fight for equality under the law, for all – is not over yet.

Psychedelics

Psychedelics
Our series "Psychedelics" starts in the year 1966 with episodes on the The Byrds, The Velvet Underground, The Beatles and Jefferson Airplane. We’ll explore the British psych scene with Pink Floyd in 68 and then roll around in the mud at Woodstock in 69 with Sly and the Family Stone.
In the 80s we’ll enter the surreal world of The Flaming Lips then bliss out to house music with The Orb. The series ends with today’s new breed of psychedelic bands - Spiritualized and Animal Collective.

The New World

The New World
The explorers at KEXP Documentaries have set sail for uncharted musical lands. Step into "The New World", a 10-part series of short musical stories on the latest faces in international music.

POP Goes ELECTRONIC

POP Goes ELECTRONIC
1950’s science fiction films were the first place electronic music was heard by most music fans. Inventors had played with electronic instruments since the 1890’s but it wasn’t until films like 1958’s "Forbidden Planet" started showing that music made by computers was finally heard by a large number of people in the US and UK.

Portraits of Post-Punk

Portraits of Post-Punk
When punk crashed at the end of the '70s, disillusioned art rockers crawled out of the wreckage, looking for new sounds to release them from the category cage of punk rock.

Death, Drugs and Rock'n Roll

Death, Drugs and Rock'n Roll
Why did Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain all die at the age of 27? What's the connection between celebrity and death? Are addiction-prone people more sensitive and likely to become musicians? Does death give an artist credibility? What are the pressures that drive someone to a dangerous place?

Music Revolutionaries

Music Revolutionaries
Artists who change today's world, one song at a time.

The Heart of Soul

The Heart of Soul
Marvin Gaye said "If you want to reach people you have to give them a taste of themselves." Join KEXP Documentaries for a look inside the hearts of legendary greats: James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Curtis Mayfield and Bill Withers. We'll also spotlight today's soul artists who are carrying on the legacy of truth, emotion and the eternal groove: Bettye Lavette, Jamie Lidell and Sharon Jones.

Masters of Turntablism

Masters of Turntablism
Masters of Turntablism is a 10-part series of short radio documentaries feature the Founding Fathers of Scratch: Kool Herc, Grandwizzard Theodore, GrandMixer DST, Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, The X-Ecutioners, Mix Master Mike, Q-Bert, Cut Chemist and DJ Shadow.
NEW! Check out KEXP Documentaries Lesson Plans using episodes from this series.

American Sabor [SP]

American Sabor [SP]
American Sabor is a 19-part series on Latino innovators in US pop music. This is the Spanish language version.

American Sabor [EN]

American Sabor [EN]
American Sabor is a 19-part series on Latino innovators in US pop music. This is the English language version.

Punk Evolution

Punk Evolution
Travel through time with the evolution of punk rock. Punk Evolution is a 10-part series on punk rock and counterculture. Featuring music by The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, The Clash, Black Flag, Bad Brains, The Dead Kennedys and more.

Streetwise: Classrooms that Rock

Streetwise: Classrooms that Rock
Streetwise is a 10-part series on alternative music in education.

Honest with Me: Firsthand Stories of Bob Dylan

Honest with Me: Firsthand Stories of Bob Dylan
KEXP presents a series of stories on the musical life of Bob Dylan. Told by Dylan's friends, scholars and fans, "Honest With Me" features firsthand accounts from Joan Baez, Al Kooper, Izzy Young and the Band's Robbie Robertson.
Stories Produced By: Michele Myers
Executive Producer: Kevin Cole
Associate Producers: Rob Carroll and Jasen Emmons
©;2005 KEXP Radio
Produced at KEXP in collaboration with EMP and the UW School of Music. Funded by a grant from the Seattle Partnership for American Popular Music.