Meshell Ndegeocello is one of a dozen emerging and established artists playing NPR's famous Tiny Desk Concert series
KURATED NO. 109
Black History Month 2021
NPR’S TINY DESK CONCERTS (HOME)
featuring Meshell Ndegeocello plus 11 more
CONTENTS
  • The Sprawling Creativity of Meshell Ndegeocello
  • PLAYLISTS: Tiny Desk Concert (At Home) on February 10, 2021(on YouTube)
    plus Meshell Ndegeocello: 10 songs from 30 years on Spotify and YouTube

Black History Month

The past year has been momentous in the struggle for Black rights. February is Black History Month and, once again, Kurated is focusing on Black issues and artists.

Kurated is a music sharing project.
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Kris Sig Plastic V3

20 February 2021

Kurated109meshell
Meshell Ndegeocello and longtime accompanist Chris Bruce play a Tiny Desk Concert (Home) on February 10.

THE SPRAWLING CREATIVITY OF MESHELL NDEGEOCELLO

After almost 30 years, versatility is her trademark. Her latest project honours Black activist writer James Baldwin

Veteran musician Meshell Ndegeocello is one of a dozen established and emerging artists playing in NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Black History Month series throughout February.

Since her 1993 debut, Ndegeocello (pronounced endy-gayo-chello) has roamed widely across musical genres. A forceful and sure presence, versatility is her trademark – a superior bass player, songwriter and singer. She was a regular member of David Bowie’s bands and scored a 1994 hit duetting with John Mellencamp on Van Morrison’s Wild Night. Her most recent collaboration is with renowned U.S. keyboard player Robert Glasper and rising star H.E.R. playing on the just released single Better Than I Imagined.

Her sound on a varied collection of 12 solo albums is hard to name. Ndegeocello incorporates elements of hot and cool R&B, edgy jazz, tight funk, tender ballads, articulate hip hop and more. A throughline is her strong and assured voice; the low register clearly delivered. It is in turns knowing, sensitive, forceful and quick. Whether she’s delivering a heartfelt solo or slamming the bass with a full band, the musicianship is upfront and in sync with deep artistic and personal integrity.

Ndegeocello’s Tiny Desk set features four intimate pieces accompanied by longtime guitarist Chris Bruce. It opens with a spoken word version of the funky Step Into The Projects from her debut album Plantation Lullabies.

Price of the Ticket, is from Ndegeocello’s new online project, Chapter & Verse: The Gospel of James Baldwin, in honour of the late Black activist author’s two-essay 1963 book The Fire Next Time written at the start of the US civil rights movement.

The project website explains: “Inspired by James Baldwin’s truth-telling treatise on justice in the United States, The Fire Next Time, and our endlessly changing world, Chapter & Verse: The Gospel of James Baldwin is a 21st century ritual tool kit for justice. A call for revolution. A gift during turbulent times.” The website is well worth a look.

NPR Tiny Desk Concert Black History Month Lineup

At the time of writing you can find the NPR Black History Month 2021 concert series here.

WEEK 1: JAZZ

  • 2/2: Wynton Marsalis
  • 2/3: Immanuel Wilkins
  • 2/4: Melanie Charles

WEEK 2: R&B

  • 2/8: Meshell Ndegeocello
  • 2/9: Giveon
  • 2/10: KeiyaA

WEEK 3: HIP HOP

  • 2/15: Rick Ross
  • 2/16: 2 Chainz
  • 2/17: Rae Khalil

WEEK 4: WILDCARD WEEK

  • 2/23: Bartees Strange
  • 2/24: Sampa The Great
  • 2/25: Kirk Franklin

PLAYLISTS

There are two playlists.

  1. The first is Ndegeocello’s February NPR Tiny Desk Concert on YouTube.
  2. The second is a brief 10-song survey of her work since 1993 on both YouTube and Spotify.

Tiny Desk Concert on YouTube

10 Songs On Spotify

10 Songs on YouTube