Gwen Thompkins

Host of Music Inside Out

Gwen Thompkins is a New Orleans native, NPR veteran and host of WWNO's Music Inside Out, where she brings to bear the knowledge and experience she amassed as senior editor of Weekend Edition, an East Africa correspondent, the holder of Nieman and Watson Fellowships, and as a longtime student of music from around the world.

Ways to Connect

Illinois State University

Givonna Joseph and her New Orleans-based troupe, OperaCréole, tackle some of opera's most challenging works with gusto, including early compositions written by free people of color in the United States and Europe. So, in addition to Bizet and Puccini and Verdi and Gershwin, OperaCréole gives full attention to composers Andre Ernest Gretry, Edmond Dede, Lucien Lambert and Samuel Snaer, among others.

In doing so, OperaCréole is continuing one of the nation's longest running opera traditions. New Orleans was home to North America's first opera house.

Music Inside Out

By his count, Wendell Brunious knows more than 2,000 songs. Some are from the Great American Songbook, some are traditional, swing and bebop jazz gems and many are from the golden era of New Orleans rhythm and blues. A goodly few are homemade. Wendell’s father, John “Picket” Brunious, Sr. was a composer and arranger, as was his brother John, Jr. Wendell says he plays their music to keep them ever-present, but he has his own of stock of originals. Over a more than 50 year-career in the business, he says his number one rule remains, “Keep it simple, stupid.”

Helen Gillet at the Sugar Maple
Art Montes

German artist David Helbich first coined the term “Belgian solutions” when he moved to Brussels in the early-2000s. It refers to the ad-lib alterations to the architecture and infrastructure of the EU capital, which Helbich has made a central theme in his photography.

In case you’re wondering — yes, this is a Best of Music Inside Out program. But the topic is universal. The songs we hear as children — even the ones we don’t like — help shape our feelings about the music we love as adults.

Music Inside Out: Spencer Bohren

Aug 16, 2019

Singer-songwriter Spencer Bohren (1950-2019) was raised in Casper, Wyoming, in the long, quiet lead up to where the Great Plains end and the Rocky Mountains begin. Hot springs and waterfalls in the region signal strong underground forces at work. Geologists say the area will look vastly different in the eons to come. But right now the land is moving as land usually does, imperceptibly, under the feet of people who’d swear there was nothing going on.

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